TGIF! It's the weekend, so what better way to spend it than to listen to some free tunes, courtesy of Apple Music.
Apple's music streaming service launched earlier this week, with a generous 3-month free trial. Apple Music is available on iOS, and on iTunes for both OS X and Windows (the Android app is coming this fall, which is anywhere from September to November).
Haven't checked out Apple Music yet? Here are nine things you can do with it this weekend.
1. Backup your music
Sorry to start with a downer, but I figure it's better to be safe than sorry. Apple Music comes bundled with the functionality of the older iTunes Match service, which uploads your music library to the cloud and makes it available for download on any of your iOS/OS X devices.
It sounds convenient, but iTunes Match has always been kind of buggy, and the tradition continues with Apple Music. Users have reported Apple Music altering their music libraries; replacing album art, tracks being moved/removed, even DRM being applied to non-DRM files they own. Here's a good primer on the confusing differences and similarities between Apple Music and iTunes Match.
So if you have lots of music files you deeply treasure, I recommend you backup your files somewhere first before turning on Apple Music.
2. Update your iOS device to iOS 8.4
Looking for the new Apple Music but can't find it on your iOS device? You need to update it to iOS 8.4 by going to the Settings app, then General > Software Update. Once done, you'll see that the red Music app icon has been replaced with a colorful new icon. Launch the app and it'll automatically ask you if you want to try out Apple Music.
3. Update your Mac to OS X 10.10.4
Apple Music is also available on iTunes for OS X, as well as on iTunes for Windows PCs. To get the new iTunes app, Mac users have to update to OS X 10.10.4, by launching the App Store app and clicking on 'Updates'. Windows users can go straight to the iTunes website and download the latest version of iTunes.
4. Listen to Taylor Swift's '1989'
Because why not. Thanks to Swiftgate, Apple Music is the first music streaming service to get Taylor Swift's album '1989'.
5. Turn off automatic renewal
Apple Music is free for the first three months, and then it will renew your subscription automatically after the third month. Individual memberships cost S$9.98 per month, while family memberships cost S$14.98.
If you don't want Apple Music to automatically bill you, turn that off on iTunes. Click on your name on the top right, select Account Info > Settings > Subscription > Manage and switch 'Automatic Renewal' to 'Off'.
6. Tune 'For You' to see what Apple Music recommends you
There are a few ways to discover new music in Apple Music, one is to check out the human-curated playlists on the 'New' tab. The other is to trust the machine. For the latter, go to the 'For You' tab. Tap on the genres and artist you like, then Apple Music will try to match you with songs it thinks you'll like.
7. Save Apple Music songs to 'My Music'
Music you randomly stream on Apple Music remains lost in the cloud, so if you want to listen to it again and again, save it to your 'My Music' tab. Click on the '…' icon next to the song or album you like, and choose 'Add to My Music'. The songs now appear in 'My Music', together with your local music library.
8. Make a Apple Music smart playlist
An easy way to see all the Apple Music you've saved to 'My Music' is to make an Apple Music smart playlist. Go to 'Playlists' on iTunes, click the '+' button on the bottom left, and choose 'New Smart Playlist'.
In the window that pops up, under 'Match the following rule:', choose 'iCloud Status' 'is' 'Apple Music'. Keep 'Live updating' checked so the list updates automatically. Now you've got an easy list of all the tracks you've saved from Apple Music.
9. Download songs on your iOS device for the week ahead
To avoid going over your data plan, you can download Apple Music tracks to your iOS device on Wi-Fi. You can do that by track or song, by tapping on the '…' icon and choosing 'Make Available Offline'.
If you've made the Apple Music smart playlist in step 8, you can go to 'My Music' in the iOS Music app, tap on 'Playlists', and see the 'Apple Music' playlist synced. Tap on the '…' icon, choose 'Make Available Offline', and all the tracks you've saved from Apple Music will download.
And those are our nine things! Have fun and enjoy the weekend with some good music!
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