Does Apple Music work on an Android?

Apple Music has become one of the most popular music streaming services, with over 60 million subscribers as of 2020 ( However, it has remained exclusively available on Apple devices like the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Apple’s closed ecosystem provides a seamless user experience but shuts out Android users. With Android commanding 70% of the global smartphone market share, there is huge potential for Apple Music growth if it expands to Google’s mobile platform (

This article explores whether it is currently possible to use Apple Music on Android devices, and the future prospects of Apple Music expanding beyond iOS.

Overview of Apple Music

Apple Music is a music and video streaming service developed by Apple Inc. It was announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference on June 8, 2015 and launched on June 30, 2015 (

Apple Music allows users to stream over 90 million songs ad-free, create playlists, download songs for offline listening, and get recommendations based on listening history and preferences. The service also includes Apple Music Radio featuring Beats 1, which is a 24/7 radio station curated by influential DJs and musicians.

In addition to streaming, Apple Music also allows users to follow their favorite artists and be notified when new music or videos are released. The platform is deeply integrated into Apple devices but also available on Android, Amazon Echo, and in cars through CarPlay.

As of January 2022, Apple Music has accrued over 90 million subscribers worldwide, making it the second most popular music streaming service behind Spotify ( The platform contributes a significant portion of revenue to Apple’s growing Services division.

Apple Music on iOS Devices

Apple Music provides a seamless, intuitive experience across iPhone and iPad devices. According to Apple’s iOS 17 release notes, “Now you can experience a smooth, gapless playback experience in Apple Music on iOS. Songs fade in while the previous song is fading out, for seamless transitions between tracks.”

The official Apple Music iOS app is optimized to take full advantage of the hardware and software capabilities of Apple devices. Features like Handoff allow you to transition playback instantly between devices. The app also supports key iOS capabilities like Siri, Maps, and CarPlay.

Overall, Apple Music is tightly integrated into the iOS ecosystem. For iPhone and iPad users, it offers the best possible music streaming experience through deep system-level integration.

Challenges of Android Compatibility

One of the main challenges of bringing Apple Music to Android devices is the technical limitations of Android compared to iOS. Apple has designed iOS specifically to provide the infrastructure and frameworks needed for services like Apple Music. However, Android is a more fragmented operating system that presents compatibility challenges (source).

Key challenges include:

  • Android lacks some core frameworks that Apple relies on for iOS, like iCloud and UIKit. Significant development work is needed to recreate equivalent systems for Android.
  • The diversity of Android devices and OS versions makes thorough testing and optimization difficult. There are far fewer iOS devices to account for.
  • Synchronizing content and recommendations across devices is trickier on Android due to variability in data storage and APIs.
  • Audio performance and efficiency may be lower on Android devices, resulting in higher battery drain and inferior sound quality.
  • App store policies and restrictions differ between iOS and Android, necessitating modifications to comply.

While not insurmountable, these technical constraints do introduce meaningful engineering challenges and development overhead to make Apple Music work smoothly on Android OS (source). Apple has to replicate much of the functionality that comes built-in on iOS devices.

Workarounds for Android Users

While Apple Music does have an official Android app, some users have reported performance issues and instability with the Android version. This has led to Android users seeking unofficial workarounds to access Apple Music’s library. Some of the more popular workarounds include:

Using the Apple Music web player in the browser [1]. While limited in features compared to the app, the web player provides Android users read-only access to browse and play from their Apple Music library.

Syncing an Apple Music library from a Mac or PC using the iTunes desktop app [2]. Once synced, the music can be transferred and played from the Android device. This allows Android users to leverage the superior desktop experience to manage their library.

Using unofficial modified versions of the Apple Music app [3]. Developers have released modded versions of the app aimed at addressing issues like stability and missing features.

While not ideal, these workarounds allow Android users to access their Apple Music libraries while issues with the official app persist.

Official Apple Music Android App

In November 2020, Apple officially released the Apple Music app for Android devices after years of only being available on iOS. The Android app provides access to Apple Music’s catalog of over 75 million songs, playlists, music videos, and more [1].

Some key features of the official Apple Music Android app include:

  • Streaming Apple Music’s full song catalog
  • Access to exclusive album releases and music videos
  • Curated playlists across genres
  • Downloads for offline listening
  • Syncs playlists, preferences and settings with other Apple devices

The Android version provides a native experience and matches most iOS features. Limitations compared to iOS include no integration with Siri or Apple Watch. Reviews note occasional bugs and crashes compared to the very stable iOS app. But overall the official Android app provides a solid Apple Music experience for Android users [1].

User Experience Comparison

While Apple designed Apple Music primarily for its own iOS devices, the overall experience on Android is quite similar. Users report being able to easily search for and play albums with few issues. However, certain iOS-exclusive features like Apple Music Sing are not available on Android devices.

Audio quality and real-time audio output tend to be better optimized on iOS compared to Android. As one Quora user noted, “iOS has excellent support for doing realtime-ish audio output. Android doesn’t. Apple has a long history of working with the music and audio industry.”

That said, most core functionality like browsing playlists, listening to music, viewing recommendations, and accessing your library work smoothly on both platforms. The differences lie more in specialized features and overall system optimization. But for simply streaming and enjoying music, Apple Music offers a capable experience on both iOS and Android.

The Bottom Line

Overall, while Apple Music does function on Android devices, the experience is not yet on par with iOS due to the limitations of the official Android app. Many users find the Android version to be buggy, slow, and lacking in some key features like handoff and Siri integration (source). However, Apple has made some improvements over time and seems committed to enhancing the Android experience. For Android users who are deeply embedded in the Apple ecosystem and place high value on using Apple Music, it may still be worthwhile despite the imperfect integration. But users focused primarily on core playback and library management may want to explore widely compatible alternatives like Spotify, YouTube Music or Amazon Music.

Alternatives for Android Users

Since Apple Music is designed primarily for iOS and is limited in functionality on Android, many users look for alternative streaming options that are optimized specifically for Android devices. There are several excellent music streaming apps available that provide a great user experience on Android phones and tablets.

One top option is Spotify, which offers a free ad-supported tier along with premium paid subscriptions. Spotify has an extensive music library and many features tailored for Android, like integration with the Google Assistant. Many reviewers rate it among the best Android music streaming apps available today.

Other alternatives popular on Android include YouTube Music, Amazon Music, SoundCloud, and Pandora. Most of these can be used for free with ads or upgraded to an ad-free premium version. They allow you to stream unlimited music and create playlists just like Apple Music, often with a more seamless experience on Android devices.

The top competitors usually offer competitive pricing, generous free tiers, and features that integrate well with the Android ecosystem. Evaluating the different options can help you find the perfect Apple Music alternative to use natively on your Android phone.

The Future of Apple Music on Android

The Apple Music app for Android was first released in 2016 and many sources report the experience lagging behind iOS in key areas. While the Android app has received frequent updates, Apple could make improvements to further enhance parity with iOS and provide a seamless experience across platforms.

Some speculated areas for improvement include better integration with Android Auto (SensorTower), support for higher quality audio streaming, and faster access to new Apple Music features like spatial audio and lossless playback. Additionally, increased optimization for different Android devices and chipsets could improve stability and performance.

Apple seems committed to growing Apple Music on Android, with over 40 million downloads to date (Apple Newsroom). With Android holding the majority global marketshare in mobile operating systems, enhancing the Apple Music experience for Android users will likely remain a priority.

Some analysts speculate Apple could eventually merge Apple Music functionality directly into the base Android OS to circumvent limitations of running it as a standalone app (TechCrunch). However, Apple has not indicated any plans for this level of Android integration. For now, regular app updates seem the most plausible path for Apple Music enhancements on Android.

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