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What does the star mean on Apple Music?

It's all to do with algorithms.
July 20, 2022
Apple Music Library stock photo
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

If you are a subscriber to Apple Music, then you may have noticed something during browsing for music to play. Some tracks have a single star next to them. If you mouse over it, that star changes to a heart icon in case you want to “love” the track. But what does the star mean on Apple Music, and why is it there?

Read more: Apple Music — is it worth it?


On Apple Music, the single star next to a song means that the track is extremely popular with many Apple Music subscribers. Apple, therefore, thinks you would like it too, and so the star is a recommendation of sorts to check out the song.


What does the star mean on Apple Music?

If you are an Apple Music subscriber or use the Music or iTunes app to listen to your downloaded music, you have a star system for each song. You can rank each song from one star to five stars, depending on how much you liked the song. Apple Music then sends this data to its algorithms which calculate what to recommend to you next based on your listening history and music tastes.

All of the star rating data is then aggregated, and Apple works out the most popular tracks ever across a wide spectrum of albums and genres. If you look at the top-selling albums of all time in your favorite genre or singer, you’re bound to find at least one star next to a song.

This is the Pink Floyd album, The Wall. Unsurprisingly, Another Brick in the Wall has a star next to it.

apple music star pink floyd

It’s also the same with Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

apple music star queen

There have been online criticism of Apple’s decision to mark music that it thinks people should listen to. Some have suggested that Apple obviously thinks people are not capable of making their own music choices. But if you look at the star icon, it is very faint to the point where you may very well miss it if you’re not looking closely enough.

Since this isn’t a feature that Apple is shoving into your face, it’s really just a harmless feature that recommends good songs if you come across a new album for the first time.

How to star songs on Apple Music

If you want to start rating music on Apple Music, then it’s very easy to do. Go to the song in Apple Music, and to the left of the download button on the right-hand side, you will see five star-shaped icons. You will have to mouse over the area for them to show up.

apple music star rating

Click the star you want to choose. So if you think the song is worthy of four stars, click the fourth star to the right.

apple music save star rating

Your choice will automatically be saved, and if you want to change the rating later, you can do. Nothing is fixed forever.

It should be noted, however, that you cannot rate songs on Apple Music playlists created by someone else.

Read more: How to reset your Apple Music library