New in Apple Music app for iOS 14: Listen Now tab, endless autoplay, iPad redesign
iOS 14 brings major new features like Home screen updates, widgets, new privacy controls, and feature updates like Siri and HomeKit. But Apple has also taken the time to work on some pretty significant feature enhancements for many of its core apps.
One of them is the Music app. Apple continues to aggressively compete with Spotify in the music streaming race, and iOS 14 takes it one step further. Here’s what’s new in Music for iOS 14.
iOS 14: What’s New in Apple Music
First of all, Apple Music supports new iOS 14 widget features. The Music app provides a Recently Played widget that shows recently played albums and playlists. You can tap the widget to launch the Music app and start playing the displayed music.
Something very common on Android is a Now Playing widget, which places the play / pause and next track buttons on your home screen. This type of widget is not supported by the iOS 14 API, however, as widgets are required to launch their parent app when touched. Developers cannot add independent buttons. Apple may add a special Now Playing system widget, similar to what’s available in Control Center, but not present in the current beta.
The Music app is also compatible with new enhancements to AirPods, including automatic switching and matching of headphones that can adjust sound frequencies based on an individual’s hearing ability.
Here are the changes in the Music app itself:
Apple upgraded the For You tab in iOS 14 and it now has a new name: Listen Now.
One of the common criticisms of Apple Music from Spotify users is that the playlists and discovery features aren’t as good. Listen Now apparently tries to approach this angle with an even more emphasis on personalization. The tab features top picks like your heavy rotation and playlists curated to suit your mood, followed by Stations For You focusing on the artists you follow, and custom Apple Music mixes like Friends Mix and New Music Mix.
Some sections of Listen Now, such as Top Picks, use this new style of prominent posters. It adds a nice visual variety over iOS 13’s For You, which repeats square-shaped album lines.
Apple believes Listen Now will be the most popular destination for Apple Music users. Therefore, Listen Now occupies the first position in the tab bar, with the Library tab moving to the fourth location.
Auto play mode
It is certainly a catch-up feature of Spotify, but very popular nonetheless. The Music app now offers a new ∞ button in the queue screen. When enabled, the Apple Music app will exhaust all the queued songs, albums and playlists you have chosen and then continue to play endless music. The music is supposed to be similar to what you just heard. It’s almost like a shortcut to create a station based on the last song on your playlist.
However, manually setting up a station is a bit boring and not very easy to find. In contrast, AutoPlay mode is prominent in the Apple Music UI and enabled by default. You may be able to discover a new artist just through the Music app playing them for you.
Revamped iPad design
The iPad version of the Music app received a big hit this year. The iPad Music application is finally moving away from the simple enlarged version of the layout of the iPhone.
In iPadOS 14, the Music app gains a new sidebar that speeds up navigation. From anywhere in the Music app, you can now quickly access your playlists, radio stations, and all the different parts of your personal music library. The sidebar sections are collapsible, and you can still edit the visible sections in the Library group.
The Now Playing experience has also been revamped with a new design that fills the iPad screen. The album cover art, playback controls, and volume take up the left side of the screen, and you can switch between time-synchronized lyrics or the Next Play queue for the right pane. On iPhone and iPad, Now Playing’s fuzzy gradient background still mirrors the colors found in the album cover art, with smooth transitions as songs change, making the whole thing very vibrant. .
New research experience
There’s also a redesigned search tab in iOS 14 Music. Popular and current music categories appear before you even type anything, if you’re looking for inspiration. Autocomplete results are richer and there is a new look for the search results screen. All search starts in “Top Bets” which combines songs, artists, playlists and more into one list based on relevance. You can easily filter using the jump bar below the search box.
Apple has also made it easier to find your library. In any tab in the library, you can now swipe down to display a pop-up search box. This allows you to filter based on your current context, to quickly find the artist or album you’re looking for.
These new features are available now in the developer beta of iOS 14. Apple will release a public beta of iOS 14 in July, with a public release slated for fall (likely September).
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