Apple’s giving users another good reason to take its latest public beta for a test drive.
Hawk-eyed Redditors using the iOS 14.5 public beta noticed that when asking Siri to play music, the assistant will prompt the user to select which music app they’d like it to use to play the song or artist. Normally, Siri just defaults to the Apple Music app when an app isn’t specified. But as confirmed by Gizmodo, asking Siri to, for example, “play Phoebe Bridgers” in iOS 14.5 will bring up a menu with options for Apple Music, Spotify, Podcasts, and for some reason, Books.
Reddit user matejamm1, who shared a screengrab of the feature and had other music apps installed, saw those apps on this screen as well.
If Spotify is selected from this menu, Siri appears to default to that app the next time it is asked to play music—but the feature is fairly buggy. When I was testing the option to set my default music app as Spotify in iOS 14.5, Siri would sometimes default to Spotify, sometimes open Apple Music, and sometimes bring up that same menu for selecting which app I wanted to play the song or music from. However, colleagues who aren’t running the public beta did not have this option when asking Siri to play music, so it’s something.
It’s just one more reason to explore Apple’s latest public beta, particularly for those of us who aren’t especially keen on Apple’s own services. Recently, the company has been slowly easing up on forcing us to use them. Last year, iOS 14 introduced the ability to change your preferred mail and browser apps to non-Apple services like Chrome and Gmail. The ability to change other default options would be welcome.
Another standout feature of the iOS 14.5 public beta is the ability to use an Apple Watch to unlock your iPhone while wearing a mask. Sure, it may save you only a few seconds spent manually punching in your passcode, but listen, it does make the process of unlocking your phone while wearing a mask a little less of an annoyance. I’ve been testing it the last several days and have found it to work well.
In 2021, we’re already saving time and streaming better. A tiny victory, but I’ll take it.