Star Ratings Are Indeed Gone in iOS 10 Music App; But There’s Still a Way to Rate Your Songs

Apple has been flip-flopping on the ability to rate songs with stars in iTunes and the iOS Music app. An early beta of macOS Sierra removed star ratings from iTunes, and star ratings have been missing in iOS 10 since the first beta release.

iOS 10 is to be officially released today, and star ratings are gone. You cannot view the ratings of your songs, and you cannot rate your tracks from the iOS Music app. You used to be able to rate songs by tapping the album artwork, which would switch to a display with five stars; you would tap one of them to rate the track. If you had already rated it, you would see the rating heer.

If you tap the artwork now, nothing displays. If you tap the … button at the bottom of the Music app’s player screen, you see this screen. The only rating options are Love and Dislike.

Ios music dialog

But there is a way to rate tracks on an iOS device; unfortunately, it’s the wrong way. Tell Siri “Rate this song five stars,” for example.

Ios music rate siri

The problem with this is that invoking Siri pauses playback, and you cannot quietly rate your tracks. So if you’re on a bus, for example, and you’re listening to some new music and want to rate it, you might not want to talk to your iPhone. You could rate tracks with Love ratings, then adjust those in iTunes when you get home, applying star ratings, but that’s annoying.

This is unfortunate, because many people use star ratings to organize their iTunes libraries, and, by extension, the music they listen to on their iOS devices. They create smart playlists with music grouped by star ratings, or playlists of their favorite songs by specific artists, perhaps all those tracks rated four or five stars.

Also, nothing has been gained by removing this feature. Tapping the artwork now does nothing, so the rating feature hasn’t been removed to make room for something else that might display in its place.

In a quest to simplify the interface of an app, you can go too far and remove useful features.

Want to know more about the iOS 10 Music app? Check out these articles:

And learn What’s New in iTunes 12.5.

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75 thoughts on “Star Ratings Are Indeed Gone in iOS 10 Music App; But There’s Still a Way to Rate Your Songs

  1. Take my headphone jack. Just leave me my ratings. I’d say losing ratings makes 3/4 of my playlists useless. Losing the headphone jack makes one piece of equipment useless (no, not the iPhone).

    • Completely agree, Steven! Not being able to rate tracks with Stars on the aWatch was the main reason why I hadn’t bought one. Now that they’ve taken them from iOS as well… Unless I find a suitable music player alternative, I’ll seriously consider jumping into the Android bandwagon :-@

      • Yeah, I´ve been faithful to Apple for MANY years, but this feature missing makes me really starting to look at android phones….. :(

    • Agree totally. I’ve built very structured lists over the last ten years, and its use is the main reason I’ve stuck with apple products. I cannot help but think there is something sinister going on. I fear I’m looked upon as a dinosaur that purchases and rips CD’s and not “getting with the program” i.e Apple music. As the Music app integrates more with that, its functionality seems to be compromised in that direction. Am I wrong?

      • I can’t agree more. We are just a few people using star ratings watching over their silly little music collections. The next thing that’s going to be removed is smart playlists. Another rusty toy for dinosours like us. Look at the petition, we are really just a few music enthuisasts.

        • Do you think Apple will ever change it back? I too share these frustrations about the Apple Music push. I really need my ratings system back.

    • I don’t know that I’d put money on it, but I’m hoping the same. The vestigial Siri functionality gives me a glimmer of hope that they just didn’t want to figure out where to put it in the visual UI.

    • I’d love to share your hope but I’ve been waiting for such before buying the aWatch. Not having to take out my iPhone from my pocket to rate my tracks wouldn’t been the perfect use case for the watch. But being forced to the retarded “like/dislike” model is atrocious.

  2. It’s confusing to have both “love” and star ratings, so this was inevitable. Using siri is a neat hack, but ultimately it’s investing more time into something that is clearly being eliminated.

    FWIW, I used to use ratings but found them too finicky. Much happier with a love/dislike system.

      • I agree that it’s not confusing. It IS clumsy, however, to have these 2 paradigms living side by side. And for streaming, a “want more / want less” makes more sense than 5 stars.

        • One would think it would be an easy setting, or ideally to recognize if you’re an Apple Music/ iCloud Music Library person or not, and use the appropriate system. But a setting in Music should be able to handle the preference one way or the other.

      • Well, when you’re streaming music (music that isn’t yours), this makes sense. It’s an indicator to Apple to “not play me this again”. Of course, it’s a silly system for the “old” way of listening to music (music that you own).

      • “John – If you dislike the song why do you even have it on your phone”

        Haha. Very mature comment, rather like Apple’s hearts, love/hate, option. Twit or Wit – I’m not sure…

      • I use smart playlists to have a number of different types of playlists:
        Play only 5* rated songs by a genre plays the best songs, but the ones I’ve heard a lot. I actually use this playlist very little, like only when showing someone my favorite songs.
        Play 4+5* rated songs in a genre. This is one I use a lot. Doesn’t get the deep cuts but hits all the songs I like
        Play 3+*’s. You’d be surprised how much I use this, it hits the deep cuts and makes the playlist fresh with songs I don’t hear so much. When I’m getting a bit bored. Also gives me a chance to upgrade songs I may have a change of heart on.
        2* songs are there for when I want to play the whole album. Sometimes they make sense in the context of the album but aren’t things I want to hear outside of that.
        1* songs are interludes or talking. also good for playing in the whole album, but if I’m low on space I’d prefer to omit them..

        This arrangement of smart playlists is literally the only thing keeping me in the Apple ecosystem. if they fuck this up, I’m leaving.

        • It’s a compromise but, providing they don’t pull the stars from the MacOS version, I can live with it (and with the help of the Music Rating Widget which does indeed work well, many thanks for that). I really need to know what plans Apple has for star ratings in iTunes for MacOS. Hopefully Kirksville will keep us informed.

        • That’s pretty much the same system i use – and i love it. Depending on genre or type, i refined these lists over the years, adding things like a “weighted recently played” algorithm (play 5* songs once per day, play 4* songs once every 2 days, etc), so the better tracks get played more often. If i ever get bored of a song (meaning, if i start skipping them a lot), they get caught by another filter, which puts them in a “don’t play for x weeks” list – more skips means more weeks on hold. This works great when listening to lists on random. I, too, would terribly miss this system. But since the star ratings are still there, the current version of iTunes works just fine. So, worst case, don’t ever update.

      • Yes, “Music Rating Widget” does work. All the ratings I’ve made using it have synced across to my iTunes library without issue.

        Note: I use a cable (and disabled wi-fi syncing over a year ago). I’ve read that syncing star ratings using the “cloud” doesn’t work, though hearts does.

        • As a user of iTunes Match and Apple Music the cable solution sounds very old fashioned. However if this way all my ratings I made with Music Rating Widget woudl be transfered to my library on iCloud this would be a decent temporary solution

        • Does Music Rating Widget persist ratings on your phone itself? I’ve been using it for 24 hours and when I rate a song using it, when I come back to the song, it does not have the rating any longer (but pre-rated songs always show their rating). I’ll go onto sync back to my Mac and see if ratings actually carry back, but at this point it feels like nothing is being stored – curious how your experience worked exactly?

          • It’s working fine for me. I just tested it again. Ratings stay with songs, and get synced to iTunes. (Wired sync, not iCloud Music Library.)

  3. Can you still add a currently playing track to a playlist without interrupting it? If so, you can make 5 non-smart playlists that sort, e.g. ‘a 1 star’ at the top and add tracks to them, then on the Mac set real stars by hand from time to time and remove them from those lists. Or maybe Siri can set stars in bulk? Still awkward compared to explicitly having stars, but better than nothing.

  4. I am using a third party app, ‘Smartplayer’ which lets you rate songs. Unfortunately after installing iOS10, songs I rated using this app do not appear to be saving to iCloud, as when I open my iTunes on my Mac the ratings are updated. This really messes up my whole system

    • What about your iTunes Library? Do stars get updated there? Not using iCloud almost exactly for this reason and because my library of non-purchased-in-iTunes tracks is too large for syncing with Match…

  5. I agree, the loss of ratings make iTune USELESS to me as a way to listen to music. I have 40,000 plus songs all rated and split out into playlists based on ratings and genres. It is going to be a serious pain to switch to another player.

    • Awhile ago when Apple was going through the Apple Music/Apple Match fiasco I had a mess and had to redo a good portion of my iTunes Library. One problem is that the star ratings are not inherent to the file itself. I decided, at least for my 4 and 5 star items, to make sure the star ratings were in the Comments text field. This way, any goofs or deprecation of the star system would not leave me bereft.

      Notably, it is possible to use scripts (e.g., Doug’s Applescripts) to do this sort of thing on a batch basis. Also, while you can park ratings in various fields, some of these will not sort or be recognized by iOS Music. Nevertheless, if you use iTunes to keep your library organized and update your iDevice’ music from it, you can use text in the Comments field as a Smart Playlist criterion in iTunes 12.4.3. How many 10’s of thousands (millions???) have used star ratings to create Smart Playlists over the last 12-13 years? I better stop here…

    • At least I don’t feel alone anymore. Last time I said something like that as the reason for not buying an aWatch, the guy at the Store looked at me as if thinking “what do you mean stars?”

      Not having Stars available crashes my whole system for classifying tracks and identifying those I have bought but never heard, yet!

      If anybody finds a decent music player alternative that does Stars and syncs them with iTunes, please reply to this post!!!

  6. The only way to fix this is to express our frustration directly to Apple using this feedback form:

    It’s now or never since they’re probably planning to get rid of star ratings in iTunes as well eventually!
    If anyone wants to create a petition, I’ll sign and share it for sure!

  7. For me, I use the star ratings to tell me where I bought the CD or album from; i.e. 2 stars means I bought the CD at a garage sale, 1 star means I paid full price for the CD, and so on….
    Can I print a list to save this info for my 2587 albums?
    This is very sad news.

  8. Here’s how I “solved” this problem.

    In iTunes, I made five play lists named ★, ★★, ★★★, ★★★★, and ★★★★★. Put one song in each playlist so they will show up on your iPhone.

    When I want to rate the song currently playing, I select the ⋯ button in the lower right corner of the song screen, select “Add to a Playlist…” then choose one of the above five named playlists. When I get back to iTunes, I then manually set the song ratings and remove them from the ★ playlists.

    Anyone know how to see what the current song rating is? I haven’t figured that part out.

  9. What a bad new ! I loved the stars rating system to build my smart playlists, especially the “five stars” for my favorites and the “one star” to exclude the unliked tracks in the random play… The new Music App has a “dislike” button, but it can’t be used as a criteria for the smart playlists… What a pity !

  10. If you still sync your phone with iTunes on your PC rather than use the iCloud music library, then you can modify star ratings with third party apps on your phone and have those update your iTunes library when you sync. I’ve used both Cesium and Ecoute as replacement music players on my phone and both work great for updating star ratings on the go.

    • I’m curious… If you use these 3rd party music players, can you still take use of the Music widget that lives on the leftmost homescreen? Or do they come with their own one? (I am not yet on iOS 10, but from what i’ve seen on various screenshots, those widgets look rather fancy!)

      • Replying to myself here (since i’m now on iOS 10), and i can confirm that the Ratings widget works great with third party apps as well. Cesium comes with its own, btw, so there’s no need to buy this widget anymore.

    • Immediately going there! Thanks for pointing me in the right direction for sharing my bile over such an horrendous decision.

    • 95 supporters in 6 days. With this speed we can reach 50.000 supporters in lessthan 9 years. No wonder Apple has scratched out the star ratings since nobody is using this. 95 – honestly this is such a joke

  11. When I can’t decide what to listen to I just play my “Rated Tracks” smart playlist in shuffle mode. It is based on more than a decade of star-rating my tracks and has worked so well for me that it probably now constitutes about 80 percent of my listening. The impact of this on the enjoyment of my music library is therefore massive. Once again I am feeling manipulated and pushed around – pushed aside actually – by Apple’s cavalier attitude. Thanks for setting up the petition. At least I’m not alone.

  12. Today I’ve contacted the developer of the music app Cesium that allows to set stars on your local music library. However just like with the Music Rating Widget Cesium can’t do anything about it bringing rating to you iCloud library because Apple doesn’t allow that. Here you can find a more detailed explanation from the Cesium developer Mike Clay

  13. Removing the rating system makes no sense. I rely on it to create my playlists. Maybe time to move on to Android as I see change for change sake with no interest in the user.

  14. I just “lurved” all my rated tracks, i.e. selected all that were rated 3 stars or above (easy as I already had a smart playlist set up to play those) and batch-clicked the cheesy little hearts so they all turned red. It’s a kind of insurance against suddenly finding the stars gone and all my ratings with them after a system update. Or maybe I’m just capitulating to Apple’s masterplan, as I have had to do with so many of its “courageous” initiatives over the years. Anyone out there want to buy my Firewire audio box? Or my 2TB desktop hard drive (also firewire)? I can throw in a bag full of firewire cables with it. Now we choose what we want to listen to according to whether we “lurve” it or dislike it. Dumbing down or what?!

  15. I’ve used star ratings for decades to organize & maintain organization in my iTunes library, & I’ve spent thousands in the iTunes Store. This is really a disappointing kick in the teeth :(

  16. First, let me say a giant THANK YOU for letting everyone know how to rate songs post Apple’s stupidity changes.

    Second, rating your music this way, compared to the way ratings were done previously, is a pain in the butt since you are constantly going in & out of the Music app. However, I’m just glad that there is still a way to do it.

    Third, I really wish Apple would stop removing/changing things that a large portion of their customers like and use! I depend on my ratings. I use them to sort my music when I’m creating new playlists. I guess it’s against Apple’s Company Policy to actually think about their customers prior to making changes!

    Personally I think that it is ridiculous that they removed the way ratings were done since they didn’t actually replace the way it was done with something else. Now when you click on the artwork nothing happens, comes up or directs you somewhere else. At least if they would have put something in its place, it would be a little more understandable.

  17. every time apple makes a change it makes things worse. soon the music app will just be a play button in the middle of the screen. maybe if we are lucky there might even be a pause or skip button too but they will take that away in the following updates…

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