Apple Music client Cider lets you finally ditch iTunes on your Windows PC

Cider Apple Music Client
Cider Apple Music Client (Image credit: Cider Collective)

What you need to know

  • A new Apple Music app called Cider recently launched on Windows.
  • Cider uses official Apple APIs to deliver a music and media streaming experience.
  • Currently, Windows users have to rely on iTunes or the web to use Apple Music, both of which have drawbacks.

Apple's iTunes for Windows has been the target of many memes and jokes over the years. Despite criticism, the outdated music and media player is still the only way to perform certain tasks on a PC. Windows users looking for a way to move away from iTunes have a new option in the form of Cider, a third-party streaming app for Apple Music. Cider is an open-source client for Apple's streaming service that's available on Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Cider began as Apple Music Electron and has evolved into its current state. Electron apps frequently receive criticism, but likely not as much as iTunes on Windows. We'll have to do a full review of Cider before we can judge it against iTunes and the web version of Apple Music.

Source: Cider Collective (Image credit: Source: Cider Collective)

At the moment, Cider is in alpha, meaning anyone trying it out can expect some bugs and issues. Our sister site iMore spent some time with the app and found that it delivers a "fantastic, sleek, and snappy experience [on] Windows." More importantly for some, iMore notes that Cider will "give users reprieve from frankly awful experience of trying to listen to Apple Music using iTunes while offering more features and integration than the Apple Music webpage."

While the interface and performance of Cider appear promising, it does have drawbacks. Apple's lossless audio is not available due to API limitations. This prevents people from getting the best audio experience in exchange for a better user interface.

Cider is available for $0.99, but you can also try it for free for 24 hours. You need an Apple Music subscription to stream content through Cider.

Image (opens in new tab)

Cider (opens in new tab)

Cider is an open-source client for Apple Music that's currently in alpha testing. It provides a snappier and more attractive experience than using Apple Music on the web or through iTunes.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at (opens in new tab).

  • Surely they're going to rename it Apple Music? Does Cider even have much of a following Stateside? 😂
  • this app looks unofficial? but fresh. unfortunately i and lots of people like myself prefer owning music not renting. this is why i don't use apple music and prefer itunes because i can access my purchased movies, tv and music and can convert it into mp3 format or other at different qualities. itunes even has a cd backup option to transfer it digitally. something i think the new windows media player needs to compete or even be
    as good as the zune player (which is still downladable to this day) or the win7 media player. is it me but is the cd player gone from the groove app on xbox? if apple diches itunes for apple music i will completely dich overpriced apple. just my opinion.
  • It's all good and dandy until Apple decides that Cider is too good to be on Windows, so it changes its policy and decided Cider is illegal and need to be banned just like Vanced for Youtube. Yeah I've bought Cider and enjoy it thoroughly. It feels like macOS native Music app. But will it last? That's the million dollar question.
  • I've generally enjoyed Cider and for an alpha-stage product, it's stable. Missing stuff like AirPlay (for Sonos speakers), which is not helpful, but overall I like it.
  • I can't see why this app would be better than iTunes. Yes, it loads faster than iTunes, but in my experience Cider takes longer to play tracks than iTunes does. Moreover, Cider:
    - doesn't support smart playlists
    - doesn't allow star ratings
    - simply shows "Cider" in Windows's media controls, with no option to change track
    - costs money Overall, it seems like a glorified version of the web player. Why pay for that when iTunes offers a complete experience and just works?