Get ready for WWDC 2021 with these playlists, podcasts, stories, concepts, wallpapers, and tips

With WWDC right around the corner, it’s always fun to get hyped up beforehand with all sorts of different ways to celebrate. We’ve put together a guide to the best music, great podcast episodes, concepts to dream about, wallpapers to set, and more so that you can get ready. Hunker down, because there’s a lot to go through.

Playlists to jam to

First off, our hype playlist is embedded below, but of course you can also open it directly on YouTube or within the YouTube app. You’ll find hits from back in the day like Fatboy Slim’s Weapon Of Choice to songs used in April’s event like Lizzo’s Better In Color. We chose to share it in YouTube so that anyone and everyone can listen to it.

There is a wide variety of different kinds of music in here, but the running theme of course is that you’ll (hopefully) instantly remember when Apple used them the second you hear them. After the April event, we also shared a breakdown of all of the music Apple used during the keynote, and you can find that here.

Apple itself also offers a playlist called “Heard in Apple Ads” that includes 100 favorite songs from previous Apple ads and events. It’s a really great playlist you can add to your own Apple Music library, particularly since Apple continuously updates it.

If you’re looking for something more comprehensive and less curated, Ben Ku over on Apple Music has created an incredible playlist with hundreds of songs used by Apple over the years, whether it’s been in ads, keynotes, or other types of marketing moments.

If you’re looking to listen to something other than music, there are plenty of WWDC-themed podcast episodes to enjoy before the conference kicks off next week. There’s no shortage of awesome Apple-focused podcasts, and this time of year is always a busy one for them.

Podcasts to listen to

First and foremost, you should definitely listen to 9to5Mac‘s very own Stacktrace podcast. The latest episode “WWDC21 Keynote Poker” is a must-listen before next week’s keynote. John and Rambo go through their bets for this year’s announcements. Of course, there’s also an accompanying keynote poker scorecard so you can see how the guys did while watching the keynote. Zac and Ben Mayo also talked about what to expect at WWDC on last week’s 9to5Mac Happy Hour.

9to5Mac Daily will be released every day next week, so make sure to subscribe for updates all throughout the conference.

The Rickies! Yes our wonderful friends over at Relay FM have released their annual WWDC prediction shows. As per usual, Federico, Myke, and Stephen get very passionate about their picks on Connected while Myke and Jason get sort of pragmatic on Upgrade.

I’d also recommend listening to last week’s Under the Radar where Marco Arment and David Smith go through ways to make the most out of this year’s virtual conference.

Over on AppStories, Federico and John focus on changes they’d like to see made in watchOS and tvOS. There are plenty of other shows you should listen to like this week’s Accidental Tech Podcast, the Dalrymple Report, The Vergecast, and more. The latest episode of our Happy Hour podcast has also been made available to listen to. Next week, you’ll definitely want to pay attention and see if John Gruber drops another episode of The Talk Show with some Apple execs.

Stories to read

On Saturday, several stories were posted with leaks ahead of the keynote on Monday. The first being a story from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. Gurman says that Apple is working on updates to iPad multitasking and a redesigned banner notification interface.

Developer Khaos Tian discovered references to several new watchOS apps that could be introduced with watchOS 8 through a prematurely updated App Store profile. The leak reveals a new contacts app, new tips app, a find items app, and something called “Mind.”

The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern revealed that she has heard Apple is working on updates to Safari, Health, Maps, and iMessage. She says iMessage will receive “big updates.”

We published an extensive history of WWDC, and it’s definitely worth a read. You can take a look at various memorable moments since Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 and rewatch old keynotes.

Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman has had one of, if not the only, leaks for iOS 15. Mark reported that iOS 15 is expected to include updates to the notification system as well as a refreshed iPad Home Screen.

Just the other day, it was discovered that Apple has included references to a “homeOS” in new job listings. This potentially signals some big changes to Apple’s home strategy next week.

For those of you wondering what the next version of macOS might be called, we published a story about Apple’s California location trademarks yesterday speculating that Mammoth or Monterey could be used for macOS 12.

If you’re interested in iPadOS, you should check out my colleague Zac’s wishlist for iPadOS 15 after spending some time with the next-generation iPad Pro. Zac has also published a list of things he’d like to see in watchOS 8.

It’s looking like iMessage could see some big changes this year, with Apple’s Twitter hash flag and graphics for the show calling out iMessage tapbacks. José put together a nice list of features that Apple could add to iMessage this year.

Apple has sent out exclusive WWDC merchandise to winners of the Swift Student Challenge. You can check out a gallery of images of the hats, pins, and apparel Apple has sent to them.

You should also check out Chance Miller’s comprehensive roundup of all the things we can expect to see at WWDC this year.

Concepts to dream about

There are always new Apple product concepts dropping. But only some of them are really worth taking a look at. The best ones to pay attention to are the most realistic. Good concept designers think like Apple. They’re not hopeful or idealistic, they’re pragmatic based on patterns.

You can look at all of 9to5Mac‘s very own concepts for this year’s Apple platforms. We’ve envisioned tons of new apps for watchOS, a more customizable iPad Home Screen, refinements for iOS, a smarter tvOS, and a version of macOS that builds upon the big changes made in Big Sur.

One other concept you should definitely take a look at is from Vidit Bhargava, the developer behind LookUp. Vidit made a really awesome iPadOS concept that envisions a more modern version of the menu bar to enable better pro iPad apps as well as free floating apps. Vidit also included an App Library in the dock, something we’ve been hoping to see ourselves.

Designer Angelo Libero put together a really cool watchOS 8 concept with updates like a widget watch face and built-in AirTag tracking. Angelo also included new built-in apps like Notes.

Wallpapers to download

Well-known wallpaper designer AR7 has put together a nice set of WWDC wallpapers for iPhone using the new stickers that Apple has included in the most recent update to the Developer app. They’re available in both light and dark options.

We also put together some wallpapers in March when WWDC 2021 was first announced using the original graphics. Below, we’ve also included some fresh new wallpapers using some of the graphics Apple revealed yesterday.

Apple’s own header image on the developer website already works perfectly as a wallpaper on large screens, especially on the new iMac. There are a few other options on Apple’s sites, but they are way too large in resolution to share here.

Tips to prepare

#1 Back up testing devices

There are a couple of key things you should do before WWDC kicks off. The first is to make sure all of your devices are backed up if you are planning to install the betas released after the keynote.

#2 Install the current betas

You can also install the most recent betas just released today and hopefully jump right over to iOS 15 and other new builds using a new option just recently introducing in the Settings app. This isn’t necessary, but it should speed things up as the developer site always seems to slow down after the keynote. Of course, it’s possible that you’ll still need to install a new profile just for iOS 15.

#3 Don’t be a guinea pig

Lots of us like to rush and install the latest betas right away. But it can be smart to wait a few hours after the keynote to see if there are any glaring issues. After all, these will be the first betas likely compiled a month ago and made almost entirely remotely.

#4 Download the developer app

Apple’s Developer app is the best way to watch sessions, events, and of course the keynote. Apple also just updated it with new stickers for iMessage. It’s a free download and is even available on macOS now. If you are planning to watch the keynote and sessions on your TV, make sure to download the app on your Apple TV.

Download on the App Store

#5 Make sure your developer account is live

Before WWDC starts, make sure your Apple Developer subscription is still active. It automatically renews for many people so it’s unlikely it will have lapsed for you. But it’s certainly worth checking whether you have changed payment methods on your Apple ID anytime over the past year. If you haven’t signed up for an Apple Developer subscription and want the new betas right out of the gate, sign up now. It’s $99/year and will get you early access ahead of the public beta that usually happens in late June, early July.

Apps on sale

WWDC tends to be a week for developers to put their apps on sale. If you’ve been waiting to pull the plug on an expensive app, you should check and see if the developer is offering a discount next week. A few developers have already announced sales, including The Iconfactory.

Get to know the design awards finalists

Apple announced the finalists for this year’s design awards. All of them are available to explore by category on Apple’s developer website. This year’s finalists include apps like Carrot Weather, games like Alba, and tools like Universe. If you’re anything like me, you’re also excited to see the return of the awesome design awards ceremony. Hopefully we’ll see John Geleynse and Shaan Pruden back on stage together again.


WWDC is in just five days and it’s approaching fast. We’re so excited for this year’s conference because it seems like many surprises are in store for us. What are you most excited about for this year’s WWDC? Let us know in the comments below.