How to use the Music app on iPhone

With the latest iPhone, there is a convergence of devices and many are finding they no longer need their iPod. The built-in Music app, which was formerly known as the iPod app, is every good as your old nano or classic and then some. Our guide will help with make the transition and learn all of the intricacies of how to use the music app on iPhone.

How to use Music app on iPhone

Understanding Your Options
Launch Music app and you’ll immediately take note of menu tabs at the bottom. The default layout is: Playlists, Artists, Songs, Albums and More.

Playlists:
Here you will find any custom playlists. These can be playlists that were created in iTunes and automatically sync to your iPhone or a playlist created on your iPhone. Yes, you don’t need to rely on iTunes when the mood strikes you to create that awesome mix of Devo, Men at Work and The Fixx.

Playlists on Music app

You can create playlists on your iPhone by scrolling to the top of “Playlists” and selecting “Add Playlist”. You’ll be prompted by a pop-up to create a title. When finished, select ‘Save’.

Create playlist

You can then browse your music by any of the available tabs. When you find a song you’d like to add, simply select the ‘+’ to add that track to the list.

Music app playlist

Tip: When viewing Albums or Artists, there is an option at the top of each respective category to “Add All Songs”.

How to delete a playlist on your iPhone
Regardless of where you created the list, you might find yourself regretting the creation of that selection of ‘My Favorite Milli Vanilli Songs’. Within Playlists, swipe right and select ‘Delete’ to remove the playlist.

Tip: When deleting a playlist, it only deletes the list. Your songs will still be accessible on your iPhone.

Hey, I didn’t make this playlist
Apple provides you with a few included lists which can come in handy. Recently Played, Recently Added, Purchased and Top 25 Played are all synced from iTunes and are default playlists. If they crowd your style, you can safely delete these as well.

Artists
The artists tab allows you to scroll through the music selection available on your iPhone by artist. Swiping in the middle of your screen will move the list at the speed of your swipe. You can speed things up by ‘grabbing’ the alphabetical list on the right. Thank goodness for this feature when you are attempting to get to Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society or your Yngwie Malmsteen collection.

search ipod app

When you select an Artist, your options are dictated by what appears in your collection. If you have songs from multiple albums, you’ll have to navigate one level further to refine your selection to the list of songs from that specified album. All songs will include all songs from that artist.

Tip: If you need to free up space on your iPhone, you can everything from a particular artist by swiping right or specific albums.

Songs
Here you’ll find all of your songs in alphabetical order. Apple provides quick access to “Shuffle” that will create a mix containing all of your songs. When browsing songs, selecting one will start playback of that song.

Tip: When in playback mode, the “Now Playing” tab at the top right will return you to the playback screen.

Albums
All songs are grouped by albums, even if there is only one song from an album in your collection. These are of course in alphabetical order.

More
Less frequently used groupings of music, books and podcasts are found here.

More audiobooks, podcasts

  • Audiobooks
  • Compilations
  • Composers
  • Genres
  • iTunes U
  • Podcasts

Understanding the Now Playing screen
Probably the most informative screen of the ‘Music’ app is the playback screen accessed by the Now Playing tab.

Music app iPhone now playing

  • Arrow left: Brings you back to last used category (Albums, Artists, Songs, etc.)
  • Artist Name: Album and song will scroll
  • Album Listing: Regardless of how you selected the song, tapping the menu option at the top right will reveal the listing of songs from that particular album. Let’s say you are listening to your collection of songs on shuffle and come across a great album, this is the easiest way to enjoy other tracks. Within this menu, you can also rate the current track. If it hasn’t been rated yet, you’ll notice 5 white dots. Tapping on them turns them into stars. When you sync your collection back to iTunes, you can easily create playlists of songs that are of a certain rating.
Music app track listing
  • Tracks in collection: Shows the song # within the # of songs on your iPhone.
  • Audio Scrubber: Slide your finger right or left to fast forward or rewind. This offers greater control then using the FF/RW controls
  • Repeat: Press once to repeat all the songs in the album or list. Tap it twice and you’ll see a small (1) which indicates the Music app will repeat the current song only.
  • Shuffle: Tap the ‘Shuffle’ icon to shuffle the current selection of music.
  • |<< : Tap once to go to the beginning of a song. Hold to rewind. || : Pause music playback. >>| : Tap once to next track. Hold to fast forward.
  • AppleTV: If an Apple TV 2 is present, you’ll see an option to use AirPlay, which allows you to play your music through your Apple TV. This of course is a great option if you connect your Apple TV to TV or stereo.

Tip: Tap anywhere in the middle of the playback screen iff the Audio Scrubbing, Repeat, Shuffle options do not appear.

Customizing the menu tabs
While Apple provides you with a practical layout of menu tabs, you can customize this menu to your personal preference.

Click on More, then select the ‘Edit’ button at the top right. You’ll notice a selection of 10 different options for tabs.

Custom tabs music app

  • Playlists
  • Artists
  • Songs
  • Albums
  • Audiobooks
  • Compilations
  • Composers
  • Genres
  • iTunes U
  • Podcasts

Drag one to the dock to replace the current option with your new menu.

Tip: If you want Artists to appear in a different location, drag a new Artists tab to the desired location, then replace the older Artists tab with a tab of your preference.

Multitasking With Music
Once you get in a groove, you can safely have your iPhone playback your tunes while you check email, surf the web or any other activity. Double-click and swipe right for quick access to playback controls.

Multitasking music app

With the vast array of features available in the Music app on your iPhone, it can easily act as a replacement for your iPod. Have a question or need help? Join our community and leave your question in the comments.

  • Viv

    My music app/icon is after disappearing from my fone how do i get it back?? Have no music now.

  • Dean

    Hi Christopher,

    RE: iPhone Music App.

    If I click … Music > Artists>All Songs … The Albums Tracks are Automatically arranged in Alphabetical order. Is there any way of Displaying and Playing the Original track listings ?

    Kind regards

    Dean :-)

  • Terre

    Hi, and thanks for this excellent tutorial. Question: Is there a way to play one song one time? I’m using the Music app to listen to hypnosis audios and want it to stop after the single play. Not repeat or shuffle.

  • http://gaiagraphics.com Terre

    Just a follow up note: I found out you can set the built-in Timer to shut the player off after so many minutes. It’s not a perfectly elegant way to stop the Music App after it plays one “song” but it works!