Screenshot: David Murphy
It rarely happens that Apple iOS adds options that allow you to set the app you actually want to use to achieve something as the default instead of forcing you to use the official Apple app. And while I doubt you’ll ever be able to use anything other than the App Store to bring new software to your iPhone (without jailbreaking it), at least you will soon be able to choose which app to use to play music by default.
This much-discussed feature is expected to be part of iOS 14.5, but there was a slightly tricky patch in development: the option was shown in beta, left in a subsequent update, and is now back again. That’s normal, however – and now that it’s back I’m confident that it will appear in the final version of iOS 14.5 whenever that happens.
If you’d like to check this setting now, you’ll need to go through the usual process of installing the iOS 14.5 Developer Beta (Version 3, as of this writing). It is not difficult to doBut as always, I want to remind you that installing a beta operating system carries the risk of slowing down your phone, making some apps picky, or causing a bunch of other quirky issues that won’t be fixed until later on the beta (or with the final version).
There’s no setting you can tap to change your default music player. This is a strange omission. I hope Apple adds something to the shipped version of iOS 14.5. Instead, you have to ask Siri to play music by requesting a song from your favorite band. When you do this – and if you have multiple music apps installed on your device – you’ll be asked to choose one as the default.
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Screenshot: David Murphy
From now on you will only receive one shot. Whatever you choose will become the default for your future “Hey Siri” commands, and it will take a while a bit of a fuss to get a reload prompt if you change your mind. (Again, it would be a lot easier to have this in as an option somewhere Settings> Musicbut what do I know?)
However, if you want to keep playing music from various services or apps installed on your device, all you have to do is add the name of that service to your request and Siri will obey. For example, you could say “Play Nine Inch Nails” to hear about the default service you selected earlier. Or you can say “Play Nine Inch Nails on Spotify” to start the music in this app instead.
While this is a cumbersome way to set a default music player on iOS, it is (for now). We’ll update this article if or when the steps change in a subsequent beta.