Apple Music For You on iPhone XS Max

The Music app for iPhone and iPad is a one-stop-shop for your locally downloaded music, tracks from your Mac via iCloud Music Library, the Apple Music service, Beats 1 Radio, and a top-notch search option for finding great music and playlists.

Here's what it looks like and where to find everything.

Meet the interface

Apple Music Browse on iPhone XS Max

Like Apple's many other stock apps, the Music interface presents itself as a single main screen on the iPhone, with tabs along the bottom of the screen to switch between its various features. Those tabs can vary slightly depending on whether you've subscribed to Apple Music or not: All users have access to the Library and Search tabs, but the For You, Browse, and Radio tabs won't let you play anything without an Apple Music subscription (though you can browse through the content).

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If you'd prefer not to see Apple Music content, you can turn off the For You and Browse tabs by going to Settings > Music and flipping off the Show Apple Music toggle.

Many of the tabs have sub-menus, which can very quickly get you mired in the Music app's interface. Remember: If you get lost, you can always tap any of the tabs to return to the top-level menu; otherwise, you can go up a single level by tapping on the back button in the upper left corner of the screen.

The Library

This tab contains all the songs, albums, and playlists in your personal music collection. Depending on how you listen to music, this can contain:

  • Songs you've purchased from the iTunes Store
  • Songs you've purchased or ripped elsewhere on your Mac, synced via iCloud Music Library
  • Songs you've saved from the Apple Music catalog (they're considered "yours" for the duration of your Apple Music subscription)
  • If you don't have iCloud Music Library or Apple Music enabled, songs from your Mac that you've manually uploaded using iTunes

By default, the Library tab displays five sections: Playlists, Artists, Albums, Songs, and Recently Added; you can also tap the Edit button in the upper right corner to add the Videos, Genres, Compilations, and Composers categories.

Playlists displays every playlist you've created on your iPhone, synced with iTunes or iCloud Music Library, and saved from Apple Music (if applicable). You can sort playlists by Type, Title, Recently Added, or Recently Played.

Artists, Albums, and Songs are all various popular sort types for the music in your collection. All are sorted alphabetically by default, though you can re-sort Albums or Songs by Title, Artist, or Recently Added.

Videos, Genres, Compilations, and Composers are sorted alphabetically if you've enabled them.

Downloaded Music appears below the other categories after you've downloaded any music locally to your iPhone or iPad. As its name might suggest, this section contains all your downloaded music; it looks identical to the Library screen, with Playlists, Artists, Albums, Songs, and Recently Added sections, with one primary difference: Everything in those categories has been locally downloaded to your device.

Recently Added displays the songs and albums you've recently listened to in a 2-up art grid below the various music categories. It will showcase up to 30 tracks of the music you've most recently enjoyed on your iPhone — if you've listened to other tracks on your Mac, those won't sync here.

For You

This tab contains customized suggestions, playlists, and songs based on your music taste; it's only available if you have an active Apple Music subscription. For You is divided up into several horizontally-scrolling sections, with the Connect social feed at the bottom of the screen.

My Mix lives at the top of the For You section, and contains two weekly-updated playlists: My Favorites Mix (updated Wednesdays) and My New Music Mix (updated Fridays). The former draws from your own music library, highlighting songs you love or haven't listened to in a while, while the latter attempts to create a mix for you based on your recent listening habits.

Recently Played highlights your twelve most recently played playlists and albums from Apple Music; you can view up to 40 by tapping See All.

Daily Playlists recommends six playlists from the Apple Music catalog every day based on your listening habits.

Daily Albums recommends 20 albums from the Apple Music catalog every day based on your listening habits. Albums are grouped into screens of four based on recommendations like "Since you listen to Belle and Sebastian."

Artist Spotlight Playlists recommends six playlists based on your listening tastes; each playlist is centered around a specific artist's music.

New Releases highlights twelve recently-released albums on Apple Music based on your listening habits.


Apple Music's Browse tab

The core of Apple Music within the Music app, Browse lets you view the entire subscription service's catalog. It's organized into six sections:

The Carousel is updated daily and highlights specific artists, playlists, and albums on the Apple Music service.

New Music showcases newly-added music to the Apple Music catalog.

Curated Playlists is Apple Music's master catalog of handmade playlists. Like the other Browse sections, it begins with a carousel; from there, it offers sections for Must Haves, Music by Mood, Essential decades, Start Your Day Right, Curators, and Playlists by Genre. They are kind of interspersed throughout the section for your perusal.

Videos highlights videos uploaded to the Apple Music service. It includes New Videos, Festival Performances, and Top Music Videos.

Top Charts displays the top songs and albums on Apple Music's personal streaming charts. It's organized by Songs, Albums, Videos, Songs on Connect, and Videos on Connect.

Genres provides a full list of various genres in the Apple Music catalog; it displays Genres You Follow first, followed by a list of All Genres.


Apple Music Beats 1 on iPhone XS Max

The Radio tab offers a window into Apple Music's Beats 1 24/7 always-on radio station, as well as various algorithmically-generated stations. As with For You and Browse, you'll need an Apple Music account to listen. Radio is organized into four sections: the Carousel, Beats 1 Shows, Radio Stations, and Recently Played.

The Carousel displays eight radio options, with the currently-playing Beats 1 show highlighted in the first spot.

Beats 1 Shows displays the currently-playing show on Beats 1 along with a calendar of upcoming shows and the Connect page for Beats 1's regular anchors. Below that, you can access every Beats 1 specialty show on demand, including recordings of St Vincent's Mixtape Delivery Service, Ellie Goulding's radio show, The Alligator Hour with Joshua Homme, and Elton John's Rocket Hour.

Radio Stations collects all the algorithmically-generated Apple Music radio stations into a single, easily-discoverable place. It features eight radio stations in a carousel along the top, along with a section for Featured Stations and All Genres.

Recently Played offers quick access to the last 26 radio stations or on demand Beats 1 specialty shows you've listened to recently.


Apple Music Search view

If you're looking for a specific song or playlist, the Search screen can help you find it. Search is fairly spartan in comparison to the other tabs in the Music app: It offers a giant search bar along with recent past searches and currently trending searches on the Apple Music platform.

When you tap the Search bar, you'll have the option to search either within your library or (if subscribed) the Apple Music service.

The Mini-Player

Apple Music mini player

When you tap a song from either your library or the Apple Music catalog, it begins to play, and displays in a Mini Player that rests above the tabbed interface. The Mini Player showcases the song's title and album art along the left side, with buttons for Play/Pause and Forward along the right side of the player.

You can tap the player to expand it into the full player interface, or 3D Touch the player to access options for downloading the song, deleting it from your library (if applicable), adding it to a playlist, creating an automated station based on the song, sharing it, getting the song's lyrics, rating the song, or Loving/Disliking it.

Once the Mini Player has been expanded, you can do the following:

  • see the song's album art
  • scrub through the timeline
  • return to the song's album by tapping on its title
  • Go to the previous or next song
  • Adjust the volume
  • Download or delete the song
  • AirPlay the song
  • Tap the More button (•••) to get access to the same options as the 3D Touch interface
  • Shuffle songs or Repeat them
  • View Lyrics (if applicable)
  • View your Up Next queue

Here's even more you can do with the Mini Player:

How to play songs, add them to your library, and remove downloaded songs

Apple Music Library

To play a song or otherwise interact with it, you can get to it from any of the Music app's tabs, either by tapping on a specific song, selecting an album, or searching for it. Once you tap on a song, it begins playing.

For more on interacting with songs in the Music app:

How to find your playlists

Apple Music Playlists

Looking to find, organize, or otherwise control your playlists? Here's how to do that.

How to view the Up Next queue

Apple Music Up Next Queue

Up Next is like a secondary playlist that you can add music to without obliterating what's already playing. Tap a the More button (looks like •••) next to a song, album, or playlist, and then Play Next to add it to the beginning of your queue or Add to Up Next to add it to the end. You can access your queue, and your history, from the Now Playing screen.

Here's all the details:

How to use AirPlay

The Music app has AirPlay built into the Mini Player's expanded interface. Here's how it works:

Anything else you need help finding?

Any other features you need help finding in the Music app? Let us know in the comments!

Updated September 2019: Updated for iOS 12 and 13.

Serenity Caldwell contributed to an earlier version of this article.

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