Inside iOS 9.3: Apple will allow third-party apps to add music to your iCloud Music Library [u]

Posted:
in iPhone edited February 2016
With its forthcoming iOS 9.3 update, Apple plans to allow third-party apps to add songs to a user's iCloud Music Library, eliminating the need to use iTunes on a Mac or PC to upload songs to the cloud or add them to the iOS Music app.




Users running any of Apple's first three iOS 9.3 betas can find access controls for "Media Library" under the Privacy section in Settings. This doesn't prevent apps from reading your library, though -- instead, it controls which apps can write to it.

As explained by developer Ben Dodson, iOS 9.3 will give developers the ability to add songs to a user's iCloud Music Library. For an app to do so requires permission from the user.

Because the feature requires use of a new API found in iOS 9.3, there are no apps that take advantage of the capability yet. But presumably an app like SoundCloud might make it possible for a user to export a song or playlist to an iCloud Music Library with a user's permission.

Update: Dodson further clarified that songs imported via the new API must be found in the Apple Music service --?that is to say they can be matched, but not uploaded. Uploading unmatched songs to an iCloud Music Library will presumably still require a Mac or PC with iTunes.

iCloud Music Library allows Apple Music and iTunes Match subscribers to upload their MP3 collection to the cloud, including songs that are not available on the iTunes Store. Currently, users must access the desktop version of iTunes on a Mac or PC to upload or match songs to their iCloud Music Library.

But the new "Media Library" permissions in iOS 9.3 should make it easier for users to manage their music library directly from an iPhone or iPad, without the need for a separate, full-fledged computer.

For more on the upcoming release of iOS 9.3, see AppleInsider's in-depth coverage:

Inside iOS 9.3: Apple's native apps gain new 3D Touch shortcuts on iPhone 6s

First look: Night Shift mode eases nighttime eye strain

Apple adds night mode, secure notes, more in iOS 9.3

Inside iOS 9.3: 'Auto Switch' lets you use multiple Apple Watches with one iPhone

Latest iOS 9.3 beta enables accessory firmware updates via iPad Pro Smart Connector

iOS 9.3 for iPad adds multi-user support for students, new Classroom app

Bug or conscious change? Apple Pencil for iPad Pro gets gimped by iOS 9.3 betas

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    You can already see this feature appear when using the new Music Memos App, although it doesn't work just yet.
    mainyehc
  • Reply 2 of 13
    Somewhat related: Got my new AppleTV and bought the Fireplace App ($0.99) and was pleased to know I can play music in the background. Just brilliant, Apple! :)
  • Reply 3 of 13
    Presumably this will enable Apple to receive a 30% cut of all music sales through those 3rd party apps, which would be a welcome thing!
  • Reply 4 of 13
    I'm not a Spotify customer, but I recall hearing chatter in the early days of Apple Music about wanting to migrate Spotify playlists to Apple Music.

    Is such migration already possible?  If not, does this new 9.3 feature make that easier?

  • Reply 5 of 13
    jabohnjabohn Posts: 525member
    Why limit it to just iCloud Music? Why not just access to adding to your Music library in general? Apple is really pushing Apple Music and "punishing" those who don't sign up.

    Many in my circle don't understand why you still have to sync with a computer in order to add your own ringtones too.
  • Reply 6 of 13
    jabohn said:
    Why limit it to just iCloud Music? Why not just access to adding to your Music library in general? Apple is really pushing Apple Music and "punishing" those who don't sign up.

    Many in my circle don't understand why you still have to sync with a computer in order to add your own ringtones too.
    Pretty sure iCloud Music Library isn't tied to an Apple Music subscription. 
  • Reply 7 of 13
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,461member
    Does this also mean that a 3rd-party app will allow you to edit your Music items on an iOS device?
    argonaut
  • Reply 8 of 13
    I am wondering if this will allow ringtone making apps to add a new tone without needing to sync via iTunes. That'd be nice.
  • Reply 9 of 13
    Great news for all of the Apple users if this allow other apps onto Apple.
  • Reply 10 of 13
    Soli said:
    Does this also mean that a 3rd-party app will allow you to edit your Music items on an iOS device?
    I sure do hope so. Sometimes I play a song and realise I need to correct some of the metadata, but need to wait till I get to my Mac in order to do it.
  • Reply 11 of 13
    I'm not a Spotify customer, but I recall hearing chatter in the early days of Apple Music about wanting to migrate Spotify playlists to Apple Music.

    Is such migration already possible?  If not, does this new 9.3 feature make that easier?

    No, because Spotify tracks have their own DRM. This computer-based utility helps with such migration though: http://movetoapple.com
  • Reply 12 of 13
    I appreciate you linking to my article around security with regards to the iOS music library; however, there are a number of misconceptions around the new features in iOS 9.3 that I wanted to help clear up.

    The new APIs provide two simple services:

    1) The ability to start playing an Apple Music song in the Music app from a 3rd party app without leaving the app. The developer basically says "play the song with this Apple Music ID" and it will start playing in the background via the Music app. No permissions are required from the user to do this so it is possible to rickroll someone very easily.

    2) The ability to add Apple Music songs to the user's iCloud Music Library. This does require permission from the user. A dialogue will pop up saying something like "this app wants to add music or playlists to your Music Library - OK | Deny". If you say "OK", then that app can tell Apple to add a song (via an Apple Music ID) to your library. It does not allow the uploading of MP3s or for other services to import their music into your library. It is really more useful for apps like Shazam that identify songs and currently push you to Apple Music on the iTunes Store; they can now put a button in to basically say "this track is on Apple Music, add it to your library?" and keep you within their own app.

    The APIs in iOS 9.3 do not allow any of the following:
    - Adding music to your library if you are not using Apple Music
    - Adding music that isn't on Apple Music to your library
    - Deleting music from your library
    - Editing metadata on any music in your library (i.e. changing title, artist, genre, rating, artwork)

    This is simply a minor API update that allows Apple Music tracks to be played or added to the library. It does not address any of the issues in my article regarding privacy and security of your library (you can still access a music library in full without a user's permission).
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