Identify any song in an instant using Control Center [Pro tip]

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Identify a song with Control Center
And follow along with real-time lyrics.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Control Center Pro Tips WeekWe want to help you master Control Center, one of the most powerful and underutilized features on Apple devices. Cult of Mac’s Control Center Pro Tips series will show you how to make the most of this useful toolbox on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac.

When you’re listening to a song you dig, but you have no idea of its name or the artist who recorded it, you can use Control Center on your iPhone or iPad to identify the track in an instant.

It’s the simplest way to invoke Shazam, the powerful music-recognition tool built into iOS, aside from asking Siri to name that tune (which you probably don’t want to do in certain situations). We’ll show you how.

The ability to identify music was first baked into iOS 14.2 last fall following Apple’s acquisition of Shazam in 2017. There’s no need to install the Shazam app to use it, but you will need to enable it manually.

You can use music recognition to identify tunes playing around you, as well as music playing on your device itself. That makes it handy for identifying songs in TV shows and movies you’re watching on the go.

How to identify a song from Control Center

To get started, you’ll need to add the music recognition feature to Control Center by following these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app and tap Control Center.
  2. Tap the plus button alongside Music Recognition.

You’ll now find the music recognition button — which features the Shazam logo — in Control Center. When you want to identify a song, simply tap the button and give it a little time to work its magic.

When the feature returns a result, you’ll see a notification banner at the top of your screen. Tapping it will open Shazam if you have the app installed (or Safari if not) where you’ll find more information on the song.

Identify a song with Control Center
Tap the music recognition button and wait for it to work its magic.
Screenshot: Cult of Mac

Shazam will also show you song lyrics in real time as the track plays, and a short preview of the track. Apple Music subscribers can tap a button to play the full version of the song (assuming it is available on Apple Music).

Sadly, the same music recognition feature is not yet available on Mac or Apple Watch. Apple may feel it’s not as useful on macOS, but it would certainly be handy to have it baked into Control Center on watchOS.