A year after Apple Music launched to a lukewarm reception, the company overhauled the streaming service’s design. Since then, it has made smaller tweaks year after year, continuously improving the layout and functionality of the service. That will continue in iOS 12. Now with over 50 million songs in its catalog, Apple Music will gain some new features that will make it much easier to quickly find the music you want.
The biggest feature coming to Apple Music is called lyric search, which will allow you to find a song using two or more words. (Searching for “mom’s spaghetti” will surface “Lose Yourself” by Eminem, for example.) Lyric search has been pretty exceptional in the few weeks I’ve used it, surfacing both popular songs and obscure tracks from up-and-coming artists in equal measure.
Artist pages will receive an update in iOS 12 with bigger artwork and new sections that make it easier to browse artist catalogs. New sections will include singles and EPs, live albums, and songs the artist appears on, as well as latest releases. Apple Music is also adding an Essential Albums section, a collection of the crucial releases from the artist that will be curated by the Apple Music team. The section you see under your favorite artist will depend on their catalog; some don’t have live albums, and some may not have enough releases for Apple to curate an Essential Album section for them.
There’s also a new play button on artist pages that will create a customized station exclusively featuring the artist’s music, instead of running through the artist’s catalog in order of popularity. The changes to the artist pages allow Apple Music to catch up to what Spotify already offers, bringing new flavor to artist pages with the curated album collections and stations.
Apple will also add top 100 charts, bringing the top songs worldwide and for 115 individual countries to users in a playlist form, which will be updated daily at 12AM PT. Users can add these 116 playlists to their libraries and download them (access to all of the charts will vary based on your location), so if you want to listen to what Apple Music users in China or Russia are listening to, now’s your chance.
Apple Music is also adding a new personalized playlist — Friends Mix — to go along with the Favorites Mix and Chill Mix personalized playlists it offers. Friends Mix will pull in songs your friends on Apple Music are listening to that it thinks you’ll enjoy every week.
These updates collectively make Apple Music a much more pleasant experience when you’re looking for something precise or when you want to experience the best work of an artist without knowing much about them. The new features are currently available in iOS 12 and macOS Mojave betas.