How to use the Music app for Mac

As you may have heard, Apple is splitting up iTunes into multiple apps into three separate pieces. Like Teddy Roosevelt busting a trust, Apple is breaking up the monopolistic hold that iTunes has had over a person's digital media with the new Music, Podcast, and Apple TV apps in macOS Catalina.

If you're familiar with iTunes, you're not going to have to do a lot of work to get used to the Music app. The app functions in much the same way as iTunes did for music, though it should be noted that the Apple Music integration, at least from a subjective viewpoint, seems much tighter.

Here's how to use the Music app on macOS Catalina.

How to play music in the Music app for Mac

  1. Open Music from your Dock or Applications folder.
  2. Click the play button that appears when you hover over the album or playlist you want to play.

    Open Music, click play

  3. Click on the album or playlist if you just want to play a particular song.
  4. Click on the play button that appears on the song's album art or track number when you hover over it in the track listing.

    Click album, click play

How to use Apple Music in the Music app for Mac

  1. Open Music from your Dock or Applications folder.
  2. Click For You in the sidebar to see your Apple-curated mixes and suggestions, recently played albums and playlists, and what your friends have been listening to.
  3. Click Browse in the sidebar to browse through currently-trending artists, new music, Apple's curated playlist selections, the rest of Apple Music's available library.

    Click For You, click Browse

  4. Click Radio in the sidebar to view and play Beats 1 radio shows, both live at the moment and previously recorded.
  5. Click Featured in the Radio section to view Apple's highlighted Beats 1 streams, featured radio stations, and recently played radio content.

    Click Radio, click Featured

  6. Click Beats 1 in the Radio section to view and play Beats 1 content.
  7. Click Stations in the Radio section to view available radio stations from Apple Music and selected partners.

    Click Beats 1, click Stations

  8. Click the + button to any song, album, or playlist in Apple Music to add it to your Library.

    Click +

How to view your music library in the Music app for Mac

  1. Open Music from your Dock or Applications folder.
  2. Click Recently Added in the sidebar to view albums and songs (but not playlists) that have been added to your library.
  3. Click Artists in the sidebar to browse through the musical artists whose music is in your library.

    Click Recently Added, click Artists

    • Click View in the menu bar.
    • Hover over Sort Albums By.

    Click View, hover over Sort Albums By

    • Click Title, Genre, Year, or Rating.
    • Click Ascending or Descending.

    Click View, click Ascending or Descending

  4. Click Albums in the sidebar to browse your music collection by albums.

    • Click View in the menu bar.

    Click Albums, click View

    • Click Show View Options.
    • Click the drop-down next to Sort by: to choose between Title, Genre, Artist, Year, or Rating.

    Click Show View Options, click Sort by Drop-down

    • Click the drop-down next to then: to choose between Title, Artist, Year, or Rating

    Click "then" drop-down

  5. Click Songs to view your songs. This is what many would say is the classic iTunes view, going back to the original release almost two decades ago.

    • Click the Name, Time, Artist, Album, Genre, or other category bars to sort your songs by those categories.

    Click Songs, click category bar

  6. Click on a playlist in the sidebar to open it. Your available playlists are sorted by origin in the sidebar, with your iTunes-created playlists listed first, then any playlists that you've created or subscribed to in Apple Music coming after that in alphabetical order.

    Click playlist

How to import music into the Music app for Mac

  1. Open Music from your Dock or Applications folder.
  2. Click File.
  3. Click Import.

    Click File, click Import

  4. Choose the file or folder that you want to import.
  5. Click Open.

    Choose a file, click Open

How to get song and album info in the Music app for Mac

  1. Open Music from your Dock or Applications folder.
  2. Right- or Control-click on a song or album.
  3. Click Get Info.

    Right or control-click on a song or album

  4. Click Edit Items if you're editing more than one song.

    Click Edit Items

  5. Edit information under the Details, Artwork, Lyrics, Options, Sorting, and File tabs if you need to.
  6. Click OK when you're done editing.

    Edit info under different tabs, click OK

How to manage general settings in the Music app

  1. Open Music from your Dock or Applications folder.
  2. Click Music in the menu bar.

    Open Music, click Music

  3. Click Preferences.
  4. Under the General tab, click the checkboxes to turn on iCloud Music Library, enable Automatic Downloads, and for Always check for available downloads.

    Click Preferences, click checkboxes

  5. Click the checkboxes to show or hide the iTunes Store, Star Ratings, and Song list checkboxes.
  6. Click the drop-down to select the list size.

    Click checkboxes, click drop-down

  7. Click the checkbox to allow or stop notifications for when songs change.

    Click checkbox

How to manage playback settings in the Music app for Mac

  1. Open Music from your Dock or Applications folder.
  2. Click Music in the menu bar.

    Open Music, click Music

  3. Click Preferences.
  4. Click Playback.

    Click Preferences, click Playback

  5. Click the checkbox next to Crossfade Songs to enable crossfading.
  6. Move the slider forward and back to set how long the crossfade should last.

    Click checkbox, move slider

  7. Click the checkbox next to Sound Enhancer.
  8. Drag the slider left or right to turn the sound enhancement lower or hire.

    Click checkbox, move slider

  9. Click the next checkbox to enable Sound Check.
  10. Click the drop-downs to choose the quality at which music videos should play or at which they should be downloaded.

    Click checkbox, click drop-downs

  11. Click the checkbox next to Use Listening History to be able to show your played music to your followers and get recommendations based on the music you play on your Mac.

    Click checkbox

How to manage music file settings in the Music app for Mac

  1. Open Music from your Dock or Applications folder.
  2. Click Music in the menu bar.

    Open Music, click Music

  3. Click Preferences.
  4. Click Files.

    Click Preferences, click Files

  5. Click Change… if you want to change the folder where the Music app stores media.
  6. Select a different folder for Music app media storage using the pop-up window.

    Click Change..., click on a folder

  7. Click Open.
  8. Back in Preferences, click the Keep Music Media folder organized checkbox to keep your music organized in your chosen library folder.

    Click Open, click the checkbox

  9. Check or uncheck the Copy files to Music Media folder when adding to library so that files you drag into your library are automatically added to your media folder.
  10. Click Import Settings.

    Click checkbox, click Import Settings

  11. Click the drop-down to determine if music files should be imported with the AAC, AIFF, Apple Lossless, MP3, or WAV encoders.
  12. Click the drop-down to set the quality of the encoding.

    Click drop-down, click other drop-down

How to set up parental controls in the Music app

  1. Open the Music app.
  2. Click Music in the menu bar.

    Open Music, click Music

  3. Click Preferences.
  4. Click Restrictions.

    Click Preferences, click Restrictions

  5. Click the checkboxes to disable or enable the iTunes Store, Apple Music, Apple Music Profiles, and Shared Libraries.
  6. Click the drop-down to choose which country's rating system to use.

    Click checkboxes, click dropdown

  7. Click the checkboxes to restrict music with explicit content.
  8. Click the drop-downs to choose the maximum content rating allowed.

    Click checkboxes, click drop-downs

How to reset warnings in the Music app

  1. Open the Music app.
  2. Click Music in the menu bar.

    Open Music, click Music

  3. Click Preferences.
  4. Click Advanced.

    Click Preferences, click Advanced

  5. Click the checkboxes for "Add songs to Library when adding to playlists" and to "Automatically update artwork."
  6. Click Reset Warnings.

    Click checkboxes, click Reset Warnings

  7. Click Reset Cache.
  8. Click the checkboxes for "Keep miniplayer on top of all other windows" and "Keep video playback on top of all other windows."

    Click Reset Cache, click checkboxes

macOS Catalina

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