Music on the iPhone: iPod, Pandora, and More

While many cell phones come with the ability to play music, the iPhone does it like no other. Instead of being a phone that also plays music, it’s an electronic device that is both an MP3 player and a phone. Apple took its very successful iPod and added a phone to it. There may be other phones that emulate that now, but the iPhone does it so well, it’s easy to forget that it’s a phone too sometimes.

Because of this unique ability, there are several ways to listen to music. You’re not just tied into listening on the iPod app. There are other apps that do the same, but slightly different, as well as apps that play radio stations and Internet stations. There’s really no limit to what you can do musically with an iPhone.

The most recognizable is of course the iPod app. The iPod app makes your iPhone resemble one of Apple’s MP3 players. It organizes your music by playlists, artists, and songs. It also includes videos, audiobooks, and podcasts. Additionally, it also includes Genius Playlists. Pick a song and it creates a playlist it thinks fits around that song. It manages all this by syncing with iTunes.


There’s another app out there that does the same thing as an iPod, but utilizes a few key changes. Amp Music Player is a paid app, but is less than a song download at just $0.99. It, too, syncs with your iPod, but it does a little more as well. Clicking on a song in a playlist gives you the choice of playing all or playing just that song. Just like the iPod app, it plays along in the background while you’re on most other apps.


The best feature of Amp, though, is it’s Now Playing screen. It displays a few lines of lyrics if it can find it, and clicking on it will take you the full set of lyrics. It also includes concert information and that same song on YouTube. Also displayed on the Now Playing screen are tools to share the song and get more info, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Wikipedia. Additionally, you can change the look of the app with skins.

You don’t even have to personally own the music in iTunes to listen to what you want. The popular website, Pandora, also makes a free app for iPhones. As long as you don’t mind a few ads, it’s all entirely free. It allows you to set up your own stations with one song or artist as a guideline. Just make your choice, as it finds an endless music station that features music it deems similar.


Additionally, from the app, it will also introduce the artist and explain why it chose that song. It can be a fantastic way to find new music, as it allows you to give it a thumbs up or down, and after that, also bookmark it or buy it directly from iTunes. If you mark that you don’t like it, it will never play it again. It takes that mark into consideration as well, as it makes more suggestions.

The app is very similar to Pandora. It also duplicates a service found on a website. You can choose an artist or song, and it finds a previously created “radio station.” You can also choose to like or dislike a song, and get more information, although the information is a little more complete on Both apps sync up with the websites and also combine your stations together if you wish. has an additional benefit of allowing you to listen to “Neighbourhood Radio,” meaning the stations of others that the app deems most like yours.


Many regular radio stations have their own apps that you can install on your phone to listen to your favorites. Yet one app out there combines it all together. Pocket iTunes Includes radio stations from across the world. It lets you search through a favorite list, featured stations, by country, by genre, and by those local to you. It even includes scanner stations. It also has a web browser built in that comes in handy for searching up lyrics or other information, and can also connect you to iTunes to buy the song you’ve just enjoyed.


The music possibilities on an iPhone are limitless. It’s an iPod, but oh so much more. If there’s a certain music you’re interested in, it’s available. If there’s a certain way you like to listen to your music, that’s available to you as well. And while you’re listening to all your favorite music, don’t forget that it’s also a phone.

Laura Tucker
Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.

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