Using the My Music Tab in Your iPad’s Music App

By Edward C. Baig, Bob LeVitus

Let’s look at how to listen to music you already own on your iPad, which is to say the music in your iTunes library. If you haven’t already launched the Music app, do so now, and then tap My Music at the bottom of the screen.

Music in the My Music tab becomes available by syncing with iTunes, subscribing to iTunes Match, subscribing to Apple Music, buying music, or any combination of the four.

Note that a music file doesn’t have to be stored on your iPad to be available on the My Music tab. You must have Internet access to play songs that aren’t on your device. If you want to ensure that you’ll be able to listen to a song, an album, or a playlist anytime you like, even without an Internet connection, you’ll have to tap the ellipsis button (…) and choose Make Available Offline.

Readers with older devices surely remember previous versions of the Music app, which served up Artist, Album, Song, and Playlist buttons at the bottom of the main screen. You’ll be happy to know that those useful features and many more are right here in My Music, albeit hidden in the drop-down menu at the top of the screen.

Below the Shuffle All and Shuffle buttons is a section with recently added songs or albums. Two of its five items are obscured by the drop-down menu; to see a longer list, tap Recently Added.

To see more of the songs or albums you’ve listened to lately, tap Recently Added.
To see more of the songs or albums you’ve listened to lately, tap Recently Added.

The drop-down menu at the top of the screen lets you choose how your music is displayed. Tap Artists to see your music arranged by Artists, Albums, Songs, Genres, Composers, and more. If Songs isn’t currently selected, tap the menu and select it to view your songs displayed in alphabetical order.

If the list is longer than one screen (which it probably is), flick upward to scroll down or flick downward to scroll up. An easier way to find a song is to tap one of the little letters on the right side of the screen to jump directly to artists whose names start with that letter. The letters on the right are extremely small, so unless you have tiny fingers, you may have to settle for a letter close to the one you want or tap several times until you select the correct one.

Our technical editor for previous editions, the late Dennis Cohen, suggested that using a stylus instead of your finger may help. He was probably right.

But there’s an even easier way to find an artist — or a song, an album, or a music compilation, for that matter. Tell Siri what you want to hear. All you have to do is ask.

If Siri isn’t a viable option for you, you can achieve the same effect by typing your query. Tap the magnifying glass in the upper-right corner and then tap in the search field at the top of the screen to activate the virtual keyboard. Now type the name of the artist (or song or album) you’re looking for, tap the Search button, and enjoy.

So choosing Songs from the drop-down menu displays a list of your songs; just tap any song in the list to hear it. But if you choose Artists, you see a Recently Added section and a list of artists.

When you tap an artist’s name in the main list (or in a list of search results), one of two things occurs:

  • If you have songs from more than one album by an artist in your music library: A list of albums and the songs they contain appears. Tap a song to play it or tap the first item in the list of songs on a particular album — Shuffle — to hear all songs on that album at random.

  • If all songs in your music library by that artist are on the same album or aren’t associated with a specific album: A list of all songs by that artist appears.

Either way, tap a song and the music starts.

Now for the good news: All the other items in the pop-up menu — Albums, Music Videos, Genres, Composers, and Compilations — work just like Artists. And, of course, Songs is nothing more than a long list of every song in your library. So you now know how to display and browse your library seven ways!