How to use Shazam on an iPhone

When Apple released iOS 14.2 in 2020, it introduced some landmark new emoji, like the “frustrated Italian hand gesture” and bubble tea. It also snuck in a very handy feature: the ability to add Shazam song identification to your iPhone Control Center. Best of all, you don’t even have to download the Shazam app to use it. With just a couple of easy steps, you can access this feature right from your lock screen.

Shazam is the song identification app that made all of us feel cool when we got our first smartphones. Suddenly, you could tell all of your friends what song was playing at the bar just by opening an app and sticking your phone in the air. In much more recent history, Apple acquired Shazam in 2018, making the app ad-free for everyone and eventually incorporating its eerily good song-identification feature right into iOS — you don’t even need to download the app to use it.

In fact, you don’t need to unlock your phone to access Shazam, which is very helpful when you’re scrambling to identify a song on the radio before it ends. It’ll even work for songs playing through your headphones. If you’re running iOS 14.2 or later, you can follow these steps to impress all of your friends and use Shazam from your lock screen:

Make sure Control Center is available on your lock screen:

  • Go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode (or Touch ID)
  • Scroll down to “Allow access when locked” and make sure that Control Center is toggled on

Check that Control Center is accessible from your lock screen.

Adding “Music Recognition” will put a Shazam icon in your Control Center.

Then add Shazam to your Control Center:

  • Go to Settings > Control Center
  • Scroll down to “More Controls” and tap the green plus icon next to Music Recognition to add it to the “Included Controls” list above
  • Change its position in the Control Center by moving it up or down the list (tap and hold the three bars to the right of the icon)

Now you’ll see a Shazam icon in the Control Center. To access it from your lock screen, swipe down from the top of the screen on a phone with Face ID, or swipe up from the bottom on a phone with Touch ID. Tap the Shazam icon to turn music recognition on — the icon will light up and pulse as it’s listening. You’ll see a notification in a few moments with the song and artist or a message that no result was found.

Tap the Shazam icon to start song identification.

A notification will pop up with the song title and artist if there’s a positive match.

You can also use Shazam via Siri, which is helpful if you don’t have your hands free, but it will blow your cover if you’re trying to act like you knew what song was playing. You’ll need to follow the steps above to make sure Siri is enabled on your lock screen if you want to use this feature without unlocking your phone. Otherwise, just say “Hey Siri, what song is playing?” or something to that effect. She’ll respond that she’s listening, and you’ll get a notification from Shazam when the song has been identified.

Downloading the Shazam app will enable more features, like an archive of the songs you’ve identified and the ability to capture audio while you’re offline and have the app ID the song when you’re back online. But if you’d like to avoid adding yet another app to your life, you can rest easy knowing that you can use Shazam’s very best feature right there within iOS.

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