Seeking simple album-oriented music player for my iPhone and iPad
November 16, 2015 11:16 AM   Subscribe

I like to listen to albums and playlists from my music collection on my iPhone. I don't need a streaming service, or radio, or recommendations, or social networks. I just want a simple user interface that lets me pick out an album (or maybe a playlist) and listen to it. Does such a thing exist for iOS? The built-in music app has gotten way too complicated, and does not work well for me or my family.

In the old days, I had a boom box in the kitchen with a couple of dozen CDs piled up around it. When I wanted to listen to music, I'd pop in a CD. When my kid wanted to listen to music, he'd pick out a CD (easily recognizable by the cover) and pop it in. Easy peasy, no searching, no getting lost, no need to navigate through multiple levels of junk I don't care about. Every once in a while I'd put away a few CDs and replace them with other CDs from my larger collection.

Now I have an iPhone and an iPad and all my music is in iTunes in the Cloud (or iTunes Match, or whatever it's called). That's great; all of my albums are available. But unfortunately, Apple decided that it wanted to push people into it's Apple Music service, and in the process they severely obfuscated the UI of the iOS Music app. I just want a simple app with a simple UI that will let me and my family listen to our albums.

Ideally the app would provide access to everything I have in my iOS music library. If need be, I'd consider an app with a nice simple UI that only worked with music I specifically loaded into it. Not ideal, but I could do it.

It would also be great -- but not required -- if the app had some option to say, "these are the two dozen albums I'm listening to the most right now. Make it easy to access these. Pile them up around the virtual boom box."

Does such a thing exist?
posted by alms to Technology (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Another nice-to-have feature: pretty album art displayed on the iPad propped up in the kitchen where the boom box used to be.
posted by alms at 11:21 AM on November 16, 2015

I'm a streaming guy (DI, Pandora, Spotify), so I have no direct experience to relate, but a quick google turned up:


Alternatives to Apple’s iOS Music app

The Best Music Players for iPhone and iPad

Hope this helps!
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 11:32 AM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

Cesium! (Note, I'm quoted on the app's home page, but it really is THAT GOOD.
posted by SansPoint at 1:10 PM on November 16, 2015 [3 favorites]

Reading your question, I immediately thought of this app:

I haven’t used it myself, but it sounds like more or less exactly what you want.
posted by Ryon at 8:11 PM on November 16, 2015

For what it's worth, you can turn off apple music in the iOS app (under settings-music), then when you open the iOS music app all you will see is a list of recently added albums at the top of the screen, then a scrolling column of all your artists underneath it. If you click on 'artists' you'll get a pop-up that will let you change it to a list of albums or other options instead, depending on how you prefer to organise things.
posted by modernnomad at 6:57 AM on November 17, 2015

Response by poster: Thank you, all these suggestions are great. Somehow my google fu was failing me. I think one of these will do the trick, but if anyone has other recommendations I'd still be happy to see more.

(As for turning off Apple Music --- yes, I've done that. The UI is still error prone and hard to navigate.)
posted by alms at 12:38 PM on November 17, 2015

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