How to Identify Music on iPhone or iPad

Apple released a software update for iPhones and iPads in their operating system that includes a built-in music recognition icon that can help you quickly identify a song that is playing.

Apple released a software update for iPhones and iPads in their operating system that includes a built-in music recognition app that can help you quickly identify a song that is playing.

It is one way Apple is using Shazam, which it acquired in 2018. Since it is built-in, you don’t need to have the Shazam app installed for this to work. All you do is add a button to the Control Center menu and then, when you hear a song you like and want to know who the artist is, you just tap the button.

This is for iPhone and iPad

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Setting Up Music Recognition

We need to check your software updates, enable Siri, and download/install the Shamaz app.

First, let’s check your software updates. Head to

Settings > General > Software Update

for the iOS or iPadOS 14.2 update (or higher) and update if necessary.

Next, head to the Apple Store to download/install the Shazam app. how the feature works. When you tell your iPhone to listen for a song, it uses its microphone to record the audio around you. That audio data is uploaded to a server and analyzed, matching it to a known song in a database.

Listen by Siri

Let’s examine another built-in feature that does not require the lastest software update; Siri. To enable Siri, go to

Settings > Siri & Search

and toggle on Listen for Hey Siri. You may also want to enable Press Side Button for Siri. Refer to below image:

Music 1
Enabling Siri

You can ask Siri what song is playing by saying something like “What’s that song?” or “What’s playing?”.

To activate Siri, long-press the Power button. Say “What’s that song?”. If you have Hey Siri set up, you can also say “Hey Siri, what’s that song?” without pressing any buttons.

Siri will pop up and say something like “Let me listen” or “Naming that tune.” Be sure your iPhone can hear the music properly. If you are in a noisy location or someone is talking loudly over the music, it might not hear the song well enough. If you have a problem, try moving your iPhone closer to the sound source playing the music, reducing noise in the area, or turning the volume up on the speaker playing the song. See below image where Siri is listening for a song:

Music A
Listening by Siri

If your device hears the song well enough, it will show you the song. If not, you will receive a message like “I can’t seem to recognize this song”.

Listen by Shazam in Control Center

As of the iOS and iPadOS 14.2 update, there is now a quick Control Center button you can use to start identifying a song. However, it is not enabled by default. Why; I do not know. Why does Apple want to hide this feature? But that is the reason for this post; to show you how to setup and use the Shazam built-in app.

First, head to Settings (the gear icon). See following image:

Music 2
Accessing Settings

Next, scroll down to Control Center. Refer to below image:

Music 3
Accessing Control Center option

Now, scroll down and tap the plus (+) sign to the left of the Music Recognition button to add the feature to the Control Center. If you do not see this option on the Settings screen, you have not updated your iPhone or iPad to 14.2 or higher yet. See below image:

Music 4
Enabling Music Recognition in Control Center

You can then drag it up or down in the list to rearrange the Control Center layout.

With the button added, you can now swipe down from the top-right corner of your device screen to open the Control Center. (On an older iPhone without a notch, you will have to swipe up from the bottom of the screen instead.)

Now, tap the button with the Shazam logo. The button will light up and pulse while it listens to the audio around you. Ensure your iPhone can hear the audio source properly. See following image:

Music 6
Listening by Shazam in Control Center

When the process is complete (it can take 10-15 seconds), you will see a “Music Recognition” notification banner showing you what song is playing. This notification appears along with all your other apps’ notifications in your notification center. If it can not identify a song in that period of time, you will see a notification saying a song was not detected.

Listen by the Shazam App

If you want more features, you will need a separate music recognition app on your device. The integrated music recognition features rely on Shazam, the music recognition app Apple purchased.

Shazam still has an app for your device that you can install, and it has more features. For example, the Shazam app supports Autp Shazam. In this mode, Shazma will stay in the background on your iPhone or iPad, listen to everything around you, and store a history of songs it’s heard. For example, let’s say you are at a party or ballroom dance competition and you love the playlist. You can enable Auto Shazma mode and your phone or tablet will automatically remember all the songs that was played. You can even keep using other apps on your device while Shazma listens.

To use this feature, install the Shazma app as mentioned in the beginning of this post. Now, launch it, and long-press the big Shazma button, to enable Auto Shazma mode. Refer to below image:

Music 7
Listening by Shazam app

Listen by Google

Although, not an Apple product, here is another music recognition method.

If a song you are trying to identify is trapped in your head and all you can remember is the song’s melody, there is still something you can do. With the Google app, you can hum or whistle a song’s tune to identify it.

  • Launch Google Search
  • Tap the microphone icon
  • Tap the Search A Song button

Now, start humming or whistling the song you are trying to identify. If Google can find similar matches, the results will appear labeled with match percentages. Tap More Results to see more possible matches. If Google does not find a match, you will receive a message saying so.

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