I recently began using Apple Music. There was something to say for a native mobile app and a native-in-progress desktop app. Unfortunately, that is simply not enough on its own. Here’s why Apple Music doesn’t cut it; and why Spotify does.
Obviously, I’m in no position to discredit their opinion. But the headline had me from the start, since I’m the other way around. I prefer Apple Music to Spotify. However, there are a few things that I think Spotify still does better.
The main points in the article against Apple Music are these:
No Handoff or continuity of playback between devices.
No “download all.” option.
Search on macOS being terrible.
The quality of playlists.
Apparent previous/next button issues.
I don’t want this to come across as a “well, actually…” piece. But I would like to at least offer some perspective on these points. I can’t comment on the last point, as it hasn’t affected me, but that’s not to say bugs don’t exist.
No Playback Continuity
First off, I think I can understand the feeling towards the lack of playback continuity between devices. Spotify does do this very well. However, although Apple Music doesn’t have this feature itself, AirPlay does. From any Apple device, you can send music to another device, or control it at the source.
Although, while I’ve found Apple Music to work better in the Apple ecosystem, with devices such as the HomePod, I’ve found Spotify to work better with Alexa devices.
No “Download All”
The lack of “download all” option is bad, I agree. Ideally, there should be an option to either keep your entire library downloaded to your device. But at least a “download all” button for your entire library would work.
Even so, there is a workaround to keep your entire library downloaded, and I’ve been using it for a very long time.
The trick is to create a Smart Playlist in the macOS Music app that has rules that mean all songs are added. I have it set up to include all songs where the artist is not blank.
Once this is created, you can then set this playlist to download on any device. Then as you add songs to your library, this playlist will update, and it will download on your device.
Search on macOS
Totally agree. This is terrible. The search just doesn’t feel good at all. Sometimes you enter a query and hit enter, and just nothing happens.
Here is me complaining about this issue back in November 2021.
I came across a fun app recently on Twitter, called Rewound. It’s a Music app that simply acts as an interface to your music library, but it comes with a rather interesting quirk, it looks like an old iPod. And you can even go back to a click wheel.
The control layout can be changed within the app, however to apply a matching skin you have to download them from Twitter/Weibo (You can find them with the #rewoundskins hashtag) or add custom photos from your device.
Depending on the skin you add, it automatically assigns a layout based on the size. And if you use one with a click wheel, you will actually be able to use the circular gestures to navigate through your music collection.
It’s a bit of fun, and I’m sure some nostalgic people will love to see it. I can’t quite say I see this as a long term product though!
If you’re an Apple Music subscriber, or you just have a super large iTunes library, then downloading all of your music to a device can be a giant pain.
With the iPhone storage sizes getting bigger, having your entire collection downloaded is even more of a possibility. I for example have a 128GB iPhone 7 Plus, so I easily have enough space for my entire library.
The only problem is that on iOS, there isn’t a “download all” button. However there’s a really simple solution if you have a Mac available.
Step 1 – In the sidebar, right click and choose Create Smart Playlist.
Step 2 – Change the rules to “Artist is not (blank)” like the image below.
Step 3 – Open the Playlist in the Music app on your iOS device.
Step 4 – Tap on the “…” button in the top right, and press Download.
All of your music library should then start to download.
Another bonus that this gives you, is that because it’s a Smart Playlist, it will continue to update as you add music to your library. As the rule simply is that it matches any item where the Artist name isn’t blank, which should be all of them!