iOS 7 brought many new and useful features to users of Apple’s iOS devices. However, the feature music lovers will be most interested in learning more about is iTunes Radio, the new free music streaming music service from Apple.
iTunes Radio works with any iOS device running iOS 7, an Apple TV, or any Mac or Windows computer with the latest version of iTunes. (Version 11.1 as of the writing of this article.) The service is built-in to the Music app in iOS 7, and runs as a part of iTunes on the Mac and Windows, so if you have a handy internet connection, you already have everything you need to use iTunes Radio.
Users of Pandora’s streaming service will find that iTunes Radio is quite similar. While the free streaming music service is ad-supported, if you’re a subscriber to Apple’s $25 per year iTunes Match service, you’ll be able to listen ad-free. (Read more about iTunes Match here.)
The service contains a wide selection of music genres, with over 250 DJ-curated and genre-focused stations. I’ve listened to everything form Hip-Hop to 70’s music, to Country, to Hard Rock. Chances are, no matter what your taste in music, you’ll be able to find something you’ll like here.
The stations will evolve according to the music you listen to and download. As iTunes Radio learns more about what you enjoy, the more it will play your kind of tunes.
You can also build a station around a particular artist, song, or genre of your choosing. If you’re listening to a song you like, you can build a station around it. Also, while you’re listening to a station, you can fine tune what you’ll hear by tapping “Play More Like This,” or “Never Play This Song.” You can also add, delete, or reorder stations by going to “Edit Stations.”
iTunes Radio does require an internet connection, as it’s a streaming based service. That means the music isn’t downloaded directly to your device, it simply streams to your device. Much like listening to a radio station in your car. iTunes Radio will happily use whatever internet connection you have, be it cellular, or broadband. One tip, keep an eye on your internet use if you’re streaming over your cellular connection. While iTunes Radio doesn’t use a huge amount of data, heavy users could find themselves going over their monthly data plan allotment.
iTunes Radio’s connection to iCloud means all your stations are stored in the cloud. The stations you save on one device will be available on all your other devices.
The service is Siri enabled, so Siri can help you enjoy your music. When you’re listening to a favorite type of music, just tell Siri “Play more like this,” and iTunes Radio will play more songs of that type. If you ask, “What song is this?” Siri will tell you the title and artist. She can also start, stop, and skip songs by voice command.
iTunes Radio has social components built-in, so you can share stations via Twitter, Facebook, Messages, Email, and AirDrop. Your friends can see what you’re listening to, and can tune in, and vice versa.
iTunes Radio is a great way to enjoy your favorite types of music, and also sample some genres you’ve never tried before.
And don’t worry, if you’re listening to a song and you really like it, Apple has been kind enough to include a handy button to buy the song. UGH! Between the purchasing button, and Touch ID, I’m going to need to find some more discount iTunes Gift Cards…