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

(View all)
Avatar
67 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)
Avatar
67 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)
Avatar
67 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)
Avatar
67 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)
Avatar
67 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)
Avatar
67 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

Apple Takes Legal Action Against Small Company With Pear Logo

Saturday August 8, 2020 11:09 am PDT by
Apple is taking legal action against the developers of the app "Prepear" due to its logo, according to iPhone in Canada. Prepear is an app that helps users discover recipes, plan meals, make lists, and arrange grocery deliveries. The app is a spinoff of "Super Healthy Kids," and the founders claim that they are facing litigation from Apple. Apple reportedly takes issue with Prepear's logo, ...

Apple Seeds iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 Public Beta 4 to Testers

Thursday August 6, 2020 10:05 am PDT by
Apple today seeded new public betas of upcoming iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 updates to its public beta testing group. Today's software releases, which Apple labels as fourth betas to keep them in line with developer betas, are actually the third betas that Apple has provided and they come two weeks after the prior beta releases. Public beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing...

Supposed iPhone 12 Display Unit Leaks

Thursday August 6, 2020 8:13 am PDT by
An image supposedly of an iPhone 12 display unit has been shared online by leaker "Twitter user Mr. White". Compared to images of an iPhone 11 Pro display piece, this new unit has a reoriented display connector, reaching up from the bottom of the display, rather than from the left-hand side on iPhone 11 Pro. This may be due to the logic board moving to the other side of the device. A...

8 Third-Party Home Screen Widgets That You Can Try Out Now on iOS 14

Wednesday August 5, 2020 12:56 pm PDT by
One of the biggest new features of iOS 14 is Home Screen widgets, which provide information from apps at a glance. The widgets can be pinned to the Home Screen in various spots and sizes, allowing for many different layouts. When the iOS 14 beta was first released in June, widgets were limited to Apple's own apps like Calendar and Weather, but several third-party developers have begun to test ...

New 27-Inch iMac's Storage Affixed to Logic Board, 4TB and 8TB Configurations Have Expansion Connector

Friday August 7, 2020 7:46 am PDT by
Following a report from German blog iFun.de that claimed the new 27-inch iMac's flash storage is soldered to the logic board, MacRumors has obtained additional information in an internal document for Apple technicians. In the document, Apple says that the flash storage is indeed affixed to the logic board and cannot be removed. However, for the 4TB and 8TB configurations, Apple says that a...

2020 iMac Teardown Reveals Internal Changes and Similarities

Saturday August 8, 2020 12:44 pm PDT by
A teardown video, shared by OWC, reveals the internal changes in the new 2020 27-inch iMac. The 2020 27-inch iMac was announced earlier this week with 10th-generation Intel Core processors, AMD Radeon Pro 5000 series graphics, up to 128GB of RAM, up to 8TB of storage, a 1080p front-facing FaceTime camera, a True Tone display with a nano-texture glass option, higher fidelity speakers, and...

Kuo: iPhone 12 Camera Lens Supplier Experiencing Quality Issues, But May Not Affect Launch Schedule

Thursday August 6, 2020 9:30 pm PDT by
One of Apple's camera lens suppliers for the upcoming non-Pro iPhone 12 models is having quality issues, according to a new research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo seen by MacRumors. The issues are, however, unlikely to have an impact on Apple's shipping schedule, presuming that Apple's other main supplier can make up the difference. Kuo says that Genius Electronic Optical has discovered...

Google's $349 Pixel 4a vs. Apple's $399 iPhone SE

Wednesday August 5, 2020 1:45 pm PDT by
Google this week launched its newest smartphone, the $349 Pixel 4a, a low-cost device that's designed to compete with other affordable devices like Apple's iPhone SE. We picked up one of the new Pixel 4a smartphones and thought we'd check it out to see how it measures up to the iPhone SE, given that the two devices have such similar price points. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel ...

Sony WH-1000XM4 Noise-Canceling Headphones Now Available for $350

Friday August 7, 2020 2:01 am PDT by
Sony's flagship WH-1000MX3 noise-canceling headphones have been among the best on the market for some time, and this week Sony released its fourth-generation WH-1000XM4 headphones boasting some notable improvements on the previous model. The XM4s feature the same basic design as the XM3s, but are one gram lighter at 254 grams due to slightly larger ear pads and some subtle tweaks to the...

Apple Announces New 27-Inch iMac With 10th-Gen Processors, Up to 128GB RAM, 1080p Webcam, True Tone, and More

Tuesday August 4, 2020 8:07 am PDT by
Apple today announced a new 27-inch iMac with faster 10th-generation Intel Core processor options, next-generation AMD graphics, up to 128GB of RAM, a higher-resolution 1080p front-facing FaceTime camera, a True Tone display with a nano-texture glass option, a T2 chip, higher fidelity speakers, studio-quality microphones, and more. A breakdown of the new 27-inch iMac's features and specs:10th...