Apple Music is getting a Spotify-style upgrade, and listeners like it

iOS 18 brings some welcome improvements to the way Apple Music handles your tunes

Apple Music
(Image credit: Brett Jordan / Pexels)
Quick Summary

Apple has made changes to the Music app in iOS 18, with better playlist handling that's more like Spotify. It's currently in beta and will launch in September.

Apple Music is getting an upgrade that's been warmly welcomed by beta testers. The feature, which will be coming to the app in iOS 18, significantly improves the way Apple Music enables you to control and organise your playlists. 

The new feature is a revamped playlist queue, with a new "Add Songs to Queue" button that sits at the bottom of the list of tracks. You'll be able to clear the entire song queue in one go, and if you change the currently playing song your queue will no longer vanish. The revamped system also enables you to add a song to your playlist as the next track; at the moment, adding a song sticks it right at the end of your playlist.

The new feature has proved popular on the iOS Beta subreddit (H/T to MacRumors), where the top comment in the discussion of the change is "F***KING FINALLY". As some commenters have pointed out, the changes aren't so much Apple adding new features as bringing back previously dropped ones: the changes mean Music works like it did until iOS 10 was released.

The changes bring the Apple Music app playlist handling closer to that of Spotify, which should reduce some of the friction for any users jumping ship from the rival streamer. However, some of the beta testers reckon that the recommendations on Apple's service still aren't as good as its rival. However, as we saw with the introduction of Spotify-style collaborative playlists earlier this year, Apple is slowly but steadily catching up.

That's important, because music streaming isn't like TV streaming where key shows are only available on specific streamers: while I need to have my Disney+ subscription to watch The Bear, the same siloing doesn't happen with music. Until you start getting into really obscure stuff, the streamers' catalogues are largely identical. Because of this music streamers don't compete on catalogue but on the quality of the overall experience, both in terms of sound quality and formats such as spatial audio, and on playlist management and social sharing. Apple already beats Spotify on the first two, and it clearly wants to beat it on the other fronts too.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series; her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, was shortlisted for the British Book Awards. When she’s not scribbling, Carrie is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind (unquietmindmusic).