If you are looking for apps that provide streaming audio, then you’ll want to include Pandora on your short list. There are a good number of very good services that come with iOS apps, so read on for our review of Pandora for iPhone and iPad. We will give pros and cons as well as give you a navigation guide on how to use the app.
For those unfamiliar with Pandora, it’s a music app which allows users to setup ‘stations’ based on a band, song, or combination of both and multiples of your choosing. The service will then play songs from bands similar to what you have entered. It’s relatively easy to get started using the service. I have discovered a ton of new bands and songs I otherwise would have never heard about if I had not be been using this app. It’s free by default but they do offer an upgrade to their premium ad-free service for $3.99 a month. This will remove the occasional 20-30 second ads you will hear between songs.
First you will need to create a new account. The first time you launch the app you will be given the opportunity to login or create a new account. Registration is quick and simple – only requiring an email, password, zip code, birth year, and gender. If you already have an account, your stations will be listed along a left panel. If not, you will need to enter an Artist, Song, or Composer in the top left search bar on the app. From there – Pandora will do the rest; immediately playing similar songs.
If there’s one downside to the app, it’s that you cannot create combination stations. These are stations you put together based on a list of Artists, Songs, and Composers. This allows the application to get a better feel for your taste and deliver music your sure to like directly into your ears. From within the app, you can only tell Pandora to create a station based on one of these. To create the combination stations, head to Pandora.com, login, and create your station there.
Listening to Music
As you listen to your station, there are few things you can do. First, you can like or dislike the current song. Disliking it will tell Pandora not to play similar songs – and also move to a new song. Liking songs will do the opposite, and actually add that song to the stations list of liked music. This is the only way around what I explained in the previous section – but it’s not up to you what plays, so you will be stuck waiting for a song you like. Second, you can skip the current song without disliking it simply by hitting the universal “Play Next” button. Be warned, you can only do this 6 times an hour or 12 per day, and every couple you will need to listen to a 20-30 second ad unless you opted for the removal of ads. Pandora One will still limit you to 6 skips an hour, but removes the 12 per day limit. Third, you will have the cover art showing as well as the name of the Artist, Song, and Album along with an “About” section for the band. Clicking a Menu button will allow you to Bookmark the Track, Bookmark the Artist, Buy the Track on iTunes, and Find the Artist on iTunes. The iTunes options will directly take you to that song or artist depending on which you press.
Settings and Options
The app is a bit configurable. You will find the gear indicating the settings menu under your stations, which can be sorted by date or alphabetically by the way. The Settings menu will show you the version you’re in, your username and an option to Sign Out on top. Heading down the list, you can then toggle the app to play higher quality audio which uses more of your data. You can also turn Auto-Lock on or off. Following this is the option to upgrade to Pandora One using an in app purchase/subscription of $3.99 a month. The option to start a 24 Hour Free Trial is available as well. A “Learn More” tab will bring you to an explanation of Pandora One. If you had a previous subscription, you can click “Restore Existing Subscription” to bring back your Pandora One features. Under that is Legal Information.
It goes without saying that Pandora is just plain awesome. Not only does it give you access to music, it gives you access to free music. Not only does it give you access to free music, it gives you access to free music you love, but may have never heard of! This is truly a great app for any music lover. I’ve added close to a 100 new bands to my listening list and that number climbs almost daily. Pandora is the first, and I believe still the best personalized radio listening app. A clear 10/10 that should be part of everyone’s iOS ecosystem and therefore it should be no surprise that it made our 5 Must Have Music Apps for iOS.