Apple Music Classical plays a second chord – this time on Android

In just two months after its iOS debut, Apple Music Classical is now available for download on Android smartphones via the Google Play Store.

From the looks of it, it's pretty much the same thing as the iPhone version. You still have access to over five million classical ad-free tracks in “up to 192 kHz/24 bit Hi-Res Lossless” audio. There’s also thousands of recordings supporting spatial audio, the same specialized search engine to help users find music by composer or work (among other criteria), and the over 700 expertly curated playlists. Needless to say, the quality is still there. Apple isn’t holding back in delivering a great experience on Android.

What’s funny is the Android app has launched before Apple Music Classical released for iPads and Macs, but that’s probably because of what the service used to be several years ago. You see, back in 2021, the tech giant purchased classical music streaming platform Primephonic which was available on both Android and iOS. It shut down a few weeks later only for the streaming service to come back two years after as Apple Music Classical. So, in a roundabout way, you could say Primephonic is back on Android  –  just with a new identity. An optimized version for other Apple hardware has yet to be announced although it's probably just a matter of time.


You will, of course, need a subscription to Apple Music to gain access, and that can be either the Individual, Student, Family, or Apple One plan. Although not mentioned in the official listing, Apple Music Voice will probably not be supported since it requires users to have a Siri-compatible device like a HomePod. We should also mention the Android version is not available in China, Japan, Korea, Russia, and Taiwan, just like on iOS. People there will have to make do with the standard Apple Music platform.

Other online reports claim devices must be running Android 9 or later in order to support the app. If this is true, it means Apple Music Classical won't be exclusive to people running the latest patch, and it can be downloaded on phones running nearly five-year-old software, greatly increasing its availability. For comparison, iPhones must have iOS 15.4, which launched back in March 2022, before users can access Apple Music Classical.

We reached out to Google asking for clarification on the requirements for the platform and we even asked Apple itself about when people can expect to see the app on iPad or Mac. This story will be updated if we hear from either company at a later time.

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New, optional Home Screen redesign tool discovered in second iOS 16.2 beta

Evidence found within the second iOS 16.2 beta points to Apple working on further streamlining the user interface (UI) on iPhones and iPads via a new mode.

Called Custom Accessibility Mode, it was first discovered by 9to5 Mac. The second iOS 16.2 beta is currently available for download through the Apple Developer Program, but you can’t use the new mode at this time as it’s unavailable to users. This could mean the feature is far away from release or it’s something Apple is merely trying out. Either way, it’s a sign the company remains committed to working on accessibility features for its user base.

Simplified UI

The purpose of Custom Accessibility Mode, according to the report, is to make the iPhones and iPads more “user-friendly” for people who find their interfaces too complex. The mode could allow people to change the layout of the UI to either a Grid or List-style formation. Text and app icons can be made much larger on the Home Screen, plus it appears you can enable quick access to certain SOS features, like the Emergency Services Button. 

A password can be set up to stop other people who use the same device from changing the settings, according to 9to5 Mac. And tapping the side or Home button three times can enable and disable Custom Accessibility Mode.

Looking at the images of the mode in action, it drastically simplifies the design of apps and the Home Screen to focus on making things large. The lock screen turns into one big button with “Hold Down to Enter” in the center. Apps have massive icons that take up most of the screen and the bottom dock is gone. 

The official release notes don't detail the other features, only focusing on the fixes in the beta. For a preview of the other features, you have to go to Twitter where people are leaking them. A new Health widget will remind users to take their medication. New animations in the Music app resize the song image to indicate if it’s playing or paused.

In a recent Power On newsletter, Apple insider Mark Gurman said to expect the official release of iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 sometime in mid-December. There, users can their hands on the long-awaited Freeform app as well as the next rendition of Stage Manager. Gurman also hints at the release date of iOS 16.3 being within the first quarter of 2023. 

Accessibility is key

As mentioned earlier, Apple has been working on iPhone accessibility features for a while now. May 2021 saw the introduction of SignTime, a service allowing the hearing impaired to communicate using sign language through a web browser, and new background sounds for neurodiverse users. And earlier this year, we saw the first appearance of Door Detection to help low-vision users locate the entrance of a building.

But there’s one feature we’re eagerly waiting for: Emergency SOS via Satellite, a tool to get people in contact with emergency services if outside of cellular and Wi-Fi range. A recent Apple Support post indicates Emergency SOS is launching very soon. Be sure to read our coverage to learn more

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