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Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

Wish List: Up Next for iOS

Note: This story has not been updated for several years.

Up Next

Despite the complaints–and there are no shortage of legitimate ones–over recent versions of Apple’s iTunes software, it introduced at least one feature that I’ve come to love: Up Next. It supplanted the old Party Shuffle/iTunes DJ feature, letting you choose songs for playback and reorder them, all on the fly.

As someone who tends not to create playlists, I love the ability to rely on shuffled playback and then insert songs as I go. I tend to be an associative listener, finding that a particular song reminds me of a different track. In the olden days of yore, long, long ago, that meant searching my iTunes library and selecting the next track, then remembering to hit play when the current song ended. Up Next did away with that bit of manual dexterity, and it’s been greatly appreciated.

But it’s not on iOS.

That aforementioned sleight of hand, selecting the next song you want to listen to, is even more annoying on an iOS device, since you can’t really “select” a song in the Music app–and it’s even more frustrating when the device an iPhone that you primarily keep in your pocket. The best alternative these days is to summon Siri when the current track finishes and then request the next track you want to hear. But I’d deeply love for Up Next on Apple’s mobile platforms too.

If the conversations I’ve had are any indication, the Music app on iOS isn’t particularly beloved. I don’t dislike it as much as many seem to, but nor do I find it particularly compelling–I use it because it’s what’s provided. Despite being part of the core functionality of the iPhone and the iPod before it, it hasn’t gotten a lot of attention in recent versions, outside of a graphical refresh for iOS 7/8.

So I’m hopeful that Up Next will make an appearance on iOS in the not too distant future. There are some third party apps that provide similar features, but given the low level at which Music is tied into the operating system, an Apple provided solution would be welcome.

[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at The latest novel in his Galactic Cold War series of sci-fi space adventures, The Nova Incident, is available now.]

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