Best third-party music player apps for iPhone
If you yearn for the days when the iOS Music app was just the Music app and not just a vehicle for Apple Music, you're not alone. Sadly, you just can't get that experience anymore with the native app. That being said, all is not lost, since you can still download some awesome third-party apps to control your tuneage.
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If you're looking for the classic Music app feel, then Cesium should be your go-to. It's just like you're used to, with a very pleasant interface and everything where you think it should be — it just makes sense.
All the buttons are laid out nicely and the Now Playing screen is elegant. All you have to do is allow the app to access your Music Library and all of your music, including stuff you download from iTunes, is there, just like using the iOS app.
If you want an experience that's as close to the way iOS used to be as possible, then Cesium's your bag, baby.
- $1.99, with in-app purchases - Download now (opens in new tab)
Listen: The Gesture Music Player
Listen is a cool app. You control your music library with gestures. Two-finger swipes let you control volume and scrub through tracks, while taps and single-finger gestures let you switch tracks, share them with friends, play and pause, and more.
The Now Playing screen is minimalist and gorgeous, and searching through your tunes is well-laid out and simple. If you're a tap-happy individual, then this may not be the app for you, since there's a lot you can do with just a tap and drag, but if you like a smooth interface where all your actions flow, then give Listen a try.
The free version is great, but if you want premium features, like curated radio stations, then you'll have to pay.
- Free, with in-app purchases - Download now (opens in new tab)
Ecoute is perfect if you like more of a bare-bones music experience on your iPhone. If you can't be bothered to share your tunes or connect via social media and all you want to do is listen to your music, then this is the app for you. I mean, you totally can share what you're listening to via Facebook and Twitter, but it's not in your face. It sports a very clean interface and lets you filter your music seven ways, so that you can listen to exactly what you want in the moment. You can even listen exclusively to stuff you've purchased from iTunes.
Ecoute synchronizes your playback numbers and last played dates, so your stats are never skewed and remain the same across devices. You can also view your queue and move songs around and remove them to your liking, even when shuffle is on. It's perfect for picky listeners!
- $0.99 - Download now (opens in new tab)
Stezza is for folks who like a simple layout without much fuss. You can customize the background color and some buttons, but that's about it. The home interface is broken up into panes, so you can see what's playing now, play/pause, skip tracks, turn shuffle on and off, and more. You can even AirPlay all of your tunes, including those purchased from iTunes.
You can tweet and share what you're listening to on Instagram and view movies and TV shows as well. If you like a pared-down interface that's simple and obvious, then definitely give Stezza a try. It's all about being quick and easy.
- $2.99 - Download now (opens in new tab)
SoundShare is all about community, so if you love your tunes and want to let everyone else know what you love, while also discovering new music, then this one's for you! You have to create a free account, and then you can connect with users from all over the world, finding out their tastes, while sharing your own.
The interface does take some getting used to, but once you have your bearings, it's easy to share your music or check out streaming services, like Spotify, Apple Music, and Deezer. You can see and play everything your SoundShare friends listen to, and you can even like and comment on songs. It's basically like Instagram for music. If you hate those people who try and recommend music all the time, then stay away, but if you are one of those people, then rejoice — you have a platform just for you!
SoundShare just got a facelift, and while it's a little broken for now, future updates will likely fix all the bugs.
- Free - Download now (opens in new tab)
What's your favorite?
Do you have a favorite third-party music player/manager? Let us know in the comments below!
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Mick is a staff writer who's as frugal as they come, so he always does extensive research (much to the exhaustion of his wife) before making a purchase. If it's not worth the price, Mick ain't buying.
One thing this app needs to improve is the playlist, it's not friendly, but I hope future versions fix that. It comes with black theme so is very good to use during nights. Flip the app in landscape mode and you have the equalizer. This is the app music I use all the time, you can also control the app from your apple watch.
I should also mention, support from the developer is fantastic. Very responsive to suggestions and bug reports. Cesium keeps getting better and better, and it's already the best player by a mile.
Point is, I'd love an app that replicated the original clickwheel iPod. Silly, stupid, I know, but still.