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How to Use Now Playing on Samsung Galaxy Phones

by Nitin Singh
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Heard a track in the subway and can’t get it out of your head? You may want to listen to it but don’t know the track’s name. You can scope out the track with the Now Playing feature on your Samsung Galaxy phone. It’s quite similar to the Shazam on iPhone, but it’s not available on Android. While this feature was limited to Google’s Pixel series of phones, you can enjoy it on your Android phone.

Note: While this guide focuses on using Now Playing on Galaxy phones, you can also follow it for any Android phone as long as it meets the requirements.

What Is Now Playing

With the Pixel 2 series, Google introduced Now Playing, a pixel-exclusive feature that can smartly identify songs playing near or around you. You won’t even have to search for them manually. Your Android phone will search and identify the song automatically.

Now Playing is Google’s machine-learning driven feature that identifies the tracks playing in the background and saves them on your phone in the Now Playing history. The track name and other details appear on your lock screen. So you don’t need to summon the Google Assistant or search online since the details of those tracks are saved on your phone.

You can get Now Playing on your Samsung Galaxy phones using a third-party Android app called Ambient Music Mod from Kieron Quinn, a developer behind this workaround app. Let’s get started with setting it up on your Samsung Galaxy phone.

Pre-Requisites to Use Now Playing on Samsung Galaxy Phones

Developer Kieron Quinn managed to port the Now Playing for other Android phones using his app Ambient Music Mod. It is an open-source app available on GitHub and works with Shizuku, another open-source app available on the Google Play Store. The Shizuku app grants Ambient Music Mod the required permissions at the system level to use it with your Galaxy phone.

Note: While AmbientMusicMod supports Android 9 or later, the functionality varies as per the phone. It works the best on phones with Android 11 or later.

1. Download and install the latest version of the AmbientMusicMod APK file on your phone from the Assets drop-down menu. At the time of writing the latest version was 2.3.1.

downloading ambient music mod apk from github

2. Next, enable Developer options by tapping 7 times on the Build number in Settings>About Phone>Software information.

3. Download and install Shizuku from the Google Play Store, open it on your phone, and tap on Pairing. Tap on Developer options.

starting the pairing process from shizuku apk

4. That will direct you to the Developer options. Scroll down to find Wireless Debugging and tap on it. Then you will see a confirmation message on your screen, tap on Always allow on this network and then tap on Allow.

enabling wireless debugging and allowing for the same on Samsung galaxy phones

5. Tap on Wireless debugging to enter a sub-menu and tap on Pair device with pairing code.

generating pairing code on for wireless debugging on samsung galaxy phones

6. After that, you will see a six-digit code on your screen. Enter this same six-digit pairing code in the Shizuku app notification and tap on the Send icon. You will notice Shizuku is shown as a paired device in Wireless Debugging.

adding shizuku in paired devices for wireless debugging list

7. Open the Shizuku app to ensure it is running. If not, you can start it manually by tapping on Start. If the app doesn’t start, repeat steps 2 to 5 to ensure Shizuku runs properly on your Android.

starting the shizuku service on samsung galaxy phones

Caveat: You need to repeat these steps after every reboot because your phone resets all system permissions after a reboot.

Setting Up Now Playing on Samsung Galaxy Phones

After you’ve installed Shizuku app on your Android, it’s time to install and open Ambient Music Mod to set it up on your Galaxy Phone. Here’s how you can do that.

1. Open the Ambient Music Mod app on your Galaxy phone and tap on Get Started. The app will connect with Shizuku, and tap Allow all the time when a pop up appears.

allowing ambient music mod app access to shizuku

2. Select your data usage options. Since Ambient Music Mod maintains an offline database of all the songs in a region, you’ll need to let it download that on your Galaxy phone. You can select Wi-Fi only if you wish to download the database over Wi-Fi or let it download over Mobile Data, and tap on Next. Select your region to download the respective music database and tap on Next.

selecting region for downloading database on Now Playing in ambient music mod

3. Ambient Music Mod will download the latest version of Now Playing automatically. After the download completes, tap on Start Install and tap Install.

installing now playing app form ambient music mod app

You will need to allow the installation of apps from the Ambient Music Mod app. To do this, tap on Settings, and enable on Allow permission.

allowing app permission to install unknown apps

4. Tap the grant permissions button at the bottom to prevent the app from recognizing any music while you’re on a call and Record Audio to recognize music by recording 8-second clips.

granting permissions for phone and recording audio in Now Playing app

5. Tap on Disable Battery Optimizations for the app to let it operate freely in the background. Tap on Allow.

disabling battery optimization for now playing in samsung galaxy phones

6. Finally, tap on Close. Now Playing will download your region-specific database in the background. After it completes, Now Playing will start identifying songs playing near you.

setup complete for now playing on samsung galaxy phones

Using Now Playing on Samsung Galaxy Phones

Using the Now Playing feature is pretty simple, your phone will automatically identify any music tracks that may be playing near you and save them in the Now Playing History. There are a lot of options present in the app to customize to your liking, here is the list of settings that you may find interesting.

Displaying Song Info on the Lock Screen

Like the Now Playing feature, it displays the identified songs’ details on your phone’s lock screen. However, you’ll need to set it using the Ambient Music Mod app. Here’s how.

1. To get this working, you need to give Accessibility permissions to the Ambient Music Mod app. Tap on Lock Screen in the Ambient Music Mod app, then tap on Show on Lock Screen to navigate to the Accessibility settings.

allowing ambient music mod app to show now playing on lock screen in samsung galaxy phones

2. Navigate to Installed apps and tap on Ambient Music Mod.

enabling accessibility access for ambient music mod in samsung galaxy phones

3. Turn on the switch to enable Accessibility permissions for the app, and tap on Allow.

allowing accessibility permissions for ambient music mod in samsung galaxy phones

After this, the details of the identified music tracks will appear on your phone’s lock screen. Here’s how it’ll typically appear.

music track identified by now playing app, shown on lock screen and notification shade in samsung galaxy phones

Making the Phone Recognize Songs Manually

The Ambient Music Mod app also lets you manually identify the track recognition algorithm for a song playing near you.

Open the Ambient Music Mod app, tap on Recognize and the app will start recording an 8-second audio clip. After the app identifies the song from the clip the audio, its details will appear with links to YouTube Music and Apple Music.

manually running the recognition model in now playing in ambient music mod app

View History of Identified Songs With Now Playing

What if you want to know which music track was playing yesterday in the subway or the day before that? You can check the Now Playing History for any tracks that might have been playing near you during the last year.

To see the Now Playing History, open the Ambient Music Mod app and tap on Now Playing History. This will show any music track your phone may have identified since it was set up.

now playing history in now playing

The maximum limit for saving the track history is one year. After that, each day’s track details is removed daily.

Song Recognition Period

The period for recognizing songs is set to 1 minute by default. The app will check for any music tracks playing nearby every 1 minute. If you think that frequency is too often, then you can customize it.

1. To customize the recognition period, open the Ambient Music Mod app and tap on Settings. Then tap on Recognition Period.

recognition period settings in now playing app

2. Select the preferred frequency for the recognition model, for example, every 30 seconds, 2 minutes, or more. Choosing less time you choose will result in more battery juice consumption.

changing the recognition period for now playing in ambient music mod app

Backup & Restore Ambient Music Mod Data

With all the settings tweaked as desired, it’d be so frustrating if you had to set them up again. Hence, Ambient Music Mod also provides an option to Backup and Restore your in-app settings.

1. To make a backup, open the Ambient Music Mod app and tap on Backup & Restore. From this menu, you can tap on Backup to take a backup to your phone’s storage or tap Restore to restore an existing backup from your phone’s storage.

backup & restore settings in ambient music mod app

2. You can also set up periodic backups. The app also has the option to time the backup frequency and even set the backup location on your phone’s storage.

periodic backup settings for ambient music mod

Limitations of Ambient Music Mod

While the Ambient Music Mod app swiftly performs the same functions as the Pixel exclusive Now Playing feature, it comes with a few limitations that you need to remember:

1. Setting up Shizuku and Wireless Debugging after every reboot or after connecting to a new Wi-Fi network is a hassle.

2. The app may resemble the Now Playing feature, but consumes more battery and keeps your phone more active.

3. You cannot identify a track playing from an app on your phone, like a reel or TikTok video. For that, you’ll need to use another phone with Ambient Music Mod.

4. Since the app is strict on privacy, you cannot identify any music track if you’re on a call.

5. If you enable Battery Saver mode on your phone, the Ambient Music Mod app will cease to run in the background and won’t identify the music tracks.

Keep on Playing

With the Ambient Music Mod app, you can get functionality similar to Now Playing on Samsung Galaxy phones. All apps being open-source and reliant is a cherry on the cake. While the Now Playing mode aims to mimic iPhone’s Shazam app, you can also use Dynamic Island on Samsung Galaxy phones.

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