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What You Need to Know about Apple Music

by Sarah Dobson on November 16, 2020

You’ve probably heard of Apple Music, Apple’s streaming music service that helps you discover and listen to tons of new and old music every day. In fact, you may have already signed up for it. But there’s a lot more to Apple Music than meets the eye, and in this article, we’ll take a deep dive into its most important features and how to locate and use each one.

You Can Listen to (Almost) Any Song

From rock to pop, classical to hip-hop, and every music genre in between, you name it, and you’ll most likely find it on your Apple Music subscription. The chances are that even your favorite local band has their music available on Apple Music. 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.

Say goodbye to butchering the lyrics to your favorite jam — lyrics view is another amazing feature accessible through Apple Music. With lyrics view, you’ll be able to see all of the words to your favorite songs.

You Can Listen to Live Radio

Are you tired of flipping through radio stations to avoid endless commercial breaks? If you have a paid Apple Music subscription, you can keep listening — uninterrupted and ad-free. Best of all, you can listen at any time, whether you’re online or offline.

You can even listen to broadcast radio stations without a paid Apple Music subscription. Though you will have to endure advertisements, it's a small price to pay for your favorite morning shows and radio hosts.

Can’t find Radio on your device? Here’s how to locate it:

  • Want to listen on an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, Apple TV, Android device, or Chromebook? All you have to do is open the Apple Music app and go to the Radio tab.
  • If you want to listen on an Apple Watch Series 3 or later, just open the Radio app.
  • Using your HomePod to listen to the radio? You can Ask Siri to play your favorite radio station.
  • Want to access Apple Radio on a PC? Open iTunes > choose Music from the pop-up menu > click Radio in the navigation bar.
  • Need some easy-listening tunes as you surf the web? Go to and click Radio in the sidebar.


The Radio screen showcases Apple Music 1 (formerly 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. Apple Music’s live radio stations also allow you to listen to shows hosted by popular music artists. 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.

Get Personalized Radio Experience with Likes 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. Getting nitpicky with your selection can make it easier to find (or avoid) songs and artists and play them later.

You can also tell Apple Music about your favorite genres and artists to improve recommendations. Here’s how you do it!


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.

You Can Access Apple Music Replay

Do you remember discovering a new song last year that you just couldn’t stop listening to, only to forget the name of the song later? Keeping track of all the tunes you’ve grooved on during the past year can be a painstaking task.

Fortunately, Apple Music Replay steps in to save the day. Apple Music Replay organizes all of those songs that you’ve come back to again and again in one playlist. It’s like having your very own year-in-review! Apple Music Replay creates a playlist of your top 100 songs of the year, top artists, and top albums — it even shows you the amount of time you’ve spent grooving to your favorite jams.

You Can Store More With 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.

Here's how to access iCloud Music Library:

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. You can always back up your music on a portable hard drive or USV drive, too.

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!

How Much Does Apple Music Cost?

Apple Music costs $9.99 per month, but college students can get the Apple Music student discount and pay only $4.99. Do you want to get the entire family in on the action and save money? With the Apple Music family plan, you can share Apple Music with up to 6 people and pay just $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 Apple Music subscription ID.

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