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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

iOS 8.4’s Music search still hasn’t found what I’m looking for

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

Music Search

Put this one in the “I don’t quite get it” column. I’m really not a fan of the search in iOS 8.4’s Music app. In particular, I don’t like the way it truncates the information it’s showing me.

Some of this is done as an attempt at better organization. Music search breaks down what it finds into a variety of categories: albums, artists, songs, composers, and compilations. But it only shows the top three results in each category. Often times that’ll find what you’re looking for–but a lot of times it won’t.

For example, search for a common word or phrase–or even a full song title–and if there are more than three hits, the rest will be buried away1. Even if it’s an exact match for what you’re looking for.

By way of example, I have more than a few songs with the word “rescue” in the title. A couple of which are actually just named “Rescue.” But when I search for that word, I get only the top three hits. None of which are the songs which just have that single word for a name. Even more maddening, I have no albums, artists, or anything else with the word “rescue” in it, meaning that there’s just a giant expanse of blank white screen below those three results–room that seems like it would be great for, I don’t know, displaying more search results.

Music results

This brings me to the second feature of Music’s search that’s poorly designed. You can look at the rest of the results for a given search term, if a) you realize that the “Songs >” header at the top is actually tappable and b) you manage to hit the tiny little tap target it presents, rather than one of the tracks displayed below it.

So, there are some improvements that could be made here, like intelligently displaying the results based on how many are found. For example, if the results for every other category are empty, then search might as well display all the songs it found and save me the tap.

Failing that, though it would take up more space, I also think having a more explicit link at the bottom of the truncated list–”See more results” or something like that–would go a long way toward making people realize that they can see all of what search found, and not just the top results. There could even be a separate “Top Results” section at the top that shows the first three results across categories, for example.

Search is an important feature and deserves a little more time and attention–especially when Siri is a little inconsistent about the results it returns.

  1. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I’m a big soundtrack fan, and I end up with a lot of tracks called “Main Title”, “End Credits”, “Finale”, and so on. 

[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Mastodon at or reach him by email at His latest novel, the supernatural detective story All Souls Lost, is out now.]

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