How to manage listening history in Apple Music

Apple Music listening history

Aside from sharing some of what you’re listening to on Apple Music with people who you specifically approve, you can also manage your private listening history on iPhone, iPad and Mac, which is pretty handy when you’d like to revisit some of the songs you’ve recently enjoyed.

A brief history of Apple Music listening history

iTunes for Mac let you browse your Apple Music listening history from day one,  but iOS device owners have had to wait until the iOS 13.2 update to enjoy the same functionality.

Eagle-eyed readers might point out that the Music app on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch has supported sharing a limited list of recently played songs with friends since the launch of Apple Music in 2015 via a “Recently Played” section in the For You tab, but it’s not what it seems.

TUTORIAL: How to use all the new iPhone and iPad features in iOS 13.2

That section only shows covers for albums, radio stations or playlists you have listened to previously, which isn’t very handy. And if you care about privacy, Recently Played is best avoided as anyone who follows you on Apple Music can see what’s on it.

The release of the iOS 13.2 software update brought your private per-device Apple Music listening history to the Music app on iPhone and iPad. Additionally, the Music app on macOS Catalina has changed how your listening history is accessed.

But don’t you worry a thing, it’s still remarkably easy — although not quite obvious — to view your listening history on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Mac, and iDB shows you how.

How to manage Apple Music listening history

You have the ability to view your private Apple Music listening history by swiping down in the Music app on iOS or with a few clicks on your Mac, as explained right ahead.

iPhone and iPad

1) Open the Music app on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch with iOS 13.2 or later.

2) Tap the mini-player near the bottom of the screen to enter the Now Playing interface.

3) Tap the Up Next icon in the bottom-right corner of the Now Playing screen.

The icon for Up Next looks like three bullet points followed by horizontal lines.

4) Now swipe down until you scroll up to the History heading.

You can now view all of the songs your recently played on your device. Feel free to remove a song from your listening history by swiping it to the left, then tap the hidden option Remove.

iPhone listening history
You will feel a little haptic feedback when you scroll past the History heading.

Tap Clear to delete your whole Apple Music listening history from this device at any time.


1) Launch the Music app on your Mac with macOS Catalina 10.15 or later.

2) Click the Up Next button near the top-right corner of the window.

iPhone listening history
Listening history on the Mac lives underneath that Up Next icon.

3) Now click History in the Up Next list to see all the songs that played previously.

Apple Music listening history
Your listening history is specific to each iPhone, iPad and Mac.

You can remove individual songs from your listening history at any time: just right-click an entry in your History and choose the option Remove from History from the popup menu.

Apple Music listening history
Right-click a song to reveal options to remove it from your listening history.

To wipe your listening history clean on this device, click Clear at the bottom of the list.

Recently Played vs. History

You can visit the Recently Played section in the Music app on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or Apple TV and scroll through covers for your recently played albums, radio stations or playlists. However, that’s hardly useful, because you’ll see covers regardless of whether you’ve listened to the whole album/playlist or a single song from it.

Moreover, the Recently Played list only holds 40 entries and overwrites the newest entries once after you’ve played 40 entries. But perhaps most importantly, that list is visible to people who follow you on Apple Music via the “Friends Are Listening To” section in the For You tab.

By contrast, History is visible to you and only to you.

Apple Music listening history
Listening history is available via the Apple Music web app, too. Just click that Up Next icon and scroll to History.

Even though you can stop sharing what you’ve played with your followers by disabling the option Use Listening History in the Music app settings, be advised that doing also disables personalized content recommendations that you get on the For You screen.

And finally, there’s no way to delete individual entries in Recently Played without replacing them with new entries, which can only be accomplished by listening to other songs or playlists.

Contrast that with the History section, which lets you remove individual entries from the list or clear out the whole Apple Music listening history from your device in one fell swoop.

Make sense?

Need help? Ask iDB!

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