Just in time for Christmas, Apple has a gift for users. Anyone who fancies being a singer can sing along to a growing database of songs and make quite a party of it. You can take the lead, push the actual singer into the barely audible background, and have the instrumental all to yourself.

The feature, Apple Music Sing, turns up in the Apple Music app when you upgrade to iOS 16.2 on compatible devices including iPhone 11 and later, iPad Pro 11-inch 3rd generation and later, iPad Air 4th generation and later, iPad Mini 6th generation, iPad 9th generation and later, and the Apple TV 4K. The Sing feature will not work with Apple devices older than these and needless to say it will not work with Apple Music playing on an Android device. No surprises there.

The Sing feature is on by default when you upgrade the operating system. To find it, go to the main Browse page of the Apple Music app. You’ll find playlists of songs that support Sing. The list is growing rapidly and already includes millions of songs. Look for a favourite song and as it begins to play, tap on the lyrics icon. The words will come up just as they already do, with each sentence being highlighted as it is sung. But now, there’s an additional microphone button that is turned off by default for you to listen normally. When you want to sing along, tap the mic button and after a pause the singer’s voice will recede so you can barely hear it. If you long-press, a slider will let you choose how much to reduce the vocals. This helps if you’re not a hundred percent sure how the tune goes. With all this set, you can proceed to sing along. For good measure, dress the part and find a dummy microphone to hold and you’re in business. This can make for no end of fun at parties, more so than ever as it’s almost Christmas.

Apple Music sounds rather good with the largest iPad Pro and its loud quad beautifully tuned speakers, but you can also connect to external speakers or even headphones, if singing on your own.

The lyrics have always been presented for easy sing-along. Tapping on a line will take the song to that point. With the new feature, there’s also support for duets. The lyrics appear in right-aligned and left-aligned formats so that someone can sing with you. Also, background singers have their lyrics showing up in smaller sized text.

The whole implementation of Apple Music Sing is very well done as it instantly gives instrumental versions of millions of songs all within one-tap reach — not something one can find for any given song easily otherwise.

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