As the title says, how does iTunes decide what counts as a "skip" for the purposes of incrementing the skip count and setting the "last skipped" date?

I've noticed that it only seems to count if I hit "next track" within the first few seconds of a song playing (but not before it starts, if it's being streamed using iTunes Match), but I haven't been able to find any specific details.

For bonus points, what counts as a "play"? There's a related question but it's asking about podcasts, which follow different rules than music.


1 Answer 1


Let's start with the obvious.

A song is considered played once the reproduction ends. It does not matter if you've listened to all of it or just skipped to the last second of the song, once the song automatically changes to the next one (or ends the reproduction list), the play count is incremented.

Now, the less obvious:

If a song is skipped in it's first 10 seconds, the skip count is incremented. If the song is skipped when the are 10 seconds remaining for the song to end, the play count is incremented. If you skip the song in between, nor the skip nor the play count is incremented.

The skip can triggered by either using the left arrow key, pressing the fast forward key or just selecting a different song a hitting enter.

  • "If a song is skipped in it's first 10 seconds, the skip count is incremented", not always... I'm still trying to understand, but when I start a playlist, and press right arrow (I think before 3 seconds) looks like this first skip it not counted... Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 0:16
  • 2
    Skip threshold is 2 secs for iTunes for PC/MAC, and 3 secs for iPhone based on my experience. When you skip the song before that, neither skip count nor play count is incremented.
    – Won
    Commented May 19, 2015 at 17:59
  • 1
    Any plist value to change the skip threshold?
    – E. Rivera
    Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 19:57
  • @Rivera Changing the iTunes Music Library.xml which has the Skip Count key doesn't work, as that information is stored under iTunes Library.itl. It might be worth asking a new question just for that. :)
    – Thecafremo
    Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 9:56

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