One of the biggest questions following the unveiling of Apple’s new music streaming service at WWDC 2015 has been answered: At launch, Apple Music will indeed allow for offline music and video caching. Matching up with top competitors, the feature will give users the ability to save songs and videos to their devices for playback while out-of-range of cellular or Wi-Fi service.
Apple confirmed the availability of offline playback to Re/code last night. And for people who use streaming music services underground in the subway, for instance, or in spotty cellular coverage areas, the feature is a deal breaker.
“As an Apple Music member you can add anything from the Apple Music library — a song, an album or a video — to your collection,” Apple said in a statement. “And that’s just the warm-up act. From there you can create the perfect playlist from anything you’ve added. You can save it for offline listening and take it on the road.”
We expect that Apple Music’s offline feature will be comparable to that of Spotify Premium, which allows subscribers to select and download particular tracks while connected to Wi-Fi. Once the music is on a mobile device (in an encrypted format), users have the ability to play music offline for 30 days. At that point, Spotify requires online confirmation that the subscription is still valid. So long as you have a valid Spotify subscription and space on your mobile device, you can continue to play saved songs wherever you roam.
While this feature won’t differentiate Apple Music from other streaming services, it will keep it on par with the wide field of competitors. The tech giant is hoping that when Apple Music launches on June 30, it will be able to convert some of its 800 million active iTunes users to paying subscribers through integration into the Music app, a 24/7 online radio station called Beats One, and a direct-to-fan social media platform for artists called Connect, all priced at $10 per month.
When the service launches, you’ll have some time to see whether Apple Music is for you without paying. All new users will be given a free 3-month trial before the $10-per-month subscription fee kicks in.