Apple single-handedly turned the digital music market on its head with the launch of the iTunes Store in 2003. Since then, the iTunes Store has evolved into Apple Music, a music streaming service to compete with services like Spotify, Tidal, Amazon Music, and more. services.
Whether you’re new to Apple Music or you’ve been a subscriber since day one, there’s a lot to keep in mind, especially if you’re considering leaving another service. Our guide to everything Apple Music can help set the record.
Update 03/10/23: Our guide has been updated to include detailed information about Apple Music Classical.
What is Apple Music?
Apple Music combines subscription music streaming with global radio programming. It’s an all-you-can-eat service for subscribers: by paying a flat fee, you’ll unlock the entire vast Apple Music library of 90 million songs.
The Music app you use is preinstalled on every new iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac. The app is also available for Android phones, many smart TVs, streaming boxes, and even game consoles. You can also access Apple Music on the web at music.apple.com.
How is Apple Music different from the iTunes Store?
Not at all. iTunes Store is all about media purchasesfunctioning as a virtual record store And an efficient digital music library that you personally own. On iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, you’ll find the iTunes Store app separate from the Music app.
On a Mac, the iTunes app has disappeared; Apple has released new Music, Podcasts, and TV apps. The iTunes Store is now part of the Music app and you can still buy music there.
Apple Music is streaming. You pay a flat fee to unlock access to the entire Apple Music catalog, but you don’t really own the music you are listening to. Files don’t live separately on your devices; instead, you’re just listening to tracks stored remotely that are owned by Apple.
How is Apple Music different from Spotify, Tidal, etc.?
While the premise and nearly all of the music is the same, Apple places a lot of emphasis on Apple Music radio stations and its curated playlists.
Apple Music 1 is its flagship radio offering, which includes 24/7 live coverage around the world from DJs in Los Angeles, New York and London. It offers a selection of songs, pop culture news, and artist interviews. There’s also Apple Music Hits with all your favorite songs from the 80s, 90s and 2000s and Apple Music Country with country music.
Speaking of curated, Apple Music also offers recommendations tailored to your tastes, browsing through the artists you like and suggesting other artists and playlists for you to listen to. But instead of being built with algorithms, they are created by real people, according to Apple. You can find them in the For You section of the app, but first you need to set it up by following the prompts to select the genres and artists you like.
There are over 100 million songs in the Apple Music library. Oh, and you can also watch ad-free music videos and experience exclusive original Apple content.
Apple Music used to have a social networking feature for artists called Connect. Artists could share special content with fans through Connect. For example, hip-hop artist Drake used the service to post behind-the-scenes photos of his life, share snippets of new songs, and other content. But Apple has discontinued the Connect service.
How much does Apple Music cost?
Apple Music costs $10.99 / £10.99 per month, or $16.99 / £16.99 per month for a family subscription for up to six people (which requires iCloud Family Sharing). College students can subscribe for $4.99 per month. The new Apple Music Voice plan with limited functionality became available with iOS 15.2 and macOS 12.1 for $4.99 / £4.99.
There is no free version of Apple Music, but new subscribers can sign up for a free trial. If you cancel during the trial period, you will not have another option in the free trial period. The duration of the free trial is one month for new subscribers, although there are longer offers in connection with the purchase of audio or Apple hardware from certain retailers. See: How to get Apple Music for free
Which devices can get Apple Music?
Apple Music is available for all iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch models with iOS 8.4 or later. It’s also available on Mac and PC (via iTunes 12.2 or later or the Music app starting with macOS Catalina), Apple TV (running tvOS 9 and later), and Apple Watch. Android users can also join in the fun if their device is running Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) or later. Apple Music is available on several smart TVs and streaming boxes, as well as select gaming consoles. However, Apple Music Voice is only supported on Apple devices.
Which countries have access to Apple Music?
Apple Music is available in over 100 countries, including the US, Canada, UK, Australia, Japan, Brazil, and India. Check out the full Apple list for more information.
What is Apple Music Classic?
When Apple acquired Primephonic in 2021, it promised to launch its own classical music streaming service in 2022.
Apple Music Classical is a curated service that will launch on March 28, 2023.
It is a standalone application with a separate library of over 5 million classical music oriented tracks up to 192kHz/24bit Hi-Res Lossless.
It has an interface similar to Apple Music but tuned for the classic genre.
Most importantly, Apple Music Classical requires an Apple Music subscription (and Apple Music Voice is not eligible). There is no separate subscription only to Apple Music Classical.
Apple Music 101: Quality, Compatibility, Offline Listening and More
How is the quality of the music? Apple Music streams songs at 256 kbps, which is the speed of iTunes Match. This is slightly less than Spotify, which has a bitrate of 320 kbps. Select Apple Music tracks and albums are available on Apple Music Lossless at no additional charge. But Apple Music’s big selling point is the new Spatial Audio feature for select music. It’s not available on most of the 100 million song catalog, but it’s a big deal on the tracks where it’s available.
Can I save music for offline listening? Aha! Apple Music lets you save tracks for offline listening – you can save as many songs as you want, as long as your device has space for them.
But remember, you won’t own these files and you won’t be able to upload them anywhere else. They cannot be burned to disc, used in separate video projects, or placed on other devices not associated with your Apple Music account. If you choose to cancel your Apple Music subscription, you will lose access to these songs.
The offline listening feature is a great option if you’re worried about data overload or know you’ll be in an area without a good wireless connection.
Is there a limit on the number of songs in a playlist? Not that we know! Add away.
How do you tell which songs you don’t like? When listening to a playlist or radio station, you can skip any song you don’t like (except Apple Music 1, which is live). While this should signal to Apple Music that you don’t want to listen to that song or artist again, it can be finicky at times. You can click on the menu with three dots (…) and select “Offer less” to show your displeasure.
Why is there stuff in the iTunes Store that isn’t in Apple Music? It all comes down to Apple deals with various artists and record labels. Some artists are not interested in streaming services.
What about podcasts? Apple makes podcasts available through the Podcasts app on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
Can I use Apple Music over the Internet? Yes, there is a web interface. In a web browser, go to music.apple.com. You can log into your account and access playlists, songs, and more. The web interface is a lot like the Music app for Mac, and it’s a handy way to access music when you’re not using one of your devices. Remember to log out if you are using a computer that others may be using.