This iOS 17 Apple Music feature is the only reason I updated my iPhone

Spotify envy, be gone! Crossfade and Collaborative Playlists promise to recharge your Apple Music streaming experience. Here's how to use them.
Written by Sabrina Ortiz, Editor
iOS 17 Crossfade feature
Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

On Monday, Apple finally dropped iOS 17, which the company first unveiled back in June at WWDC. The new software has several noteworthy features, including contact posters, live transcriptions of voicemails, a Facetime leave-a-message feature, Name Drop, and more.

However, only one feature convinced me to go through the hassle of updating my phone, and it was the new Crossfade feature for Apple Music. 

AlsoiOS 17: The most impactful new iPhone features are also the ones you'll notice the least

Although I've been a loyal Apple Music listener for years now, I have remained jealous of several features offered by rival Spotify.

Gradually, however, Apple has been bridging that gap and taking Spotify's most popular features -- such as Spotify Wrapped -- and offering comparable functionality on its own platform.

In iOS 17, Apple continues the effort by incorporating two of Spotify's signature features -- Crossfade and Collaborative Playlists (with the latter becoming available later this year). 

To learn what Crossfade and Collaborative Playlists can do for your Apple Music streaming experience and how to use them, read on. 


The sound break between a song ending and the next one starting is a vibe kill when listening to your favorite tunes. With iOS 17, users will have the opportunity to select a crossfade option that provides a smooth transition between songs that are playing. 

It almost provides the effect of a DJ mixing two songs together, helping bridge the awkward gap between music, and it is especially useful when you have the AUX in your car, at a party, or at any event. 

Also: How to use StandBy Mode on iOS 17 (and which iPhones support it)

To turn Crossfade on, all you have to do is go to Settings>Music>Crossfade where you then get to pick the number of seconds you want the transition to persist, ranging from one to 12 seconds. (See photo above.) Once it is turned on, the setting will apply automatically to everything you are listening to -- it really is that simple. 

Collaborative Playlists

Whether at concerts, parties, restaurants, or other venues, music is especially enjoyable when it's a shared experience. With iOS 17, later this year, users will be able to share their favorite music picks with others via Collaborative Playlists. 

Collaborative Playlists on Apple Music

This feature, which has been offered on Spotify since 2020, provides a fun activity for friends, families, and even coworkers and classmates. Collaborative Playlists are especially useful when you're selecting music for a specific mood or event, such as a party or a workout playlist. 

Also: The 5 best headphones for music in 2023

Unfortunately, users will have to wait until this feature makes its debut in an upcoming iOS 17‌ update later this year.

Other features now available for Apple Music

Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

Apple also unveiled some other new features coming to Apple Music that aren't necessarily a carbon copy of Spotify but which will elevate the platform.

Song Credits in Apple Music will let fans see a comprehensive list of all the contributors to their favorite songs. For example, listeners will be able to see who is playing each instrument and who produced, wrote, and engineered the songs, as seen in the GIF above. 

Also: How AI helped get my music on all the major streaming services

This is an important feature because it allows artists to get the recognition they need while also helping fans find the information they need without having to rely on other sites like Genius to find the information. 

Apple is also expanding the shared music experience through SharePlay, allowing all users in a car to join a listening session and cue up songs to be played next. 

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