iOS 6 Hands-On: iTunes Match Now Streams Music


One of the new additions to iCloud and iTunes was iTunes Match, which is a service that lets you store your iTunes library in iCloud. It costs $24.99/year, and the system works by matching any of your music with the iTunes Store, and any unmatched songs are uploaded. The service is meant for those that have a lot of music not purchased in iTunes. There was a debate whether it counted as streaming or not, but in all reality it was just a download on the go service.

When you’re on a Mac, you can stream music without any files being stored on your device. On your iOS device, if you tapped to play a song, the song plays automatically, but downloads too. In iOS 6, that’s changed, at least in the first beta. Now when you tap to play a song, it begins playing, and you still have the option to download it. With iOS 6, you can choose to just listen right now with an online connection, or download for offline listening. iTunes Match has become a streaming service in the beta. We confirmed it, by playing a few songs, then turning off iTunes Match, and seeing that the music folder then had no music. In iOS 5, the few tracks you listened to are stored. The various playlists, artists, and songs also drop the cloud icon next to them, and those are reserved for the album view, and a little bit off to the side.

It’s a great change, and may be a part of Apple potentially working out a new licensing agreement with music studios. Also related to music in iOS 6, is a new music app that more resembles the silver UI iPad version.