Shazam can be an incredibly useful app, able to identify songs and find lyrics for them just by listening to the audio. But one big annoyance has been the software’s inability to ‘hear’ music playing through a device’s headphones. Instead, users have to play the song through internal speakers or find a way to direct the sound to their phone or tablet’s microphone.

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The Red Tea Detox

Not any more. A new feature called Pop-up Shazam in the latest Android version of the app works with audio played through headphones with Shazam working in the background.

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When identifying music this way, Pop-up Shazam appears like a floating chat icon in your phone’s UI. It bubbles to the top of your current screen, and once it identifies a song it can show the lyrics as well. Users can enable this feature in the app’s Settings.

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From left to right: the new dialogue in the app; Pop-up Shazam working in split screen; and floating on top of a foreground app.
Credit: Jon Porter / The Verge

We tested out Pop-up Shazam on an Android device with a range of apps including Spotify and YouTube and it worked just fine. Annoyingly, though, the update is unavailable on the iOS version of the app.

That may seem strange given that Apple bought Shazam back in 2018, but it’s a probably a reflection of the fact that iOS keeps a tighter leash on apps than Android. In Apple’s strictly monitored mobile OS, having a background app access audio playing through a foreground app is a no-no, something that’s been a long-running problem for call recording software.

Apple did integrate Siri into Shazam all the way back in 2014, but it seems extremely unlikely this floating pop-up feature will ever come to iOS in its current format.


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