The Music app that comes preinstalled with iOS 5.1 on the Apple iPhone and iPad allows you to manage and enjoy your digital music library. This app transforms your iOS mobile device into a feature-packed iPod (digital music player).
Whether you acquire digital music from the iTunes Store or other sources, the Music app is used to access, manage, and listen to digital music that’s stored on your device. Your music selections can be played using the stereo speaker that’s built into the iPhone or iPad, corded headphones that plug into the device’s headphones jack, or with wireless headphones that utilize Bluetooth.
One of the useful features of the Music app is that you can create Playlists. A Playlist is a custom selected group of songs from your digital music library that you can listen to in a specific order or randomize. It’s possible to create and store as many separate Playlists as you want. Each can have any number of songs within it, and each is given custom title.
By investing a few minutes to create Playlists from the songs stored on your iOS mobile device, you can always have a selection of music available that fits your mood or a particular activity, whether it’s upbeat songs for your morning workout, your favorite classical compositions to help you relax, or a group of songs you enjoy singing along with while driving in your car.
Once you’ve created one or more Playlists on your iPhone or iPad, using iCloud (or the iTunes Sync process), you can easily sync them with your other computers and/or iOS mobile devices, so your Playlists, as well as your digital music library, are available when and where you want to enjoy them.
How to Create and Edit a Playlist
To create a Playlist, first launch the Music app on your iOS mobile device. Next, tap on the Playlists icon that’s displayed near the lower-left corner of the screen. You’ll notice that the Music app includes several generic Playlists that you can listen to, edit, or delete. To create a new Playlist from scratch, tap on the Add Playlist option that’s displayed on the iPhone’s screen or the New button that’s displayed on the iPad’s screen.
When the New Playlist pop-up window appears, enter the title of your Playlist. The title can be anything that will help you recognize it later, such as “Workout Music,” “Driving Music,” “Favorite Songs,” or “Madonna Music.”
Keep in mind, if you own several albums from the same artist or band, or multiple songs from their different albums, you can create a Playlist that groups together your favorite songs from that one artist or band in order to create your own “Greatest Hits” Playlist, using only the songs you enjoy the most.
Of course, you can also mix and match songs from different artists, groups and/or musical genres to create a personalized Playlist. After entering a Playlist’s title, tap on the Save button. A listing of all songs currently stored on your iOS mobile device will be displayed in alphabetical order by song title.
On the left side of the screen, each song title is listed. On the iPhone, to the right of the song title may be an iCloud icon. This indicates that you own the song and that it’s stored within your iCloud account, but it has not been downloaded to the iOS mobile device you’re using.
When no iCloud icon is displayed to the right of the song title on the iPhone, this means the song is already stored on it. To add each desired song to your customized Playlist, tap on the plus sign icon that’s displayed to the right of the song title.
One at a time, add as many songs as you wish to your Playlist. Tap on the Done icon that’s displayed near the upper-right corner of the alphabetized song selection screen to finish adding songs to the Playlist.
Once the songs are added to a Playlist, arrange them into whatever order you wish. Do this by tapping on the Edit button that’s displayed near the top-left corner of the new Playlist screen on the iPhone. On the iPad, the Edit button is displayed near the top-right corner of the screen.
After selecting which songs will be included within your Playlist, you’ll need to download from iCloud any songs that aren’t already stored on your device. The Music app will prompt you to do this by displaying a Download All button.
Also from the Playlist screen that’s displayed after you’ve selected your song selections on the iPhone, you’ll see a Clear and Delete icon. To erase the songs you’ve added, but keep the Playlist, tap on the Clear icon. To delete the Playlist altogether, tap the Delete icon. Deleting a Playlist, however, does not delete the individual songs from your iPhone or iPad.
By tapping on the Edit icon, you can delete one song at a time from a Playlist on your iPhone or iPad by then tapping on the negative-sign icon that’s displayed to the left of the song title. To change the order of the songs, place and hold your finger on the Move icon for a particular song, and then drag it up or down within the song listing. The Move icon contains three horizontal lines.
While editing a Playlist, to add an additional song to it, tap on the plus-sign icon that’s displayed near the upper-left corner of the screen on the iPhone, or the Add Songs button that’s displayed near the upper-right corner of the screen on the iPad. When you’re done editing the Playlist, tap on the Done button.
How to Listen to a Playlist
To begin playing the newly created Playlist, tap on one of the song titles when viewing the songs within a Playlist. The song title you tap on will begin playing, and the songs on that Playlist will continue playing in their preselected order. To play the songs from a Playlist in a random order, tap on the Shuffle button that’s displayed near the top of the Playlist’s song listing screen on the iPhone, or near the top-center of the screen on the iPad.
To return to the main listing of Playlists stored on your iOS mobile device, tap on the Playlists icon. It’s shaped like a left-pointing arrow and can be found near the top-left corner of the screen. The listing of all Playlists stored on your iPhone or iPad will be displayed. To return to this menu, you can also tap on the Playlists icon that’s displayed near the bottom-left corner of the screen.
Later, if you want to edit a Playlist, from the main Playlists listing screen, tap on the name of the Playlist you want to edit. Then, tap on the Edit icon. Make the desired edits and tap on the Done icon to save your changes.
How to Create a Genius Playlist
Using the Music app, you can custom create your own Playlists, and thus pick and choose exactly what songs you want to include. Using the Genius Playlists feature, however, you can allow the app to select music on your behalf, based on songs or themes.
To create a Genius Playlist on the iPhone, launch the Music app and tap on the Playlists icon that’s displayed near the bottom-left corner of the screen. Next, tap on the Genius Playlist option from the Playlist menu. A listing of songs you own will be displayed. Tap on any song title that reflects the genre or style of music you want to hear within the Playlist.
On the iPad, to create a Genius Playlist after launching the Music app, tap on the Playlists button near the bottom of the screen, and then tap on the Genius icon that’s displayed near the top of the screen, to the right of the timer slider.
The Music app will then analyze your digital music library and select a handful of songs that it believes fit together nicely. Once this selection is made, you can review the song listing and save the Playlist by tapping on the Save button. Your other options include tapping on the Refresh icon to have the Music app recreate the Playlist, or tapping on the New icon to start the Genius Playlist option from scratch.
Once you tap the Save button, the new Playlist will be saved using the song title you initially selected. On the Playlists listing screen, the song title will be displayed along with a genius icon to the right of it. This indicates it’s a Genius Playlist as opposed to a Playlist you manually created.
By default, the Music app automatically sorts your digital music library by song title, album or artist by tapping on the applicable icon or button within the app. If you tap on the More button within the app, you can also sort your music library by music genre or composer.
When utilizing the Playlist feature, however, you can group together songs using any criteria you desire, and include as few or as many songs as you wish. Once a Playlist is created, it becomes easily accessible, so you can retrieve it and listen to its contents at your leisure on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or primary computer that’s running the iTunes software.
Jason R. Rich is an avid iPhone and iPad user, and is the bestselling author of more than 54 books, including Your iPad At Work: 2nd Edition (Que), iPad and iPhone Tips and Tricks (Que), Using iPhone iOS 5 Edition (Que) and iPad 2 Essentials (Que). He’s also a frequent contributor to numerous national magazines, major daily newspapers and popular websites. You can follow him on Twitter (@JasonRich7).