iPhone users complain Apple Music is installing itself to the dock, booting out their other apps

An Apple Music bug is perplexing some iPhone owners. According to various reports, the Apple Music iOS app is installing itself directly to the iPhone’s dock when downloaded, instead of to the phone’s home screen. It’s also kicking out other apps users had set up in their dock and taking their spot, which is not something apps would normally do. Some iPhone owners also found the bug was causing Apple Music to establish itself as the default music service for Siri requests, even if another service had previously been configured for this, like Spotify.

It’s unclear how widespread the bug is at this time, as we’ve tested it internally with mixed results.

However, we’ve seen the dock issue taking place across different versions of iOS 15, old and new, so it does not appear to be related to a recent iOS update. It’s also been seen impacting different iPhone models.

We have not been able to reproduce the change to Siri, but have heard from others who said they were impacted by this aspect.

Apple was not able to provide further details about the bug, but said it’s looking into it.

An iOS developer Kevin Archer first spotted Apple Music’s odd behavior, and posted a video to Twitter that showed the app overtaking the dock position on his iPhone where the Spotify app had been. But our subsequent tests indicate the bug is not specifically targeting Spotify or other third-party music apps.

We found the Apple Music app replaced all sorts of apps that were in users’ docks, including first-party apps like the built-in Camera app, as well as other third-party apps, like Twitter. Another developer, replying in the Twitter thread, noted Apple Music bumped out Apple’s Safari app from their iPhone dock, as well.

While some would argue there’s room to be suspicious of a self-preferencing change like this — after all, Apple once ranked its own apps at the top of App Store search results and the App Store charts — in this case, the case for it being a bug is strong, given that it’s not impacting all users in the same way.

And although Apple surely wants more subscribers to its Apple Music service, it’s hard to imagine Apple is willing to override consumers’ established preferences and how they’ve personalized the arrangement of apps on their iPhone in order to get there. That’s a poor consumer experience. Plus, if Apple were trying to be sneaky about shifting users to Apple Music it wouldn’t likely try something as obvious as putting its app directly on the dock in place of other apps. 

That said, it didn’t take long for Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney to make the case for Apple rigging its own platform. Epic, of course, is engaged in a heated antitrust lawsuit with the tech giant, which is now under appeal.

In a tweet, Sweeney said he verified the behavior on iOS 15.4.1, noting Apple Music replaced his Spotify app and linked to a tweet from 2019 featuring a similar consumer complaint.

Still, this sort of bug could attract more attention if it’s not swiftly addressed, as it bumps up against antitrust legislation that could soon dictate to Big Tech companies that they cannot give preference to their own products and services on their platforms.

Reached for comment, Apple says it’s aware of the bug and is investigating it.

Updated 5/5/22, 3:28 PM ET with Apple’s comment.