How Apple Music's Liking System Works to Customize 'For You' Recommendations

Apple Music's main draw is its focus on curation and its ability to learn about your music preferences to provide recommendations that suit your tastes. Apple's new Music app focuses heavily on content discovery, with an entire "For You" section dedicated to recommendations.

According to Apple, its music experts "handpick songs, artists, and albums based on what you listen to and like," and this content is what populates the "For You" section. Apple's explained that "For You" recommendations get better over time based on "whether you love a song or not," but the company hasn't explicitly spelled out how to best use likes and listens to better tailor Apple Music to your tastes.

To clear up confusion on how recommendations work, The Loop's Jim Dalrymple has spoken directly with Apple to get some insight on how the "Like" feature in Apple Music works to affect recommendations, and he's penned a useful guide on liking from the information he obtained, which is well worth reading.

Any song played from Beats 1 radio, a default radio station, a curated playlist, or from a search can be liked by expanding the miniplayer and tapping the heart icon. You can essentially heart anything that's playing via Apple Music.

likingapplemusic
As Dalrymple explains, tapping the heart button on a song you like influences the content that's then displayed in the "For You" section of Apple Music. As more content is liked, the feature gets a better idea of each individual user's tastes, and is able to offer up a more tailored selection of music. Music that's added to a library and music that's played in full also affects "For You."

Tapping the heart does affect "For You," the section of Apple Music that's custom built with playlists, albums and songs tailored to your individual tastes. For You also takes into account music you add to your library and full plays you listen to. Skips aren't really taken into account, because there are so many reasons you may skip a song--maybe you're just not in the mood for it right now.

Radio stations created from individual songs, done by tapping on the hamburger button when any song is playing and choosing "Start Station," work a bit differently. Instead of displaying a heart, these playlists display a star. Tapping the star allows you to choose "Play More Like This" or "Play Less Like This" to tune a radio station to your particular tastes at that time without affecting overall "For You" recommendations.

playlesslikethisapplemusic
Pressing on any album or playlist recommendation in "For You" gives you an option to customize the section even more, by choosing "I Don't Like This Suggestion." It appears that this customization option is limited to iOS devices for the time being, as Apple Music on Mac doesn't offer this menu.

dislikesuggestionsapplemusic
Apple Music's ability to offer up intensively tailored song recommendations over time may be one of the reasons why Apple insisted on giving users a three month trial to experience the service. Regularly liking songs and culling the "For You" section of recommendations that aren't suitable should vastly change the quality of suggestions over the course of the next few months.

Top Rated Comments

Spendlove Avatar
74 months ago
Apple Music - "Do you like Biffy Clyro, Katherine Jenkins and Whitney Houston?"

Me - "No thank you Apple" delete, delete, delete.

Apple Music - "Do you like Biffy Clyro, Katherine Jenkins and Whitney Houston?"

Me - "Must have done something wrong, could have sworn I clicked no" DELETE DELETE DELETE

Apple Music - "Do you like Biffy Clyro, Katherine Jenkins and Whitney Houston?"

Me - "ARGHHH!" DELETE DELETE DELETE

Apple Music - "Do you like Biffy Clyro, Katherine Jenkins and Whitney Houston?"

Me - *sounds of smashing iPhone*
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rogifan Avatar
74 months ago
I think Apple needs to add more options when the ellipse is selected, there's not enough of them. :rolleyes:
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Populism Avatar
74 months ago
I wish the new "For You" system relied on the old five-star rating system that has been in place since the dawn of iTunes. It gets the same job done, many of us rely heavily on the star system for creating smart playlists, and it isn't as binary as a simply hear/no-heart system.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
\-V-/ Avatar
74 months ago
Yep ... figured this out by accident. I really didn't like For You at first, then came back to it after liking a bunch of stuff and it actually gave me some great recommendations and cool playlists.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iMcLovin Avatar
74 months ago
Its interesting how apple is so bad at informing people what features their services have. THere should be a step by step introduction highlighting each button. Honestly im not all that impressed with Apple music. Connect seems like a rather useless feature with ugly UI. Radio is just meh... The itunes shop and Apple music are completely separated and its confusing when you enter one or the other. Why cant they do like spotify, let you search through all the library of music but grey out what you cannot listen to and give you the option to buy it? also why do I have to add every single song to my library of music? If I want to create a playlist of various songs I need to add a new cover for each and every one of them. Only apples own playlists lets you listen to music outside your personal album. Also the whole thing is slow and unresponsive when you hit play or fast forward in a song, compared to spotify which is instant. I must say that currently, the spotify app, particularly the desktop version, is miles ahead both in UI and design and in quality of the service. Itunes was a bloated, slow and messy program before they re-made itunes a while back. Now it feels bloated, slow and messy once again, great job apple! :( Also itunes store looks really bad on the PC version, with jagged unreadable fonts. If it wasn't for spotifys slow adaptation of the family plan to compete with apple I would switch right back to spotify today. I thought music and UI was apples strengths, but apple music and streaming seems like a feature they have just half-heartedly made because they felt forced to do so by competition.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ckelley Avatar
74 months ago
Only complaint I have about the liking feature so far is if I'm listening to Beats 1 and "heart" a song, it rarely goes away for the next one, unless it's a song that you can't tap the heart icon on anyways. Is it counting that I've liked this song? Is it just a UI bug? It doesn't do this on the other radio stations, so I'm guessing it's a UI bug. Hopefully this can be fixed, otherwise it's been a great experience on Beats 1 so far.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

imac pro featured black

Apple Confirms iMac Pro Will Be Discontinued When Supplies Run Out, Recommends 27-Inch iMac

Saturday March 6, 2021 7:33 am PST by
Apple on late Friday evening added a "while supplies last" notice to its iMac Pro product page worldwide, and removed all upgrade options for the computer, leaving only the standard configuration available to order for now. We've since confirmed with Apple that when supplies run out, the iMac Pro will no longer be available whatsoever. Apple says the latest 27-inch iMac introduced in August...
bloodoxygenapplewatch

Apple Watch Series 7 to Gain Breakthrough New Health Feature

Friday March 5, 2021 5:34 am PST by
Apple is reportedly planning to bring a new, first-of-its-kind health technology to the Apple Watch Series 7, in what could be a breakthrough for managing conditions such as diabetes more easily. According to a recent report from ETNews, the Apple Watch Series 7 will feature blood glucose monitoring via a non-invasive optical sensor. Measuring blood glucose levels, also known as blood...
Top Stories 48

Top Stories: iPhone 13 Leaks, OLED iPads and Macs, New AirTags Evidence

Saturday March 6, 2021 6:00 am PST by
iPhone rumors are heating up, with noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo this week releasing a wide-ranging report outlining his expectations for the iPhone lineup over the next three years. This week also saw rumors about OLED displays potentially coming to iPad and Mac starting next year, increasing signs of AirTags functionality in iOS 14.5 betas, and more, so check out all of the details below! i...
apple products refurbished store banner

Class Action Lawsuit Over Apple Providing Refurbished Replacement Devices Proceeding to Trial in August

Friday March 5, 2021 9:53 am PST by
Initially filed in 2016, a class action lawsuit that accuses Apple of violating the Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act, Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, and other U.S. laws by providing customers with refurbished replacement devices is set to proceed to trial August 16, according to a notice this week from law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP. Apple's repair terms and conditions state that,...
Oled iPads and MackBook Pro

OLED 10.9-Inch iPad Rumored for Early 2022, 12.9-Inch iPad Pro and 16-Inch MacBook Pro Could Follow

Thursday March 4, 2021 8:37 pm PST by
Earlier today, DigiTimes shared a preview of an upcoming report claiming that Apple is working on both iPad and Mac notebook models with OLED displays that could launch starting in 2022. The full report from DigiTimes is now available, and it includes several new alleged details about Apple's plans. According to the report, the first of these devices to adopt an OLED display is likely to be...
iPhone 13 Notch Feature2

iPhone 13 Rumor Recap: Smaller Notch, Larger Batteries, 120Hz for Pro Models, Improved 5G, Wi-Fi 6E, and More

Friday March 5, 2021 8:20 am PST by
While we are likely at least six months away from Apple unveiling the so-called iPhone 13 lineup, rumors about the devices are starting to accumulate, so we've put together this recap of everything that is expected so far. The upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will consist of the same four models and the same screen sizes as the iPhone 12 lineup, according to reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo,...
imac pro while supplies last

iMac Pro No Longer Custom Configurable, Available 'While Supplies Last'

Friday March 5, 2021 10:14 pm PST by
Apple appears to be on the verge of discontinuing the iMac Pro, with the store page for the high-end all-in-one Mac including a "While supplies last" tagline and only the base model with no custom configurations available for purchase. The iMac Pro launched in December 2017, and while there have been a few tweaks to the available configurations over the years, it has received no substantial...
hlh030121feafutureoffitness012 1614286673

A Look Inside Apple's 23,000 Square-Foot Fitness+ Studio

Friday March 5, 2021 10:59 am PST by
Apple Fitness+, the latest service to join the Apple family, integrates tightly with the Apple Watch to offer a comprehensive and growing selection of workout and exercise videos made by a team of professional trainers. Apple Fitness+ Studio (via Men's Health) Apple curates and records all of the videos at a location in Santa Monica, California, and each video features a similar background...
maxresdefault

What's on Your iPhone Home Screen?

Thursday March 4, 2021 10:31 am PST by
Over on our YouTube channel, MacRumors videographer Dan has a new video up where he shares his Home Screen, wallpaper, and all of his current favorite widgets. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Check out Dan's video to see his setup, and then comment below and show us your own Home Screens. It's always fun to see other peoples' Home Screens, and with widgets and...
microsoft edge vertical tabs

Microsoft Edge 89 Brings Vertical Tabs and New History View

Friday March 5, 2021 4:06 am PST by
Microsoft has officially released version 89 of its popular Chromium-based Edge browser, bringing its long-trialed vertical tabs feature to Mac for the first time. Vertical tabs are intended to make more efficient use of screen space, and should prove a welcome addition for users browsing on 16:9 ratio displays in particular. Users can click vertical tabs to switch between them and...