Apple Music Collaborative Playlists Aren’t Ready for iOS 17.2 | Here’s Why

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Earlier this fall, Apple teased us by adding Collaborative Playlists in Apple Music into the first iOS 17.2 beta, but sadly, it threw us a curveball when the feature vanished by the fourth beta and remained missing in action in the final iOS 17.2 release candidate.

It’s a good reminder never to get your hopes up that features appearing in a beta release will make it into the final version. This isn’t even the first time Apple has done this; iOS 11.3 betas famously included two promised features — AirPlay 2 and Messages in the Cloud — that didn’t make it into a public release until iOS 11.4. More recently, the company did a similar thing in iOS 16.2, debuting a new HomeKit architecture in the betas that it had to pull out and rework before finally releasing it a few months later in iOS 16.4.

Like iOS 17’s Collaborative Playlists in Apple Music, these were all features Apple had announced as part of those major iOS releases — iOS 11 and iOS 16, respectively — that clearly needed more time in the oven before they were ready for public consumption.

However, while the new HomeKit architecture had obvious problems in its initial beta rollout, Collaborative Playlists in Apple Music seemingly worked great for everyone who tested them in the betas. It’s not like the feature is ridden with bugs that Apple hasn’t had time to fix, but there may be something else going on here behind the scenes that’s just as important.

A Vector for Abuse and Spam?

Based on code found in the latest iOS 17.2 betas, the folks at 9to5Mac have a plausible theory that Apple wants to take some extra time to ensure that it won’t be opening the floodgates for this feature to be abused by bad actors.

After all, we’ve already seen how something as seemingly innocuous as iCloud Calendar has become rife with spam. It’s not hard to imagine how prankers, cybercriminals, and other miscreants could find a way to use Collaborative Playlists for a similar purpose.

According to what the code sleuths at 9to5Mac have found, it appears that Apple is still working on adding some extra controls to help avoid these issues.

Apple is still working on the feature and adding new precautions to cut down on these issues, including adding limits on how many “pending requests” a playlist owner can have.

Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

It’s unclear whether Apple had already been working on this or if Apple engineers discovered something during the iOS 17.2 beta cycle that made them realize the potential for spam and abuse needed to be addressed.

Either way, it seems Apple will miss its promised target of having Apple Music’s Collaborative Playlists available by the year’s end. The public release of iOS 17.2 is expected to land next week and is expected to be the last significant update of 2023. If Apple remains true to form, the first iOS 17.3 beta may arrive soon after iOS 17.2 comes out. Still, it’s highly unlikely we’ll even see a release candidate before late January — and there’s no certainty Collaborative Music playlists will make it back into that version either.

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