How to play Apple Music on an Alexa device

Amazon and Apple may be rival companies in many respects, but they are compatible when it comes to music. If you want to play music from the Apple Music subscription app or from songs stored on your Apple device, there are ways to do both. We’ll go over everything you need to know.

Option 1: Connect an Apple device via Bluetooth

This is a great option if you are more of a casual music listener with Alexa and aren’t subscribed to Apple Music, but you have music stored on your Apple device in iTunes, Apple Music, or a similar type of app. Devices like all the Echos have Bluetooth specifically so they can connect to mobile devices, and Alexa is smart enough to handle this easily.

Step 1: Bring your Apple device close to your Echo. When it’s in proximity, give the command, “Alexa, connect to my iPhone,” or “Alexa, connect to my iPad.” If you have quite a few mobile devices, you can use the specific name of your Apple device instead, but Alexa is generally smart enough to connect with the right device as long as it’s close by.

Step 2: Alexa will play a chime and usually say something like, “iPhone connected to Echo,” although she’ll provide the specific names you’ve given devices so you know it worked. If Alexa says she can’t find your iPhone or other device, make sure your Bluetooth is on and able to connect. You may have to disconnect accessories like AirPods to get the connection working right.

Step 3: Head to your iTunes or Apple Music app and start your preferred playlist. Your songs should automatically begin to play on your Echo device. Alexa will usually boost the volume a bit before playing, but you can also adjust it yourself. Shifting both the Echo volume and your Apple device volume can work, but it’s usually easier to control volume at the source.

Step 4: When you are finished playing music, saying, “Alexa, disconnect from iPhone,” or whatever Apple device you may be using. Your Echo will again give a chime to let you know the process has completed.

Further reading

Option 2: Use the Apple Music Alexa skill

This is a great option if you are a subscriber to Apple Music and you listen to music frequently, or if constantly connecting and disconnecting by Bluetooth isn’t a great option for you. Alexa has a skill just for these occasions, but you need to set it up.

Step 1: Enable the Apple Music skill for Alexa. You can find it by going to this Amazon skill page. Or, alternatively, you can go to the Skills section in your Alexa app and search for it specifically. Do this by going to Alexa Preferences (the lines in the upper left corner), choosing Settings, and selecting Music & Podcasts. Here, you will see an option that says Link New Services. Choose it, and then select the Apple Music icon. Now select Enable to Use, and sign into your Apple account if necessary (Apple’s own instructions aren’t quite up to date, so make sure to follow ours here instead).

Step 2: Make sure everything is updated. You may notice the Apple Music skill isn’t very highly rated. This is partly because a lot of people don’t know the difference between Apple Music and iTunes, but problems also occur because people don’t know the Alexa app may need a manual update.

Once you’ve downloaded the app, Alexa will probably require you to sign in using your Amazon password. Don’t forget to look out for new versions of the app—you’ll usually get a notification if there is one available. If you see that Alexa needs to update itself, make sure it does so. Devices like Echos will generally update automatically as long as they’re connected to the internet, so switch on your Echo and make sure it’s connected. Finally, make sure your Apple Music account is current and working properly.

Step 3: You can now give Alexa specific music commands, like, “Alexa, play Today’s Hits on Apple Music,” or you can ask Alexa to play specific artists and albums. You can even extend your list of commands to fit the mood you’re in, such as, “Sad music,” or, “Happy music.” Be sure that you end these instructions with, “on Apple Music,” otherwise, it won’t work. 

Step 4: If you don’t plan on using many other music services beyond Apple Music, you can make Apple Music your default player so you don’t have to keep saying “on Apple Music.” Head back to Settings in the Alexa app, go to Music & Podcasts, then select Default Services at the top. It’s probably set to Amazon Music by default, so select the Change button, and select Apple Music as your new default. Apple Music will remain connected to Alexa until you manually disable the skill.

Looking to buy another smart speaker this year? Check out our price predictions for Amazon Echo deals for Prime Day 2020.

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