Turning off Connect makes Apple Music better
Here's how to hide the Connect tab from Apple Music on your iPhone, iPad, and even iTunes on your Mac.
Connect is the part of Apple Music where you’ll supposedly enjoy a close, personal relationship with the artists and bands you care about. But just artists, not your friends—unlike Spotify and Rdio, you can’t build a list of your friends, see what they’re listening to and enjoying, subscribe to each other’s handmade playlists, or collaborate on a shared playlist, say, for an upcoming road trip or party.
Instead, it’s like a trumped-up Twitter or a stripped-down Tumblr. Artists can post photos, songs (the idea is that they’ll share rough cuts and demos you won’t find anywhere else), videos, or just messages. The Connect tab has a scrolling feed of these updates, and you can like them, comment on them, or share them to…other social networks where you actually have your own voice, like Twitter and Facebook.
Now that you know what Connect is, I don’t blame you if you don’t find the idea so compelling. Go ahead and check it out, but if you don’t want to keep it around, it’s easy to get rid of, and actually makes the Apple Music interface better.
How to hide Connect
There’s no way to toggle Connect off inside the Apple Music app on your iPhone or iPad. It’s not even in the Settings app under Music, although that’s where you’d go if you wanted to hide much of Apple Music from your Music app.
Nope, hiding Connect is done in the parental control settings, called “Restrictions” in iOS. On an iOS device, open Settings, then tap General, then Restrictions. If you aren’t using restrictions at all, you’ll need to enable them and set a passcode that will be required to change them or turn them off again. Then you get a list of things you can turn off on that device, including Apple Music Connect.
(This is also where you could turn off things like in-app purchases, or restrict content by age rating, if you were giving this iOS device to a child and you didn’t want them to buy a bunch of Smurfberries or rent rated-R movies. More on iOS restrictions here and here.)
To hide Connect in iTunes on a Mac, go to iTunes > Preferences, click the Parental tab, and simply check the box to disable Apple Music Connect.
Why you might want to
Killing Connect really cleans up the interface. In the Music app on iOS, the Connect tab is replaced by a Playlists tab, which improves navigation. (Otherwise, playlists are found in the My Music tab, which has separate views for playlists and the rest of your music.) You also stop seeing FOLLOW buttons on every artist page, which is nice.
Plus, you won’t be missing much. Connect just isn’t that good, at least not yet. Apple Music automatically adds to Connect every artist in your My Music library, whether they’re actually actively using Connect or not. And guess what—a lot of them aren’t. On the first day, I was auto-following a few dozen artists and bands, but only eight of them currently have content in my Connect feed, and what’s here so far is very underwhelming. For example, Snoop Dogg wants me to listen to his new album, so he linked to his album. Wow, thanks, Snoop.
Pearl Jam shared the trailer for their Pearl Jam: Twenty documentary—which came out in 2011. They don’t mention where I can see it, if I haven’t already. (Pro tip: It used to stream on Netflix, but now it's DVD only, although you can see a bunch of clips on Hulu, and the whole thing on YouTube at least for now.) There isn’t even a link to buy it on iTunes.
Maybe it’ll get better if and when artists start sharing demos and remixes straight from GarageBand. I’ll keep Connect around for a little bit to see if it improves—and please do let me know if you see artists who are actually doing a good job with it, because I’d like to follow them! Of course, writing about this stuff is my job, but for you it’s totally optional! If you don’t want to be a guinea pig in Apple’s grand experiment to…uh, re-create parts of Tumblr, Twitter, and Soundcloud inside the Music app, well, you don’t have to.