Apple Music may have had a rocky start in the battle for dominance in the music-streaming world, however, now it has millions of happy users who prefer it to its competitors.
Apple Music has many features, such as exclusive radio content and high-definition lossless audio content, but many potential users want to know whether Apple Music offers gapless playback.
In this article, we explain what gapless playback is and if it’s implemented in the Apple Music user experience.
Here’s How Gapless Playback Works:
Gapless playback enables listeners to hear an album as the artist intended if the album in question is meant to be heard without breaks between the tracks. Gapless playback is often confused with crossfade; there are similarities between the two features, but they perform different functions.
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What is Gapless Playback?
Gapless (otherwise known as seamless) playback is a method of playing your music tracks without any silence or pauses between each one. This function enables listeners to go from song to song seamlessly.
Gapless playback is ideal for:
- Live music albums
- Conceptual music albums
- Classical or concert albums
Some of you may be wondering why gapless playback is such a big deal. For some, listening to an album that has tiny amounts of silence between the tracks may not even be noticeable.
Especially if you are flitting between shuffled songs on a playlist, having that definitive break that distinguishes one track from another may not feel important.
The difference really comes in when artists create an album that’s designed with gapless playback in mind.
For these types of albums, the lack of gapless playback can completely ruin the listening experience and can be a real issue both for the artist and fans alike.
“The tiny gaps of silence inserted by less-capable network streamers jerk us momentarily out of any immersion. At best, they are a minor annoyance, at worst they are properly jarring. On a deeper level, they are not as the artist intended.”
Certain albums, for example, are supposed to be experienced as if you were witnessing the artists perform live, a completely immersive experience.
Music streaming platforms such as Apple Music and Spotify offer different playback functions. To discover whether they have gapless playback available, simply read on.
Check out our article about Apple Music’s curated playlists.
Does Apple Music Offer Gapless Playback?
When it comes to having gapless playback available, Apple Music really falls short.
Being such a renowned and popular music streaming platform, having a gapless playback function available should be a given – but unfortunately, this is not the case.
Although available on some devices, gapless playback is currently not available for iOS.
Apple Music lovers even admit that this is one of the biggest letdowns about using this streaming platform to listen to their favorite albums and playlists.
Bizarrely, Apple Music introduced the ability to use gapless playback all the way back in 2020 for Android users, but when it comes to iOS systems, it is still not available even 2 years down the line.
Gapless playback is, however, available in the Apple Music app for Mac operating systems. This is a good indication that hopefully, one day soon, Apple will introduce gapless play for its iOS mobile customers too.
Does Apple Music offer Crossfade Playback?
Crossfade playback is often confused with gapless, but it is a completely separate concept. As mentioned, gapless playback removes any silence between songs and enables a smooth transition between them.
Crossfade, however, is similar to what a DJ does when they play a mix. When you have crossfade enabled, the songs will fade into each other with a slight overlap, meaning the end of one song merges into the beginning of the next.
To put it simply, the volume level of the current song gradually decreases as the volume of the next song gradually increases. It’s true that this transition does prevent any silence between songs, but this feature is very different compared with gapless playback.
Unfortunately, similar to gapless playback, Apple Music for iOS currently does not support crossfade either.
This comes with much annoyance to loyal iPhone users, as the feature has been available with Apple Music for Android for quite some time.
Many iOS Apple Music subscribers believe that, fundamentally, a platform that prides itself as one of the best music streaming services should have both crossfade and gapless playback features available.
However, some good news is that crossfade is currently available on Apple Music for MacOS, and if you do own an Android, then you will be able to easily use the crossfade function to listen to your music.
Does Spotify offer Gapless or Crossfade Playback?
Spotify is one of the most renowned music streaming platforms available, competing alongside Apple Music in popularity.
The great news is that, unlike Apple Music, the Spotify app offers both gapless and crossfade playback on all devices. This could be one of the reasons why music lovers tend to lean towards using Spotify over Apple Music.
Both gapless and crossfade functions are incredibly important, if not crucial, to listeners and music artists.
When discussing Spotify’s default ‘Shuffle’ setting, singer Adele tweeted:
“We don’t create albums with so much care and thought into our track listing for no reason. Our art tells a story and our stories should be listened to as we intended.”
Fortunately, Spotify listened and switched their default ‘Shuffle’ button to a ‘Play’ button so that albums would automatically play in order.
Spotify also recognizes how important gapless and crossfade playback is and therefore offers it to all of its subscribers.
If you want to know how to adjust your playback settings, simply take a look at the instructions below:
How to Adjust Crossfade & Gapless Playback Settings on Android and iOS Devices
- Open the Spotify App on your iOS or Android device.
- Tap the gear icon located in the top right of your screen to open ‘Settings’
- Scroll down and tap on ‘Playback’
- From here, you will be able to drag the slider along to adjust the crossfade from 0s all the way to 12s.
- Under this section, you will also be able to toggle ‘Gapless Playback’ on and off.
How to Adjust Crossfade & Gapless Playback Settings on Desktop
- Begin by opening the Spotify desktop app.
- Click on the downwards arrow and then select ‘Settings’
- Scroll down to the ‘Playback’ section.
- Here you will be able to toggle gapless playback on and off and also adjust the crossfade settings with the slider.
Please also read our easy solutions to Apple Music pausing after a few seconds!
Do you have to Set Up Gapless Playback or is it Automatic?
Unfortunately, as mentioned above, gapless playback is currently only available on Android devices and Mac operating systems. It is not available on Apple Music for iOS.
When an album is created with gapless playback, then the Android and Mac versions of Apple Music should support this automatically.
If you are an Android or Mac owner and you want more control over your playback, then you can always adjust the crossfade function on your Apple Music app.
To use the crossfade function with Apple Music for MacOS, simply follow these steps:
- Begin by launching Apple Music on your Mac desktop.
- Click on ‘Music’
- Next, navigate to ‘Playback’
- Finally, check the ‘Crossfade Songs’ option to enable it.
You can also adjust how much time it takes the songs to fade in and out by changing the number of seconds on the crossfade slider.
To use the crossfade function on Apple Music for Android, follow these steps instead:
- Begin by launching the Apple Music app on your Android device.
- In the top right corner of your screen, you will see 3 vertical dots. Tap on this symbol and choose ‘Settings’.
- Scroll down and locate ‘Audio’.
- Under this section, you will find the ‘Crossfade’ function.
- Ensure that this setting is set to ‘Automatic’ to enable it.
- To adjust the crossfade, simply move the slider along to the desired amount of time.