Microsoft has issued a major update to the Xbox Music apps for Android and iOS (iPhone, iPad and iPod touch), adding support for OneDrive-based music and other new capabilities, and dropping the Xbox Music Pass requirement.
Today’s updates were somewhat unexpected: Microsoft had previously promised to add support for OneDrive-based music later in the year, and with the recent announcement about Xbox Music being rebranded to Groove this summer, I wasn’t expecting any changes until that happened. But these are pretty big app updates.
That said, they don’t address the central issue with Xbox Music/Groove on Android and iOS: these apps are still very limited compared to the same apps on Windows, Windows phones, the web, or even Xbox, and provide a strange playlists-based interface. (Though you can still access your collection easily enough, and browse it by artists, albums, songs and genres.) I am hoping/expecting that with the switchover to Groove, these apps will be updated to look and work more like they do on Windows phones in particular.
Anyway. Here’s what’s new.
OneDrive support. Described as a beta feature, you can now access music in your OneDrive as part of your collection.
Offline songs and albums. While previous versions of these apps only let you download music in playlists for offline use, you can now download individual songs and albums too.
No more Xbox Music Pass requirement. You no longer need Xbox Music Pass to use the app, though certain features still require it, as is the case elsewhere.
Music filtering. You can now filter your music to see just what’s available offline.
Offline playback is now supported for many new devices. On Android only, more devices now support offline playback.
Various bug fixes.