Why Use the Song Ratings Option for Your iTunes Library?

Song Ratings FAQ

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You may think that the five-star ratings option in iTunes is just for your own visual queue. It's true that you'll get to see at a glance the songs you really like -- from top-marks all the way down to the ones you'd rather forget about. However, you'd be surprised how many ways you can use the iTunes song ratings feature to do all sorts of things with your music collection.

By reading this frequently asked questions (FAQ) article, you will find out the main ways you can use song ratings to organize, sync, create playlists, and more in order to make your life a whole lot easier.

The star rating feature in iTunes (including other software media players too) is essentially an organizational tool for your music library. By working smart you can actually save a considerable amount of time carrying out tasks in iTunes. To see some of the main ways to effectively use the song ratings option, take a look at the suggestions below.

For more information, read our tutorial on how to create a star-rated Smart Playlist in iTunes.

To see how to unlock this hidden feature, read our tutorial on how to enable the half-star rating option in iTunes.

  • Sorting Songs by Star Rating -- The usual way that you probably sort your song library is by using typical methods such as alphabetical order, genre, etc. However, this doesn't give you a quick way of viewing your collection of songs based on your own personal preferences. When you want to quickly view your music library from the best to the worst (or vice-versa), you can use the star rating option. This is a great way of instantly sorting your entire library in order of rank.
  • Sync Groups of Songs Based on Particular Ratings -- Following on from viewing your song library by star rating order, you can also use this method for syncing songs to your iOS device. Rather than manually sorting through your iTunes library for your favorite songs, you can sort them more efficiently using the star rating feature. Once you have done this, it is then a lot easier to highlight a block of songs with the same rating before syncing to your iPhone, iPod, or iPad. For example, due to the finite storage capacity of your iOS device you may only want to transfer your very best songs that have a 5-star rating.
  • Create Star-rated Smart Playlists -- You may have already used playlists for making your own custom song compilations for instance, but you can also create Smart Playlists. If you don't know what these are, then they are simply special playlists that you can configure to follow certain rules -- they are very flexible and you can organize your library in many different ways by using them. The main advantage of using Smart Playlists compared to normal ones is they are self-updating. When you make a change to your music library by adding or removing songs for example then the Smart Playlists also change. By adding the Rating rule to a Smart Playlist you can instantly create a custom list of songs -- there are also additional parameters you can use too, like: less than, more than, etc.
  • Unlocking the Half-star Hack for More Flexibility -- This last suggestion takes advantage of the hidden half-star option in iTunes to give you more scope in rating your songs. Sometimes songs will fit in between whole numbers -- i.e. one might deserve more than 4 stars, but not be good enough for a 5-star accolade. It might sound pedantic at first thought, but this hack will give you an extra 5 levels to use in organizing your music library.