It’s no secret that Apple Music is not the best streaming service for Windows users. iTunes is old, outdated, and outdated software, and the web-based player doesn’t get any better than that. Apparently, making a decent app for Windows is way too overpriced to ask from Apple, a small $2.4 company.
While we wait for Apple to distract its software engineers from pushing more ads into iOS, third-party developers are offering much better alternatives to iTunes and the web-based Apple Music player. Behold Cider – An open source, cross-platform Apple Music client that can make you forget about the upcoming Apple Music app for Windows.
Disclaimer: Although the application is completely open source, you should always take care of Ability Risks of using your Apple ID or Microsoft account for unofficial software.
The Cider app (beta) lets you access and play Apple Music and Podcasts (no offline support or local files at this time). It offers a beautiful, responsive macOS-like design with many customization options (bonus points for Mica support). More importantly, the app supports most of the features of Apple Music — playlists, collections, radio, iOS-like lyric mode, animated album covers, and more.
Unfortunately, Cider does not support lossy and spatial audio. However, there are built-in features to improve the sound and “spatial” effect. These tools aren’t likely to please hardcore audiophiles (who probably don’t use Apple Music in the first place), but my limited time with the app has shown that the optimizers do indeed boost perceived sound quality. At the end of the day, it all depends on what kind of headphones or speakers you’re using. If you don’t like how these optimizers work, the regular equalizer is here for manual tuning.
Other noteworthy features of the Cider app include remote control from your phone or tablet, AirPlay and Chromecast support, Karaoke mode, compact player, and support for third-party themes and plug-ins. In short, Cider is iTunes without its worst parts, plus a lot of neat extras.
As for bugs and performance, there isn’t much to complain about. I did experience one or two minor slowdowns (after all, it’s an Electron-based project that’s also in beta), but they’re nothing compared to Apple’s official apps. The slow launch is probably the only thing I can complain about.
Cider is available in the Microsoft Store for $0.99 (50% off now). You can also get it from GitHub and winget. It’s also worth noting that Cider isn’t just about Windows — the app is also available on Linux and macOS.
NB: The app was purchased by myself for personal use, and the developers had no input on this article.
release: Fixed a write error.