Complete guide to the Music app on iPhone & iPad: How to play, download and manage music in iOS 8

Music is clearly very close to Apple's heart, and every device Apple makes is great for playing audio. The iPhone, iPad and iPod touch all have dedicated Music apps, online audio features and pretty decent speakers iOS devices remain the world's best (or at least most popular) music players.

In this feature we're going to gather together all the knowledge we have about playing, managing and storing music on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch: the key tricks and techniques are outlined below, and we've linked to other articles for more specialist and advanced tips.

This guide to iOS music has everything you need to know to get the most out of your audio on an iOS device. So kick back, turn up the speakers and let's find out what there is to know about playing music on an iPhone.

See also:

Audio and music reviews

iTunes 11.5 review

How to use the iOS Music app

Apple ships an app called Music with iOS, and you'll find it on the Home screen of every iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Music has a red icon with a musical note, and out of the box (and long afterwards for many users) sits in the Dock at the bottom of the screen for fast access, along with Phone, Mail and Safari.

The tracks are arranged automatically by Artist, Song and Album, and you can manually create Playlists (collections of tracks). Tabs along the bottom of the screen enable you to switch between these different items. A More tab reveals Genres, Compilations and Composers. Tapping the Edit button enables you to re-arrange the tabs on the bottom so Music displays the items you want.

Clicking on an Artist or Album in the list takes you to the tracks from that artist or album, and clicking on an individual song starts to automatically play the song.

If you turn the iPhone horizontally you will see all the songs displayed as album covers. Tap an album to view its tracks, and tap a track to begin playing it.

Read more: How to create playlists in iOS

Controlling music playback in iOS

In vertical mode you can also tap the Now Playing icon to view the album cover art, along with two sliders. The top slider controls the position of the audio, while the bottom slider controls the volume.

Below the album artwork is the name of the song. Tap the song name to switch to stars mode, which enables you to rate each track out of five stars (you can create playlists and sort songs by how highly you rate them).

You also find here traditional media playback controls such as Play/Pause, Next and Previous. Below this are three buttons: Repeat, Create and Shuffle. Tap Repeat to reveal Repeat Song and Repeat Album options. Shuffle randomly chooses songs from the Album, Artist, Playlist or all songs depending on the option you've chosen.

Create reveals an option called Genius Playlist. Tap this to create a playlist of tracks from your music that are similar to the one you are playing. It's a great way to quickly choose a style of music.

Controlling music from the Control Centre

You can also control music in iOS from the Control Centre. At any time in iOS you can drag up from the very bottom of the screen to reveal the currently playing song, and both Playback and Volume sliders (along with Play, Next and Previous buttons).

What alternative music apps are available for iOS

Music isn't the start and end of music for the iPhone. There are a range of other apps available. Here are some music apps for iOS that it's worth looking at:

Google Play Music Review

Spotify for iOS review

Google Play vs iTunes Match review

How to download music on to an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch

There are three main ways to get music on the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch:

Buy music from the iTunes Store. The iTunes Store is a separate app. Here you can buy a wide range of music. Tracks start at 59p and you can often find good deals on albums.Sync music from iTunes on a Mac or PC. If you have a collection of music in iTunes for a Mac or PC, then connect your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to the computer (using the Lightning to USB Cable) and choose the device by clicking its icon in the iTunes menu bar. Choose Music in the sidebar and select the Sync Music option. You can choose to sync your entire music library or individual tracks, albums, artists or playlists. Click Sync when you are ready.iTunes Match. This is a service offered by Apple for a fee (currently £21.99 per year). With iTunes Match all of your music on all of your Macs is matched against the tracks in the iTunes Store (or uploaded to iCloud). You can then stream, or download wirelessly all of your music on any iPhone, iPad or iPod touch (or any other Mac) using the same Apple ID and iCloud account.

See also:

How to get music files off your old iPod

How to get music on and off your iPhone or iPad, without using iTunes

How to fix iOS music syncing problems

Guide to using iTunes Match

You can read more iTunes tutorials over in our iTunes topic zone, including:

10 amazing tips and tricks for using iTunes on the MacHow to authorise your computer in iTunesHow to burn a CD on a Mac using iTunesiTunes syncing tips for iPhone usersTidy up iTunes by removing duplicate songsHow to add lyrics to iTunesHow to sync iPhone to iTunes without erasing the contentHow to move your iTunes library to a new computer or external hard drive


Lou Hattersley

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