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The first iOS 14.5 beta has a feature we’ve been waiting years to get

Published Feb 8th, 2021 4:14PM EST
iOS 14.5 beta features
Image: Apple
  • iOS 14.5 has a new feature that lets users set their default music app when asking Siri to play a song.
  • iPhones currently default to Apple Music unless you specify which third-party app you want to use, but once you download iOS 14.5, you’ll see a prompt to pick an app to play music from.
  • You can download iOS 14.5 beta 1 from the Apple Beta Software Program right now.

Last week, Apple seeded the first iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 betas to developers and the general public. Some beta releases are more substantial than others, and iOS 14.5 is primed to be the most notable software update that Apple rolls out this year — at least until iOS 15 arrives this fall. The standout feature of iOS 14.5 is the ability to unlock your iPhone with your Apple Watch while wearing a face mask, but that’s not all the update has to offer. The first beta also quietly added another feature that Apple fans have been demanding for years.

Days after the beta was released, Redditors discovered that the first time they asked Siri to play a song, a prompt appeared asking them which app they wanted to use. Seemingly every app installed on the user’s phone capable of playing audio was included on the list, and once they chose an app, it became the default choice going forward. This seems to be an extension of Apple allowing users to change the default mail and browser apps.

Previously, if you said something like “Hey Siri, play Blinding Lights by The Weeknd,” your iPhone would automatically start playing the song on Apple Music. You had to specify if you wanted to play the song on Spotify or YouTube Music or Deezer, but with this new feature, you can choose your own default music app.

While the prompt appears when you ask Siri to play a song for the first time, The 8-Bit (via MacRumors) explains that you can sidestep the prompt by asking Siri to play a song from a specific app. For example, if you said “Hey Siri, play Blinding Lights by The Weeknd on Spotify,” it would make Spotify your default music app.

Apple’s walled garden approach has been something of a double-edged sword, especially for users who want to be able to fully customize their experience while using an iPhone, but this is a move that should make everyone happy. There will undoubtedly be several more beta releases in the coming weeks, and it will be interesting to see if this feature is more fleshed-out as Apple gets closer to releasing the final version of iOS 14.5. In the meantime, you can check the feature out yourself by downloading the iOS 14.5 beta, which is available now for developers and to the public as part of the Apple Beta Software Program, which you can check out on Apple’s website.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.

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