In short: Disabling the Dolby Atmos and Lossless Audio feature solves the issue of Apple Music stops playing and keeps pausing. It’s a known bug on the Apple Music app.
Many people seem to have an ongoing issue where songs stop playing in Apple Music after a few seconds randomly (anywhere from 5 to 30 seconds in). No sound is coming out.
I’ve personally experienced Apple Music stopping and pausing on me multiple times, so I’ve decided to find out why this happens. Here are a few reasons why along with the solutions.
Unstable internet connection
Often, this issue is typically related to your internet connectivity. There are many directions to go from here, but it would be difficult to troubleshoot without further information.
If you are using cellular data and not Wi-Fi, you should verify the signal quality and strength. If the issue is your Wi-Fi connection, resetting network settings will likely help.
Tap Settings > General > Transfer or Reset > Reset > Reset Network Settings. If you’re using iOS or iPadOS 14 or earlier, tap Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings.
Please note when you do this, it will erase your known Wi-Fi network passwords. I recommend doing this every other month especially if you have connectivity issues often.
Now try another streaming service such as YouTube to verify if it works or not. If another app works but Apple Music still stops and pauses, it’s not the internet to blame.
A bug in the Apple Music app
Whenever Apple Music stops playing and keeps pausing, I’d often consider it a bug. The app is notorious for having short-lived errors and temporary malfunctions in the system.
The first thing you should do is close the Apple Music app, then open it back up. You might think doing this is redundant, but it’s like unplugging a computer and plugging it back in.
If Apple Music is still stopping and pausing, you may need to restart your device. And if restarting your device doesn’t work, then you may need to force a restart.
Surprisingly, many Apple Music users no longer experience stops and pauses after restarting their devices. Do these things first, and maybe, there are no more problems.
The Apple Music app is not up to date
If Apple Music stops playing and keeps pausing, it could be that the app is not up to date. When was the last time you updated the app? Chances are, there is a new update available.
There was a time when Apple Music was very sporadic for a whole week. It will just stop playing music, for no reason. Often, it will show that it’s playing, but it’s not actually playing.
For some people, Apple Music just stops playing at the end of random songs. If the user presses play, the song will play again, but the music will stop again at the end of the song.
Moreover, it will not move on to the next one and the user has to move to the next song manually. The “stuck song” is completely random and happens on all devices.
I turned my phone on and off and searched for an update for the Apple Music app.
As it turned out, there was a new update available which I downloaded and installed, and immediately, it fixed all of my playback issues. I haven’t had any songs stop playing since.
If you’re wondering why Apple Music stops playing and keeps pausing, the first thing you should do is restart your phone and search for an update. Maybe, all you need is to update the app.
Your iOS version is not up to date
If a restart and an app update don’t solve the issue, check your iOS version.
Is your iOS version actually up to date? Believe it or not, older iOS versions are often peppered with bugs and glitches that cause issues on apps like Apple Music.
Software updates offer many upgrades, new features, and bug fixes. So, if Apple Music is skipping songs due to a bug then updating your iOS version should help.
To check for updates on your device, open Settings and go to General. Then tap on Software Update. After updating your iOS version, give Apple Music another try.
Your AirPods (Automatic Ear Detection) is stopping the music
Are you listening to Apple Music using a pair of AirPods or AirPods Pro? If so, the built-in Automatic Ear Detection may be stopping the music without you realizing it.
By default, the Automatic Ear Detection feature is turned on, which means that your AirPods sense when they’re in your ear and receive the audio from your device.
When you remove one of your AirPods, they pause and resume playback. But when you remove both of them, they would stop playback entirely and won’t resume the music.
If your Apple Music keeps pausing and stops playing when you’re wearing your AirPods, there could be a glitch in the auto-detection feature. I suggest you turn it off.
On an iOS device (iPhone or iPad), launch the Settings app and tap Bluetooth. Find your AirPods in the list of devices and tap the information (i) icon.
Toggle the Automatic Ear Detection off.
On a Mac computer, go to System Settings or System Preferences and select Bluetooth. Find your AirPods in the list of devices and tap the information (i) icon.
Toggle the Automatic Ear Detection off.
I was in an airplane once minding my own business while listening to Apple Music but it keeps stopping and pausing. It turned out that my AirPods ear detection feature was having a glitch.
After turning off the ear detection feature, I plugged in my wired headset and was able to listen to Apple Music without interruption. This means my AirPods have been messing with the music.
Dolby Atmos and Lossless Audio is stopping the music
There is a known bug in the Apple Music app. Whenever you download the Dolby Atmos version of a song, it won’t play properly and stops somewhere between 5 to 30 seconds.
Since the launch of Dolby Atmos, Lossless Audio, and Spatial Audio, many people have noticed that Apple Music keeps pausing at exactly 15 seconds.
To fix this, you need to turn off Dolby Atmos and Lossless Audio. Here’s how:
- Open Settings on your iPhone.
- Scroll down and tap Music.
- Tap on Audio Quality
- Turn off Lossless Audio, then go back to the previous menu.
- Under Audio, tap Dolby Atmos.
- Switch it Off.
Restart your iPhone and try playing your songs again. By turning off Dolby Atmos and Lossless Audio, you command Apple Music to play the stereo version of songs, which do not have bugs.
There was a time when Apple Music always paused for exactly 15 seconds. After many trials and errors, I discovered that it was due to Dolby Atmos and Lossless Audio.
After I disabled both Dolby Atmos and Lossless Audio, it worked like a charm. I just needed to download my whole library again, which was quite annoying, to say the least.
Your offline downloads need a cleanup
If you’re like me and you want to listen to Apple Music offline, you’ll need to disable the “Download in Dolby Atmos” toggle and redownload your entire library.
Re-downloading the files themselves onto my phone seems to do the trick as this will replace all the Dolby Atmos and/or lossless versions with the original, stereo versions.
I’m not an expert on lossless audio formats, but if I were to make an educated guess, I’d say the trouble came from when I did a mass download of music when lossless first showed up.
Apple purposefully makes it unintuitive to download your entire library with one button, and there were definitely some hiccups during that large, bulk download.
Small, short downloads don’t seem to freak out the iOS file system and go much more smoothly. So, if Apple Music stops playing and keeps pausing, redownload your music files.
The official Apple method for removing downloads requires you to select songs and delete them one by one, but there is a way to delete all of your songs from your iPhone in bulk:
- Open the Settings on your iPhone.
- Tap General.
- Tap on iPhone Storage.
- Tap on Music.
- Click Edit.
- Click the minus (-) symbol next to All Songs.
You can choose to delete all songs. This method is the fastest way to quickly remove downloaded music and free up space on your iPhone in less than a minute.
Before you redownload songs, make sure to turn off “Download in Dolby Atmos”. To do this, go back to the Music menu, scroll down, and switch the “Download in Dolby Atmos” off.
Now, you can download the original version of the songs on Apple Music. This should solve the problem of downloaded songs not playing beyond 15 seconds on Apple Music.
The entire settings of your device need a reset
If redownloading the songs does not help, reset all the settings on your iPhone. It is a great way to eliminate bugs and restore your iPhone if an app does not work properly.
- Open the Settings app.
- Scroll down and tap General.
- Scroll down and tap Reset.
- Choose “Reset All Settings”.
Don’t worry, resetting all settings does not erase any data from your iPhone.
It basically just resets all of your iPhone’s settings back to default. This includes network settings, the keyboard dictionary, location settings, privacy settings, and Apple Pay cards.
After resetting your settings, restart your iPhone. Then, sign back into your Apple Music app with your Apple ID and try listening to songs offline. The issue should now be resolved.
Your device needs a “force restart”
The last thing you want to do is to force restart your iPhone. A force restart works best when your iPhone isn’t responding and is a great way to eliminate bugs from certain apps.
- Press and quickly release the volume up button.
- Press and quickly release the volume down button.
- Press and hold the side button.
- When the Apple logo appears, release the side button.
Often, a force restart can solve unexpected issues from Apple Music. Once you have completed the force restart, run the Apple Music app, and your songs should play beyond 15 seconds.
It should also fix the Apple Music “stops playing” and “keeps pausing” problem.
Another app is interfering with Apple Music
Often, there are many things you can’t explain. For example, a friend of mine experiences random pausing on Apple Music every time he exits the Amazon app.
It’s weird and there’s simply no explanation.
Some apps that are made for media consumption (music or videos) simply don’t allow media playback on another app. So when a new app starts playing, the previous one has to stop.
For example, when you’re listening to Apple Music and you decide to open the Reddit app, the song stops. It’s not Apple Music’s fault, the Reddit app simply doesn’t allow media playback.
Using Apple Maps, for example, can also interrupt your music if you’re using live navigation with Siri. If you’re getting directions, Apple Music might pause until Siri is finished talking.
If you feel like Apple Music keeps stopping when you open another app, I’ve written an extensive article talking about the issue. Give it a read if you’re interested.
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