Apple Music Doesn’t Display Your Listening History and This Is a Big Mistake

Back in 2014, I outlined what I thought an Apple streaming music service might look like. My prediction was pretty close to Apple Music, but there’s a major feature missing. I said:

You should be able to access a full history of what you have listened to. […] This Recently Played playlist should contain everything I’ve listened to with my account, from every device, and should be available on every device as well.

Alas, this isn’t the case. If you listen to music on your Mac – music that you’ve added to My Music, and that shows up in your iTunes library – then it shows up in a Recently Played playlist, if you have one. (iTunes creates this by default, but you may have deleted it. See below for instructions on how to create it again.) However, if you stream music through iTunes, or on an iOS device, it doesn’t get added to this playlist.

This is a huge mistake. If I’ve listened to some music through a playlist on Apple Music, I may want to go back and check what I heard, to listen to certain songs again, add them to my music library, or check out more music by some of the artists I heard. Especially if I’m listening on a mobile device and didn’t have time to note what I heard.

Also, there should be a list of tracks you mark as Loved. The little heart icon – you tap or click this to say that you Love a track, album, or artist – is a great way of marking music you like. Except there is no way you can find what you have loved, unless it’s music in your iTunes library.

Apple is missing out on a very useful feature here. This should be fixed.


Note: if you no longer have a Recently Played playlist, you can create one. Choose File > New > Smart Playlist, and add the following rules:

[Last Played] [in the last] 2 [weeks]
[Media Kind] [is] [Music]

44 thoughts on “Apple Music Doesn’t Display Your Listening History and This Is a Big Mistake

  1. It Does display your history. On an iPhone play a song, hit the … Menu on the mini player to see up next and scroll up. It shows everything you’ve played.

        • Your tip just helped me find the list of songs I’ve listened to via a streaming radio station I created from an XTC song. I chose the bulleted list icon on the right after the fast forward button, then I pulled down with my thumb and — voila! — a list of songs played. I’m glad, because this feature used to be there, and it would be kind of silly to remove it since part of the reason for having it is being bad to go back and find and purchase songs.

          Kirk — the list does show things I own and do not own (mostly what I do not own, since it is an ad-supported music stream — I don’t subscribe to Apple Music yet). I do not know if this list works the same for all recently played songs, or the same for streaming Apple Music instead of a song-created radio station, but I’ll be testing it to find out.

  2. It Does display your history. On an iPhone play a song, hit the … Menu on the mini player to see up next and scroll up. It shows everything you’ve played.

        • Your tip just helped me find the list of songs I’ve listened to via a streaming radio station I created from an XTC song. I chose the bulleted list icon on the right after the fast forward button, then I pulled down with my thumb and — voila! — a list of songs played. I’m glad, because this feature used to be there, and it would be kind of silly to remove it since part of the reason for having it is being bad to go back and find and purchase songs.

          Kirk — the list does show things I own and do not own (mostly what I do not own, since it is an ad-supported music stream — I don’t subscribe to Apple Music yet). I do not know if this list works the same for all recently played songs, or the same for streaming Apple Music instead of a song-created radio station, but I’ll be testing it to find out.

  3. Precisely why I loved Last.fm. It would scrobble (keep track of what you played on all devices), and 1) provide you with a listening profile (for the week, month, year, etc.), plus it would 2) use that profile to provide streams tailored to your profile and 3) those streams were entirely consistent with your iTunes library and could include and build upon elements of your iTunes library. Great, great, great…while it lasted.

      • I’m glad they didn’t. What I like about Last.fm is that it’s platform agnostic. I can scrobble anything from iTunes to Spotify, even Shazam. It’s just a shame scrobbling Apple Music still doesn’t work properly. (Weirdly, it was working for me the other day, but now it is broken again…!)

  4. Precisely why I loved Last.fm. It would scrobble (keep track of what you played on all devices), and 1) provide you with a listening profile (for the week, month, year, etc.), plus it would 2) use that profile to provide streams tailored to your profile and 3) those streams were entirely consistent with your iTunes library and could include and build upon elements of your iTunes library. Great, great, great…while it lasted.

      • I’m glad they didn’t. What I like about Last.fm is that it’s platform agnostic. I can scrobble anything from iTunes to Spotify, even Shazam. It’s just a shame scrobbling Apple Music still doesn’t work properly. (Weirdly, it was working for me the other day, but now it is broken again…!)

  5. Even worse is that play history of your own files stops being transferred back to your computer from your phone. I lost a couple of weeks of ratings and history until I figured this out.

  6. Even worse is that play history of your own files stops being transferred back to your computer from your phone. I lost a couple of weeks of ratings and history until I figured this out.

  7. What Undertrader is correct. It DOES have your history, including streams. I just tried it and it kept songs I listened to on Beats 1 and other playlists from Apple Music. I even jumped around mid song between different playlists and then to music on my phone and the history was correct.

  8. What Undertrader is correct. It DOES have your history, including streams. I just tried it and it kept songs I listened to on Beats 1 and other playlists from Apple Music. I even jumped around mid song between different playlists and then to music on my phone and the history was correct.

  9. Just posted a comment, but I went to my Mac after using Music on my phone and the same playlist history carried over in the Up Next playlist. You click the little clock icon. It even put separators for the different playlists I jumped around to. Here’s a screenshot: http://cl.ly/image/183I310o3f3k. If I keep scrolling I see a history of all the stuff I listened to on Apple Music and even pre-album Music.

    • That’s only for Apple Music Radio stations, and only when you’re on the Radio tab. The doesn’t display anything you’ve streamed, either on demand or from a playlist.

      • Very odd. I get the same history list no matter what tab (My Music / New / Radio / Playlists) when I’m viewing on iTunes on my desktop. Also, again it DOES list songs that I’ve just played on-demand and not in a station. I just searched for an artist and just played a song at random. It was added to the history afterward.

        As for iOS, the history list on my iPhone has everything I’ve played regardless where it’s from: Radio 1, my own library, streamed, or from a playlist, etc.

        I agree it’s still buggy…because history list on my phone isn’t carried over between devices. I’m also curious to see why we’re getting different results. Maybe I’m just mis-understanding what you mean.

  10. Just posted a comment, but I went to my Mac after using Music on my phone and the same playlist history carried over in the Up Next playlist. You click the little clock icon. It even put separators for the different playlists I jumped around to. Here’s a screenshot: http://cl.ly/image/183I310o3f3k. If I keep scrolling I see a history of all the stuff I listened to on Apple Music and even pre-album Music.

    • That’s only for Apple Music Radio stations, and only when you’re on the Radio tab. The doesn’t display anything you’ve streamed, either on demand or from a playlist.

      • Very odd. I get the same history list no matter what tab (My Music / New / Radio / Playlists) when I’m viewing on iTunes on my desktop. Also, again it DOES list songs that I’ve just played on-demand and not in a station. I just searched for an artist and just played a song at random. It was added to the history afterward.

        As for iOS, the history list on my iPhone has everything I’ve played regardless where it’s from: Radio 1, my own library, streamed, or from a playlist, etc.

        I agree it’s still buggy…because history list on my phone isn’t carried over between devices. I’m also curious to see why we’re getting different results. Maybe I’m just mis-understanding what you mean.

  11. I have the same experience as previous commenters, I can see my entire listening history by going to the now playing screen, pressing the 3 dots with lines to the right of the seek forward button (on an iOS device) and it shows all listening history (streamed, on demand, or radio). I have yet to test if that list syncs with my other devices.

  12. I have the same experience as previous commenters, I can see my entire listening history by going to the now playing screen, pressing the 3 dots with lines to the right of the seek forward button (on an iOS device) and it shows all listening history (streamed, on demand, or radio). I have yet to test if that list syncs with my other devices.

  13. On your iPhone/iPad you need to
    1. Open iTunes app
    2. Tap on wishlist icon in upper right corner
    3. Tap on the Radio tab
    Your streaming history is there.

  14. On your iPhone/iPad you need to
    1. Open iTunes app
    2. Tap on wishlist icon in upper right corner
    3. Tap on the Radio tab
    Your streaming history is there.

  15. I think one of the author’s points is that it should gather recently played tracks from every device into one place. I listen to Apple Music through my PC and my iPhone, and I can see tracks played on my PC inside Apple Music on the PC; I can see tracks played on my iPhone inside Apple Music on my iPhone, but they’re two distinct lists — I don’t see anywhere that shows together, what I’ve played in Apple Music on both devices.

  16. I think one of the author’s points is that it should gather recently played tracks from every device into one place. I listen to Apple Music through my PC and my iPhone, and I can see tracks played on my PC inside Apple Music on the PC; I can see tracks played on my iPhone inside Apple Music on my iPhone, but they’re two distinct lists — I don’t see anywhere that shows together, what I’ve played in Apple Music on both devices.

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