Enable Half-Star Ratings in iTunes

Apr 9, 2012 - 7 Comments

Half Star Ratings in iTunes

iTunes allows users to rate songs on a 1 star to 5 star basis, song rating data can then be used for a variety of purposes, either for your own reference or for creating custom play lists that only include songs rated over a certain star value. But what if a song is somewhere in the middle of the rating scale, not quite worthy of 4 stars but not a 3 star song either? For more precise personal ratings, enable the half-star rating option in iTunes.

Launch the Terminal, found within the /Applications/Utilities/ directory, and enter the following defaults write command:

defaults write com.apple.iTunes allow-half-stars -bool TRUE

Quit and relaunch iTunes for changes to take effect. To give something a half star, click and slide the star rating scale until the 1/2 value shows.

To remove the half-star rating option use the following defaults command and then relaunch iTunes again:

defaults delete com.apple.iTunes allow-half-stars

Removing the half stars moves the song rating to the star below it, so a 3 1/2 star song would turn into a 3 star song, and so on.

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Posted by: William Pearson in iTunes, Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks


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  1. FrozenSea says:

    I can’t understand what would Apple be thinking to set the poorest option as default… Thanks for sharing,

  2. Keith says:

    I’m with vdiv!! I know that iTunes *actually* stores ratings as 0 up to 100!!! So, when you rate a track 5 stars, iTunes actually stores it as 100, a rating of 3 stars is actually 60, etc. I would LOVE to be able to use ALL 100 points to rate tracks! Anybody know how to do that?

    And, to answer John’s question, yes, iTunes *does* properly sort ratings in ascending/descending order with half-stars enabled. Very cool.

  3. John says:


    Question: does iTunes properly sort Ratings in ascending/descending order (i.e., 4.5 is followed by 4 which is then followed by 3.5?)

  4. vdiv says:

    For even more precise rating how do we then enable 1/4 and 3/4 stars since a song may not be worth 3 1/2 stars, but worth more than just 3 stars? ;)

  5. Matthew says:

    It’s also worth a note that when changing the setting back to ‘whole stars’ even though the stars only show in whole increments in iTunes, the metadata of the songs are STILL in half-star increments. So, if you turned the option back on again, the ‘correct’ half-star ratings would show and be in tact. This is good to know if you are worried about losing the ratings if you move to a new system or that setting gets reset during an update – your half-star ratings are still there!

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