Introduction: 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

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

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

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

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

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

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 made it!(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 made it!(author)2016-09-30

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

thinkdunson made it!(author)2016-10-02


JoelE15 made it!(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 made it!(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 made it!(author)2015-12-15

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 made it!(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 made it!(author)2015-05-28

thinkdunson made it!(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 made it!(author)2014-10-25

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

AlmightyFduffle made it!(author)2011-09-10

hey, nice taste in music

odixon-luinenburg made it!(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 made it!(author)2009-04-22

the UserPreferencesdoes not exist on iTunes 8

musicninja17 made it!(author)2009-05-29

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

hmm... made it!(author)2011-01-09

Never mind. I found it.

hmm... made it!(author)2011-01-09

What about 10?

JudahCris made it!(author)2010-10-16

Awesome Guide!!!

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

firedragonblood made it!(author)2010-08-13

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

elCarlito1 made it!(author)2010-01-30

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

microsoftman made it!(author)2010-02-28

wish i new i got same problem (:

tanmanknex made it!(author)2009-12-11

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

swishinj made it!(author)2009-10-04

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

A+P3RS0N made it!(author)2009-12-01

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

swishinj made it!(author)2009-12-02

 no i computer admin!

A+P3RS0N made it!(author)2009-12-02

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 made it!(author)2009-06-15

Worked on mine

musicninja17 made it!(author)2009-06-15

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

Seleziona made it!(author)2009-07-03

It's on windows XP

cbrown222 made it!(author)2009-04-26

didnt work for my mac

musicninja17 made it!(author)2009-05-29

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

A+P3RS0N made it!(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 made it!(author)2009-04-10

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.....

musicninja17 made it!(author)2009-04-10 any chance are you using a mac???

A+P3RS0N made it!(author)2009-04-11

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 made it!(author)2009-04-11

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

A+P3RS0N made it!(author)2009-04-13

Nope. Defaulted back to full stars

musicninja17 made it!(author)2009-04-13

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

A+P3RS0N made it!(author)2009-04-15

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

Kyri made it!(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 made it!(author)2009-04-11

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

reddog92396 made it!(author)2009-04-06

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

musicninja17 made it!(author)2009-04-06

You're welcome ;) Glad you like it

insomniac made it!(author)2009-04-03

perfect! thanks.

tamashii made it!(author)2009-04-02

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

captainspud made it!(author)2009-03-28

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

musicninja17 made it!(author)2009-03-31

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

musicninja17 made it!(author)2009-03-31

...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. made it!(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 made it!(author)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 made it!(author)2009-03-10

. 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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