Apple Music Rethought (for iPhone)

Milan Wittpohl
7 min readMar 13, 2016

I used Apple Music as my primary music app since it launched. Apple Music on iPhone has a clean looking interface, it’s well integrated with the OS and it syncs with OSX. Keeping in mind that it isn’t even one year old yet and that it’s normal for a fairly new service to have lots of room for improvements and to be a little buggy there are just as many things that I like as there are things that totally annoy me. Apple is known for a high quality standard and Apple Music simply fails to deliver that. Here is why:

Apple Music (for iPhone) has one core problem! It takes too long to find the right tune!

That is due to the screwed up design and logic behind the For You, New and the My Music tab. Let’s have a look what these three sections are suppose to do.

Identifying The Problem

For you

„In the For You tab, you can see music and playlists that are handpicked just for you by our experts.“ —

Meaning that For you is suppose to be the place where you find great tunes based on your taste. But it doesn’t! Yes, it suggests playlists and albums for you but the right tune highly depends on how you are feeling and what you are doing!

I don’t want to open the app when I’m at the gym and get suggestions like Romantic Playlists and the other way around. I know that I can get playlists for activities but we’ll get to that. Right now I get a ton of suggestions that I don’t want. Bottom line when I open For you I expect not only to get suggestions of music I like but also music that fits my current feelings and activities!

For You on Apple Music for iPhone


„Apple Music is dedicated to bringing you the latest and greatest in music. The New tab features music that’s new, popular, and up-and-coming each week.

You can also browse handcrafted playlists from our passionate team of music editors and industry partners. Tap on Apple Music Editors to browse by genre editor, Activities to browse by popular activity, or Curators to browse by industry names you’re sure to recognize. “ —

Basically Apple just pointed out the problem of the New tab itself. It aims to show you new music as well as everything else that doesn’t fit in any of the other tabs. You can find new music, hot tracks of different genres, playlists based on your activities, genres or curators. Way too many information and use cases in one tab.

New on Apple Music for iPhone

My Music

„The My Music tab makes it easy to navigate all of your music, wherever it comes from — from the iTunes Store, from a rare import CD, or from your Apple Music membership.“ —

What My Music is suppose to do is pretty clear: It wants to give you quick access to your music. But again that is exactly where it falls short. Let’s say I want to listen to a specific playlist. I have to tap My Music then on playlists and then on the playlist. If I want to listen to a specific artist I have to tap My Music then Albums, choose artists and then choose the artist. For me it just takes to long to find the right playlist, album or artist.

My Music on Apple Music for iPhone

How to improve Apple Music (for iPhone):

Solving the Problem requires to put all of the features on one list and then carefully restructure them.

Main features of For You, New and My Music:

  • Music suggestions based on your taste
  • New tracks by genres
  • Hot tracks by genres
  • The charts by genres
  • Music based on your mood
  • Music based on your current activity
  • Music collections by curators
  • My favourite Music by artists, albums, offline availability, …
  • My favourite Playlists
  • Quick search for a song, artist, album or playlist

Additionally I would like to add two features:

  • Proactive Siri suggestions — since iOS 9 Siri has become super smart about what you usually do at that time or at that location. Apple Music could benefit from that!
  • Shazam is a great app and could easily be integrated into the search of Apple Music

Animated Visualisation of the restructuring process

For You — Rethought:

For You should suggest music to you based on your current and individual mood and activities! It should live in the moment! This could be accomplished by dividing the screen into three main sections.

The first section uses proactive Siri to suggest three albums or playlists to you based on the time of the day and your current location. Let’s say you always listed to the Playlist „Chilled Remixed“ when you get home after work. The app could learn that and suggest the playlist to you every time you get home from work. Same thing could be applied to a playlist for workouts or something you listen to on your way to work.

The second section gives you direct access to Beats Radio. This has two reasons. Firstly Beats Music takes up one whole tap for basically one single button so we could use that space for something more important and secondly Beats Radio is something that lives in the moment and for that makes perfect sense to be found in For You.

The main feature of this new concept however is the third section. It aims to find the perfect tune either on your current mood, activity or on something you like to listen too. To accomplish that it is also devided into three sections.

Feel and Do give you access to Music based on your mood or activity (similar to the current way via the New tab). When you tab the mood or activity the app suggests albums and playlists. Once playing you can easily switch the playlist or album and tell the app if you like (by tapping the heart) or don’t like (by skipping) the current song.

Discover solves a common problem I have and that radio stations try to solve. Let’s say you discovered the Album Sugar by Robin Schulz. You listen to it a lot and really like it but there comes the point where you wish you could listen to more music like this. By tapping Discover you can easily choose a playlist, artist or album that you like and the app will play something similar.

New — Rethought:

By giving a lot of the original responsibilities to For You the New tap can really focus on what it is suppose to do. Show new tunes. It gives you a detailed overview of the charts, hot tracks as well as new tracks. It is also possible to filter by genres.

My Music — Rethought:

We found out that My Music is just overloaded with information. Thats where the new space at the tap bar comes in that we won by moving Beats Radio to the For You tap. Your playlist can now be found under a dedicated tab so they are much more accessible. By doing that My Music should be renamed to Library which gives you access to all of your saved songs, albums and artists.

Interactive InVision Prototype:

Additional improvements

Search — Rethought:

Lastly I want to point out that in my concept every tap now gives you direct access to the search menu. You can easily search for songs, albums, playlists and artists. Additionally it gives you access to Shazam to quickly search for a song that is currently playing (e.g. in the radio).

Up Next — Rethought:

On an iPhone 6s/6s Plus or higher you can quickly add songs to up next from any list via 3D touch.

Creating Playlists — Rethought:

If you listen to a bunch of tracks and always add new tracks via up next it would be great to create a playlist based on your history.

If you made it all the way down here I thank you so much for your interest! I would be delighted to hear your feedback! You can contact me via twitter, email or just leave a comment below.

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Milan Wittpohl

I am Milan Wittpohl, deeply passionate about digital products, currently living in Edinburgh for my master studies.