You’ve probably heard of Apple Music, Apple’s streaming music service. In fact, you may have already signed up for it. But there’s a lot to Apple Music, and in this article, we’ll look at its most important features.
Apple Music costs $9.99 per month, but college students pay only $4.99, and a Family Sharing group of up to 6 people pays $14.99. In all cases, the first 3 months are free. Apple Music features appear not just on the device where you signed up, but on any computer (Mac or Windows, in iTunes) or mobile device (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Android smartphone, in Apple’s Music app), so long as you’re signed in with your subscription Apple ID.
Listen to (Almost) Any Song
To find any of the 40 million tracks in the Apple Music catalog, type a song, artist, or album name in the Search field. Or, type something like 80s rock or 60s soul. Another option is to look in the Browse screen for curated playlists.
Play the Radio
The Radio screen showcases Apple’s Beats 1 station. You’ll also find some news and genre stations. If you can’t find the perfect station to rock out to, you can roll your own. Start playing a song you like and then:
- In iTunes, hover over the song’s name in the iTunes LCD (the info area at the top-center of the window) to see and click the three-dot More icon. Choose Create Station.
- In Music, tap the song’s name at the bottom of the screen to view the Now Playing screen. At the lower right of this screen, tap the three-dot More icon and then Create Station.
Once created, your station appears the Radio screen.
Loves and Dislikes
If you hear a song that you especially like—or dislike!—you can teach Apple Music about your preference by opening the three-dot More menu and choosing Love or Dislike.
You can also tell Apple Music about your favorite genres and artists to improve recommendations. In iTunes, choose Account > Choose Artists For You. In Music, open the For You screen, tap the Account icon at the upper right, and then Choose Artists For You. Select a few genres, click Next, and then start selecting artists.
Apple Music watches what you listen to and uses that information—along with your favorite artists, loves, and dislikes—to fine-tune your custom radio stations and offer personalized weekly playlists at the top of the For You screen: My Chill Mix, My New Music Mix, and My Favorites Mix.
iCloud Music Library
With this optional feature, Apple compares your music library to the Apple Music catalog, uploading tracks that aren’t in the catalog to your iCloud Music Library. It makes all your music available—via streaming or download—on all your Apple Music devices where iCloud Music Library is enabled. Uploaded tunes are stored in your iTunes Store account for free—this isn’t part of iCloud Drive—though there is a 100,000 track limit for songs not purchased from the iTunes Store.
In iTunes, choose iTunes > Preferences > General and select iCloud Music Library. For the iOS Music app, open Settings > Music and turn on iCloud Music Library.
Now you can stream your music at any time, without syncing it through iTunes or worrying about filling up an overcrowded iPhone. You can even delete songs locally to free up storage space, though we recommend always keeping all your music on one device—and backing it up.
To add any Apple Music song, album, or playlist to your iCloud Music Library, use the Add button for the entire album or playlist, or a + button for a particular track. If added music doesn’t download automatically, you may want to download it so you can play it offline. Items that aren’t downloaded have a cloud icon; click or tap it to download the item. (Added songs disappear if you cancel your Apple Music subscription.)
Now you can spend more time listening to your favorite tunes and less time wondering how Apple Music works!