Is Apple Getting Rid of Star Ratings for Music in iTunes?

iTunes has long had a way of allowing you to rate tracks, applying a rating from one to five stars (or leaving tracks unrated). You can do this from the contextual menu when you right-click on a track, from the Rating sub-menu in the Song menu, or by clicking stars next to a track in various views.

Itunes 12 4 ratings

When Apple launched Apple Music, the company introduced a new form of rating: Loves. With this binary rating, you can love a track that you like, or apply no rating to leave it as neutral. The most recent beta version of iTunes 12.5, available as part of the macOS Sierra beta, added dislikes. In addition to loving a track or leaving it unmarked, you can also flag tracks you dislike. So, there are three possibilities: no rating, Love, or Dislike. (Choosing Dislike on a Loved track removes the Loved rating, and vice versa).

In the current beta versions of iTunes 12.5 and iOS 10, by default ratings are nowhere to be seen. If you right-click a track, here’s what the contextual menu displays:

Itunes 12 5 ratings

If you want to use star ratings, you need to now check an option in the General preferences: Show: Star Ratings. If not, you won’t see star ratings anywhere but in the Songs View column.

Ratings are totally absent from the iOS 10 Music app, with no option to turn them on. Currently, on iOS 9, you can view a rating or rate a track by tapping its album artwork while it’s playing, but only for tracks in your library; you can’t apply star ratings to Apple Music tracks. Nothing happens in iOS 10 when you tap the artwork. When you tap the … for a playing track, you see a menu which offers Love and Dislike options, but no star ratings.

Ios 10 ratings

So, is Apple getting rid of star ratings, or is this just a temporary thing, due to this being beta software? To be fair, it is confusing now to have two systems – stars and Love/Dislike – and the fact that you can’t apply star ratings to Apple Music tracks on iOS suggests that star ratings my be going away. If there’s an option to use them in iTunes, but not in iOS, that becomes confusing.

If they do get rid of star ratings, this will exasperate many users, who have been rating their music collections for a long time, and who use smart playlists to organize their favorite tracks. I hope Apple doesn’t do this; it would be a painful change for many users.

102 thoughts on “Is Apple Getting Rid of Star Ratings for Music in iTunes?

  1. I sure hope they see sense and retain ratings. As you say, their loss would be a major exasperation. There’s a huge contradiction between on the one hand making Classical music easier to handle (the ability to add Work and Movement metadata which you already referred to) and taking away ratings on the other – and why on earth would I ‘dislike’ something I’d already added to my library?

    Way back in the pre-iTunes dim and distant past, I used my own rating system by adding dots beside tracks in my CD booklets, and the iTunes rating system has been a godsend when it came to carrying these ratings over when I ripped the CDs.

  2. I sure hope they see sense and retain ratings. As you say, their loss would be a major exasperation. There’s a huge contradiction between on the one hand making Classical music easier to handle (the ability to add Work and Movement metadata which you already referred to) and taking away ratings on the other – and why on earth would I ‘dislike’ something I’d already added to my library?

    Way back in the pre-iTunes dim and distant past, I used my own rating system by adding dots beside tracks in my CD booklets, and the iTunes rating system has been a godsend when it came to carrying these ratings over when I ripped the CDs.

  3. I hope this isn’t true!! I heavily rely on on star ratings for smart playlists that I have built over the last decade!

  4. I hope this isn’t true!! I heavily rely on on star ratings for smart playlists that I have built over the last decade!

  5. Being able to organise your music with ratings and smart playlists is THE key reason why I use Apple Music and iTunes rather than spotify, which is awful for slightly more than basic music organisation.

    Its the reason I put up with Apple Music bugs, and its lack of features compared to other streaming services. I am very very angry about this. But that’s what apple do.

    I guess you can use the comments field or static playlists to create a rating system, but if apple can so easily remove star ratings which i’m sure only geeks use, then surely they’ll get rid of smart playlists in the future.

  6. Being able to organise your music with ratings and smart playlists is THE key reason why I use Apple Music and iTunes rather than spotify, which is awful for slightly more than basic music organisation.

    Its the reason I put up with Apple Music bugs, and its lack of features compared to other streaming services. I am very very angry about this. But that’s what apple do.

    I guess you can use the comments field or static playlists to create a rating system, but if apple can so easily remove star ratings which i’m sure only geeks use, then surely they’ll get rid of smart playlists in the future.

  7. And there i was toying with the idea of getting a new iPhone, now that my iPhone 4 has almost reached the end of its life…
    Question: Are there 3rd party music apps that let you rate songs?

      • Yes it does, so does Ecoute. However, so far anyway, changing the rating in these apps does not change them in the cloud library. So, therefore they are useless for smart playlists. I’m ready to drop iTunes altogether for music if this goes away.

        • That’s good to know! However, since i don’t use the cloud library, that’s secondary to me (for the time being, at least). Still, those apps do change the rating of tracks that are in your local library, right?

          • I haven’t tested it, but it might work for those who sync music, instead of use the cloud library. Can we get a verification from anyone who is a syncer? Given that the probability that the next iPhone will be offered with 256GB, that might make me a syncer again!

        • However, you can rate songs using Siri. That’s the only way rating songs using the 5 star system with iOS10

  8. And there i was toying with the idea of getting a new iPhone, now that my iPhone 4 has almost reached the end of its life…
    Question: Are there 3rd party music apps that let you rate songs?

      • Yes it does, so does Ecoute. However, so far anyway, changing the rating in these apps does not change them in the cloud library. So, therefore they are useless for smart playlists. I’m ready to drop iTunes altogether for music if this goes away.

        • That’s good to know! However, since i don’t use the cloud library, that’s secondary to me (for the time being, at least). Still, those apps do change the rating of tracks that are in your local library, right?

          • I haven’t tested it, but it might work for those who sync music, instead of use the cloud library. Can we get a verification from anyone who is a syncer? Given that the probability that the next iPhone will be offered with 256GB, that might make me a syncer again!

        • However, you can rate songs using Siri. That’s the only way rating songs using the 5 star system with iOS10

  9. Wow… I can’t bear to think of the hours I spent on my ratings and creating smart playlists. Ratings are the foundation of my iTunes usage. Aperture and iTunes were my most used Apple software. I found a second-rate replacement for Aperture, but iTunes is going to more difficult. This would simply further degrade the Apple experience for me in their quest for “simplicity.”

    • before you upgrade, Take all your ratings and stick them in Composer. Ex. If you rated Five Stars put ‘5’ in the composer seciton

      • This will allow you to not lose all the hours you spent rating them. It’s a temporary fix, but at least you don’t lose your ratings and you can figure out something to do in the mean time.

  10. Wow… I can’t bear to think of the hours I spent on my ratings and creating smart playlists. Ratings are the foundation of my iTunes usage. Aperture and iTunes were my most used Apple software. I found a second-rate replacement for Aperture, but iTunes is going to more difficult. This would simply further degrade the Apple experience for me in their quest for “simplicity.”

    • before you upgrade, Take all your ratings and stick them in Composer. Ex. If you rated Five Stars put ‘5’ in the composer seciton

      • This will allow you to not lose all the hours you spent rating them. It’s a temporary fix, but at least you don’t lose your ratings and you can figure out something to do in the mean time.

  11. I’m confused: I thought this vanished from iOS 9. I know I’ve spent time tapping the song title and other actionable items trying to find ratings.

  12. I’m confused: I thought this vanished from iOS 9. I know I’ve spent time tapping the song title and other actionable items trying to find ratings.

  13. Yes, I turned on the star ratings. I use them as well, especially for playlists. However, I HATE the hearts and would prefer to simply see stars. The star rating system was easy to understand and use. But why the hearts before the track listings?

    • For the ordinary listener the choice of five (stars) is probably asking too much of people to decide. Hearts are much easier to use but are not useful on the end. Apple, look over to Facebook and ask why they have enhanced the simple like dislike system

      • We are not forced to use five stars. You can select only 1-star or up to five stars. In addition, I β€” like many others β€” have been using stars for over 11 years. Dropping stars will really mess up a lot of people’s playlists. Facebook does not provide a good example as people have 1,000s and 1,000s of songs, but why would anyone want to review their ‘dislikes’?

  14. Yes, I turned on the star ratings. I use them as well, especially for playlists. However, I HATE the hearts and would prefer to simply see stars. The star rating system was easy to understand and use. But why the hearts before the track listings?

    • For the ordinary listener the choice of five (stars) is probably asking too much of people to decide. Hearts are much easier to use but are not useful on the end. Apple, look over to Facebook and ask why they have enhanced the simple like dislike system

      • We are not forced to use five stars. You can select only 1-star or up to five stars. In addition, I β€” like many others β€” have been using stars for over 11 years. Dropping stars will really mess up a lot of people’s playlists. Facebook does not provide a good example as people have 1,000s and 1,000s of songs, but why would anyone want to review their ‘dislikes’?

  15. I’m really concerned Apple is trying to make Apple Music easier by taking away things for the music enthusiast. Easy peasy UI like Spotify, Deezer etc. And really, the majority of music listeners seem to be fine without spending time building up music collections and organizing it. In order to safe my star ratings I put my stars in other meta fields. But without the ability to change the ratings in iOS this is just a precaution. Removing the star rating could make me shift over to Spotify or Deezer.

    • I do the same. I use the Composer Category and can listen to any of my 5 star songs and 4 star songs whenever I want. I’m very frustrated with Apple right now. Just when I thought it couldn’t get worse they do this. My library is already screwed up (at least 400 tracks. Thank God I still have the original) because when they match a song it doesn’t play correctly. I just tried to talk to someone today AGAIN about it and their engineering team is doing all it can. I could always switch to Droid, but I’ve spent a small fortune on apps and other devices. I feel trapped πŸ™ . We will see how things develop though.

  16. I’m really concerned Apple is trying to make Apple Music easier by taking away things for the music enthusiast. Easy peasy UI like Spotify, Deezer etc. And really, the majority of music listeners seem to be fine without spending time building up music collections and organizing it. In order to safe my star ratings I put my stars in other meta fields. But without the ability to change the ratings in iOS this is just a precaution. Removing the star rating could make me shift over to Spotify or Deezer.

    • I do the same. I use the Composer Category and can listen to any of my 5 star songs and 4 star songs whenever I want. I’m very frustrated with Apple right now. Just when I thought it couldn’t get worse they do this. My library is already screwed up (at least 400 tracks. Thank God I still have the original) because when they match a song it doesn’t play correctly. I just tried to talk to someone today AGAIN about it and their engineering team is doing all it can. I could always switch to Droid, but I’ve spent a small fortune on apps and other devices. I feel trapped πŸ™ . We will see how things develop though.

  17. This will be a huge deal for me. My basic use for iTunes is add new music either via iTunes on the desktop or Apple Music, rate it on my mobile devices so that the results filter through into smart playlists that I play through my stereo via Apple TV.

    I currently use the ‘love’ option to pick out my absolute favourite tracks ie. I’ve got loads of 5 star tracks but only a handful of those are ‘loved’.

    A binary love/hate option really doesn’t give you enough flexibility in my opinion. I’ve fed back my disapproval to Apple via the official Beta Feedback app and I urge everybody else to.

    I’ve noticed a general trend lately in ‘dumbing down’ apps – the latest version of the Philips Hue app for controlling their lights pulled a similar trick: add one new cool feature, remove loads of useful ‘power-user’ features, much to the annoyance of their user base.

    Fingers crossed Apple will listen but I doubt it…

    • I deal with my music like you. Added songs to my library are taken care of in an NEW smart playlist that shows an starred stuff. From there I listen to the songs deciding wether to delete it (1 star) or to rate it from 2 to 5 stars. I also rate songs mostly on my iPhone, rarely on my Mac.

      Since I’ve heard about that Aple might remove the star based rating I tried to adapt with the hearts. 5 stars versus 3 states of love (unliked, liked, disliked). That could work out. However the latest version if iTunes supports in smart playlist only true or false as a status for hearts. So I’m unable to split my library into three segments – for now.

      I also requested bringing back the stars into the music app several times via the feedback app. I have some hope. I also believe people like us are just a very small percentage of all Apple music users.

      • No doubt we are. Almost everyone I speak with isn’t even aware of them. I just figure they have small music libraries, or none at all, or they are really not into music the way we are.

        • Go to https://beta.apple.com/sp/en/betaprogram/

          Subscribe with your Apple ID, choose the device you would like to participate in the beta program. Aftet that you have to register your device by load and install a certificate. Then reboot your device. You’re now able install iOS10 Beta version via over the air upgrade. You also find the feedback app on yor device

  18. This will be a huge deal for me. My basic use for iTunes is add new music either via iTunes on the desktop or Apple Music, rate it on my mobile devices so that the results filter through into smart playlists that I play through my stereo via Apple TV.

    I currently use the ‘love’ option to pick out my absolute favourite tracks ie. I’ve got loads of 5 star tracks but only a handful of those are ‘loved’.

    A binary love/hate option really doesn’t give you enough flexibility in my opinion. I’ve fed back my disapproval to Apple via the official Beta Feedback app and I urge everybody else to.

    I’ve noticed a general trend lately in ‘dumbing down’ apps – the latest version of the Philips Hue app for controlling their lights pulled a similar trick: add one new cool feature, remove loads of useful ‘power-user’ features, much to the annoyance of their user base.

    Fingers crossed Apple will listen but I doubt it…

    • I deal with my music like you. Added songs to my library are taken care of in an NEW smart playlist that shows an starred stuff. From there I listen to the songs deciding wether to delete it (1 star) or to rate it from 2 to 5 stars. I also rate songs mostly on my iPhone, rarely on my Mac.

      Since I’ve heard about that Aple might remove the star based rating I tried to adapt with the hearts. 5 stars versus 3 states of love (unliked, liked, disliked). That could work out. However the latest version if iTunes supports in smart playlist only true or false as a status for hearts. So I’m unable to split my library into three segments – for now.

      I also requested bringing back the stars into the music app several times via the feedback app. I have some hope. I also believe people like us are just a very small percentage of all Apple music users.

      • No doubt we are. Almost everyone I speak with isn’t even aware of them. I just figure they have small music libraries, or none at all, or they are really not into music the way we are.

        • Go to https://beta.apple.com/sp/en/betaprogram/

          Subscribe with your Apple ID, choose the device you would like to participate in the beta program. Aftet that you have to register your device by load and install a certificate. Then reboot your device. You’re now able install iOS10 Beta version via over the air upgrade. You also find the feedback app on yor device

  19. Well guys. Seeing your comments, I’m really assured that Appel won’t be that stupid to make millions of iTunes funs so angry. Even if iOS will take the stars away, they will come back in few weeks.

    • I seriously doubt that music enthusiasts like us using star rating make up millions. It rather seems we are a dying out fraction with a real music collection. Most music streaming users follow playlists of others or rely on currated recommendations. An easy to use, less cluttered UI has the best chances to gather loads of subscribers. Don’t get me wrong I really hope Apple is going to bring back star rating. But as long we’re sitting here complaining in a tiny corner of the internet nothing is going to happen. 2 weeks ago I twittered to Edddy Cue that this discussion here might be if some interest.

  20. Well guys. Seeing your comments, I’m really assured that Appel won’t be that stupid to make millions of iTunes funs so angry. Even if iOS will take the stars away, they will come back in few weeks.

    • I seriously doubt that music enthusiasts like us using star rating make up millions. It rather seems we are a dying out fraction with a real music collection. Most music streaming users follow playlists of others or rely on currated recommendations. An easy to use, less cluttered UI has the best chances to gather loads of subscribers. Don’t get me wrong I really hope Apple is going to bring back star rating. But as long we’re sitting here complaining in a tiny corner of the internet nothing is going to happen. 2 weeks ago I twittered to Edddy Cue that this discussion here might be if some interest.

  21. Doesn’t look like star ratings are coming back on iOS anytime soon. Just like all of the betas there’s no ability to rate songs in the iOS 10 golden master that was released :((

  22. Doesn’t look like star ratings are coming back on iOS anytime soon. Just like all of the betas there’s no ability to rate songs in the iOS 10 golden master that was released :((

  23. This is the worst news ever as I heavy rely on my 7k tracks being star rated. I would not buy any more apple products if this is the case. I have just downloaded ios10 and it is not on there.

  24. This is the worst news ever as I heavy rely on my 7k tracks being star rated. I would not buy any more apple products if this is the case. I have just downloaded ios10 and it is not on there.

  25. i can’t believe the hours of my life that i just lost with this update. i meticulously rate my library for djing. i can’t even believe it. anyone know a way we can give actual feedback to apple?

      • Yes! you can still see ratings in iTunes in Mac or Windows although they are all messed up, disapeared or substituted by the album rating (the grey-blue stars issue)
        We are saying that you can no longer see or change the star rating in iOs10 on your iPhone

  26. i can’t believe the hours of my life that i just lost with this update. i meticulously rate my library for djing. i can’t even believe it. anyone know a way we can give actual feedback to apple?

      • Yes! you can still see ratings in iTunes in Mac or Windows although they are all messed up, disapeared or substituted by the album rating (the grey-blue stars issue)
        We are saying that you can no longer see or change the star rating in iOs10 on your iPhone

    • Confirmed. I am using the beta and they are back. However, they did there level best to make it painful, 2 taps instead of 1 to see the rating, and 2 taps instead of 1 to set it.

    • Confirmed. I am using the beta and they are back. However, they did there level best to make it painful, 2 taps instead of 1 to see the rating, and 2 taps instead of 1 to set it.

  27. I hope Apple keeps those star ratings. With 3 people in our house all sharing one library, it was a way for each of us having a different star 1-3. If I liked it as well, then it’ll be a 4 & with everyone it’ll be a 5. Without it, now my son ‘loves’ a song for some crap singer, what am I supposed to do, ‘dislike’ it. If this is Apples way of trying to change my musical taste, I’m sorry, it’s not happening. Please bring back those stars!

  28. I hope Apple keeps those star ratings. With 3 people in our house all sharing one library, it was a way for each of us having a different star 1-3. If I liked it as well, then it’ll be a 4 & with everyone it’ll be a 5. Without it, now my son ‘loves’ a song for some crap singer, what am I supposed to do, ‘dislike’ it. If this is Apples way of trying to change my musical taste, I’m sorry, it’s not happening. Please bring back those stars!

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