Unlike the best free MP3 players on Android, their iOS counterparts don't add as much functionality to the Music app that ships with the OS. The best free music player apps on iOS have a better UI than the Music app and add a few missing features such as the ability to pull lyrics off the Internet. It's vital to mention that the in-built Music app gets the basics right and is good enough for most people. If you want to try some new apps to play MP3 and other files, read on.
Like its Android version, Musixmatch for iOS has a nice widget that shows lyrics for the song that's currently playing in the Music app or Musixmatch. This Notification Centre widget highlights the line currently playing and scrolls automatically, which makes it very useful.
Beat is among the prettiest music players we've used on iOS. It uses gestures for playback actions and has a minimalist interface, which looks great. Swiping horizontally plays the next or previous song and swiping vertically toggles volume controls.
Download Beat (iPhone only)
Stringer is a music player app with a neat interface that models itself around a string. The songs in the current playlist are shown on a string, and you can shake the phone to rejig your playlist. You can drag songs to the string to add them to queue and drag them out to find related albums (premium feature).
Download Stringer (iPhone only)
If you've downloaded a lot of songs and can't decide what to play, then you should try Groove. This app creates 25-song playlists (configurable from 15 to 35 songs) based on your listening habits, genre, artist, or song tags. Its UI is very polished, which makes it our pick for those who love good design.
Another minimalist music player to make this list, Listen is an app that shows one big circle with the album art, and a seek bar that borders the circle. Tap and hold this circle and you'll see icons such as favourite, next/previous track, shuffle, repeat, etc. Flicking the circle towards any of these icons triggers this action. The app also has a neat album view that's worth checking out.
Download Listen (iPhone only)
If you like swipe gestures in email apps such as Mail and Mailbox, then you should give Musio Free a spin. It makes you use gestures to add songs to queue (premium feature) or to your playlist (free). A short swipe adds songs to queue/ playlist, while a longer swipe removes them from the queue.
Download Musio Free (iPhone only)
These are our favourite MP3 players for iOS, but there are a few other good ones you can try. TapTunes has a nice moving wall of album art that makes it look good. It also has a Notification Centre widget with playback controls and album art. Songbucket lets you add songs to 'buckets' and you can create play songs in certain buckets - much like playlists. Its neat UI makes it worth trying.
Which is your favourite music player for iOS? Let us know via the comments.