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Apple Music launched with much publicity, fanfare and notoriety. Apple’s new music streaming service is similar to Rhapsody, Spotify, Google Music, Tidal and other music subscription offerings. This article covers how to get started with Apple Music on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.
Back Up Your iPhone
Before you begin, make sure to backup your iPhone. You can do this using either iCloud or iTunes. If you are unfamiliar with the backup process, please read Apple’s guide on iOS backups.
Keep in mind that an iPhone backup only creates a copy of your content (apps, music videos) and personal data (contacts, etc.). For example, if you backup your iPhone and upgrade to iOS 8.4, restoring the backup will not revert your iPhone to 8.3. It will only restore the content, not the operating system. Furthermore, a restore is an all-or-nothing operation. You cannot pick specific files to restore, as iOS has an abstracted file system. There are some utilities, such as iPhone Backup Extractor, that can do this. I recommend backing up with both iCloud and iTunes, if you have the time.
It is very important to create a backup before upgrading to iOS 8.4. Unfortunately, Apple Music has been known to alter people’s music libraries. Apple also recommends backing up your device before using Apple Music.
Run the iOS 8.4 Update
iOS 8.4 was a rushed release. Apple had to get the release out quickly to attract Tidal users coming off their free trial. It was also released in the beginning of summer, when students are on summer break and have more free time. In their haste, both iOS 8.4 and Apple Music are a little buggy. If you have an iPad 2G (original 2011 model, not the iPad Air 2) or an iPhone 4S, I do not recommend upgrading to iOS 8.4. Apple Music is unbearably slow on these devices. The 8.4 update will also slow down Safari and any app that uses an embedded browser. If you experienced the “WiFried” bug prior to iOS 8.3, some users are reporting its return in 8.4. For more information, please read “iOS 8.4: Worth Upgrading?“.
You can start the iOS 8.4 upgrade process by tapping Settings > General > Software Update. Follow the on-screen instructions. If you have been upgrading your device regularly, the update should take no more than 30 minutes.
Launch Apple Music
Apple Music replaces the previous Music app on your iPhone’s home screen. The new Apple Music icon is placed in the same location as the previous Music app.
If you have trouble finding it, you can use Spotlight. Simply swipe one finger down from the middle of the home screen to reveal Spotlight.
Type in the first few letters of “music” and then tap on the Apple Music icon.
Start the Three Month Free Trial
The initial Apple Music screen presents two options — “Start 3-Month Free Trial” or “Go to My Music.” Tap on “Start 3-Month Free Trial” to begin your subscription. If you choose “Go to My Music”, you will only be able to play music stored on your device in addition to iTunes Radio. It is basically the old Music app with a new look.
I recommend signing up for the Apple Music free trial. It is very easy to cancel the service if you choose not to pay. You can do it right away, so you don’t forget later. You can still use Apple Music. You just won’t be billed for it after the three-month trial. For more information on canceling your Apple Music subscription, please read this article.
The next screen asks if you want an individual or family plan. The individual plan costs $9.99 per month, but only allows one subscriber. The family plan costs $14.99 per month and allows up to 6 users. It is an amazing deal!
Keep in mind, the family plan uses Apple’s Family Sharing program. This means that one subscriber’s credit card is tied to all other accounts. You don’t want to abuse Family Sharing as a way for you and your friends to get cheap Apple Music subscriptions. It is designed for a primary subscriber (head of the household) to share content purchases with their family. (continue…)