Music app

Will you really be able to set a default music app in iOS 14.5? (Answer: it’s complicated)

Shortly after the release of the first iOS 14.5 developer beta last month, several users discovered that Apple seemed to have sneaked into the long-standing ability to set a default music player while in use. from Siri, but now it’s starting to look like the reality of this change. is a little more complicated than it seems at first glance.

While the feature doesn’t seem to ‘stick’ like it should have been in early beta versions – sometimes Siri would ask more than once which music player you wanted to use, even after you’ve probably already set a ‘default setting. – we all assumed these were just the usual bugs and growing pains, especially since it was only in the first beta.

The feature is actually completely gone in the upcoming beta before resurfacing this week in beta 3, with Siri sharing a new explanation that makes it clear that it’s not really about setting a “default” music player. “. Instead, it looks like Siri is going to try to be smart about it.

When asking for a song in the first beta of iOS 14.5, Siri simply replied “Which app would you like to use?” To do the same in the latest beta now explained to Siri, “I’m learning how to choose the right audio apps for you. Which one do you want to use to listen to this? “

In other words, it looks like Siri will try to decide which music app to open on a case-by-case basis, and while that doesn’t allow you to set a default ‘go to’ music for every request, it’s certainly a big one. not far from just assuming that everyone wants to use Apple Music.

In a somewhat rare move for a feature that’s still in beta, Apple has also offered some clarifications to help manage user expectations for the final release of iOS 14.5.

Not a “default”

Speaking with TechCrunch, Apple has made it clear that this feature will not “allow users to select a new music service by default”, cracking down on previous reports to this effect. Instead, Apple says the feature will attempt to use machine learning and AI to try and choose the best music service to use based on each user’s listening habits.

If Siri’s intelligence is working properly, it could have the same result for those who still use the same music service – after all, if you keep telling Siri to use Spotify, and it’s the only music app you can use. you’ve never opened, it’s a safe bet that Siri isn’t going to randomly ask you if you prefer to use Apple Music.

On the other hand, however, if you’ve just installed Tidal or YouTube Music on your iPhone, Siri may recognize it and invite you the next time you make a request, just to make sure that you really still want to use Spotify. After all, if you’ve just installed an app for another music service, it’s not unreasonable to assume that you might want to use it instead.

From what Apple said TechCrunch, functionality is expected to improve and change over time “as Siri learns to better understand your listening habits,” but Apple wants to make sure users understand they’re not defining a drive or service. ‘default’ music when they answer Siri’s question, and things aren’t broken if Siri asks them to reselect a music service at some point.

Apple also points out that unlike web browsers and email clients, there is nowhere in the iOS 14.5 UI where you can actually specify a default music service, so it’s incorrect to refer to the feature like “set a default”.

Content-based selection

It seems part of the reason Apple is reluctant to just let users set a default service is because the whole aspect of listening to audio could be considerably more complicated for many users.

Not only do you have all three major categories of music, podcasts, and audiobooks – for which many users will likely use entirely different apps – but some users may even prefer to listen to classical music tracks from a streaming service. more content-oriented. like Idagio while using Spotify for their top 40 content and Apple Music for jazz.

Presumably, the goal is for Siri to find out on behalf of the user, ultimately loading the appropriate app and service according to what is requested.

In fact, Apple is taking an even bigger step in that direction by opening up APIs that app developers can use to help train Siri by providing details of what people listen to in each of their apps, even though these titles are not directly called via requests to the voice assistant.

As with almost all of Apple’s other artificial intelligence features, such as photo content analysis, all of this Siri intelligence and training takes place entirely on the device, so neither Apple nor any of its partners ‘will get metrics or analysis on your listening. habits – at least not between applications; Individual streaming providers like Spotify can still do whatever they want with your data, of course, but Apple won’t know what you’re doing in Spotify or any other streaming app, and Spotify won’t have access to your habits. listening to Apple Music or Tidal.

Finally, none of these changes will prevent you from calling specific apps by name, as you may have done for years, so adding “on Spotify” or “on Pandora” to your requests can still be used. to choose a specific service without being prompted, but the difference is that iOS 14.5 will be part of Siri’s training, so if you keep repeatedly asking for music to be played “on Spotify”, chances are the next time you ask by simply specifying a service, Siri will direct you to Spotify.

Ultimately, however, as smart as this feature promises to be, if you’re someone who only uses one music service all the time, you’ll likely find that there’s almost no difference. between using the intelligence of Siri to choose the best service and simply being able to define a default audio player.

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