Microsoft's Groove becomes a 'true' universal app with the latest update for Windows 10 Insiders

Besides today's momentous Mobile release of Windows 10 for Fast Ring is a significant milestone for the Groove Music app for Windows 10 and Mobile.

Many people have pointed out ever since its launch the lack of feature parity between Mobile and PC versions of Groove. Well, you were right and tonight that ends (for some of you). The Groove code for Mobile and PC are finally merging with version 3.6.1886.0 due out tonight as just announced by Microsoft in their community forums. Even better are lots of new improvements and features.

Who gets it first?

Before we get started on the new stuff, however, not everyone is going to get this update. Besides OS 'rings,' Microsoft has had 'app rings' for a while too. Remember when we would post about an Outlook Mail update and some of you didn't get it? Well, this ability to limit access to early testers is extending to flight rings too, as a result here is who is getting this update today:

  • PC: Windows Insiders Fast Ring
  • Mobile: Windows Insider Fast & Slow and Release Preview Rings

Apparently, at a later point, this release will go to full production and public releases. But for now, Insiders get first dibs (and also act as testers for bugs). Now on to features.

What's new

Here is the full changelog and what to look for when the update goes live. Improvements to playback including:

  • When unplayable tracks appear in Now Playing, we properly gray them out and jump over them without displaying an error
  • We prevent you from playing unplayable content (for instance, if you are offline and try to play a streaming album we won't try to play it, we'll immediately tell you it can't be played and why)
  • We added extra telemetry to playback errors so that we can continue to improve the app

Additional changes include:

  • We removed the app's dependencies on Xbox Live which means you don't need an Xbox Live account to use Groove (and sign-in is much faster and more reliable)!
  • It's easier to tell what's happening when Groove is sync'ing your collection for the first time.
  • You'll see "Unknown Artists" less often in your collection because the app looks at both song artist and album artist metadata.
  • The process we use to show additional metadata to what's in your local files is 10x faster and gives better results!!The app defaults to Explore for search results if you have a Groove Music Pass and you have don't have a limited data plan.
  • When viewing artists, you can view their work by albums or songs. Try it by selecting "Songs view" when viewing an artist.
  • Radio stations can be started from albums and songs – the app will start the radio based on the artist.
  • The app now shows your collection size at the top of the collection views.
  • On mobile, background art fills the screen so that it's seen under the system icons at the top.
  • You can use 'Refine' to filter your collection by source (OneDrive, Pass, Purchased, On this device only).
  • If something gets really out of whack in your collection, you can now choose to 'Reset' your cloud collection.
  • We added jumplist support for collection views organized by release year.
  • The 'hotlinks' in Album reviews and Artist bios now work on mobile.
  • We added a simple lockscreen setting for Continuum. We made lots of styling updates for Continuum too!

Bugs and issues to look forward too

Not everything is peachy with is update and there are still things to be fixed in future OS flights, those include:

  • Tapping on the text in the system media transport controls stops playback – just don't click on the text.
  • Music playback error (0xc20200ae) in Groove right after cold start – give a minute and everything should be fine.
  • Your file associations may default back to Windows Media Player after this update. You can always reset them by going to Settings/System/Default Apps/Music Player.
  • Download of DRM-protected content may fail if your device name contains some non-unicode characters. A workaround is to adjust your device name.

The Groove teams remind you to give them feedback using the Feedback Hub so they can continue to improve the app and service. But for now, go ahead and enjoy the update!

Remember, look for version 3.6.1886.0 in the Store.

Download Groove Music from the Windows Store

Thanks, Alprazolam_92, for the tip!

QR: groove

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.