Alternatives to Music app

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Jessica Lares

macrumors G3
Original poster
Oct 31, 2009
9,254
761
Near Dallas, Texas, USA
Among the complaints of the new Music app is lots of talk of alternative apps. So I decided we should have a central thread where we list such apps, point to existing threads about them, and let people ask if they know of apps that have such and such features.

This list should only make up of music players that work similar to that of the stock Apple Music app as its core. So as a guideline - No streaming services, no standalone equalizers, no shufflers, and other quirky stuff.

If in doubt, feel free to private message me. Really, I'm just trying to make sure the post doesn't get flooded with irrelevant stuff that goes beyond our main issues which is playing/searching/organizing our music.

Here is the format you should use when adding to the list:

App Name (at size 5)
Developer
iTunes link to app
Price
In-App Purchases
Compatibility

Thanks.

P.S. Should you need it, Apple's report a problem/refund system can be found here: http://reportaproblem.apple.com. You can also contact support via email here: https://support.apple.com/contact

-----

* = Updated for iPhone X

Ecoute*
PixiApps
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ecoute-beautiful-music-player/id536882653?mt=8
Price: $0.99
In-App Purchases: No
Compatibility: iOS 8 or Later, Designed for iPhone and iPod Touch

Equalizer+ PRO
Pensberg System LP
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/equalizer-pro-volume-booster-and-sound-amplifier/id814287885?mt=8
Price: $3.99
In-App Purchases: No
Compatibility: iOS 8 or Later, Universal App

Cesium*
Mike Clay
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cesium-streamlined-music-player/id924491991?mt=8
Price: $1.99
In-App Purchases: No
Compatibility: iOS 11 or Later, Designed for iPhone and iPod Touch

Doppi*
Radu Dutzan
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/doppi/id1002899671?mt=8
Price: Free
In-App Purchases: No
Compatibility: iOS 10 or Later, Designed for iPhone and iPod Touch

Marvis Pro*
Aditya Rajveer
https://itunes.apple.com/app/id1447768809

Price: $3.99
In-App Purchases : Yes, $0.0 Dark Theme
Compatibility : iOS 11 or Later, Designed for iPhone and iPod Touch

Picky*
Charles Joseph
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/picky-filter-queue-browse/id497110916?mt=8
Price: $2.99
In-App Purchases: Yes, $1.99 Picky Deluxe
Compatibility: iOS 11 or Later, Universal App

Vox*
Coppertino Inc.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/vox-music-player-for-flac/id916215494?mt=8
Price: $3.99
In-App Purchases: Yes, radio and LOOP subscription
Compatibility: iOS 10 or Later, Designed for iPhone and iPod Touch
 
Last edited by Aditya Rajveer:

Cmd-Z

macrumors 6502
Nov 14, 2014
478
504
Coyote, CA
Thanks for starting this, I've tried Picky and it works fine, but I don't use it or any alternate player for this reason:

I have yet to find a 3rd party player that can apply song rating, such that the rating is synced from my device back to my iTunes library. I rate all my music to help steer the content of my playlists and what is synced to my devices, so being able new music is critical.

Do any of these allow you to rate songs? Or, is the song rating feature something that is sandboxed by Apple?
 
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doug in albq

Suspended
Oct 12, 2007
1,450
244
What about Eddy Cloud Music player pro?

I have not used it myself, but the app seems pretty cool.
 
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Each has their strengths.

Overall, Marvis is my hands-down favorite followed closely by Ecoute. Cesium's most unique feature I love is the ability to sort albums alphabetically or chronologically.

One not mentioned is CanOpener, which offers some cool features for widening or narrowing the stereo field. It also has a very nice interface. Unfortunately, unless I'm misremembering or something's changed, it doesn't support play counts/play history. For those of us who rely on smart playlists to manage large libraries that may be a deal-breaker. Still, the sonic customization is really cool.
 
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Arran

macrumors 601
Mar 7, 2008
4,431
2,962
Atlanta, USA
A bit off at a tangent, but the Apple Watch music app is a (retro) breath of fresh air.

It's like a teeny iPod circa 2005: Simple menus just like an old iPod (Now Playing, Artists, Albums, Songs, Playlists) No clutter. Just plays the music you have on your phone. Nothing else.

I find myself using it a lot.
 
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mistersandman

macrumors member
Sep 24, 2014
37
5
Do any of these offer the option of cross-fading rather than the dead silence between tracks? I know Spotify does but I'm avoiding Spotify for other reasons.
 
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Aditya Rajveer

macrumors regular
Jun 2, 2015
159
67
Gujarat, India
Thanks for starting this, I've tried Picky and it works fine, but I don't use it or any alternate player for this reason:

I have yet to find a 3rd party player that can apply song rating, such that the rating is synced from my device back to my iTunes library. I rate all my music to help steer the content of my playlists and what is synced to my devices, so being able new music is critical.

Do any of these allow you to rate songs? Or, is the song rating feature something that is sandboxed by Apple?
Marvis Allows Ratings, Just Like Stock Music App, from NowPlaying View. You can even rate items from the 'Get Info' Screen, no need to play it first. The rating is synced with Library so you can sync back with iTunes. Hope you like it.
 
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Traverse

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Mar 11, 2013
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Could you add which ones have iPad support. I can't access the App Store on my current network. :oops:
 
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Jessica Lares

macrumors G3
Original poster
Oct 31, 2009
9,254
761
Near Dallas, Texas, USA
What about Eddy Cloud Music player pro?

I have not used it myself, but the app seems pretty cool.
It pulls files from file storage services. I didn't want to bring an app like that into the discussion since people are mainly looking to play local files on their devices. I haven't tried it either, but there seems to be a lot of apps that work similar to it with fewer service support.

Do any of these offer the option of cross-fading rather than the dead silence between tracks? I know Spotify does but I'm avoiding Spotify for other reasons.
The only one I can think of is Splyce. I didn't list it because it forces you to setup a playlist to begin with, and it does weird things like change the pace of songs so it's a constant beat (you can turn that off though). It's cool, even has Phillips Hue integration for those who want to make their lighting move with their music, but it's very niche.

Could you add which ones have iPad support. I can't access the App Store on my current network. :oops:
Marvis and CanOpener are universal, CanOpener doesn't support landscape though.
 
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SD-B

macrumors 6502
Apr 1, 2009
399
14
Thank you for this list.

My hubby uses the iPhone and iPad as they are great for people new to computers, rather than Windows, Linux, etc. Everything has always been very user friendly for him.

Hes never been so frustrated by an app and he has absolutely no patience for as he has been by iTunes, specifically in this past week.
If it were up to me, I'd run VLC on it for him as he has no needs other than Stop, Play, Pause and the ability for me to load up playlists for him. He hasnt any interest in anything else but just hitting the button and it playing his music :)

So sorting though these to find the easiest player.
 
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Jessica Lares

macrumors G3
Original poster
Oct 31, 2009
9,254
761
Near Dallas, Texas, USA
Thank you for this list.

My hubby uses the iPhone and iPad as they are great for people new to computers, rather than Windows, Linux, etc. Everything has always been very user friendly for him.

Hes never been so frustrated by an app and he has absolutely no patience for as he has been by iTunes, specifically in this past week.
If it were up to me, I'd run VLC on it for him as he has no needs other than Stop, Play, Pause and the ability for me to load up playlists for him. He hasnt any interest in anything else but just hitting the button and it playing his music :)

So sorting though these to find the easiest player.
No problem!

You do know there's VLC for iOS, yes? It does handle music and you can just drag and drop it in there with iTunes File Sharing and wifi.
 
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Traverse

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Question about Ecoute (and any of these other alternatives): when you listen to songs with these apps and then sync to iTunes, will song play counts in iTunes update?
 
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Aditya Rajveer

macrumors regular
Jun 2, 2015
159
67
Gujarat, India
Question about Ecoute (and any of these other alternatives): when you listen to songs with these apps and then sync to iTunes, will song play counts in iTunes update?
An Easy way to Find out which Music App would Update the Play Counts or Last Played Dates is to Open control Centre when Music is played via that App, and if Stock music App opens, those would be synced.
 
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nanogirl21

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Sep 20, 2011
705
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Midwest United States
Speaking strictly in terms of what's most similar to iOS 6, I would say Cesium, which is very straightforward and has the aesthetic sensibility of iOS 6.
Do you have this app? If so, can you post some more photos of it? It's a paid app so don't want to get it if I know right off the bat that it's not what i'm looking for.

What I most liked from the older versions of the music app was when you click an artist name it took you to another view/page/screen/menu (sorry not sure what to call it) of just information for that artist. You were also able to see all songs from all albums without specifically clicking each album 1 by 1. These were not necessarily folders but I could scroll through and see all the songs and what album it is is. It really sucks if I know a song is by artist ABC but have to click back and forth through 10 albums to find that 1 song. Yes I could just search it, but I would like to do this from the artist information. I am not a fan of the "drop down" style when you click an artist name.
 
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Do you have this app? If so, can you post some more photos of it? It's a paid app so don't want to get it if I know right off the bat that it's not what i'm looking for.

What I most liked from the older versions of the music app was when you click an artist name it took you to another view/page/screen/menu (sorry not sure what to call it) of just information for that artist. You were also able to see all songs from all albums without specifically clicking each album 1 by 1. These were not necessarily folders but I could scroll through and see all the songs and what album it is is. It really sucks if I know a song is by artist ABC but have to click back and forth through 10 albums to find that 1 song. Yes I could just search it, but I would like to do this from the artist information. I am not a fan of the "drop down" style when you click an artist name.
If I understand you correctly then yes this app does that. I'm attaching a bunch of screenshots. Hopefully they help. Note that in the screenshots I had compilations turned on which is why there's a heading for in the album section. I have since shut that off. My favorite seemingly unique feature is that it allows you to choose whether to sort albums alphabetically, chronologically or reverse chronologically and that it does it through the end of the editable year tag not the release date tag.

Also, while this and Ecoute are two of my favorite music apps, Marvis is my current go-to and is the most customizable and feature-rich I could possibly imagine. The current version handles albums in the way you don't like it but another a new option is coming soon. It's also free so you can try it without risk.

Cesium screenshots:












FYI: Marvis and Cesium's developers are both members here and have dedicated threads (links in first post). I'm not affiliated with either. I also maintain my iPod on iOS 6 specifically because of the music app. The apps I'm suggesting are specifically for my iPhone 6.
 
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mijas1999

macrumors newbie
Aug 2, 2015
1
1
Greatly needed blog! I really hate the native IOS 8.4 app and use Spotify for streamed music. I really need a player that uses my playlists and artwork well. The IOS 5/6 used to give you almost fullscreen whilst playing, now most seem to take half the screen to show you the play/pause FF & rewind. Any you know of which combines looks with playlist functionality?
 
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Jessica Lares

macrumors G3
Original poster
Oct 31, 2009
9,254
761
Near Dallas, Texas, USA
Cesium was updated today:

Introduces a brand new, totally redesigned Up Next queue system:
• Gapless queueing on iOS 8.4, improved performance for 8.3 and below.
• New Play Next function.
• New listening history.
• Now compatible with shuffle. Tracks added to queue while shuffling are automatically mixed in, and no previously played songs will be repeated.

Introduces the new Mini-Player:
• View and control the currently playing track while browsing your library.
• Simply tap to go to Now Playing.

A bit of a facelift, plus lots of code optimization, stability improvements and bug fixes.
The new mini player is nice, but very hard to click on actually. At least on my iPod it is.
 
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Jessica Lares

macrumors G3
Original poster
Oct 31, 2009
9,254
761
Near Dallas, Texas, USA
Cesium was updated again today, now with shuffle by album :), and fixes to those Mini Player touch areas :D.

There's this other music player that's coming out shortly, probably in the next week or so, developer is making some final tweaks. I'll add it when it goes live in the store.
 
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KadirOrcun

macrumors newbie
Aug 15, 2015
18
5
Cesium was updated again today, now with shuffle by album :), and fixes to those Mini Player touch areas :D.

There's this other music player that's coming out shortly, probably in the next week or so, developer is making some final tweaks. I'll add it when it goes live in the store.
I just downloaded Cesium. It crashes a lot for me:(
 
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