Internet radio service Pandora has updated its iOS app with a few playback features that should improve the overall playback experience for listeners.

The move is undoubtedly part of Pandora’s strategy to make its streaming music experience more enjoyable than the growing number of competitors. This is especially true now that Apple has launched its iTunes Radio service, which is a music service that’s very similar to what Pandora is offering — not to mention ad-free for those who pay the annual iTunes Match subscription.

The first of the updates is better buffering that should keep the stream of music playing without interruption when you’ve got a spotty Internet connection. I’m guessing that means Pandora is temporarily loading current and future songs you’re listening to, which is actually pretty smart. The last thing Pandora wants is for people to switch over to their music library or traditional radio because the stream keeps dropping out.

The second update actually pauses the music stream whenever you hit the “mute” button. In theory, this seems like a great idea for both Pandora and listeners — meaning people will miss less of their songs and Pandora isn’t paying licensing fees on songs (and possibly advertising) that no one is listening to.

In reality, I’m kind of annoyed that they’ve pretty much removed the mute button, though. Hitting mute was a good way to avoid having to listen to an annoying track when you didn’t have any more skips. That said, I’m not really surprised Pandora made this change.

Pandora’s updated iOS app is available now for free via Apple’s App Store.

Image via Pandora/Instagram