Apple Music is addictive. Not only can you access a huge library of streaming music but you can also explore to the world’s biggest digital music store -- but there’s a big problem for iTunes Match users when they’re out and about.
You see, Apple Music lets you download music you like for playback when your device is offline, great if you happen to be…
- … on underground mass transit and can’t get online.
- … on an airplane in Airplane Mode and can’t get online.
- … in the middle of the ocean on “Steve’s” yacht or something.
Apple Music’s offline playback mode is useful because it enables you to listen to music from the service even when you aren’t online.
Also read: 10+ Apple Music tips you’ll use
What happens is the Apple Music user will be able to open ‘My Music’ in order see all the tracks currently downloaded to the device, but this isn’t the case if you use iTunes Match. By default, what iTunes Match users see is all the music they own listed as available in ‘My Music’ even if it isn’t on the device. That’s no problem at all if they are online (they just get it), but infuriating if they’re not – and the ability to force the music app to list only the music that is available on the device is cunningly hidden by non-intuitive user interface decisions.
Until Apple Music shipped with iOS 8.4 you’d repair this in Music Settings on iOS, where you could switch between seeing all your available iTunes Match music or only listing those tracks you had available on your device. Apple changed where this setting is situated in the new iOS, but neglected to tell anyone about it. Which is where I come in…
Open the My Music section and tap the Library tab. You’ll see the music you’ve recently added to your collection and below this you should see the Artists list, with the word Artists in red (that’s the default setting).
Tap word Artist and you’ll see new commands that let you list your music by Albums, Songs, Genres, Composers, and Compilations.
There’s also one more thing…
Tucked away right at the bottom as if Apple couldn’t quite figure out a more logical place to put this command sits a checkbox, somewhat mysteriously called ‘Music Available Offline’. This is disabled by default but when checked (tap to green) you will only see the music you have downloaded to your music library on your device. In other words, rather than seeing all the thousands of songs you might own and have stashed in iTunes Match you will see only those you have downloaded to your device and can already play without an Internet connection. This lets you choose songs in confidence, rather than tapping through your collection in hope one piece of music is available. You can click this setting back once you get online again.
Am I alone in thinking this setting is rather less obvious than it should have been? I humbly suggest those of us that use both iTunes Match and Apple Music need to flick between this setting with sufficient frequency it makes sense to make this an optional control made available on Control Center on our device. Changing it to be buried in the listing menu means it is just as annoyingly hard to find now as it was, when the capacity to set this up was buried in Settings in previous versions of the iOS. This isn’t the only non-intuitive UI decision in Apple Music, as this intelligent report proves, though while I find it annoying I am otherwise really happy with the service.
This simple tip is already proving useful to me, so I do hope it improves life for other iTunes Match-using Apple Music listening people out there – please pass it on!
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