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Apple clarifies that iOS 14.5 won’t let you permanently choose a new default music service

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Instead, Siri wants to better understand your music-listening preferences

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

iOS 14.5 is in beta right now, and the first beta appeared to have a long-awaited feature: it seemed you would be able to set Spotify and other music services as the default for Siri requests. But Apple has clarified with TechCrunch that the feature doesn’t actually work that way. Instead, selecting a music service for Siri requests is apparently intended to improve Siri’s smarts so that it can better know your audio-listening preferences.

In our testing of the first iOS 14.5 beta, when you would ask Siri to play a song, it would show a list of music services to play a song from. After you made your choice, Siri song requests would then play from the service you selected without requiring you to pick again. But you’re not actually picking a default service, TechCrunch reports.

“The feature is an attempt to help Siri to learn the listening apps you want to use for different types of audio content — not just music,” according to TechCrunch. “Perhaps you want to use Spotify to listen to music, but prefer to keep up with your podcasts in Apple Podcasts or some other third-party podcasts app. And you may want to listen to audiobooks in yet another app.” Apple’s assistant may even ask your preference again in future.

Apple also noted to TechCrunch that there’s no setting in iOS where you can set your music service default, unlike the options available for setting a default email service or browser. (We also observed this when we tested the feature with the first beta of iOS 14.5.) However, you can still ask that a song play from a specific service as part of your Siri request.

Apple still seems to be tweaking the feature, as it was dropped from the second beta before being reintroduced this week with the third. And because it is still in beta, there’s always the chance the feature could change ahead of the final release. Apple declined to comment if it would appear in the public version of iOS 14.5.

Update March 4th, 7:45PM ET: Apple declined to comment on if the feature would appear in the final version of iOS 14.5.