Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
There’s a lot to love about the Apple Music streaming service. I’m most taken by the ability to make playlists using the vast library of online music, share it with friends, and import playlists. Want to know how to do that?
On iOS, the procedure is really straightforward. It’s slightly more complex in iTunes, much like other things unless you hack and improve iTunes. But once you set up a few, you’ll find it easy to get going.
First, Sync iCloud Music
Before you start making and saving your own playlists in Apple Music, you need to enable iCloud Music Library.
On iPhone or iPad:
Go to Settings > Music > iCloud Music Library, and toggle the setting to switch it on. If it’s already on, you don’t need to do anything.
- Go to Preferences > General, and check the box for iCloud Music Library. If it’s already checked, you don’t need to do anything.
- Search for any song in Apple Music using the Search bar.
- In search results, click the ellipsis icon next to the song to see the option “Add to My Music”. Click that. iTunes will again prompt you to sync your iCloud Music Library across devices.
- Follow the steps to sync.
When you enable iCloud Music Library, the app will prompt you to either Merge your current library with it or Replace your current library. Choose to Merge — it’s the safer option and you won’t lose your music this way.
Create and Save a New Playlist
Now that you have Apple Music working in sync with iCloud Music Library, you’re ready to make and save playlists.
On iPhone or iPad:
- Go to Music > My Music > Playlists > All Playlists > New.
- Choose a title, description and image for your playlist. Maybe some free album cover art could work?
- Tap Add Songs to find a search tab and a list of categories (Artists, Albums, Genres and so on). These categories show music already added to your library, either offline or online. The search bar lets you search for songs to stream through Apple Music or your locally stored songs.
- Once you find a song you want, tap the red “+” icon to add it to the playlist.
- After adding your desired tunes, tap Done till you are back in your playlist’s main page. Here, you can change the order of the tracks (tap and hold to drag and drop).
Note: You can also add songs to existing playlists by tapping the ellipsis icon next to the song (or in the Now Playing area at the bottom of the screen) and choosing Add to Playlist.
- Go to the Playlists tab. In the bottom-left corner, click the “+” sign and choose New Playlist.
- Name your playlist, add an image, and click the Edit playlist button to add a description.
- Search for any song using the built-in search box, filter the results in Apple Music, and click any suggested keyword you like.
- In the search results (separated by songs, albums, artists, playlists and more), click the ellipsis icon, click Add To, and choose the playlist or create a new one.
- Use the Edit playlist button from step two to change the playing order of your songs.
How to Share a Playlist
It’s best to use songs from Apple Music’s online streaming service, as far as possible, since that lets you also share playlists perfectly. The process couldn’t be simpler.
On iPhone and iPad:
- Go to Music > My Music > Playlists and tap the playlist you want to share.
- Tap the Share icon and choose what you want from Apple’s default share menu.
- Go to Playlists and tap the playlist you want to share.
- Tap the Share icon and choose how and where you want to share it.
Pro Tip: The direct link is complex and unintelligible, so you won’t ever remember it. If you want a memorable playlist address to share any time, create a customizable link with URL shortening service like is.gd, which you can do without signing up.
So for example, I could make is.gd/MihirPlaylistMUOTest, which is easy to remember.
Get Offline Playlists or Delete Them
The menu options (the ellipsis icon) for playlists in both iOS and on desktop offer other features that you’ll find useful.
Make Available Offline: You don’t always need the Internet to listen to your favorite playlist. If you choose to make it available offline, Apple will download those songs to your device’s memory (just make sure you have freed up space) and download any future songs you add to this playlist automatically.
Delete Playlist Permanently: Don’t like your playlist or made a better alternative? Delete it. Simple.
Duplicate Playlist (iTunes Only): If you want to tweak a playlist without losing any data, duplicate it and then start editing. It’s an effective way to make a backup or mess with the play order without ruining months of work.
Discover Great Playlists
Music is subjective, and there is joy in discovering music recommended by someone else. Well, the Internet has you covered there.
Apple itself has a team of editors who make curated playlists for anyone to listen to. The For You tab is full of wonderful playlists that are meant to appeal to your tastes. You can browse playlists in Apple Music, and even add any playlist to your own library. The way to do this is exactly like how you would add songs to a playlist, described above.
Why would you want to do that, I hear you ask? Because you can edit the playlist if it’s added to your own library! You get the best of Apple’s curated music while being able to customize it to your tastes.
Inspired by launch discovery tool Product Hunt, Playlist Hunt invites users to share their playlists while other users upvote playlists they like. So everyday, you have a list of new playlists, ranked by popularity on that day. With one tap, you can open it in iTunes on your Windows or Mac computer or Music on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.
Yet another way to use Reddit productively, the AMPlaylists community is dedicated to sharing Apple Music playlists. The range of musical tastes on Reddit seems to be much wider than that on Playlist Hunt, so you have a better chance of finding something you like. However, this is a new subreddit, so be prepared for teething issues as the community settles in.
Right now, there is nothing like Spotify’s automagic playlists for Apple Music, but hopefully, we will see that soon!
Share Your Playlists
Since we’re talking about where you can find great Apple Music playlists, why not take the time to share yours right here? Don’t forget to tell us why we should be listening to them!
Want more resources to discover fresh music? Try these websites to stay up to date on new music releases: