I can't figure this one out, and I don't often listen to music while out & about so I only just noticed it recently.

iPhone SE, iOS 11.3. I have both Apple Music and iCloud Music Library subscriptions.

If my phone is connected on the Cellular network, I am unable to play certain songs on a smart playlist that is on my phone. Anything from the "For You" or "Browse" tabs in Apple Music will work just fine, and SOME songs in the very same playlist, will also work fine. But most will not play at all and simply say:

"Connect to wi-fi or cellular to play music"

Obviously I AM connected to Cellular, so this is very confounding. The songs in question are all in my iCloud Music Library, or Apple Music. Some report an iCloud Status (in iTunes on my Mac) of "Uploaded", some "Apple Music". There is no pattern that I can discern, all play fine on my Mac but it's completely hit or miss on my phone.

Again to be clear, some music will play just fine. But some will not for no obvious reasons. This means it is unrelated to needing to enable cellular data for Music, or anything like that (though I went through all those steps anyway just to be sure).

So far, I have:

  • Rebooted the phone
  • Toggled every place there is to toggle related to using cellular data for music
  • Quit & relaunched the Music app
  • Googled and found nothing related to this exact issue

I'm stumped. I don't often listen to music in my car, but today was one of those days when I wanted to and... I couldn't listen to what I wanted to listen to.

3 Answers 3

  1. Update to iOS 12.1.2
  2. Sign out of iTunes account (Mac iTunes app)
  3. Sign in to your iTunes account
  4. Connect your iPhone to your 🖥 (having iTunes app open)
  5. Manage your songs and settings through iTunes

I hope it helps. 😉

  • Thanks, but perhaps I should have stated in my question that updating the OS was not an acceptable option. The problem has since gone away anyway,
    – JVC
    Feb 20, 2020 at 0:00

Look in Settings > iTunes and App Store. Is Cellular on? Look in Settings > Cellular. Is Music app enabled under Cellular Data?

  • Yes all cellular/music related settings are enabled, and just for fun I toggled them all. I even toggled iCloud Music Library for good measure. No change whatsoever. And like I said, SOME music plays just fine, so it can't be an over-arching setting. Oh and to be clear, I have nothing downloaded to my phone. It's all on the cloud.
    – JVC
    Aug 7, 2018 at 13:09
  • Can repeated play commands eventually make the songs that previously resulted in the error message play?
    – Trellis
    Aug 7, 2018 at 14:43
  • Nope, the songs that won't play, won't ever play. Songs that will play, will always play. And also in case I didn't quite make this clear in my question, everything plays perfectly if Wi-Fi is enabled. It's strictly if I shut off Wi-Fi and go Cellular, that the problem occurs.
    – JVC
    Aug 7, 2018 at 15:03
  • This makes me wonder about the robustness of the cellular connection. Can you find a location where you have the best possible signal, exclude any other cellular activity besides playing music, and see if the problem still exists?
    – Trellis
    Aug 9, 2018 at 15:11
  • I don't think it can be a robustness issue because it's consistent. The songs that fail, do so 100% of the time. The songs that work, do so 100% of the time. There is absolutely no inconsistency at all here. Sitting in my house, in the middle of Silicon Valley and surrounded by cell towers, I have 2 bars (Verizon). I'll look to see how many bars I have in other places but I don't go anywhere very often, and like I said the behavior is perfectly consistent so, I'm doubtful it can be the signal strength.
    – JVC
    Aug 9, 2018 at 15:16

Might it have something to do with the size of the DJ mix / file? If higher bitrate = larger file regardless of the length of the mix? Is cellular streaming limited at all?

  • I don't think it's related to file size, the long mixes that worked are much larger than some of the short ones that didn't. I still have no clue at all what this is due to.
    – JVC
    Sep 19, 2018 at 1:32

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .