If Pandora is your primary music app on your iPhone, you know it can be frustrating to use with Siri. The digital assistant always wants to use Apple Music instead, so you need to specify that you want to play through Pandora with almost every request. That’s now a thing of the past because Apple now allows you to set Pandora as your iPhone’s default music player.

When we say “default music player,” we’re talking about the player that Siri opens up and uses whenever you request music without identifying the app you want to play it on. Links to artists, albums, and songs online are coded to go right to their respective apps, so it won’t send an Apple Music link to Pandora. Also, files you play through the Files app or other cloud storage services will still use their respective bare-bones media players.

Now, before you go trying this out on your iPhone right now, know that this feature is new to iOS 14.5. The latest update will let you choose not only Pandora as the default player that Siri uses, but also Spotify, Deezer, YouTube Music, etc.

Currently, iOS 14.5 is in beta testing but should be released in the spring. Of course, a pre-release means it isn’t quite finished yet, which may be an understatement here. In our tests, we could only get this option up and running on the public beta, not the version for developers, and it wouldn’t always work right away or always remember the chosen default. So it’s definitely a work in progress.

Option 1: Ask Siri to Play Without Specifying Pandora

This might sound counterintuitive, but the first time you ask Siri to play a song after updating to iOS 14.5, you should see a new pop-up window featuring a list of all of your compatible audio apps. Tap “Pandora” to continue. If you don’t see Pandora here or the list never appears, try Option 2 below.

If you never enabled “Use with Ask Siri” before in the “Siri & Search” settings for Pandora, you will need to tap “Yes” on the prompt that reads “I’ll need to access your Pandora data to do this. Is that OK?” After that, Siri will treat Pandora as your default player.

Note: the list appears when asking Siri to play something for the first time after updating to iOS 14.5, but you may see it occasionally appear otherwise.

Option 2: Ask Siri to Play a Song from Pandora

This option might also seem counterintuitive since we’re trying to avoid specifying Pandora with every Siri request. Luckily, this will hopefully be your last time doing so. The first time you ask Siri to play a song, artist, or album through Pandora, it will remember and set Pandora as your default player.

Once again, if you didn’t enable the “Use with Ask Siri” setting in “Siri & Search” for Pandora, you’ll need to tap “Yes” on the pop-up that appears, asking for your permission for Siri to access Pandora data. If you didn’t see this prompt, you’re in the clear and ready to enjoy some tunes via Pandora.

Remember: This Feature Is in Beta Testing

We’re sure this will be an excellent feature, but it’s fairly buggy in its beta state. If you’re running the iOS 14.5 beta and set Pandora as your default player, don’t be surprised to occasionally see Siri divert back to Apple Music. You might also notice that list from Option 1 appear at random, even when Pandora should be the default option.

This feature is still so new that Apple doesn’t even have an option for it in Settings like you find when changing your default email client or web browser. That said, we’re sure Apple will continue to refine this feature as 14.5 continues development.

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Cover photo and GIFs by Jake Peterson/Gadget Hacks



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