With iOS 14.5 or later on the iPhone, you can choose which music app is used to play your favorite music when using Siri. “Hey Siri, play some music” can use whatever audio app you prefer.
Apple has not gone so far as to allow you to set a default music player and replace the Music app bundled with iOS on the iPhone and iPad, but you can tell Siri to use a different music app from the default. For example, if you have the Spotify app on your iPhone, you could play music through it instead of through Apple Music. If you have TuneIn Radio, you could play a radio station through it instead of using the radio feature in the Apple Music app.
You can even tell Siri which audio app to use when you tell it (him/her) to play music. This is most useful to people who are not Apple Music subscribers because it lets you use third-party music and radio apps. However, even if you do subscribe to Apple Music, you can put free music players on your iPhone if you feel like a change from time to time.
It is great to have alternatives, so let’s take a look at how Siri copes with having multiple music players on the the iPhone. Some of these steps appear once only, such as the request for permissions. Subsequent use is smoother and Siri should learn your favorite player and eventually stop asking which one you want to use.
Hey Siri, play some music
If you have enabled the Hey Siri option, just say something like “Hey Siri, play some music by Pink Floyd” or whatever you like listening to. You can also press the side button to activate Siri and then just speak. Go to Settings > Siri & Search for these settings.
Choose the music app Siri should use
If you have multiple music apps installed, Siri will list them. I don’t know why it is asking if Books should be used, but the other apps are good suggestions. On my iPhone I get a choice of Apple Music, Spotify and TuneIn Radio. If you have different apps installed, your choices will be different to mine of course.
Grant permission for Siri
The first time you select an app to use, Siri will ask if it is OK to access the data for that app. I selected Spotify and there is a simple Yes/No option. Do not try No because that is likely to cause Siri to fail to play the music requested. Tap Yes.
Listen with your favorite app
Siri starts the selected app and issues instructions to enable it to play the requested music. In my case, Spotify begins playing Pink Floyd. This is brilliant. You do not need a Spotify subscription and this works fine with the free app.
Specify the music source
Siri learns your favorite music player, or more likely, just remembers the last one you use. This becomes the default music player if, and only if, you do not specify the app to use. It is the default app when you just say something general like “Hey Siri, play music by…” or tell it to play a specific album or track.
You can tell Siri to use a specific app by including the app name within the request, like “Hey Siri, play the radio on Apple Music.” In this case, Apple Music is selected, even if it is not the default.
Here is another example where the app is specified. “Hey Siri, play 80s music in TuneIn Radio.” As it is the first time the app has been used this way, Siri asks permission to access the app’s data. Once you say Yes, it will not ask again.
Here is TuneIn Radio playing a radio station, all started from a request to Siri to play the radio. This is a great feature and while it does not enable setting a true music player default, it is as good as. Siri will learn which app you want to use and then play music through it instead of Apple Music.
I can’t say whether this will work with every music player in the App Store and there may be one or two that it does not work with. However, it should work with the major music players. Try it and see.