After years of being forced to use Apple services on the iPhone by default, those restrictions are finally easing up a bit. As noticed by MacRumors earlier today, the iOS 14.5 beta appears to let you set third-party music services as default with Siri. This means you can ask Siri to play a particular song or album and it’ll go straight to Spotify or YouTube Music. Currently, Siri only searches and plays things from whatever music you have in the Apple Music app, be it your own collection of songs or the Apple Music subscription catalog.
It sounds like after iOS 14.5 is installed, Siri will ask you what music service you want to use when you ask it to play a song. It then asks for permission to access data from your music app of choice and then starts playing. After that, it’ll play from that service by default.
It’s worth noting that you can currently ask Siri to play music from other services, but you just need to specify where you want it to play every single time. Otherwise, it assumes you’re asking about Apple Music. For the many millions of people using other music apps on their iPhone, this will certainly make life easier.
This isn’t the first time Apple has let users switch up default services — iOS 14 also added the option to set different browsers and email apps as default. Prior to its launch in September, Safari and Apple Mail were the default options, with no way to change it. Apple also added the option to change the default music service on its HomePod speakers late last year, though currently Pandora is the only app that has added HomePod integration. Given the antitrust scrutiny the company is under, allowing other apps and services to be set as default could be about easing some of the heat there as much as it is good for users.
iOS 14.5 was released in beta last week and has some significant new features besides this music app support. Most notable is that iPhone users with an Apple Watch will be able to unlock their phones using Face ID even if they’re wearing a face covering. It’s not clear when iOS 14.5 will be ready for everyone, but 14.4 only came out a few weeks ago, so it’ll probably be around the end of the month or early March.