Using Apple Music Playlists: How to Get Started


Apple Music is one of many modern streaming services that can help you create a playlist of your favorite tracks. Create one to get moving at the gym, one to relax on the beach, and one to focus and be more productive at work.

Explore how to create, populate, share, and discover Apple Music playlists. By the end, you’ll be a pro who can fully wield the power of Apple Music.

How to Create an Apple Music Playlist

The procedure for creating a playlist on Apple Music differs depending on whether you’re using a mobile device or computer.

On the iPhone, iPad, and other mobile devices, follow these steps to create a new playlist:

  1. Launch the Music app and tap on the Library tab.
  2. In the list of categories, choose Playlists.
  3. Tap New Playlist.
  4. Enter a name and an optional description for your new playlist.
  5. If you’d like, tap the Camera button to use a new photo or one from your library as the playlist’s cover artwork.
  6. Use the toggle labeled Show on My Profile and in Search to determine whether your playlist will be visible on your public Apple Music profile.
  7. Tap Add Music to browse the Apple Music catalog and search through your collection for songs and albums to add.
  8. When you’re finished, tap Done to save your playlist.

Here’s how to create a playlist in the Music app for Mac or iTunes for Windows:

  1. Launch the Music app and click File > New > Playlist (or use the keyboard shortcut Cmd + N).
  2. Give your playlist a name and hit the Enter key or click outside the text field.

How to Add Songs to an Apple Music Playlist

On an iPhone, iPad, or another mobile device, you can add songs using the following methods:

  • Find your playlist under Library > Playlists then tap Edit followed by Add Music. This allows you to keep adding tracks until you hit Done.
  • When browsing albums or tracks in other playlists, long-press on a track and choose Add to a Playlist.
  • From the Now Playing screen, tap the ellipsis () button. Then choose Add to a Playlist to add the current song.
  • Download the Shazam app, identify a song, then tap Add To and choose an Apple Music playlist.
  • Within a playlist, tap the ellipsis button and choose Add to a Playlist to add the entire contents of one playlist to another.

In Music for Mac or iTunes for Windows, there are several ways to populate your playlists:

  • While browsing albums and tracks, click and drag your song to the left-hand sidebar and release it over your chosen playlist.
  • While browsing albums and tracks, right-click on a song and choose Add to Playlist > [Playlist Name].
  • In the Now Playing area, hover over the track name. Then, click on the ellipsis () button and choose Add to Playlist > [Playlist Name].

How to Share Apple Music Playlists

To share a playlist on an iPhone, iPad, or other mobile platforms, follow these steps:

  1. Head to Library > Playlists and find your playlist.
  2. Long-press on the playlist to show the menu.
  3. Then, choose Share Playlist.
  4. Finally, choose how you’d like to share a link to your playlist.

Here’s how to share a playlist on Mac and Windows:

  1. Find your playlist in the sidebar on the Library tab, right-click on it then choose Share Playlist.
  2. When in the Library > Playlist view, scroll to the top and tap on the ellipsis () button then choose Share Playlist.

Both of these methods will generate a link that you can share freely via Messages, Facebook, AirDrop, and so on. There’s no way to revoke access to the URL at present, so if you want to stop sharing your playlist it’s best to duplicate it and delete the old one.

Listening to Playlists Together With SharePlay

You can also listen to a playlist with friends or family on Apple Music using SharePlay. Within a playlist, tap the ellipsis button and select SharePlay. Then, choose one or more contacts to start the SharePlay session with through a FaceTime audio or video call. Everyone on the call can edit the shared queue and control playback, so it’s not limited to just the playlist you started with.

How to Share Playlists on Your Public Apple Music Profile

It’s also possible to display playlists for followers to see on your public Apple Music profile.

  1. Go to the Listen Now tab and tap your user icon (or profile picture).
  2. Then, tap the button that displays your name and View Profile.
  3. Tap the Edit button.
  4. Select the playlists you’d like to make visible on your profile.
  5. Finally, tap Done to save your changes.

Can You Make Collaborative Apple Music Playlists?

Unfortunately, you can’t make collaborative playlists on Apple Music.

How to Subscribe to an Apple Music Playlist

To subscribe to a friend’s playlist, ask for a link via the sharing methods outlined above. These links will open in the Music app on iOS and macOS or in iTunes on Windows. To subscribe, open the playlist and tap the Add button to add it to your library, where it will receive automatic updates.

All playlists—including the ones you’ve created and the ones you subscribe to—appear in a single list under Library > Playlists on iOS and in the sidebar on desktop devices.

How to Discover New Playlists in Apple Music

Head to the Listen Now tab on any platform to see recommendations based on your listening habits. Many of these playlists are automatically generated based on what Apple Music thinks you like, including a Favorites Mix, a New Music Mix, and playlists based on the genres you listen to most.

These playlists will update regularly, as new music becomes available and your listening habits evolve. Also on this page, you’ll find some more generic (but curated) playlist recommendations, including Artist Spotlight Playlists and a list of new releases relevant to your library.

As detailed in our article on essential Apple Music tips, you can train Apple Music by using the Love and Dislike buttons hidden under the ellipsis () menu. If you Love or Dislike a suggested playlist, Apple Music will take this into account and adjust future suggestions based on your feedback.

Another way of finding similar music is to create a radio station based on a particular song. To do this, find the track you would like your playlist to be based on. Then, long-press on the track or tap the ellipsis () button and choose Create Station. This will automatically queue up similar music from your library and from the wider Apple Music library, helping you hear songs you love and discover new ones.

Don’t Forget to Search for Playlists, Too

Did you know Apple Music is curated by human beings? While there’s an emphasis on predictive suggestions based on listening habits, there’s also a team of curators updating and creating playlists for your listening pleasure.

To find something specific, simply search. Try searching for a genre, a band or producer, an album, or even a particular mood or activity. Scroll down in your results until you find the suggested playlists. Here are some good examples we’ve found:

How to Sort Your Apple Music Playlists

Once you get the hang of creating playlists and discovering new ones to add to your library from Apple Music and other creators, you might wind up with so many that it’s hard to find the one you want.

You can sort your playlists using the Music app on iOS and iPadOS. In your list of playlists, tap Sort and select the option you want. You can sort by date added, played, or updated. You can also sort alphabetically by title. Finally, you can sort by playlist type, which puts Apple Music curated playlists at the top, followed by your personalized Made for You playlists and, finally, those you created manually.

The macOS Music app automatically sorts playlists into Smart, Custom, and Apple Music categories.

Changing the Order of Tracks Within Your Playlists

In iOS 16 and later, you can also change the order of tracks in a playlist. This is also possible in the Music app on macOS in View > Sort By.

To sort the tracks within a playlist, tap the ellipsis button within a playlist and choose one of the following options:

  • Playlist Order: The order in which you created the playlists.
  • Title
  • Artist
  • Album
  • Release Date
  • Genre (macOS only)
  • Time (macOS only)

Explore Apple Music or Try Something Different

You’ve made it to the end of this introduction to Apple Music! If you’re new to Apple Music this should help you get started creating, sharing, and discovering playlists. And if you’re an Apple Music veteran, perhaps the recommended playlists will bring you some joy.

Apple Music is only one of a number of high-profile music streaming services, all of which have pros and cons. If you don’t own solely Apple gadgets and are wondering whether to give another streaming service a try, feel free to check out Spotify or Google Play Music.

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