iOS 14.5 bad news — Apple says you can’t change the default music service

apple music
(Image credit: Apple)

The iOS 14.5 update is set to add all manner of useful new tricks, like the ability to unlock your iPhone with an Apple Watch or use Apple Maps to alert other users of road accidents. But there’s one hoped-for feature that won’t make it: choosing a new default music service.

iOS 14.5 developer testers were finding themselves prompted by Siri to specify which service they wanted to use when asking the voice assistant to play music. This suggested users would be able to choose a default service in the final release, but Apple since told TechCrunch that the prompt is intended simply to help Siri understand your app usage habits.

In other words, the iOS 14.5 beta lets you give Siri an idea of which apps you prefer for music, but selecting one won’t set the selected app as the permanent default. Indeed, Apple said Siri may ask again later, and will try to learn which apps you use for different audio content like podcasts.

In theory, this could still allow you to have de facto “default” apps, but you’d need to be careful to keep your app usage consistent. If, for example, you exclusively used Spotify for a while, Siri would learn not to ask which app to use when you command it to play a song. But, if you then open a different app like Apple Music, Siri might ask again to make sure it’s using the right app.

In any case, you’ll still be able to specify which app to use instead of Siri choosing for you, including by stating the service in your voice command — “play my workout playlist on Spotify,” for example.

Still, it’s unfortunate that iOS 14.5 won’t also provide the option to set a hard default for music services, as it originally appeared. Apple added the ability to choose defaults for web browser and email apps so it’s clearly willing to let you switch from Apple’s own software.

If you want to try it for yourself, check out our guide on how to download the iO5 14.5 public beta. Siri’s music choice feature was present in the first version of the beta before being pulled, but was later reintroduced.

James Archer

James is currently Hardware Editor at Rock Paper Shotgun, but before that was Audio Editor at Tom’s Guide, where he covered headphones, speakers, soundbars and anything else that intentionally makes noise. A PC enthusiast, he also wrote computing and gaming news for TG, usually relating to how hard it is to find graphics card stock.

  • Sid Nightwalker
    Yeeeeeah that's the least of a closed off OS's problems. I swear to god, Apple only exists because technological ignorance still exists.