Gapless playback on Apple Music means that there are no pauses between the end of a song and the beginning of the next song in a studio album with consecutive audio tracks.
Some studio albums, musical soundtracks, and live concert recordings are meant to be “gapless” which means there are no gaps between tracks inside the album.
With Apple Music gapless playback, you can listen to these special “gapless” albums without any pauses between tracks just the way the album was meant to be heard by the artist.
Keep in mind, however, that gapless playback is different from crossfade, which allows a song to fade in (gradually increase its volume) while the previous song is fading out.
In this article, let’s talk about the Apple Music gapless playback, including how to get it on your device as well as solving the issue whenever it’s not working.
Does Apple Music have gapless playback?
Apple Music supports gapless playback but it’s only available on iOS and macOS, not on Android. The feature might be available on Android in the future, but not yet as of right now.
How to get gapless playback on Apple Music?
Gapless playback happens automatically on Apple Music. Unlike Spotify, there isn’t a toggle you need to switch to enable gapless playback on the Apple Music platform.
Whenever you’re streaming a special “gapless” album, such as the second half of Abbey Road by The Beatles, Apple Music will automatically apply the gapless playback.
The Apple Music gapless playback isn’t a feature that you can turn on or off anytime you’d like. However, it’s only available on iOS and macOS devices, not on Android devices.
What to do if Apple Music gapless playback is not working
The truth is, the Apple Music gapless feature playback is often not working. Many people have complained about this issue, and we are sadly at the mercy of Apple.
Every couple of songs in a gapless album, I’ll get a moment of silence between tracks. It’s really annoying when the songs are supposed to flow smoothly into each other.
If you’re currently dealing with the same issue, here are a few workarounds I’ve discovered to solve the Apple Music gapless playback not working problem.
1. Wait for the next iOS update
If you’re a dedicated Apple Music user, you’re probably aware that the gapless playback feature has been broken on the platform many times over the last few years.
The most talked about issue with gapless playback has happened since iOS update 16.2, where there have been gaps between songs on albums that should transition seamlessly.
After the release of iOS 16.3, the gapless playback problem seemed to have been resolved, only to return with iOS 16.4, although the gaps are random and not after every song.
Then, some people said in the Apple forum that the iOS 16.5 solved the issue, only to return AGAIN with the iOS 16.6, making it difficult to trust software updates with iOS devices.
It’s baffling that Apple still hasn’t provided a robust gapless playback to Apple Music. One iOS update will fix the bug and then another one comes along and breaks it again.
Given how much the customers pay for Apple Music subscriptions, you’d hope that the developers could have found a solid fix by now and given it the attention it deserves.
The bottom line is that it’s important to keep your device’s software up to date. Not all bug fixes, like the gapless playback improvement, appear in the release notes, after all.
2. Disable Dolby Atmos
If you’re like me and you don’t like just sitting around waiting for the next software update, you can try disabling the entire Dolby Atmos settings to make sure gapless playback is working.
To disable Dolby Atmos, go to Settings and tap on Music. Under AUDIO, tap on Dolby Atmos. On the window that opens, choose Off instead of Automatic or Always On.
After a discussion with Apple Support, he told me to disable Dolby Atmos because, with Bluetooth, the Apple Music app tries to check Dolby Atmos support for every song.
And since my Bluetooth devices do not support Dolby Atmos, I’ve disabled it. The gaps have been better after that, and they were gone completely after the next iOS update.
So now, with every iOS update, I always keep Dolby Atmos disabled. The gapless albums on Apple Music now don’t have gaps anymore. Maybe you could give it a try.
3. Disable Bluetooth
Another thing you can try is to disable Bluetooth on your device. I can’t guarantee this will work for you, but for many people (myself included), it worked to restore gapless playback.
I noticed that whenever I have Apple Music streaming through a Bluetooth connection (from a phone or tablet), gapless playback works about 25% of the time, maybe less.
After doing my research, I’ve discovered that gapless playback over Bluetooth is NOT officially supported on Apple Music. You’re better off using wired equipment instead.
4. Close Apple Music from the background
If you’ve disabled Dolby Atmos and Bluetooth, but Apple Music gapless playback is still not working, one advice is to close the Apple Music app from the background.
As Apple states, the only time you should close an app is if it has become unresponsive. This means the app has frozen, isn’t working correctly, or otherwise can’t be used.
You can do this on the iPhone by navigating to all of your background apps, which can be done on the iPhone X and later by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.
On earlier iPhone models, you’ll need to double-press the Home button. From this screen, you can find the app that is not working properly, then swipe up on it to force it to close.
5. Reinstall the Apple Music app
One user in the Apple discussion forum has found an easy solution. You can try to remove the Apple Music app, then reinstall it from the App Store, and then re-import songs.
After the reinstallation, the Apple Music gapless playback has been restored and working properly. I’ve tried this solution on my iPhone 14 Pro and iPad 10th Gen.
For some people, they can tell when it’s changing tracks, but it’s much better and nothing like before. Try deleting all the music from my phone and then adding it back as well.