iWant: Improvements to Music Apps in iOS 8

Over at MacStories, Federico Viticci has a great list of wishes for iOS 8. He’s mentioned a couple of things that would be nice to see regarding music playback. He discusses the lack of an Up Next on iOS. There used to be an On the Go playlist (I wrote about this for Macworld back in 2010, but Apple removed that feature in iOS 7), and it would be great to have something other than Genius playlists.

He also points out how difficult it is to add a song to a playlist; this is the same for creating playlists. While I don’t do this often, it is something I like to be able to do, and would like to do it more easily. What the Music app needs is a tap-and-hold gesture to access a sort of contextual menu. This menu could let you add songs to playlists, or create playlists, as well as, perhaps, offer features such as creating Genius playlists or iTunes Radio stations. This said, it would be a hidden gesture, and I find such gestures problematic.

But there are other improvements needed as well. First, the ability to delete entire albums. It’s hard to understand why this was removed from iOS. If you’re using iTunes Match, and need room to download a new app, a movie, or even update iOS, it can be practical to be able to delete music more than just one song at a time.

There also needs to be a way to see entire titles of songs and albums. Again, this used to be the case, but with iOS 7, this was removed. (And in the screenshot to the left, taken from the above article, you’ll see how a tap-and-hold menu looks.) You don’t see full song or album names in lists if they’re more than about 25 characters long.

I’d like to see the iTunes Radio app split from the Music app. I’d rather have a separate icon for iTunes Radio to easily start playing a radio station, rather than navigate in the Music app.

Finally, there’s a bug in the Music app, which combines music from different genres under artists. Let me explain. I have several albums of music by Franz Schubert on my iPhone (I put composers’ names in the Artist field). Some are in the Chamber Music genre, and others in the Keyboard genre. If I tap the Chamber Music genre, I see artists; one of them is Franz Schubert. But I then see all my albums by Franz Schubert listed. This shouldn’t happen.

The Music app in iOS 7 took a big step back from the way it worked in iOS 6. I hope Apple pays more attention to this with iOS 8.