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With iOS 5 Beta 7, Apple is Right: iTunes Match is Not Streaming in iOS

With the release of the iTunes Match Beta to developers earlier week, there has been a lot of confusion about whether or not the service was "streaming" or not.

Early hands on videos seemed to show that iTunes Match was a streaming service for both the Mac and iOS devices. Music would play over the internet, but not appear to be permanently downloaded to your device.

Apple, however, later denied that the service was actually streaming. Instead they described it as "a simultaneous listen and download". We labeled the distinction one of semantics and still considered it streaming based on what had been observed in the early build.

With the release of iOS Beta 7, however, Apple is right and iTunes Match (for iOS) is a listen and download service, and not a streaming one. InsanelyGreatMac put together a new video of how things have changed with this latest release.


Songs that are played are now permanently downloaded to your iPhone, iPod or iPad library. Even if you skip past a song, the entire song is saved directly to your device. That means as you listen to music, songs are pulled from the iCloud and stored. The main distinction is that users may have to manually free up space over time. Once a song is deleted, it will again be available for download once again in the same manner.

As a result, the original impression of streaming may have just been an iOS user interface bug or simply an oversight by Apple. What makes us think it was not just an interface bug is the fact that songs are still streamed in iTunes Beta for Mac. Even with the newest iTunes beta release from tonight, users can reportedly stream songs from iTunes Match and those songs are not saved permanently to their Mac. Mac users must explicitly press the iCloud button to download and save songs locally -- of course, this could change.

Apple's clearly continuing to tweak and make changes to iTunes Match, and we hear there remain a lot of bugs in the interface itself. We should know more for certain when the software seeds stabilize as we approach the expected launch this fall.

Top Rated Comments

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43 months ago
Am I the only one who thinks this is exactly how I want it to work. My girlfriend and I had to drive around a bit tonight so I tried out match on my iPhone playing through the car stereo. It worked really well and all the songs I played are there for me to listen to again without worrying about 3G or wi-fi coverage. It was kind of awesome having my entire home library at my finger tips while driving around.
Rating: 5 Votes
43 months ago



Other than hard drive failure protection for your iTunes.... I don't see the point. I've always believed streaming was the whole point... Now I struggle with why this service even matters


iCloud allows you to have 20,000 of your songs in the cloud and available on all your iOS devices... while a 16GB iPhone could only hold 3,000 songs.

If you're out somewhere, and you suddenly wanna listen to some Jimi Hendrix, you can download your Hendrix songs to your iPhone.

Whether it's pure streaming, or playing while downloading or whatever you wanna call it... iCloud gives access to all your songs anywhere you have a data connection.

Otherwise... you gotta wait to get home to add new songs to your phone.
Rating: 5 Votes
43 months ago
I'm sure a jailbreak tweak can make it stream. ;)


It cost $25 a year to play music I already bought and own. GTFO


It's not for everybody. To me, the $2 a month is worth it for the convenience of having all my music synced up and ready to play on whatever, whenever.
Rating: 4 Votes
43 months ago
Is there a reason they'd implement (only) one or the other? If space is an issue and Internet connectivity (or data caps) is not, streaming seems preferable for most people, although I personally usually prefer actual downloads.

Back to my original question, I'm guessing they might have licensing issues preventing them from doing one but not the other, as trivial as the difference may be? Just guessing...

EDIT: Or, like dagamer mentioned, perhaps they want you to buy the larger capacity... ;)
Rating: 4 Votes
43 months ago
Rubbish.

Should be streaming, if I wanted the songs to download to my actual phone then I would just put them on there in the first place!
Rating: 4 Votes
43 months ago
It would be great if they'd add a "keep last 100/200/1000 songs downloaded." That way the iPhone would automatically delete the oldest songs to make room for the newest, without taking up too much space.
Rating: 4 Votes
43 months ago

Oh my God! I will have to manually delete the songs I don't listen to anymore! That's the end of the world for sure! :eek: :mad:

Not the end of the world, just completely nullifies the "convenience" factor that a streaming solution would have provided in the first place.
Rating: 4 Votes
43 months ago

For the .0003% of people who have 20,000 songs, they can download one song at a time, listen to it and then delete it. Genius!





Some people will swallow anything Apple sells. Sad, really.


See first comment above ^



Well, that's it in a nutshell. All these millions in development Apple spent on this so once or twice a week I can down load a Jimi Hendrix song I already own, then delete it when I'm done. Brilliant.


Wow. Sounds like you're part of the hate brigade. Don't like it, don't buy it. Simple.

Personally, I like the idea that I don't need to remember sync an album to my iPhone. I can just get it whenever I want. I'll gladly pay for that convenience.
Let's remember song catalogues too...there are countless songs that I listen to that just aren't available on Spotify or any of the other streaming apps, so they would be useless to me. Different users, different needs. Again, simple.
Rating: 4 Votes
43 months ago

Soooo they basically just could have said "now u can redownload all ur owned songs" just like u always could with apps. I guess iTunes Match just sounds better?

How weird, its basically for people that r to lazy to sync. I rly see no adventage to just synching it (now even wireless). Doesnt waste ur limited data either. Its not like ur saving any space, u might just put it on ur i device as u need the required space in the first place anyway.

On spotify u can at least "stream" stuff u dont even own and can discover new random things or songs u hear on the radio. With match u still have to go to itunes and buy it first ...


Ios5 lets u sync wireless so u dont need a cable anymore. Should be easy enough


I don't think you get match. You could never redownload songs you didn't purchase from iTunes. That's what it is. Match is for all those songs you own that you DIDN'T get from iTunes. Most of my library is CD rips. Match will see all those songs, and let you download whichever ones you want at any time. They won't all fit on my iPhone, so it's nice to know that if I'm out of town or on the go I can basically change out the songs on my phone at any time. An option just to stream would be nice, but meh, what if I don't have 3g or wifi? It's nice that what I've been hearing is downloaded.
Rating: 4 Votes
43 months ago


This is a total fallacy. Every time you listen to a song that isn't on your device (and presumably most of that music is not, or you'd already have it there to begin with) you have to "stream-download" the file. While that particular individual file is then placed on your device, you won't have storage for your entire library. That means that you must continually delete files on your device in order to listen to more content. Every time you play something that isn't already on your device, you're redownloading the entire song, using up the same bandwidth as simply streaming it would.


You seem to have missed the whole point of his post. iTunes Match saves on bandwidth because you don't consume bandwidth EVERY time you listen to the same song! It downloads to your device the first time you listen to it, then it is stored locally until you remove it. Why is that so hard to comprehend?
Rating: 3 Votes

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