How to make Apple Music do more with Siri voice commands

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While Apple Music has drawn a lot of comparions with other streaming services, like Spotify and Google Music, on iOS it does have at least one special trick: Siri voice commands.

On a basic level, listeners can ask Siri to play a song, album, or simply a collection of tracks by a given artist. Crucially, if music is already stored on an iOS device, Siri is more likely to prefer that content — it just has access to the Apple Music library as well.

If a song is already in progress, asking Siri to play something new will prompt a question asking whether it's alright to go ahead, since that command automatically clears the Up Next queue. There are workarounds: listeners can say "after this play [insert song]" to add a song to Up Next, or just use "skip this song" if something good is already lined up.

In general Siri is fairly intelligent about recognizing which version of a song or album to play, gravitating towards the most popular releases. Asking to "play the album Lungs" is most likely to bring up the Florence & The Machine record, for instance. In some cases — such as covers — this can backfire, so it's often best to specify the artist and the song or album title at the same time.

Some more basic commands include "like this song" to "heart" a track, and questions such as "what song is this," "what album is this on," or "who sings this." To save content to My Music, people with iCloud Music Library turned on can say "add this song/album to my library."

Siri also has a few options for playing a song on a whim. Saying "more like this" will queue up what Apple thinks are similar songs, and there are several chart-based requests.

Users can ask to play the top song from a particular day, month, or year — saying "top songs" instead will play the top 25. There are some limits though, as Apple's data only appears to go back so many decades, and doesn't include anything from the current month.