Want to get the best from Apple Music? Here's our updated list of handy pointers that you may not have stumbled across...

It's been over a year since the launch of Apple Music, the streaming service embedded inside the new Music app on the latest version of Apple softwares and devices, and we've been pretty impressed - as our Apple Music review hopefully demonstrates.

The streaming service has been given a fresh lick of paint (and some much needed reorganising within the app) since the release of iOS 10, and we've been combing through each section to find out what's changed and - in some cases - improved.

One of the perks of the service is the three-month free trial, which means there's very little stopping you from signing up and giving it a go. If you're planning on doing just that, or maybe you already have, then we've pulled together some key tips, tricks and features to make sure you get the most from Apple Music.

Prefer to watch a video? Scroll down or head over to our YouTube channel to watch our Apple Music tips video

If you've found your own Apple Music tips, share them with the class in the comments section below...


1. How to unsubscribe

OK, so this is something of a negative note to start on, but if you're signing up for the three-month Apple Music free trial and don't want to commit to paying for the service afterwards, then you can opt out straight away.

To do this, click on your profile icon (the outline of a head) in the top right corner of the screen in the For You tab, hit View Apple ID and sign in to your iTunes account.

Next, tap Manage halfway down the page. Here you can 'cancel' your free trial so it won't automatically renew - don't worry, you can still use it free for the three months. This is also how to select your subscription choice in future.

2. Bulk unfollow artists

When you sign up to the Apple Music service, Apple will take the liberty of 'following' any artist already in your library as part of its Connect feature. This means your Connect section will be full of new never-ending content from these artists. This may not be what you're after, not least if you once bought a One Direction track through your iTunes account.

It's on by default, but you can switch it off by tapping the profile icon, then clicking on 'Find More Artists & Curators' (to see the artists you're following) and then sliding the Automatically Follow Artists button to 'off'. Now you can make sure you only hear from the artists you really like. 

3. Sign in to iCloud Music for extra features...

You need to enable iCloud Music Library to get the most from Apple Music. A number of features, notably offline listening, are only available with iCloud Music activated.

4. Or don't...

This can present some problems to users with a large existing library, especially if you have your own playlists. Apple will match these with its own tracks so you can listen offline - but it may not always get the right version. So if you're precious about your existing downloads in iTunes (and rightly so), you may want to turn-off iCloud. To do this, go to the main Settings app on your iPhone, then Music. Toggle off 'iCloud Music Library' to stop this from happening.

5. Or have iCloud Music on mobile only

If you have a big existing iTunes music library and you're not sure about Apple matching it for access on your mobile, you can turn this feature off on your computer in iTunes but leave it on for your mobile. This way your existing library is left alone but you can still have offline tracks on the Apple Music mobile app. Turn off iCloud Music Library on your Mac in iTunes by going to Preferences > General, then unchecking iCloud Music Library. 

6. Multiple devices

The Apple Music Single Membership plan, yours for £9.99 per month, can be associated with up to ten devices, five of which can be computers. You can only stream on one device at a time, as is the case on Spotify and other services. 

7. Multiple devices at once

If you want to listen to multiple devices at the same time then you'll need a Family Membership, which gives simultaneous streaming access for up to six different people for £14.99 per month.

More after the break


8. View album information for now playing track

One slightly hidden feature is viewing the album of the track that's currently playing. You can do this in two ways. The easiest way is to tap on the artist and album name in the now playing window - the text in pinky-red - and you'll be taken to the relevant album. 

The second and slightly longer way is to tap the three-button icon in the bottom corner of the screen, tap the track info in the top section of the pop-up menu, and that'll take you to the album.

9. View artist page for now playing track

In a similar vein, if you click the artist's name (also in pinky-red text) on the album page (above), then you'll be taken to the artist's landing page where you can see all their music and related content (such as new releases, playlists featuring them and similar artists).

10. Using 3D Touch (iOS 10 only)

This is only for those with 3D Touch compatible phones (iPhone 6S and 7) running iOS 10. If you 3D Touch any song, album cover or playlist, the menu option will pop up - the very same one you get if you tap the three dots. It's a nice shortcut.

11. Explicit tracks

If you were wondering what that little 'E' was next to certain tracks, it doesn't stand for exclusive, it's for explicit. So prepare your ears.

Organising your music

12. Offline music 

You can save tracks, albums and playlists to your phone for offline playback (when you don't have an internet connection) if iCloud Music is enabled (see point 3). 

You can only download music that's been added to your library. If there's a plus '+' icon next to a song, that means it isn't added to your library. Tap it to add. It'll then transform into a cloud icon, meaning it's not been downloaded yet. Tap the cloud to download.

You'll know what songs are downloaded on your device as it won't have any icon next to it.

13. Viewing offline music

If you want to see what music is stored on your phone, you can. But it's worth remembering this is both your offline playlists from Apple Music and your own music files stored on the phone.

This is neater in iOS 10: simply select the Downloaded Music category in the Library tab to only see the music stored on your phone for offline listening.

14. Sort Apple Music alphabetically

Want to sort your music library alphabetically by title, but find it’s still doing it by artists? You can fix that in your iPhone’s Settings. Go to: Settings > Music > Sort Songs & Albums > By Title (or By Artist). Hey presto.

15. Shuffle and repeat

Wonder where the shuffle and repeat icons have gone? Scroll down in the now playing screen, and you'll see them pop up, right above the list of song that are due to play next. 

If your song has lyrics, you'll have to scroll past the whole lyrics section to get to shuffle and repeat.

Music curation

16. Star tracks

When you create your own radio station from a chosen track, you will see a star icon in the bottom left of the now playing screen. To fine-tune the selection, hit the star icon on tracks you like and Apple's algorithms will tweak your radio station's upcoming choices accordingly.

This doesn't affect the For You section of recommended tunes. However, to do this...

17. Heart tracks

...you need to use the heart/Love icon. You used to be able to simply tap the heart icon on the now playing screen, but that option has been moved into the pop-up menu in iOS 10.

Tap the heart/Love icon on tracks that you like so Apple can adapt its recommendations in the For You section.

There's now a Dislike option right next to it (with a slash through the heart icon) to tell Apple what songs you don't want it recommending. 

18. Rate tracks

If you're a fan of rating your tracks, as you do in iTunes, then you'll be annoyed to know that you can no longer rate songs in Apple Music. 

It's still there in iTunes though.

19. Browse new music by genre

Need to find new music? Click on the Browse tab to find - you guessed it - new songs, albums and videos, as well as curated playlists according to moods and activities.

To tailor to your music tastes even more, go to the Genres menu to filter music by, you guessed it, genre.

Want to know what the cool kids at Pitchford, NME and Sonos are listening to? Go to Browse > Curators and click on your favourite brand.

20. Search

You can search for music either in your own library, or across all of Apple Music. Simply tap the relevant tab when you start typing.

You can only see the most recent three searches in your history, and there's an option to clear them all - in case you want to erase all the evidence of those secret Taylor Swift listening sessions.


21. Create your own radio station

You can play an Apple-curated selection of music based on a certain artist or track. Simply click on the three dots on an artist or a track and select Create Station from the pop-up menu to listen to related music.

22. Beats 1 radio schedule

Beats 1 is Apple's worldwide 24/7 internet radio station. You can see the schedule by going into the Beats 1 Shows section in the app, or go to the Beats 1 tumblr page. You'll find the list of upcoming shows for the day, the lineup for the month, and all the shows and presenters that have slots throughout the week.

The lineup changes over time, so it's worth checking in to see if your favourite artist suddenly pops up.

23. Beats 1 on repeat

The three main DJs - Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden and Julie Adenuga - are live on Beats 1 from Monday to Thursday. Each DJ's show is repeated 12 hours after the broadcast time. That's 5am/pm, 11am/pm and 8am/pm (UK time) respectively.

24. Beats 1 On Demand

Missed a show? Don't worry, you can now listen to the entire programme later on demand. You can also view the tracklisting from the shows and play individual tracks.

Click on individual radio shows in Beats 1 to see all the on demand content and playlists from each episode aired.

More features

25. Background video 

Like Tidal and now Spotify, Apple Music includes videos. Unlike YouTube, you can have them playing in the background while you browse elsewhere on your phone. Bonus.

26. Siri + Apple Music = clever

You can use voice control to play your music, whether you're on your iPhone or Apple Watch ("play AC/DC"). But it's actually even cleverer than that. You can start a radio station by saying "play AC/DC station".

Apple Music can also play by date, popularity and release date, so "play the number one hit from April 1988", "play the top songs by AC/DC" or "play the newest song by AC/DC*" all work. It can be a little hit and miss at times, but it's worth experimenting with all sorts of commands.

*Other bands are available

27. Wake and stream

Want to wake up to the sound of your favourite song? Set any track as your alarm by opening the Clock app, selecting Alarm at the bottom, adding an alarm using the plus symbol, and then choosing a song within the displayed Sound menu - which picks tracks from your Apple Music library.

28. Lyrics

You can karaoke! Scroll up from the now playing screen, and lyrics (if there are any available for your chosen song) will appear.

Alternatively, tap the Lyrics tab in the pop-up menu when you tap the three dots.

MORE: Apple Music review