It seems like iOS 14 was only just released (it was, in mid-September) but Apple is already hard at work on future versions of iOS 14, namely iOS 14.2. Developers and those signed up to Apple’s Public Beta program can access the latest beta, which offers improvements to the Control Center. In iOS 14.2 beta 2, users noticed a new shortcut – one that uses Apple-owned Shazam to quickly identify music.
For those unfamiliar with the service, Shazam is designed to listen to music playing in your environment and identify the song, providing you with the song title, artist and shortcuts to add it to your streaming library – as long as you’re an Apple Music subscriber on iPhone or iPad, of course. Shazam has been around for years, but back in 2017, Apple bought the company for a reported $400 million.
Shazam has been available as part of iOS since iOS 8, either via the official Shazam app or by asking Siri what song is playing, but until now, Apple hasn’t made any move to further integrate the music recognition service into its products. That looks to change with iOS 14.2, which introduces a new (unbranded) Music Recognition toggle to the Control Center. It’s not there by default, according to beta users, but it can be enabled in the Control Center section of the Settings app.
The new Control Center toggle allows users to simply hit a button to toggle the Shazam-powered music recognition service and get the result in the form of a push notification. You can tap the notification to take you to the main Shazam app (if you have it installed) and a long-press on the notification provides a shortcut to open the song in Apple Music, although those hoping to get it to open in the likes of Spotify or Deezer will be disappointed.
Along with the new music recognition toggle, iOS 14.2 introduces a redesigned Now Playing interface within the Control Center. Now, when there’s no music playing, the player will show suggestions based on the songs and albums you’ve been listening to recently. Again, this is Apple Music-specific, giving iOS users of third-party streaming services more of a reason to make the switch. The design of the player has been simplified too, allowing quicker access to your audio output, including Bluetooth headphones and AirPlay-enabled devices.
iOS 14.2 is available in beta form right now, and is expected to be released in October. A quick word of warning: don’t install the beta if you’re looking to pick up the rumoured iPhone 12 at release, as it might not ship with iOS 14.2, leaving you unable to restore from your iOS 14.2 backup.