In short: “Play Next” and “Play Last” on Apple Music automatically disappear whenever you connect your phone into a speaker or car stereo via USB because it’s reading the device as an iPod, which doesn’t support editing the queue.
Many people, myself included, have noticed that the “Play Next” and “Play Last” buttons on Apple Music are missing and not showing. Here are a few reasons why.
Make sure a song is playing
Just to be clear, both the “Play Next” and “Play Last” buttons are actually NOT there. They’re both only there when something is already playing on Apple Music.
If you want to start off playing one song so you can add more behind it, you have to click the song, then manually erase each individual song that is on the album behind it.
Then, go add the songs you want to queue up.
Your car stereo is reading your phone as an iPod
If you don’t see the “Play Next and “Play Last” buttons on Apple Music, you’re probably using a wired USB connection in a car. Wired connections in older cars do not let you queue songs.
Most older cars use a version of the iPod Accessory Protocol that doesn’t support editing the queue. Basically, your car is seeing your iPhone as an iPad.
Newer car systems, on the other hand, support features such as seeing your queue on the head unit display and most importantly, adding songs to the queue from your iPhone and Siri.
This seems to be the case because I wasn’t able to see the “Play Next” and “Play Last” buttons when I turned on my older car stereo (not Bluetooth) and I had to use a USB connection.
However, I was able to on my Ford Sync 4 easily add songs to the queue on Apple Music, as well as seeing the music queue on the head unit display of my car.
If you absolutely need them and don’t want to unplug every time you manipulate the queue on Apple Music, you should use the AUX cable instead of the USB connection.
Or, you can also queue Apple Music using the swipe feature. When songs are represented as a list, swiping left to right reveals “Play Next” in purple and “Play Last” in orange.
However, if you’re adamant about using a USB connection, I recommend creating a special playlist on the Apple Music app for the car and just playing it once when you’re driving.
Your phone is connected to another player
I’ve also discovered that the “Play Next” and “Play Last” buttons on Apple Music are hidden automatically when your device is connected to another player.
For example, if you have your iPhone plugged into a speaker via USB, it’s reading the device as an iPod and doesn’t allow you to queue songs, just like the car stereo problem.
However, if you plug your iPhone into a speaker using a 3.5mm audio jack, it is just an audio output, which means Apple Music will allow the “Play Next” and Play Last” options.
I guess this is the same kind of old limitation in the iPod read standard.
You’re moving above a certain speed
If you’re using either Bluetooth or the AUX cable to play Apple Music in your car, but the “Play Next” and “Play Last” buttons are not showing, it’s because you’re moving at a fast speed.
The “Play Next” and “Play Last” buttons on Apple Music automatically disappear when the GPS determines you’re moving above a certain rate of speed.
In other words, it’s meant as a safety feature to discourage interaction while driving. Both the “Play Next” and “Play Last” buttons should return as soon as you’re parked or walking.
A friend of mine always has a hard time queueing songs on Apple Music, since he always charges his phone and uses the charging cable as an AUX in his Corolla.
The only bad thing about this safety feature is that Apple Music can’t tell when you’re just a passenger. I get the “safety” aspect but there should be a way to tell when you aren’t driving.
Adding a song to the queue after playing from the library (desktop)
Sometimes, the “Play Next” button is also missing on the desktop version of Apple Music. It appears in the three-dot menu for the album, but not for individual tracks from that album.
This problem is caused when you try to add a song from the Apple Music web interface to your queue after you initially started playing back from your own library.
It’s very annoying, I know, but the only solution that I’ve managed to find is adding an album to your library and adding it to your “Up Next” queue from there.
I hope Apple can fix this in the future because Spotify allows its users to add anything to their queue whether the song is a downloaded song or something that is streaming.
If you notice this behavior, reboot your Mac and make sure the software is up to date. Software updates patch serious security flaws in the system so it’s good to update anyway.