This isn't my music
April 22, 2014 2:40 PM   Subscribe

I normally listen to podcasts streamed from my iPhone 5 to my car over bluetooth or occasionally via USB. A few times, I've plugged in the phone only to have it start playing a random track, one which I have never downloaded and which (I have confirmed by searching on my phone and on a synced computer) is not in my iTunes music library. I don't think it's through iTunes radio, either, as the songs do not appear in my radio history and are unlikely to be generated by the stations I have developed. Where are these songs coming from??? This morning it was something by Of Montreal, if that's helpful.
posted by karbonokapi to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Is it possible that another music streaming app is starting up and playing these songs? Something like Pandora that streams from the cloud and is playing something based on things you like rather than things in your library?

This happens in my car when my bluetooth connects if the currently active app on my phone isn't the one I actually want to stream from. For example, sometimes I listen to things in my itunes library while at work but I prefer to listen to Pandora in my car. If the most recently active app is itunes, my car will play from that instead of Pandora as soon as bluetooth connects.
posted by joan_holloway at 2:57 PM on April 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

I suppose it's theoretically possible since I do have Pandora, but I pretty much only listen to the podcasts app and I'm certain that no streaming app (a) had been active since last listening to a podcast, or (b) was open at the time. Also, not songs that would be generated by Pandora based on what I've listened to before.
posted by karbonokapi at 3:03 PM on April 22, 2014

What's happening is that your car stereo is sending a "start playing" command to the phone over Bluetooth whenever you connect. Some app on your phone is responding to that request. Since it's an iPhone, you don't really have any way to find out what that app is.

This is fairly obnoxious behavior on the car stereo's part, but it seems to be nearly universal. Perhaps there's a way to disable it if you scour your car's owner's manual.

For those who are having the same problem on Android, there is an app called Media Button Router which can be used to explicitly specify the app to be used, to pop up a menu of media players, or to disable the behavior entirely. With an iPhone your best workaround is probably to use the headphone jack instead of Bluetooth.
posted by kindall at 3:20 PM on April 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

Shut down all apps on your phone (double click the home button and swipe each one up) and then plug your phone in. If it plays music, double click the home button again and it should show you what app is open, even if it is just Music.
posted by soelo at 3:28 PM on April 22, 2014

To verify, this only happens when you plug it in via USB and not when using Bluetooth, right?
posted by soelo at 3:29 PM on April 22, 2014

Soelo: I just did what you suggested and it played a track that was from my music library. Double-clicking the home button again revealed that no apps were open, not even Music. The same thing happened when I repeated the procedure using Bluetooth rather than the USB.
posted by karbonokapi at 3:41 PM on April 22, 2014

This is going out on a limb here, but could the stereo Bluetooth be talking to a device that is not your phone? Laptop? Tablet? Stranger's phone with unsecured Bluetooth that you happen to be passing in traffic?
posted by theweasel at 5:27 PM on April 22, 2014

I know this might be overly private to actually post here, but I think you need to look at the full list of all the apps you have installed and figure out if any of them even COULD be playing audio under any circumstances. It's kind of hard to identify what could possibly be misbehaving over the internet without any idea what you have installed. Although, yeah, if it's bluetooth, it could potentially be pairing with something that isn't your phone, which adds another layer of possibilities.
posted by Sequence at 6:44 PM on April 22, 2014

I am confident this is not a bluetooth pairing issue. For one thing, it happens over USB. Also, I can see which bluetooth/USB-connected device is active at any given time, and in these cases it is indeed my phone. I do not carry other bluetooth-enabled devices in the car.

The only apps it could be are Pandora, TuneIn Radio, Podcasts, or Music. It is not Podcasts. It is very unlikely to be Pandora or TuneIn Radio (wrong kind of music to be on any stations I've listened to, and TuneIn Radio requires several selections before it actually plays). I very strongly suspect I am somehow getting "phantom" tracks that don't belong to me in my library in Music.
posted by karbonokapi at 7:59 PM on April 22, 2014

Just as an ancdote, but my TuneIn radio will most definitely start playing on my car's radio over Bluetooth if it's the last app I used that would support a 'play now' type command. It would start on the last station played. I don't know if that's what's happening with you, but don't necessarily discount TuneIn because it requires user input to play, mine doesn't.
posted by cgg at 9:55 PM on April 22, 2014

Another anecdote: This happens all the time to my wife, and has happened on occasion to me. Double-clicking also reveals no apps open at the time. I've narrowed it down to synced tracks to Music or iTunes Radio. There does not seem to be any rhyme or reason as to why this happens.
posted by photovox at 7:03 AM on April 23, 2014

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