How to Identify Any Song Using Your Phone

Music is everywhere. You can be in a taxi or a café or sit on your couch when a new song finds its way to your head and takes up residence. But the sweet joy of discovering a fresh favorite can get bitter in an instant when you can not name that tune. Fortunately, you can get help. How to use your smartphone to identify a song.

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Google Assistant (Android or iPhone)
Photo: Simon Hill

Google has been offering some form of song recognition for years now, but it has improved significantly over time. Even if the song you want is no longer playing, you can try humming or singing it. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Say “Hey Google” on an Android device, or press and hold the Home button. Open the Google app on an iPhone and press the microphone button.
  2. Ask, “What is this song?”
  3. If the song is playing, Google Assistant names it and gives you a YouTube link. You can also hum, whistle or sing the song, and Google suggests possible matches.

Unfortunately, this does not work on Wear OS smartwatches, but you can try Shazam (see below) to get song recognition on your wrist.

Siri (iPhone)

You can use Siri to identify a song on most Apple devices, including the Apple Watch, but this must be the original version. It does not recognize your hum or song.

  1. Say “Hey Siri”, or long press the power button on an iPhone or the digital crown on an Apple Watch.
  2. Ask, “What is this song?”
  3. If the song is playing, Siri names it and gives you an Apple Music link.

Shazam (Android or iPhone)

Photo: Simon Hill

Shazam was the original music recognition service and it offers handy extras like synced lyrics, links to some of the best music streaming services and easy sharing on social media. Apple bought Shazam in 2018, but the app is still available for Android as well as iOS. It also works on many of our choices for the best smartwatches.

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