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I use iTunes Radio on my Apple TV all the time. Apple’s new personalized radio service features excellent audio quality and 27 million songs. It blows Pandora out of the water! The tips in this article will help you to get more out of your iTunes Radio experience.
iTunes Radio for Apple TV is, for the most part, self-explanatory. It’s used much like any other Apple TV content channel. There are a few capabilities that aren’t so obvious. There are also better ways to select the best content for a particular artist, genre, or song.
No iTunes Radio?
If you don’t see an iTunes Radio icon on the top row of the home screen, you are most likely running an older version of the Apple TV OS. Navigate to Settings > General > Software Updates, then select Update Software. Follow the onscreen instructions. Some people had their Apple TVs bricked by the first release of 6.0. Apple fixed this and have recently released 6.0.1, which adds some minor bug fixes. While you’re there, you might want to turn off automatic updates. After the 6.0 fiasco, it’s best to do some research before upgrading Apple TV.
Use the Remote App
If you are new to Apple TV, you may not be aware of the free Remote app for iOS. This app allows you to completely control your Apple TV using an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. It has all the functions of the standard Apple Remote, plus the ability to use a keyboard. You can also browse your iTunes library and use iTunes Radio with the remote app. This is a much easier way to use iTunes Radio on Apple TV.
After starting the Remote app, tap on the Apple TV icon. The Remote app will connect to your Apple TV. You may see the Control screen upon connection. If this is the case, click “done” at the top. You will see a screen with options for controlling Apple TV. Tap on the Radio button at the bottom of the screen. You can now control iTunes Radio on your Apple TV using the Remote app. Tap on Control at the bottom to go back to the standard remote control functions.
Overall, the Radio control view works well, but it isn’t easy to create a new station. You can go to Now Playing and create a new station from the artist or song that is currently playing. If you want to create a new station from scratch, it’s best to use the user interface on your Apple TV. Hopefully, Apple will rectify this issue in a future release. You can also use the Music app on your iOS device to create an iTunes Radio station. After it is created, it will be available to your Apple TV and the Remote app.
The Apple Remote app doesn’t need a line of sight to control Apple TV. It works over your Wi-Fi network. This is great if you are in a different room than your Apple TV. You can skip tracks and operate iTunes Radio from anywhere in your Wi-Fi network. It’s also great if your Apple TV remote’s battery is running low. The Apple Remote app is available in the App Store.
Turn On Explicit Music
By default, explicit content is turned off. If you are easily offended or have young children, by all means, leave it off. This will have the consequence of censoring a lot of popular music, particularly heavy metal and hip hop. You can enable explicit content by navigating to Edit Stations from the top menu. From there, simply turn on Explicit Music. Doing this enabled me to create the best metal station I have ever heard! With 27 million songs, I discovered new artists that were censored on other Internet radio stations. Even mainstream, major label bands like Slayer are often censored due to explicit content.
Pick the Best Station
When you create a new station, you can enter the name of an artist, song, genre, or album. iTunes Radio will present a list of stations. Some of these are not very good. For example, I entered the name of a rather obscure avant-garde rock band from the 1970s, and iTunes Radio thought I was into Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys are Back In Town”. Simply because the artist I entered was from the 1970s, iTunes Radio figured it would play 70s music. Sometimes you need to pick a more representative artist. Entering the sub-genre can also be helpful. It you like avant-garde jazz, don’t enter jazz, because you’ll get Kenny G. (If you’re into Thin Lizzy or Kenny G, that’s fine. Musical tastes are opinions, not facts.) (continue…)
iTunes Radio is no longer free. The service now requires an Apple Music subscription. You can access iTunes Radio from the Music app on your Apple TV, after signing up for Apple Music. I recommend going for the free trial, however, I feel Spotify is a better music streaming service. You can cancel Apple Music before the free trial expires by turning off auto-renewals. This will ensure that you will not be billed unintentionally.
If you don’t want to pay for iTunes Radio, there are several alternatives. Pandora offers a tvOS app for the fourth generation Apple TV. Spotify offers free radio as well as a free, on demand music streaming service. You can play Spotify music on your Apple TV using AirPlay. Several online radio apps are available in the App Store. Simply install one on your iOS device and use AirPlay to beam the music to your Apple TV.
- If you use Netflix or Hulu Plus on your Apple TV, Appledystopia has tips for these content channels. Check out Netflix Tips for Apple TV and Hulu Plus Tips for Apple TV.
- Find out how to get the most out of your Apple TV. Check out these 30+ tips that will improve your Apple TV experience.
- Apple TV has new content channels. Read more about the addition of Bloomberg, ABC, Crackle and KORTV.