iTunes Wi-Fi Sync only seems to work about half the time I try to use it, so a few weeks ago I decided to take another chance on iTunes Match. If you’re unfamiliar with iTunes Match, it’s a $28 annual subscription service that scans your Mac or PC’s iTunes library. Any songs that are matched with existing tracks in Apple’s iTunes catalogue are simply made available in 256kbps AAC, and any songs that aren’t in the iTunes catalogue are uploaded to iCloud. Once the scanning and uploading is complete, your full library of songs is available to stream to up to 10 devices (PCs, Macs, or iOS devices).
The main benefit of this switch has been to eliminate any need to manually sync my iPhone (my main music player) with my MacBook, but a cool secondary benefit has been the ability to stream all of my music directly to my iPad, without having to use up any of my 32 GB iPad’s storage space.
I had avoided using iTunes Match on my iPad in previous years because I thought that playing music required you to download the actual track, and I wanted to save as much space as possible for apps and photos. In fact, Apple’s own FAQ actually states that songs are downloaded to iOS devices as they’re streamed, but I’ve been streaming for about a week now, and my iPad is still showing the download button for entire albums that I know I’ve streamed multiple times.
Now that I know iTunes Match can provide pure streaming access to my music on iOS, I’ve started to leverage my iPad even more at work. I now pair my Bluetooth headphones with my iPad (instead of my iPhone) while at work, which allows me to keep all of my music and app activity on one device, instead of using my iPad and then reaching for my iPhone to choose different albums.
The only thing I’ve been wary of is to make sure I shut off the option to use iTunes Match over LTE on the iPad. I try to keep my data usage under 1GB per month in order to save money, and streaming this much music would likely chew right through my data if I wasn’t careful.