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Shazam update gives iPhone users a new ‘always on’ option

If you’re a fan of music wonder-app Shazam – and using it on an iPhone – you’re likely to be interested in a new feature rolled out this week that makes it even easier to ID music playing close by.

As its name suggests, ‘Auto Shazam’ runs in the background, identifying music and other audio as you go about your day. It’ll work with other apps opened on your phone, and also when its screen is locked, presenting you with a track list whenever you care to check in. To enable the new feature, grab the update, open the app and hit the ‘Auto’ button at the top right of the screen.

A red status bar appears at the top of the display to remind you that you’re in Auto Shazam mode, and remains there when you step outside the app. In case you accidentally leave it in auto mode for longer than intended, thereby making unnecessary demands on the battery, the feature has to be reset after an hour.

The folks at Shazam suggest trying it out at the movies, in a bar or cafe, or on the commute to work. Pop it on while you’re watching TV and it’ll be ready to grab any songs that come on, while US-based Shazamers can also use it to pull up information on TV shows and ads.

“All matches automatically go into the user’s collection and are listed by date, so users can browse through their list, opening the Shazams that interest them,” the company explains on its website. “This history reflects the playlist of a user’s commute, road trip, or evening out, making it easy to go back and rediscover favorite moments, ‘star’ them to save the best ones, buy the music or TV content, or get more information.”

Anyone feeling a little uneasy about the idea of an ‘always listening’ app needn’t be too concerned, as the company says it doesn’t save or send audio samples, adding that “only digital fingerprint summaries of the audio are sent to Shazam’s servers to identify media content in Shazam’s databases….the original audio cannot be reconstructed from Shazam audio fingerprints.”

Shazam released the feature for iPad a while ago, though it’s not clear if there are plans to bring it to Android anytime soon.

Multi-platform Shazam, which launched 14 years ago, now has around 400 million registered users around the world, with about a quarter of these located in the US.