We all have the songs we have to sing along to—whether they pop up on the radio, a streaming playlist, or the Sonos speaker in the office bathroom, when that track hits your ears, you’re grabbing the imaginary mic. And now, if you have Apple Music, you actually have a free karaoke machine in your pocket at all times, thanks to Apple Music Sing.
Apple Music Sing is a new, free feature for Apple Music that works on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV 4K. With it, you can turn any compatible song into a karaoke moment. It builds off the popularity of the services’ real-time lyrics feature (which competing platforms like Spotify have also taken on), and makes Apple Music feel like a sing-a-long app for you and your friends.
Apple Music Sing turns your iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV into a karaoke machine
First, Apple has updated real-time lyrics to “dance to the rhythm of the vocals,” which is a fancy way of saying the app dynamically highlights each word as it’s sung. It’s a bit more helpful for following along than the previous real-time lyrics feature, which highlights a whole line at a time, but it’s really the smallest change here.
Sing also breaks up the lyrics for background vocals into their own animation, so you don’t get distracted trying to sing two simultaneous vocal streams at once. If you chose a song with multiple singers, lyrics for each singer appear on opposites sides of the display. So, in a duet, you don’t need to worry about singing the other person’s line.
What makes Apple Music Sing truly innovative is how it gives you the ability to adjust the volume of the vocals in your chosen song. You can choose whether to sing along with the original vocals or reduce them to focus on your own voice. You can’t completely eliminate the lead vocals, but you can quiet them a lot, which I think extends Apple Music Sing’s potential beyond karaoke. You can reduce the vocals on your favorite songs to better hear elements of the music previously obscured by the lead singer, for example. I’m currently having a blast listening to some go-to songs in a new light, paying more attention to the instrumentation and overall production than the lyrics.
That said, the feature isn’t intended as a music education tool, so it isn’t perfect. Whatever process Apple uses to isolate vocals does have an impact on the audio quality, with audible hiccups and glitches here and there. But it’s still a fun way to learn more about your fave tunes. And, of course, it excels at offering tracks to sing along to.
Apple says “millions” of songs in their library are compatible with the feature, and, as Gizmodo reports, “80% of its songs will be released at launch.” You’ll also find songs to sing along to in one of 50 unique Apple Music Sing playlists. While I’m finding a lot of songs work, Carly Rae Jepsen’s “The Loneliest Time” isn’t compatible. Blasphemy, Apple.
How to use Apple Music Sing on Your iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV 4K
Apple Music Sing isn’t available on all Apple devices, even those running the latest software versions, because of the computational power the feature requires. The following devices are compatible with Sing:
- iPhone 11 and later
- iPad Pro 11-inch (3rd generation and later)
- iPad Air (4th generation and later)
- iPad mini (6th generation)
- iPad (9th generation and later)
- Apple TV 4K (3rd generation)
The feature is not available on the Apple Music Voice plan (a bit ironic, Apple).
While you can try out Apple Music Sing today, you’ll need to install the latest beta of iOS 16.2, iPadOS 16.2, or tvOS 16.2 on your device. If you want to try out Sing, as well as the other features coming to these next versions of Apple’s software, right now, you can enroll your device in the Apple beta program. This latest beta is a release candidate, which means it is more stable than other types of beta software. However, there are still risks to installing early software on your device, including data loss, so keep that in mind before installing 16.2. Apple will publicly release the software update sometime later this month, so you can always wait to try it.
Once your device is running 16.2, choose a song to play on Apple Music. If it’s compatible with Sing, you’ll see a new microphone icon appear in the lyrics. Tap it, and it turns into a mini volume slider, which you use to adjust the volume of the main vocals. If you ever want to turn Sing off, slide the slider to the top, or tap it.