[Update: Nope] iOS 14.5 will let you change Siri’s default music app to Spotify or others
Apple released iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 betas last week featuring several new features. The beta releases introduced support for a new “Unlock with Apple Watch” feature, dual-SIM 5G for the iPhone 12 lineup, support for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S controllers, and more. While we highlighted most of the new features in our previous coverage, the latest iOS beta update includes one additional change.
According to a recent report from The 8-bit (via MacRumors), Apple has also added the ability to change the default music streaming service while using Siri in the latest iOS beta release. The feature was first spotted by Reddit user u/matejanmm1, who shared the following screenshot.
As you can see, Siri on iOS 14.5 asks you “Which app would you like to use?” when you ask it to play a song. This interaction only happens the first time you request a song, after which Siri defaults to the third-party music-streaming service of your choice and you no longer have to specify the name of the music-streaming service when you issue subsequent commands. The feature seems to work with most third-party music-streaming services, including Spotify, Deezer, YouTube Music, and more.
Users who have tried the feature report that it only works with specific phrases at the moment, and it even reverts back to Apple Music at times. This suggests that the feature is still a work in progress and Apple still has some work to do to deliver consistent results each time. Regardless, it’s great to see Apple giving users the option to set a third-party music-streaming service as the default app for Siri on iOS instead of limiting them to Apple Music. It’s worth noting that this isn’t the first time Apple is allowing users to change a default app on iOS. The company rolled out similar functionality for the email and browser apps with iOS 14 last year, allowing users to select third-party alternatives as default apps.
Update 1: Apple Clarifies
Apple has clarified to TechCrunch that the iOS 14.5 beta isn’t actually allowing users to change the default music service as previously believed. Apparently, what’s happening instead is that Siri is only asking the user what music app to play a song, album, or artist in so that it can better understand the user’s listening habits. Whatever the user chooses won’t actually be set as the default music service, and Siri may ask the user to choose the right audio app again to continue refining its understanding of the user’s preferences.
Since there’s no specific system-level setting in iOS 14.5 that’ll let users configure a default music service, that means there’s no way to make Spotify — or any other third-party music service — the default. Going forward, users will still have to specify in the voice query the particular music service they want to play from. However, Siri’s new intelligent understanding will at least learn from your preferences, so you won’t always have to specify the app you want to play certain types of content in.