Understanding the Autoplay Button in the iOS Music App

An interesting new feature in the iOS 14 Music app is the Autoplay button. Shaped like an ∞ symbol, if you tap this button, the Music app will continue to play “similar” music after your current play queue has completed.

Autoplay

It works a bit like Genius, which is no longer available in iOS, in that it creates a playlist of music based on what was in your play queue, whether it’s an album, playlist, or just a single song. Or its similar to creating an Apple Music radio station based on some music.

Many people are discovering this accidently, when they get to the end of a music selection and find that music continues. There’s a clear message showing when the Autoplay feature kicks in, so if you look at the Music app you’ll see what’s happening.

My first discovery of this was unexpected. I had accidentally tapped the button, and, at the end of some ambient album, some fairly loud music came on. I don’t recall what it was, and it could have been “similar,” in the same way that Fat Lady of Limbourg is similar to This River, above.

You can edit the play queue, as you can with your up next queue at any time, moving, deleting, or adding tracks. It’s a good way to play music for a long time without choosing what to listen to.

5 thoughts on “Understanding the Autoplay Button in the iOS Music App

  1. Is this only visible if you’re an Apple Music subscriber? I don’t see it when I play music from my library. I guess this is understandable as they don’t have the metadata to find “similar” music like they do with the contents of the Apple Music library.

    • Yes, that would make sense. Since Genius doesn’t exist any more, it does need to have enough metadata to make these selections. And they’re not just from your library.

  2. Roon has had a similar feature for many years. In general, the follow on selections are pretty good, even for classical music, although you can get some odd combos at times. Roon also allows you to view the queue, and select or omit the next proposed tracks. A very quick way to build a playlist.

  3. And the Roon version works just with your own library or with your streaming subscription (in my case, Qobuz)

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