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Apple Music in iTunes just got more enjoyable and easier to use

Kirk McElhearn | Sept. 16, 2016
Apple Music in iTunes 12.5 is a lot better the second time around.

Fifteen months ago, Apple launched Apple Music, and more than 17 million subscribers are now using the service. But it hasn’t been without problems. The interface Apple offered in iTunes and in the iOS Music app was confusing, and it turned music listening into a chore.

Apple paid attention to users’ complaints, and has now released version 2 of Apple Music, to coincide with the release of iOS 10 and its updated Music app, and iTunes 12.5, which offers a number of tweaks and changes.

I’ve been using the new Apple Music for several weeks now, since it was made available to beta testers of Apple’s operating systems. It’s a solid upgrade, with lots of improvements to make the service easier to use, and it’s more enjoyable. Here’s how it works in iTunes, and we have a guide for the iOS app too.

favorites mix

The navigation bar is simpler, and more logical.

What’s in a name?

To start with, Apple simplified the navigation bar that displays above the content of your iTunes library and when you’re viewing Apple Music. Instead of My Music, For You, New, Radio, Connect, and iTunes Store, the new navigation bar is simpler. Library is your music library, while For You contains recommendations, as before, but also the relocated Connect feature. Browse makes a lot more sense than New, because that’s where you need to go to search for music, new or old.

Size matters

Gone are the skimpy fonts of yore; Apple Music now displays very large fonts so you can’t miss what you’re looking for. Whether it’s the huge For You, the large “tabs” in the For You or Browse sections, or the big genre names when you view Genres in Browse, the fonts make it very clear what you’re looking at.

Discovery

For You is the heart of Apple Music for many people: it contains recommendations based on your play history, ratings, and iTunes Store purchases. Apple has cleaned this up significantly:

  • The top section contains My New Music Mix, a playlist of new songs you might like. Next is My Favorites Mix, a playlist of 25 songs gleaned from your favorite music. Each of these playlists are updated weekly. I find My Favorites Mix to be a great way to listen to music I know I like, and I wish it would update more often, or contain more music.

  • Scroll down to see Recently Played, which shows the playlists and albums you’ve listened to recently. This is a good way to go back and check out something you only heard with one ear, and perhaps add it to your iCloud Music Library.

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