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Galaxy S5: The Missing Manual by Preston Gralla

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Chapter 4. Music

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You’ll learn to:

  • Use the built-in Music app

  • Create playlists

  • Play Internet radio stations

  • Play music on nearby devices

  • Use the Google Cloud Music Player

THE GALAXY S5 DOES a great job of playing and managing music, so much so that you may no longer feel the need to carry around another music player. It includes an excellent built-in music player and manager, and a 3.5 mm headset stereo jack that you can connect to headphones or external speakers. You can connect wirelessly to Bluetooth speakers as well. Read this chapter and get ready to plug in and turn up the volume.

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Where to Get Music

BEFORE YOU PLAY MUSIC, of course, you first need to get it onto your Galaxy S5. For details about how to do that, turn to Connecting Your Galaxy S5 to Your Computer. You can also buy or download music from Google’s Play store or other S5 apps. (The Play Music app is a Google music subscription service that also lets you play music you own on a computer—it doesn’t let you buy individual music tracks. For more info, see the Note on the next page.)

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If you tap a download link on a web page for a music file in the Galaxy S5 browser, the file doesn’t download to your phone. Instead, the S5 plays the music file but doesn’t add it to your collection.

Using the Music App

YOU PLAY AND MANAGE your music by using the Galaxy S5’s Music app. Tap the Music icon on the Apps screen to launch it. The app organizes your music into seven different lists, through which you scroll like all other lists on your phone. Simply swipe to the right and left to see all of them, and then tap any you want to view or play:

  • Playlists. Here’s where you’ll find all your playlists—groups of songs that you’ve put together in a specific order, often for a specific purpose. For example, you might have several party playlists, a playlist of songs you like to listen to while you work, another for the gym, and so on.


    In addition to the Music app built into the S5, Google also has a cloud-based music player app. With it, you can upload music from your PC or Mac to big Google computers (called servers), and then play that music on your phone, without actually having to store it on the phone. (Because your music lives in the cloud—get it?) The service and app are free and work like a charm. The app is called Play Music and is likely already on your S5. If it’s not, though, download it from Google Play. There’s also a for-pay version that’s a streaming music service in which you pay a monthly fee and can stream music to your S5. See Google Music Cloud Player App for details about the cloud music player.

    To see the contents of a playlist, tap the playlist. Tap any song to play it from that point until the end of the playlist. To add a song to the playlist, press the Menu key, tap “Add to playlist,” and then select songs to add from the list that appears. (You can also add songs to playlists while you’re playing them, and in other ways as well. See More Music Controls and Features for details.) When you press the Menu key, you get other ways to manage your playlist, including removing songs from the playlist, searching through the playlist, and changing settings (for the entire music app, not just for playlists).

  • Tracks. An alphabetical list of every song in your music collection. It shows the song names and artists. Tap a song to play it.

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    When you’re in the Music app, at the bottom of the screen, you see the name of the song you’re playing. If you’re not playing a song, you see the last song you played, along with a control for playing the song. Tap it and you’re sent to the full player. (See Playing Your Music for details.)

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  • Albums. Lists all the CDs (albums) in your music collection. If a thumbnail picture of the album is available, you see it next to the album listing. Each album lists its name and its singer, composer, band, or orchestra. Tap the album to see a list of all the songs in the album. To play any song, tap it. The Music app then plays from that point until the end of the album.

    To add songs from an album to a playlist, when you’re viewing an album, hold your finger on the song you want to add, and a screen appears with all the tracks on the album with checkboxes next to them. The song you’re pressing on has a checkmark next to it. Tap to put a checkmark next to other songs you want to add. Then tap the “Add to playlist” button at the top of the screen (it has a + sign on it) and select the playlist you want to add it to or create a new one.

  • Artists. Lists every singer, composer, and band in your collection. Tap the artist’s name, and you see a list of all her songs. To play any song, tap it.

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    The Galaxy S5 can play a wide variety of music files, including AAC, MP3, WAV, WMA, OGG, AAC+, and MIDI. Android by itself won’t play WMA (Windows Music Audio) files, but Samsung gave the S5 a special piece of software called a codec so it can play them. For the same reason, it can also play WMV (Windows Media Video) videos.

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  • Music Squares. This unique-to-Android feature examines all your music and arranges tracks in different squares onscreen depending on the emotion of the music—Calm, Exciting, Passionate, and Joyful. It gives you a way to suggest the sort of music you want to listen to without having to come up with specific songs or artists. You can choose a mix of these music moods by tapping any square on the grid.

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  • Folders. Lists all your music by folder. Tap the folder to display all its files, and then tap a track to play it. The track will play, as will all the others from that point until the end of the listing.

  • Devices. Lists all nearby devices on your network that have music on them. Tap a device to see the music on it. You can then play the music on the device, using the player, by tapping the music using the normal controls.

Playing Your Music

TAP A SONG TO play it. At the bottom of the screen, you see the usual controls for playing and pausing music and moving to the next or the previous track. If you want to play your music in random order, tap the Shuffle icon at the bottom left of the screen.

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If you tap the picture of the music note and three horizontal lines at the lower left of the screen, the picture at the top of the music player vanishes and is replaced by a listing of all the tracks on the album or playlist. And if you hold the music player sideways, you’ll see a compact version of the player, plus recommendations for other music you might like, based on the track you’re listening to.

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The music player screen, when you’re holding your S5 vertically, is loaded with controls and widgets. Among other controls, you’ll find these:

  • Pause/Play. When music is playing, the button looks as it normally does on any music player. Tap it to pause; tap it to play again.

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  • Previous, Next. These controls work just as you’d expect. Tap Previous to skip to the beginning of the song you’re playing or, if you’re already at the beginning, to go back to the last song you just played. Tap Next to skip to the following song.

    Hold down one of the buttons, and you rewind or fast-forward through the song. As you hold, the rewinding or fast-forwarding accelerates. You’ll hear the music as you speed forward or backward, sounding like experimental, avant-garde music.

  • Slider. Underneath the picture of the album from which the song is taken, you’ll see a slider that shows you the song’s progress. It includes the song’s total length and how much of it you’ve already played. Move the slider to go to a specific location in the song.

  • Song and album information. In the middle of the screen you’ll find the name of the singer, the name of the album, and the song being played.

  • List. Tap the small musical note at lower left, and the big album image or musical note changes to the current song list. For example, if you’re listening to a playlist, you’ll see the entire playlist, and if you’re playing an album, you’ll see the whole album. From here, you can tap any other song to play it. To bring back the picture of the album or musical note, tap the button again, which has turned into a picture.

  • Shuffle. The Galaxy S5 music player normally plays the songs in your playlist or album in order, from first to last. Tap the Shuffle button at lower left to play the songs in your current album or playlist in random order—you never know what’s coming next. Tap it again to stop the shuffle.

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  • Loop. Can’t get enough of the current album, playlist, or song? Tap the Loop button. This button starts out as an A with an arrow next to it. Tap it, and it changes into an A with a loop around it, signifying that the album or playlist will keep repeating. Tap it again and that changes to a number 1 with a loop around it, signifying that the track you’re currently playing will keep repeating. When you’ve had your fill, tap it again, and you get back to the A with an arrow, which means that looping is off.


    Want to play a stupid music player trick? Tap the picture of the album when you’re playing a song. Bubbles pop out from the picture. Why do this? Because you can.

  • Volume button. Tap this upper-right button, and a volume slider appears. Drag to increase or decrease the volume. Tap the small icon at the bottom of the volume slider and you can select from a variety of built-in sound modes—Normal, Pop, Rock, Dance, Jazz, Classical, and so on.

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  • Other buttons. There are other buttons as well. The button just to the right of the volume buttons shows you nearby devices on your network whose music you might want to play. Tap the star just above the slider to turn it gold and identify the track as a favorite. That puts it on a playlist called, unsurprisingly, Favorites, that you can then play when you want. Tap the button with a + and three vertical lines to add the current song to a playlist.

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More Music Controls and Features

Want even more music controls and features? Tap the Menu button, and you’ll be able to do all the following:

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  • Listen via Bluetooth. Lets you share the song via Bluetooth (see Caller ID).

  • Set as. This very nifty feature lets you set a song as a ringtone or alarm tone.

  • Settings. Lets you change many settings; sound effects, music menu items, and so on.

  • Details. Provides all kinds of information about a song, including its title, artist, track length, recording date, genre, and so on.

More Song Options

And, yes, you’ve got even more options when you play songs. Hold your finger on a track on a list, and boxes appear next to each track, with a checkmark on the current track. Tap the boxes on all the songs you want to select. You can then add them to Favorites or a playlist, or delete them.

Creating Playlists

MAKING YOUR OWN PLAYLISTS is a breeze on the S5. The easiest way to do so is to tap the Playlist button at lower right when you’re playing a song (it’s a + and a series of three horizontal lines), and then tap “Create a playlist.” A screen appears that lets you name your list. Type in a name and tap OK. A playlist is created, with that track added to it. If you already have playlists, then when you tap the Playlist button, you’ll see all of them, so that you can add the current song to an existing playlist or create a new one.

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You can also create playlists from the Music player’s main screen. Tap Playlists at the top of the screen, and then tap “Create playlist” toward the bottom of the screen. A screen appears that lets you name the list. When you’re done, you’ll be sent to a screen that reads “No tracks.” Tap the + sign at the top of the screen, and you’ll see a list of all of your songs with empty boxes next to them. Turn on the boxes next to the music you want to add to the playlist, and then tap Done to add all those songs to the list. If you want to find specific music on your S5 to add to the playlist, tap the Search button.

The S5 creates several playlists automatically for you—“Favorite tracks,” “Recently added,” “Most played,” and “Recently played.” These playlists don’t show up when you try to add music to a playlist, because they’re created and managed by the S5.

To edit a playlist, when you’re in the list, hold your finger on a song. Boxes show up next to all the songs. Check those you want to manage in some way, and then perform your action—delete them by tapping the trash can icon, or add to other playlists by tapping the “Add to playlist” button.

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Using Your Galaxy S5 While Playing Music

BECAUSE THE GALAXY S5 is built for multitasking, you can play music even when you’re doing something else. Open the Music app, start the music, and then feel free to use other apps and features. The music keeps playing. While music is playing, a small button appears in the status bar. Drag down the Notification panel and tap the song playing, and you see a miniature set of controls for playing, pausing, and jumping forward and back in music. To head to the music player, tap the picture of the album.

Even when your phone is locked, if you were listening to music before the Galaxy S5 locked itself, it keeps playing. Turn on the screen, even though the phone remains locked, and you’ll see music controls. You can pause and play music, as well as skip to the next song or go back to a previous song, without having to unlock the Galaxy S5.

Playing Music and Media on Other Devices

THE GALAXY S5 LETS you share, view, and play music, videos, and photos using a standard called DLNA—short for Digital Living Network Alliance. The S5 is DLNA-compliant, which means that it can share media with other DLNA devices, such as TVs, computers, and mobile devices. When you buy a device, look in the documentation to see if it’s also DLNA compliant. You can also look for this logo on packaging or documentation: .


If you’re not sure whether you have a device that’s DLNA-compliant, go to www.dlna.org. In addition to finding out more information about DLNA, you can do a search for your device and see if it supports DLNA.

Here’s just some of what you can do with your Galaxy S5 and other DLNA devices:

  • Stream your music, videos, and photos from your S5 to a DLNA device, such as a TV, PC, Xbox, or PlayStation 3.

  • Transfer music and picture files from your phone to your PC.

  • Stream videos from the phone to your TV.

  • Browse any videos you have stored on your PC, using the Galaxy S5, and then stream the video to your TV by using an HDMI cable (see Playing S5 Video on Your TV for details about HDMI).

And that’s just a few of the possibilities and permutations with your Galaxy S5 and DLNA; this section can’t cover them all.

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Out of the box, the S5 is set up to use DLNA. In the Music app, when the phone scans your network to see if there are nearby devices from which it can play music, it’s actually using DLNA.

For sharing with other devices such as TVs, check the device documentation for how to share via DLNA. And you can also customize your DLNA settings on your S5. To do it, tap Settings from the Apps screen, scroll down to “Connect and Share,” and tap “Nearby devices.” You’ll then be able to change your DLNA settings, such as what media content you want to share, what devices you want to share with, and so on.

Google Music Cloud Player App

THE GOOGLE MUSIC CLOUD Player may forever change the way you manage—and even think about—your music. It lets you play music on your phone that isn’t actually on the phone, but instead lives in the cloud—basically big Google computers called servers that store your music and stream it to your Galaxy S5 (or any other device, for that matter).

The app’s official name is Google Play Music, and it should come installed on your S5. If it isn’t, you can download it from Google Play. Then install the Play Music software on your PC or Mac (whichever computer houses your music collection). You then tell the software to upload the music to the cloud. After that, you install Play Music on your S5 (or, indeed, any other Android device). At that point, you can listen to your music from the cloud—as long as you have a 3G, 4G, or WiFi connection.

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Once you’ve got everything installed, just tap the Play Music app and start playing. It integrates with the S5’s normal music player, so it plays any music you’ve got installed there, as well as music from the cloud.

And you can also subscribe to unlimited music streaming and play thousands of tracks for a $9.99 monthly fee, much like the streaming Spotify music service. Play Music will give you all the details if you tap “Try it Free” when you first run the app. If you don’t want to try the for-pay version, and only want to listen to your own music, instead tap “Not now” when you run the app.


If you sign up for the pay service, you can download tracks for offline listening. That’s a great way to avoid eating up your data allowance by streaming music.

Keep in mind that there will be times when your music isn’t available from the cloud—because you’re not connected to the Internet—so you can choose to hide streamed music at that point. You can also set a variety of other options, such as whether to stream music only when connected via WiFi rather than via 3G or 4G. That way, you won’t eat up data from your data plan.

The cloud player is a fabulous player, especially if you have a digital music collection on a PC or Mac. Check it out and listen to your beloved music anywhere!

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