Testing Apple's New Apple Music Voice Plan in iOS 15.2
Apple's latest updates, including iOS 15.2, iPadOS 15.2, macOS Monterey, and HomePod 15.2 introduce support for the Apple Music Voice Plan, a cheaper version of Apple Music that's only able to be activated through Siri.
In our latest YouTube video, we tested the Apple Music Voice Plan to see if it's worth subscribing to for $4.99 per month (U.S. pricing), or if you're better off upgrading to the full Apple Music plan.
If you're not already an Apple Music subscriber, signing up for the voice plan is as simple as saying "Hey Siri, start my Apple Music Voice Plan," or activating it through an iOS device or Mac.
Those who are new to Apple Music will get the first seven days of access free to try it out, but if you turn on auto-renewal and sign up to pay a monthly fee, you can get a three-month free trial. That seven day option is if you don't sign up and don't allow it to renew after you test it out, and you won't be automatically billed.
The $4.99 per month Apple Music Voice Plan is entirely separate from the $9.99 per month full Apple Music subscription, which already includes all of the features of the Apple Music Voice Plan. If you already subscribe to Apple Music, you have full Siri access and won't also need the Apple Music Voice Plan.
Apple designed the Apple Music Voice Plan as a more limited version of the standard Apple Music subscription. It's primarily designed to allow you to ask for songs and albums from the Apple Music catalog by Siri request rather than through the Apple Music app interface.
So to find music, you'd just go ahead and ask Siri to play something instead of looking it up in the Apple Music app. You do need to have Siri enabled on your devices, and Apple Music Voice works well on all devices that support Siri - iPhone, iPad, Mac, and HomePod. It's particularly useful with CarPlay in the car and on the HomePod where the natural inclination is to use voice control.
Apple Music Voice Plan has a limited interface in the Apple Music app, but it does offer full access to Apple's song catalog and radio stations, as well as playlist suggestions. You can actually search for artists, albums, and songs using the Apple Music app, and you can listen to previews of songs, but not the full song. If you find a song in Apple Music that you want to play after hearing the preview from tapping it, you'll need to ask Siri to play the full version.
With the Apple Music Voice Plan, there is no option to add songs or albums to the Library, nor can you create playlists or save music for offline listening. If you want those features, you need to upgrade to the full Apple Music subscription.
Playing a song on an iOS device will give you the standard playback controls for playing, pausing, and skipping to the next track, plus you can also use features like AirPlay. It does use the continuous play option, so if you ask Siri to play one song, Siri will keep the music going with similar songs.
There is no support for Spatial Audio or Lossless Audio, both features that require the $9.99 per month Apple Music plan, nor is there an option to view lyrics, watch music videos, or see what friends are listening to.
All in all, it's not a bad idea to choose Apple Music Voice if you're going to use Siri exclusively on something like a HomePod and want to save some money, but there are a lot of additional features that you get with the extra $5 for the full $9.99 per month Apple Music plan.