I’m still really enjoying Apple Music these days, but sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of music on there. I love having choices, but the more stuff I listen to and add to my library the more some of it starts to feel like clutter. So I started looking for a way to weed out all but the really good stuff. What I landed on was the Like button.
Apple Music, like Apple News and iCloud Photos, has a simple heart-shaped “Like” button for songs, playlists, and albums. In Apple Music, these are used to refine the suggestions in the For You section. They work similarly in Apple News, refining the articles you get in your main feed. This is great, but what I really wanted was a feature like in Photos. All the pictures you’ve liked in Photos are congregated in a single album. This makes it really easy to find and look at just those photos. I wanted the same thing in music. Fortunately, that’s totally possible, just not exactly simple.
Basically, you have to set up a smart playlist in iTunes on your computer. In order for this to work, your iTunes installation has to have iCloud Music Library turned on, so that all your playlists sync over the cloud. Just make a new smart playlist that has the condition “Loved” set to true (yes, oddly enough it’s called Loved in this menu). I also like to use the “limit to” feature to sort them. I “limit” the playlist to 10,000 songs, or something else that’s basically unlimited, and then sort by date added. This means the newer songs float to the top automatically.
Here’s the catch: smart playlists only grab songs that have also been added to your library, so if you find a great song in Radio mode, you have to Like it and add it to your library. I really wish liking would add the song to your library automatically, it would just make the whole thing a lot simpler. Spotify has a smart playlist called “Liked from Radio” which, as you might guess, shows all the songs you’ve thumbs upped in Radio. I wish that worked here. But aside from that minor hiccup, the Liked playlist works great. It’s a fun thing to shuffle if I don’t know what I’m in the mood to listen to.
But here’s where things get really cool. I’ve set the Liked playlist to be available offline, so anything I like automatically gets downloaded. This is the only music I have downloaded, since I have T-Mobile and streaming music doesn’t count against my data. What this means is that I can set my iPhone to only show offline music, and it will only show music I’ve liked. For example, I have a ton of music by NEEDTOBREATHE (whom you simply must check out if you’ve never heard them). It’s all good music, but if I only want to hear the stuff I absolutely love, I just flip on the offline switch. Then I just shuffle all songs in that artist! ••