Introduction: How to Enable Half Stars in Itunes

Picture of How to Enable Half Stars in Itunes

Being obsessive on how i organize my thousands of songs in Itunes, I found that the wimpy 1-5 star ratings weren't cutting it. So I found a way to rate them a half. This is very useful if you like everything rated EXACTLY how you want it.

*Disclaimer... this SHOULDN'T cause problems with your Itunes. If you do everything right, it will be fine.


1. Itunes (duh)
2. A computer (either mac OR windows, separate instructions for both)
Mac users go to step 6...

Step 1: Windows Instructions

Picture of Windows Instructions

If your computer is running windows, use this set of instructions.
If your computer is a Mac, use the OTHER instructions. (skip to step )

First off, don't have Itunes running whille you do this. You can, BUT you'll have to restart Itunes in order for this to take effect.
Just to be safe, close it anyway...

Now, find the ItunesPrefs.xml file.

Usually (in Vista) this is at
C:\Users\YOUR USERNAME HERE\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\iTunes

In XP, this is at
C:\Documents and Settings\YOUR USERNAME\Application Data\Apple Computer\iTunes

Replace YOUR USERNAME with your computer user name (duh)
The application data folder is usually hidden in windows so you'll have to type this in the explorer bar.

The folder looks like this-----------

Step 2: Open the .XML File

Picture of Open the .XML File

Right click on the ItunesPrefs.xml file
hit Open With,
then WordPad.

Why WordPad and not Notepad???
Notepad has a tendency to not display .XML files quite right.

You should now see this----------------------------------

Step 3: Scroll Down and Paste

Picture of Scroll Down and Paste
Scroll down to where you see a line that reads:

<key>User Preferences</key>

Below this line, but above the next line, type


to be safe, just copy and paste it from this screen.

  • this "dHJ1ZQ==" means "true" in Base64.

Step 4: Check & Save

Picture of Check &amp; Save

Check where you have just pasted. It should look just like this now...

If it looks like that, then save this file and exit out of WordPad.

Step 5: Open Itunes

Picture of Open Itunes

Open up your Itunes again, and you should now be able to rate things as half stars!
This also works on rating your albums.

The only thing bad about this is that you can't see the half stars on your ipod. It displays them as a whole number. But it does, however, recognize that 4.5 star songs are less than 5 star, which makes them work with the smart playlists.

Congratulations, you now have half stars.
Simply click and drag in between the regular stars to access these new stars.

For Mac users, check out step six.

Happy Rating

***Please Rate and Comment.... thanks***

Step 6: Enabling Half Stars on the Mac

Picture of Enabling Half Stars on the Mac

To enable half stars on a Mac, first, close Itunes.

Then, you have to open up Terminal

(Located at /Applications/Utilities....somewhere in there)
and once it's open, type in

defaults write allow-half-stars -bool TRUE

Hit enter, and then close out of the terminal.
Then, open Itunes

Simply click and drag in between the regular stars to access these new stars. should have half stars!


thinkdunson (author)2016-09-24

unfortunately, this does not work any more. with itunes 12.5.1 for windows, apple has removed this method of enabling half stars. (i haven't tested the mac version to see if the terminal method still works.)

however, smart playlists do still take into account all previous ratings that included half stars. so the feature is clearly still in place, someone just needs to figure out how to get at it.

gryphyn (author)thinkdunson2016-09-30

This still works (thank goodness!) for v12.5.1.21. Read this page.

thinkdunson (author)gryphyn2016-10-02


JoelE15 (author)2016-02-23


Thanks for posting this. However, I have since found that I don't like the 1/2 stars because I mis-rate far too often. I want to go back to the whole star system. I planned on just reversing what you posted but my itunesprefs file not looks different. I fear I'm going to cause havoc and loose my years of organizing.

My itunesprefs now looks like this:


<key>User Preferences</key>




?? QUESTION ?? How do I get back to the original?

Thanks so much....

TobyP9 (author)2015-12-10

I love you a bit; I really do.

It does not extend into the auto / smart playlists sadly, which makes me sad, but that's not you that's Apple!


cxvxdaniel (author)TobyP92015-12-15

I've found that half star ratings do work with smart playlists, just not in the way you'd think. You can't select half star ratings from the smart playlist screen but the smart playlist generator's rules of logic still apply. An input of "greater than 3" will return songs with ratings of 3.5, 4, 4.5, and 5. An input of "in the range of 4 and 5" will return songs with the ratings of 4, 4.5, and 5. Inputting "greater than 4" AND "less than 5" will returns songs with the rating of 4.5. You've just got to learn how to work around it!

jbowe (author)2015-10-24

awesome, thank you! I was so angry when itunes 12 took away all of my half star ratings!

~works on iTunes 12 for Mac~

Robert W.A (author)2015-05-28

thinkdunson (author)2013-03-15

for Windows 7 (probably for others as well, but i have 7, so that's all i can confirm) the appdata folder is hidden.

click the start menu and type %appdata% into the search field (including the two percent signs) and then hit enter. that'll open your Roaming folder.
then just continue with the instructions from there. i tried it and it works.

thanks for the ible, musicninja.

thinkdunson (author)thinkdunson2014-10-25

Just used again and it still works in Mac OS X.10 Yosemite with iTunes 12.

AlmightyFduffle (author)2011-09-10

hey, nice taste in music

odixon-luinenburg (author)2011-03-14

Just so you know, this still works in itunes 10.
This is amazing, thankyou. I never thought it would be this easy.
Now to see how it translates onto my iphone...

f86sabre (author)2009-04-22

the UserPreferencesdoes not exist on iTunes 8

musicninja17 (author)f86sabre2009-05-29

Weird. I have 8 and it does. Look again....

hmm... (author)musicninja172011-01-09

Never mind. I found it.

hmm... (author)musicninja172011-01-09

What about 10?

JudahCris (author)2010-10-16

Awesome Guide!!!

rating all my songs now...
Album 4 of 76

firedragonblood (author)2010-08-13

worked! and it was super easy. now i can be super anal about rating my music

elCarlito1 (author)2010-01-30

What if you're using windows 7? Where would you go then?

microsoftman (author)elCarlito12010-02-28

wish i new i got same problem (:

tanmanknex (author)2009-12-11

 AHHH!!! CAN'T CLOSE ITUNES!!!  Almost got it...  There!  I didn't want to close itunes. ;)  Great 'ible!

swishinj (author)2009-10-04

when i try to save it says access to the iTunesprefs.xml was denied!

A P3RS0N (author)swishinj2009-12-01

If you're a limited user, have an admin allow write permissions to iTunesprefs.xml.

swishinj (author)A P3RS0N2009-12-02

 no i computer admin!

A P3RS0N (author)swishinj2009-12-02

then make sure that iTunes is closed (check the taskmgr for instances of iTunes.exe & iTunesHelper.exe) and make sure that write permissions are enabled on the file. You may have to change the ownership of the file to your account.

Seleziona (author)2009-06-15

Worked on mine

musicninja17 (author)Seleziona2009-06-15

Just curious.....are you using Windos (if so what flavour) or mac? glad this worked for you.....

Seleziona (author)musicninja172009-07-03

It's on windows XP

cbrown222 (author)2009-04-26

didnt work for my mac

musicninja17 (author)cbrown2222009-05-29

Did you read the mac instructions/go through the terminal?

A P3RS0N (author)2009-04-10

I tried this, and it reset my Apple Store Settings, My Itunes Prefs, and some other things. then spit it out. I had to go thru heck w/ apple to fix it. Any help?

musicninja17 (author)A P3RS0N2009-04-10

I'm not sure why it did this for you..... maybe you accidently deleted a line of code or something..... I'm sorry this happened, but like I said, its never done that before..... any chance are you using a mac???

A P3RS0N (author)musicninja172009-04-11

Nope. Vista Home Prem. x64, though. My library was fine, it started w/ the Itunes etup Assistant. I haven't used that for 3 years. It gave me a 5002 error when logging in to the store, and I couldn't use any DRM music (only 1 album though, so no biggie.) It reset itself ~ 2 hrs later.

musicninja17 (author)A P3RS0N2009-04-11

Weird..... ooh Vista....maybe thats what did it..... but did it revert it to half stars?

A P3RS0N (author)musicninja172009-04-13

Nope. Defaulted back to full stars

musicninja17 (author)A P3RS0N2009-04-13

Oh........what was the name of the file you edited and what is your itunes version?

A P3RS0N (author)musicninja172009-04-15

C:\Users\Sean\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\iTunes\Itunesprefs.xml

Kyri (author)2009-04-02

YAY! Finally I can accurately rate my songs. Will people on the network who are viewing my library be able to see the 1/2s? (Apologies if you've mentioned this in the instructable; I haven't had a chance to look through it all yet)

musicninja17 (author)Kyri2009-04-11

What do you mean by "on the network"? as in sharing the same library on multiple computers?

reddog92396 (author)2009-04-06

Wow! My friend had this and I was wondering how!

musicninja17 (author)reddog923962009-04-06

You're welcome ;) Glad you like it

insomniac (author)2009-04-03

perfect! thanks.

tamashii (author)2009-04-02

This is incredible! It couldn't have been easier to implement, either. Thanks for this!

captainspud (author)2009-03-28

It wouldn't let me type in the word pad! I could only copy but not paste! Help please.

musicninja17 (author)captainspud2009-03-31

sorry it took me so long to get back to you....

musicninja17 (author)captainspud2009-03-31

...hmm......try copying the whole length of text to a different file maybe, and then saving that as the first file.... or you could just try opening it in might work like that....

A.C.E. (author)2009-03-10

hey, if you have a jailbroken ipod you might be able to go into the ipod_control folder via ssh ans do something like this, but it would probably just come out in cydia sooner or later. could you do enable 1/4 stars? lol

musicninja17 (author)A.C.E.2009-03-10

No, i don't think Itunes has support for 1/4 stars... but if anyone figures out how to do that... XD

NachoMahma (author)musicninja172009-03-10

. If you will look at the "dHJ1ZQ==" part as hex or binary data, you may be able to figure something out. Maybe not.

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