How to properly use “Likes” in Apple Music

I use the “Like” system in my music services all the time because I want it to learn from my listening habits and be more personalized for my tastes. However, it seems that every service uses this system in different ways, so I talked to Apple about how you should use likes with Apple Music.

First, let me tell you one of my big problems, or sources of confusion, with likes on streaming services. Let’s say I’m listening to a Metal station and a great song comes on, but I consider it to be Rock. Do I like it? I enjoy the song, but I’m afraid if I like it, more Rock songs will come on the Metal station, diluting it.

What if I don’t like it? Will it never show up again, even in Rock? Perhaps I should skip it, but is that equivalent to a “dislike”? These are the questions and concerns I had as I listened to Apple music.

So, here’s some guidance on what you should be doing.

Apple’s built in Radio stations are all handpicked songs. They are handpicked with a thought to what song is playing and what song comes after it. By doing this curation, Apple strives to make one song flow into the other so, hopefully, you won’t need to skip songs—or at least skip less often.

When you play a radio song, you will notice a heart—this is the like button. If you tap the heart, indicating you like that song, it does absolutely nothing to “tune” that station. Since the stations are human curated, there is no need for a tuning algorithm.

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.

You can further tune the For You section. If you go to For You and there is a recommendation for an album that you just don’t like, tap and hold on the album. A menu will popup where you can choose “I Don’t Like This Suggestion,” allowing Apple Music to further learn about your musical taste.

Now, If you build a station yourself by searching for a band or song and tap “Start Station,” you’ll notice the heart changes to a star. In this instance, you can tune the station to your likes and dislikes.

Tapping the star gives you a “Play More Like This” or “Play Less Like This.” These choices can be made on a per station basis without worrying that you are affecting your overall enjoyment of a particular song or band.

Using these tips should give you finely tuned For You section and enjoyable custom radio listening experience in Apple Music.