The next big iOS 14 point release is shaping up to be pretty exciting, with 217 new emojis, mask-aware Face ID unlocking, default music services, and even traffic incident reporting, but it looks like that’s not all that’s coming, as the second beta of iOS 14.5 just introduced yet another new Apple Music feature that will allow users to share not just their favourite songs, but their favourite lyrics right as they’re listening.
The new feature, which is one of the few that wasn’t already in the first iOS 14.5 beta released earlier this month, was first discovered by Federico Viticci of MacStories, who noted that users can now share selected lyrics right from their real-time feed via Instagram Stories and iMessage, which apparently even includes a link in the iMessage card that will play that specific segment of the song.
While the standard iOS Share Sheet is used for this feature, the sharing options themselves are limited to only Messages, Facebook, and Instagram, however as of right now the Facebook option doesn’t appear to be functional — it prepares a Facebook Story, but then simply opens the Facebook app with a banner that says something was pasted from Music, but it doesn’t actually result in anything being posted.
However, the other two options appear to work just fine, with the Instagram Story providing an image of a card and a link to listen to the song in Apple Music, while the Messages app offers an interactive iMessage card with a play button to listen to the song.
As Viticci notes, this will play the specific part of the song, however it does require the recipient to also be running the second iOS 14.5 beta or later; iOS 14.4 users will see an older-style music card with a play button that will simply play the whole song, although the selected lyrics will still be shown in place of the album artwork.
How to Share Lyrics from Apple Music
With the second public beta of iOS 14.5 now available, you can try this for yourself by installing the public beta on your iPhone or iPad, and then simply accessing it from the normal lyrics screen while listening to a song. Here’s how:
- Confirm that you’re running iOS 14.5 build 18E5154f by opening the Settings app, tapping General, then About, and then tapping on Software Version to see the actual build number.
- Open the Music app.
- Start playing a song.
- Tap on the song name near the bottom of the screen to open the Now Playing screen.
- Tap on the Lyrics button in the bottom-left corner to open the lyrics view.
- If the lyrics button isn’t available, or the song simply displays plain text lyrics, rather than large “teleprompter-style” lyrics, the song doesn’t have live lyrics, and you won’t be able to share them. Return to step 3 and select a different song.
- Once you see live lyrics, long-press on any lyric that you want to share. A sharing screen will open with the current line selected.
- On this next screen, tap to select additional lines that you want to share. You can also tap on individual lines to deselect them, including the original lyric if you’d prefer to share a different section of the song. Note that your selections must be contiguous.
- There’s also a maximum limit of 150 characters. A counter at the top will show you how many you currently have selected. If you go over the limit, you’ll be asked whether you want to replace the previous selection.
- From the share sheet, tap a messages recipient or iMessage, Facebook, or Instagram to share the selected lyrics using the appropriate service.
- Alternatively, you can still share the entire song in the usual manner by tapping Share Song from the action menu. This will switch you to the standard share sheet where you can share the link in other ways as well.
At this point, it’s unclear if recipients who don’t have an Apple Music subscription will be able to listen to the snippet, although since non-subscribers can already listen to shorter previews from Apple Music links, it seems likely that this could also be extended to non-subscribers, since most clips should only be a few seconds in length.
At this point, the Messages app on macOS Big Sur doesn’t yet support the playback feature, even in the corresponding 11.3 beta, and in fact clicking on the song card will attempt to open the song link in Safari — unsuccessfully, we should add — rather than directing you to the macOS Music app. We’re hoping this will be addressed in a future macOS 11.3 beta.