This hidden iOS 16 feature made my iPhone a music lover’s dream

This hidden iOS 16 feature made my iPhone a music lover’s dream

iOS 16 wowed us with some extremely convenient features — including the ability to edit and unsend messages, text extraction from videos, and passcode keys to kiss passwords goodbye. Of course, finally customizing an iPhone’s lock screen is what kept most users busy.

But one feature that flew under the radar was music recognition. To put it more specifically, it’s now easier to find all the songs you’ve identified with your iPhone in one place, with a direct playlist that leads to Apple Music as an added bonus.

iOS 16’s hidden music discovery feature

Siri recognizes a song after listening to it.
Nadeem Sarwar / DigitalTrends

You might think this only works for Shazam, everyone’s favorite app for hearing and identifying a song. But here is the good part for people using iOS 16 on their iPhones.

Even if you like Apple’s voice assistant to do that work for you with a “Hey Siri, what’s that song?” command, your music recognition history won’t disappear into some dark corner of an app.

That’s because every time you tell your phone to identify a song playing around you — whether it’s via the Shazam app, Siri or the dedicated Music Recognition tool in Control Center — it’s neatly cataloged in a single place . That place is the My Music section in the Shazam app.

Shazam library in a popup window.
Nadeem Sarwar / DigitalTrends

If you feel like opening the Shazam app is a chore, there is a shortcut for that too. Just pull down Control Center, long press the Music Recognition button with the Shazam icon, and you’ll see a list of all the songs you’ve discovered using the iPhone’s microphone as your ultimate music discovery tool.

Isn’t it convenient that you can peek at the whole list without even unlocking your phone? If the whole long-press gesture sounds like too much trouble, there’s an even easier way.

Just add the Shazam widget to your iPhone or iPad’s home screen. You can either place it on top of another widget as a stack or just add a standalone Shazam widget to the home screen.

Shazam widget on an iPhone
Nadeem Sarwar / DigitalTrends

To make your life even easier, the Shazam widget is available in three sizes. The smallest square widget will show you the most recently identified song, while the medium-sized rectangular widget shows the last three tracks.

If you’re looking for jumbo, the biggest Shazam widget will let you see the last four songs you’ve discovered at a glance. Just tap any track on the Shazam widget, and let Apple Music handle the rest.

In fact, the Shazam app automatically creates a “My Shazam Tracks” playlist in Apple Music, making it even easier to enjoy your audio discoveries.

iCloud binds it all

Shazam widget on an iPhone home screen.
Nadeem Sarwar / DigitalTrends

I often resorted to screenshotting songs after using Shazam to identify them, for fear of forgetting them after looking them up. But the best part about the new music recognition history feature in iOS 16 is that you can sync it with iCloud.

If you’ve changed your phone or somehow lost it, your Shazam history won’t go anywhere as long as you remember your Apple ID credentials. Plus, your music recognition history will automatically sync with every other Apple device you own, provided they use the same Apple account.

So, if you searched for a song using Siri or Shazam on your Apple Watch, the music search history will be ready for you in the Shazam app on your iPhone, iPad and Mac – all thanks to the sync system introduced with iOS 16.

How to Supercharge Your iPhone Music Discovery

Shazam button in Control Center.
Nadeem Sarwar / DigitalTrends

To turn your iPhone into the ultimate music discovery machine, the first course of action is to keep Shazam handy. To do this, put a Shazam button right on the Control Center so you can access it in no time with a simple swipe down on the home or lock screen.

Here’s how to do it: Settings > Control Center > Music Recognition.

Additionally, if you want to access your Shazam-powered discoveries on all your Apple devices, make sure iCloud syncing is enabled for Shazam’s duties. To do this, open the Settings app and tap your name at the top to land on the Apple ID page. Once there, follow these steps: iCloud > Show All > Music Recognition.

Sync music recognition with iCloud.
Nadeem Sarwar / DigitalTrends

Plus, if you want to keep your Shazam discoveries neatly in their own hub on a music streaming app, that’s not much of a hassle either. When you open the My Music section of the Shazam app, just tap on one of the tracks to play it.

As you do, you’ll see a red pill-shaped Apple Music button below the song player bar. Tapping it will add that song to a dedicated “Shazams” playlist in your Apple Music library.

I’m not much of a music purist as my playlist is mostly game soundtracks like Mick Gordon’s Doom and Bear McCreary’s god of war But for those random occasions when I hear a banging beat, Shazam comes in handy to refresh my music palette.

With iOS’s neat unification of Shazam and Siri music recognition, along with iCloud syncing and effortless library creation, my iPhone has turned into the most powerful and well-rounded music device I’ve ever used.

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