Apple Music will give users more control over audio quality in iOS 9

Apple Music
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Apple isn’t single-handedly responsible for the explosion of digital music, but looking at the iPod and iTunes, the company certainly had a whole lot to do with it. The company’s experience in this area gave it an advantage when launching its new Apple Music service and app, which makes some of the missing features even more confusing.

Earlier this month, Apple’s Eddy Cue responded to a question on Twitter about streaming quality by saying that the bitrate varies depending on whether you’re connected to Wi-Fi or cellular networks. This method is used by most streaming services, but in this case it seems to mean that Apple Music only hits its maximum bitrate when connected to Wi-Fi.

Luckily it seems that we might soon see a way to do something about that. A new option in the latest beta of iOS 9 includes an option to force Apple Music to stream at the highest quality at all times, Apple Insider reports.

Anyone who remembers the early days of MP3s knows the evils of low bitrates in audio, and while encoding has gotten better over the years, a higher bitrate is still always preferable in terms of audio quality alone. Apple hasn’t confirmed the exact bitrates Apple Music uses, though it has been reported to top out at 256kpbs, lower than Spotify or even the old Beats Music.

After enabling the “High Quality on Cellular” option, Apple Music will warn users that the option “will use more cellular data and songs may take longer to start playing.” The exact details of how Apple Music’s streaming works aren’t known, so it isn’t clear if the app downloads enough of the song to prevent pauses and buffering, or if the message simply doesn’t warn users of this possibility.

It’s difficult to tell this soon after launch, but considering how quickly users are upgrading to iOS 8.4, which includes Apple Music, it seems like the service is off to a good start. With all those users, it’s good to see that we’re getting the option to opt for higher-quality streams.

As for when those of us not participating in the beta will get this new feature, iOS 9 is expected to launch this fall.

Wearables

The Tacs Nato-Lens is a watch for those who live life through a camera lens

Not all watches have to be round, or connect to your phone. The Tacs Nato-Lens is a stylish piece of wristwear with a design inspired by classic SLR cameras, making it a geeky timepiece for the camera and watch fan.
Mobile

Google Fi: Phones, plans, pricing, perks, and more explained

Google's wireless service, formerly Project Fi, now goes by the name of Google Fi, and it's now compatible with a majority of Android phones, as well as iPhones. Here's everything you need to know about Google Fi.
Home Theater

Here are some common AirPods problems, and how to fix them

Apple’s AirPods are among the best fully wireless earbuds we’ve seen, but they’re not perfect. If you’re having trouble, take a look at our guide to the most common problems and what you can do to fix them.
Deals

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for March 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for March 2018.
Mobile

iPad Air vs. iPad Mini: Which new tablet from Apple is best for you?

Apple has unveiled two new iPad models, including a new iPad Air and a new iPad Mini. Both devices have a lot to offer. But which iPad is right for your needs? We put the iPad Air and iPad Mini to the test to find out.
Mobile

This is the easiest way to save your iPhone data to your computer

Living in fear of losing your contacts, photos, messages, and notes on your iPhone? Fear no more -- in this guide, we'll break down exactly how to back up your iPhone to your computer using Apple's iTunes or to the cloud with iCloud.
Product Review

The new iPad Mini isn’t a beauty, but it performs like a beast

Apple’s new iPad Mini has beastly performance, fluid iOS 12 software, and good battery life. It also looks like it came straight out of 2015, because the design hasn’t been changed. Here's our review of Apple’s 7.9-inch tablet.
Mobile

HMD Global admits Nokia 7 Plus handsets sent user data to China

Nokia could be in some hot water. According to recent reports, Nokia 7 models may be secretly sending data to China without the user knowing about it. Nokia says that the issue was a software bug and that it has been fixed.
Mobile

Here are the best iPad Pro keyboard cases to pick up with your new tablet

The iPad Pro range can double as laptops, but they do need proper keyboards to fill in effectively. Thankfully, there are loads to choose from and we rounded up the best iPad Pro keyboard cases right here.
Mobile

24 must-have apps for rooted Android phones and tablets

Rooting your Android device opens up a world of possibilities, along with a few apps. Here are 24 of our favorites, so you can make the most of your rooted device and unleash the true power of Android.
Mobile

Wring the most out of iOS with the best commands for Siri

You may not know all the things you can say to Siri -- after all, Apple never released an official list of commands for its virtual assistant. Thankfully, we've compiled a list of the best Siri commands to help you out.
Computing

Breeze through security with these checkpoint-friendly laptop bags

Getting through airport security is a drag, but your laptop bag shouldn’t be. Thankfully, these checkpoint-friendly laptop bags will get you and your gear to your destination with ease.
Mobile

Flex your thumbs (and your brain) with these fun texting games

Gaming consoles keep getting more advanced, but you can still have fun with the good old Latin alphabet. Here are our picks for the best texting games, so you can make the most fun out of that limited data plan or basic cell phone.
Wearables

Alpina makes its AlpinerX smartwatch even more attractive with new colors

Alpina has introduced four new colors to its AlpinerX smartwatch range, breaking the usually sporty watch out into a more everyday casual design, and given the tech a slight makeover too.