Quick Look: Spotify for iPhone

Now that I’ve had a few more weeks with the new tabbed Spotify interface, I’ve got a handle on what its strongest points are. Aside from the fact that Spotify has all of my friends and family (nobody in my circles used Apple Music), there are a lot of great little touches that make it a lot easier to enjoy music.

Album and Playlist Previews

Spotify doesn’t support 3D Touch, but you can tap and hold on basically any tile within the program to preview it. These previews don’t just start at the beginning of the song, but will instead feature the chorus or placed where the beat starts to pick up. The strange thing about this feature is that it’s a little inconsistent: you can preview individual songs, but tapping and holding on an album doesn’t let you preview different tracks.

Recently Played

One of the most important aspects of a music discovery and streaming service like Spotify is a history of recently played songs. This didn’t matter as much back in the days where we’d sync all of our music from iTunes, but now that we search for new songs based on friend suggestions or ID songs via SoundHound at the bar, it can be more difficult to remember which song I played, and whether I’ve actually saved it to my library within Spotify. The Recently Played list, which lies just below the navigation buttons in My Library, is perfect for this. There are days where I’ll just live right off of that list, without even loading up a playlist.

Double Tap Search to Activate

One thing I didn’t like about Apple Music’s in-app search was that it wasn’t proactive enough. If I’m going to tap the search button, it’s because I’m going to search for something and I’ll need the keyboard…so it really should pop up on its own. Spotify doesn’t have an auto-keyboard pop up when you tap on Search, but the keyboard will spring up if you tap twice.

I can see the logic behind this. The first tap lets you see the search tab, which displays all of your recent searches. But I love that a double tap will bring the keyboard up, because it saves me from reaching all the way to the top of the screen to start a search (which, on the 6S Plus, feels like a very long way to stretch).

A Couple of Things I’d Like

I think Spotify is a killer streaming service, and also a great music player. However there are still some low hanging fruit for making Spotify feel more at home on iOS.

Spotlight search is strangely absent, and while I don’t expect their whole library to show up in Spotlight searches, it would make sense to show my saved / downloaded files.

The other nitpick is lyrics. Lyrics are shown for some songs, but really only the minority of them; Apple Music definitely has the advantage here right now

Canonical Library

The one aspect I’m struggling with right now is whether to use Spotify as my canonical music library. I want to do this, but there are a few of my favourite tracks that are absent from the service (likely due to licensing issues). So for right now I’m juggling a synced music list from iTunes, and am using Spotify for all the newer stuff. But the nerd in me is not satisfied with this solution, and I’d rather have just one spot for the streamed and owned music. If anyone has thoughts on this, I’d love to hear them in the comments.

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