Sure, you’ve signed up for the three-month Apple Music trial, but are you really making the most of all it has to offer? Before you decide whether or not to stay on board with Apple’s new streaming service, try this collection of tips and tricks.
Follow (and Unfollow) Artists and Curators
Your Connect page is populated based on the musicians you’ve decided to follow; tap the Follow button on any artist page to do just that. Tap your account avatar then choose Following to unfollow bands and singers, and disable the feature that auto-follows anyone added to your music library.
You can also follow curators as well as artists for a more customised feed. Tap Radio then the Beats 1 logo in the centre of the screen; choose any of the Featured Shows and you can follow them too. You can also follow curators from the Apple Editor’s Playlists and Curator Playlists sections available on the New tab.
Add Music to Your Own Library
How do you possibly make sense of the millions of tracks in the Apple Music library? By adding the best cuts to your own library for easy management. Next to every album, song and playlist you’ll see a More icon (three horizontal dots) which reveals an Add to My Music option.
The chosen track, album or playlist then shows up in the My Music section of the app (and under Playlists in the case of playlists), where you can get at it more conveniently. Predictably enough, the same More icon lets you remove music from your own personal library if you want to trim your collection.
Disable the Connect Feature
If you delve into the Settings app on your iOS device then choose General and Restrictions you’ll see you can switch off the Connect feature (once restrictions are enabled). Quite why you would want to do this isn’t immediately obvious, but if you’re not interested in it then it’s a handy way of turning it off.
Obviously the Connect button is then removed from the app’s navigation bar: if you’re on a small iPhone screen it gets replaced by a Playlists button (which is otherwise available through the My Music section); if you’re on an iPad the icons just get shuffled closer together to fill the space that’s left.
Download Music for Offline Listening
If you’re heading into the great outdoors or getting on a plane then it’s a good idea to cache some songs in advance ready for offline listening. This applies to songs in the Apple Music cloud (you can still sync local tracks to your iOS devices through iTunes or iTunes Match as usual).
Open up the More menu next to any track, album or playlist (those three dots again) and choose Make Available Offline to cache the chosen songs. You can then use the drop-down menu at the top of the My Music tab to view local music only when you find yourself without any internet access.
Download Music Over Cell Networks
On a related note, most of the time you’re going to want to download songs over a Wi-Fi network, but if you need to queue up a playlist quickly and have the data plan to cope you can download (and stream) songs over a cell network connection as well — just keep an eye on your data usage.
Head to the Settings app then pick iTunes & App Store and toggle the switch marked Use Mobile Data. Note that this affects automatic downloads for iOS and the App Store as well as Apple Music and iTunes Match. It’s a good idea to cache rather than stream songs in case your data signal strength varies as you move around.
Tell Apple What You Like
That flowing mass of red bubbles you saw when you first set up Apple Music may be a dim and distant memory now, but you can get back to it by tapping your avatar icon and then Choose Artists For You. Tell Apple about the genres and the artists you like or tap on Reset if you want to start over again.
Sprinkled throughout the Apple Music interface are heart-shaped icons you can use to tell the app about your passion for a particular album, band, song or playlist. Tapping to love something doesn’t add it to your music library but it does improve the recommendations under the For You tab.
Find Old Beats 1 Playlists
Missed a show on Beats 1? You can’t bring back the live DJ commentary after the event but you can at least retrieve a playlist of all the tracks that were aired. In fact you might prefer to skip the actual show with the human element to it and just get the list of hand-picked songs to add to your library.
Here’s how to do it: tap the Radio icon, tap the Beats 1 banner (rather than the Listen Now button) and then pick one of the featured shows from the list that appears. You can drill down to playlists or even pick out individual songs, and there are the usual options to add the music to your library and so on.
Shuffle All of Your Songs
The way that Apple Music invades the old familiar Music app can be a little disorientating at first, but you’ll soon get the hang of it. To shuffle all your songs, head to My Music, tap the drop-down menu near the top of the screen and choose Songs from the list. Then, select one of your tracks to start.
Open up the “now playing: screen, enable shuffle, and the app shuffles through all of the songs in your library — if you’ve chosen Show Music Available Offline from the previous drop-down menu it sticks to locally cached songs only. You can also ask Siri to “shuffle all my music” to achieve the same end result.
Discover New Music
When you’ve got millions of songs to play around with, finding new material is more difficult than ever. The For You tab is where you can get tailored recommendations of what to listen to next, but don’t neglect the New tab, which is another place you can find fresh tunes by sifting through the newest music available.
To make the list of music a little more specific to you, use the drop-down list at the top to pick out a genre. You can also find specifically curated playlists further down the New screen, and see what’s proving popular with other Apple Music listeners, tapping on any song you like the look of to stream it instantly.
Turn Off Auto-Renew
When you sign up for your three-month trial on Apple Music, Apple assumes you’re going to want to carry on with the £9.99/month plan when the trial is over. As Apple already has all of your credit card details on file, the mechanism is there to start charging you automatically after the trial ends.
If you’re not completely enamoured with Apple Music, or you’re just not sure yet, you can disable this: tap your avatar icon, choose View Apple ID, then select Manage under Subscriptions and pick the Apple Music membership option. Turn off Automatic Renewal if you’re still mulling over the pros and cons.
This article originally appeared on Field Guide, Gizmodo's blog on how to get the best out of your tech