In context: If you are tired of always telling Siri to play songs on your preferred music app, iOS 14.5 is about to change that. Apple's upcoming mobile operating system will allow users to set their preferred player as the default, eliminating the need to specify an app to use. While currently only available as a public beta, a stable version should arrive later this month.
Last week Apple rolled out a public beta for iOS 14.5. One of the first new features we noticed was the ability to unlock your iPhone while wearing a mask—as long as you are wearing your Apple Watch—a very welcome addition during these continued mask mandates.
This week another welcomed feature surfaced in the iOS 14.5 beta. Apple is finally allowing users to change the default music app. Currently, if you ask Siri to play a song, it will try finding it in Apple's native Music app. Of course, if you don't use Music, it will just return a message saying it cannot find the song. MacRumors notes that with iOS 14.5, Siri will ask users what service to use when it receives a song request for the first time. The users' reply will become the default music player for subsequent Siri music requests.
Apple's first indication that it was loosening its grip on forcing users to use its own apps came with iOS 13. That version added a feature that allowed Siri to open non-native apps such as Spotify. Now users can say, "Hey Siri. Play Mozart with Spotify," and it will do so. Soon clarifying which app you want to use will be unnecessary once the new default is set. Keep in mind this is just in the beta and it is possible that Apple may pull it out at the last minute if it feels it's not ready.
Apple recently relaxed its restrictions in other areas, as well. Shortly after release last September, iOS 14 introduced the ability to change the default email and browser apps. Until then, tapping a link in a text message automatically opened it in Safari, and tapping an email address opened Apple's Mail app to compose. Cupertino is also getting ready to allow iPhone users to opt-out of data collection despite several advertisers' and social media platforms' lamentations.
Although it has been coming in drips, it does seem that Apple is edging toward opening its walled garden a little bit to give users more control. How far it intends to open those gates remains to be seen.
Image credit: Kaspars Grinvalds