In recent weeks, several reports (including one of ours) have been found about a feature found in recent beta versions of iOS 14.5 that appeared to allow users to change the default music app on their iPhones. However, Apple just clarified to TechCrunch that the feature is not as it first appeared.
In early reports, users claimed they were asked to select a favorite music app, such as Spotify or Apple Music, when they asked Siri to play a song. They then found that Siri seemed to honor that choice on future requests.
Furthermore, those users noticed that the usual command of “Hey Siri, play [song name] on Spotify” would cause Siri to use Spotify again in the future if they made the same request without the “on Spotify” section. (In the current public version of iOS, users have to say “on Spotify” every time to play songs in that app instead of Apple Music.)
But Apple told TechCrunch that this behavior doesn’t really set the default player, nor will it when iOS 14.5 is released to the public in the coming weeks. Rather, this behavior is a question Siri may periodically ask to intelligently choose apps on your behalf based on the nature of the content you request.
This means, among other things, that Siri can provide you with a different app when you request a podcast than it could play when you request a pop song. But in any case, it’s not necessarily a default app selection, and Siri could decide to pick an app based on a number of other factors. Siri may also periodically ask you which app you want to reuse to further clarify or refine the choices.
Beta users found Siri prompting a second or third time, but most users interpreted that as a bug that caused the software to forget a default setting rather than an intended behavior.
Apple also told TechCrunch that there won’t be a place in the Settings app to set a default music player like there has been for email or browser apps since iOS 14 launched late last year.
That change in policy and functionality regarding email and browser apps came as a surprise to Apple, as the company has long insisted that its own apps be the default settings on its mobile operating system, much to the frustration of users who wanted more control. It’s unclear whether Apple made the change to provide a better user experience, to undermine current and future antitrust allegations and investigations, or a bit of both.
But if the goal was to fight antitrust arguments, any continued preferential treatment for Apple Music is prickly. While antitrust investigations into the company deal with more than just music apps, one of the most threatening investigations in the EU has been initiated by Spotify, which alleges that Apple unfairly favors Apple Music in numerous parts. of the iOS user experience.
That said, the new way Apple says Siri interacts with music streaming services could actually be service-agnostic in terms of how it will choose services to respond to user requests based on past user behavior. But as is the case with many of these AI assistant features, it’s probably not very clear to users how exactly Siri will judge.