Apple Music and Beats 1 Launch with the Release of iOS 8.4

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Apple has today released iOS 8.4, bringing with it Apple’s new music streaming service and the usual "under the hood" fixes and enhancements.

The focus for this release has clearly been on making sure that everything is in place for the introduction of Apple Music and Beats 1. Consequently, we were not surprised to hear from Apple that it includes no accessibility-related changes or fixes.

What you will find in this update is a completely redesigned Music app. The layout and operation of this app has changed to accommodate the new music streaming service. It appears that Apple's Accessibility Team has worked hard to ensure that these changes do not negatively impact the usability of the app for VoiceOver users. What you will want to do, however, is to spend some time familiarizing yourself with the new interface and controls.

The areas of the Music app where you access and control Apple's new streaming service have not been available during the beta cycle, so we have not been able to test these for accessibility ahead of release. We shall update this post in due course with what we find. In the meantime, please do share your own experience of the accessibility of Apple Music.

One consequence of the changes to the Music app is that audiobooks have now been moved to the iBooks app. Again, this change appears to have been made with no detrimental accessibility effects, but here too we would appreciate your input.

We are relatively confident that the iOS 8.4 update should be a stable and painless experience for most people. It has spent several months in beta testing and is built upon the significant stability and performance improvements that came in iOS 8.3. However, as is the nature of these things, it is quite possible that new bugs may have been introduced and not detected during the beta cycle. So, if you do encounter any new bugs, please be sure to report them to Apple and to let us know about them in the comments.

iOS 8.4 is available via Over-the-Air Update (Settings > General > Software Update) or from iTunes on your Mac or PC.

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Submitted by Usman on Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Can anyone else confirm this? I discovered that existing iTunes radio stations still limit your skips to 7.

` I don't have the crash. . . it works for me every single time. Make sure u have enough free memory in case you are running out of it. And I do mean memory not disk space. Also do you have a large library/that could also be the culprit.

Take care.

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Are you subscribed to Apple Music? If you are not an Apple Music subscriber, your skips will be limited. I don't know the exact number, but unlimited skipping is only available for subscribers. That is my understanding.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Saturday, July 25, 2015

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

Is anyone else seeing this? 1. Launch the Music app. 2. Select and activfate the My Music tab in the lower left corner. This will give you a list of music in your library. Note there is no alphabetical Table Index along the right side of the screen. To make it appear: 3. Select the first song or album in your library, then swipe right until the alphabetical Table Index appears on the right. 4. Select the alphabetical Table Index control. 5. Swipe down two or three times to move through the alphabet.

The result? On my iPhone 5, I can move to B, but one more swipe down (to move to C) causes the Music app to crash, dumping me back to the home screen.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Saturday, July 25, 2015

Have you reported this to accessibility@apple.com so they can test it with and without voice over? Also call the accessibility hotline and explain to them the steps, demo it over the phone if at all possible.