Use the Album Cover Art View by Rotating the Music App in iOS 7

Nov 20, 2013 - 22 Comments

Album cover art Music player in iOS

iOS 7 brought with it a new way to interact with the music app and your music collection, with a gorgeous gesture-based interactive album art cover view. This replaces the old Cover Flow view that used to existed in prior versions of Music app on the iPhone and iPod touch, but accessing it remains the same by rotating the device into the horizontal landscape orientation, so fill in missing album covers and try it out:

  • Open the Music app, and go to either “Album” view or “Songs” view
  • Rotate the iPhone / iPod to the side 90 degrees into horizontal mode

Now you’ll be in the album cover view, which may not look interactive at first glance, but you can swipe left and right to navigate around the music collection and see what’s available. See an album you want to check the song list for? Just tap on the respective albums cover artwork to bring up that albums song list, where you are able to play and pause songs, and skip forward or back.

Album Cover view music player in iOS

Using a pinch or spread gesture to zoom in and out will show either more or less album covers on a single screen.

Is the album cover viewer not working for you? It’s probably due to orientation lock being enabled, so flip open Control Center to toggle it off quickly and try again.

Access the album art music player in iOS

If this album art view looks familiar to some Mac users, it’s probably because the iTunes screen saver in OS X displays a nearly identical album cover view, that also happens to be interactive in a very similar way, allowing you to select albums and play songs directly from that screen. Whether or not that’s where the iOS Music app got the inspiration, who knows, but it’s nice to have congruency between the platforms.

The album cover player looks best when you have as much album art filled in as possible, you can have iTunes get artwork for you on the desktop and then sync it over to your iOS device, or you can just do a Google Image search for the hard to find covers that aren’t on Apple’s servers, but you’ll still need to sync from the desktop to the iPhone / iPod touch. This may work on the iPad with iOS 7 too, but I haven’t tested that yet.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, Tips & Tricks

22 Comments

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  1. John says:

    Thanks for the write up. I also really appreciate your posts and have learned a lot!
    Now for my opinion…
    I hate the new album cover landscape view. I have tons of albums, maybe 8000ish. This makes the view worthless. It defaults to the first album and I don’t see any type search or index to quickly jump to an album.
    This thing needs filters, search and other things.
    Only a pretty screen for now.
    Now I’ll go back to being quiet.

  2. jim says:

    Don’t forget to pinch the screen too for wider/narrower views

  3. Andrew says:

    Also if you rotate the device to horizontal and quickly back to vertical, with a little luck with the timing you can get a functional vertical coverflow.

  4. Latin says:

    Why it doesn’t work on iPad mini??

  5. Skip Anderson says:

    I hate it. When I am listening to an audiobook, this crummy view comes up and sometimes is difficult to get rid of. Please add an ability to turn this off as a configuration item.

  6. Reesy says:

    I hate it too. Audiobooks have become very difficult to control. Luckily I have an old 3G phone – infinitely superior to ios7. This type of gimmick is for children.

  7. Dale says:

    This thing ticks me off constantly. I have Bluetooth connectivity to my stereo in the car. I set the phone in the passenger seat while driving and every time I go to pick it up to switch tracks, it is stuck in this view. Then I end up looking like an idiot driving down the road flipping my phone in all directions to get rid of it. Not the safest thing to be doing while driving. I need to be able to switch tracks quick and set it back down. For now I have the screen locked, but that sucks too because now I have to turn it off and on all the time if I want to use landscape for another function. A perfect example would be to read forums like this one easier on my phone.

  8. Bill Andersoot says:

    Horrible. I hate that the albums don’t appear to be sorted in any meaningful way, and I’m forced to just dig around in a sort of visual Shuffle mode, look for what I want. And I especially hate that now, when I try to watch a music video in landscape mode, I get stupid album art instead of full-screen video. If this is the best Apple’s designers and developers can come up with without Steve Jobs around to supervise them, Apple is doomed. Jony Ive was a genius when Jobs was alive. He’s not looking as brilliant now that Jobs is gone.

  9. Bob says:

    Yes this view sucks for the reason stated above … Wish apple would give us a way to disable it at the app level (lock rotation at the os level is not an acceptable solution).

  10. Colin uk says:

    I was not sure why the phone showed a completely different song to the one I was playing and I have worked out it was because of this landscape view

    Once I have chosen a song or piece of music to listen to I just want controls for that song or piece of music, not other ones

  11. Michael King says:

    Why don’t they just have the option to make the video go to landscape view i could care less about the album art i want the video to play in landscape mode does anyone have a suggestion.

  12. Casey says:

    This view is really jarring and annoying. I have to turn on screen rotation lock when going for a run and retaining the ability to use basic now playing controls.

    Not sure why rotating the screen should completely change the “mode” of the ui. It should just redraw the layout.

  13. Howard Green says:

    I hate this feature too, drives me nuts in gym and in car. If anyone knows how to kill it, please let me know!!

  14. Rob says:

    Can someone tell me the added value of this feature?
    I’d describe this “feature” as more as a massive bug; so when I use my iphone horizontally the music player controls are completely disabled when rotated? That’s a feature?
    I now have to resort to leaving the rotation lock on all because most of the time I place my iphone down flat it now enables this completely pointless and useless feature.
    I find it hard to see how anyone can find this useful!

  15. George says:

    This sucks. It is another feature from Apple that I don’t want. Why am I disliking the Apple updates more and more?

  16. Ray says:

    Im this drives me crazy and I am constantly battlement with this feature. It’s the worst part about my phone.

  17. Sarah says:

    I am so glad I have found a place in the internet to commiserate with people who hate this feature as much as I do. I find it useless and annoying, and I usually have to just close out my music app altogether to get rid of it. I’m gonna vote no on carrying this feature into the next update.

  18. Marshall says:

    I agree, the album cover view is totally worthless and annoying. Glad to hear that others feel the same way. I kept thinking that was missing something that made it wonderful. I have also had issues that forced me to close and reopen the. App.

  19. Kevin says:

    Cover flow was annoying, but the “upgrade” to cover view is much more annoying and also totally useless and intrusive. The fact that apple’s sloppy programing occasionally locks the phone into this mode just makes it even worse.

  20. Jonathan says:

    I have been hating this bug for years – one of the little things about my iPhone that makes me look to a wider options next time I upgrade. What’s the UI like on the Galaxy S5?

  21. Greg says:

    I completely agree with basically all of my fellow commenters. It’s such a bad feature. Just trying to lay the iPhone down on a table activates this pointless screen. iTunes really seems to get worse with each update. Boooo.

  22. George says:

    I hate the interactive album art cover view in iTunes. It kills the “Music Videos” entertainment (tiny screen). To me, this is a poor choice of an upgrade, period.

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