Skip navigation

Restoring play count & ratings

19264 Views 10 Replies Latest reply: Mar 16, 2014 11:56 PM by mouneet RSS
Gil Ramirez Level 1 Level 1 (65 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Dec 10, 2009 12:20 PM
I transferred my iTunes music to another computer, however it seems that iTunes has lost the ratings and play count numbers. My iPhone 3G, however, still has this info, from the last time it was synced on the other computer. There is also an XML file in the iTunes folder that has the ratings and play counts, but the file paths are from the old computer, and are no longer valid. Is there a way I can transfer the play count and ratings information, either from my iPhone or the XML file, into my iTunes library? I have heard that this can be done by copying the music from the iPhone, but I'd rather avoid it if at all possible, because I already have the music on the computer.

Any help is greatly appreciated!
Power Mac G4, Mac OS X (10.4.11)
  • hedgert Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 23, 2010 4:54 AM (in response to Gil Ramirez)
    I also transferred my music and iTunes library from one computer to a new one.
    I searched high and low for information about ratings and play counts and while there was a manual trick for ratings, I couldn't find any means of updating all play counts in one go, so I ended up writing a program to do it - which I am happy to share if you email me (I'd attach the files to the forum but it doesn't appear to be possible to add attachments to a post).

    First ratings - manual, but easy. Go to your old iTunes machine, create 5 playlists - called e.g. rating1, rating2, rating3, rating4, rating5. Then sort your music by rating, select all 5* and right click add to playlist and choose rating5. Similarly to the other 4 rating levels. Then go to File->Library->Export Playlist... and export the 5 ratings playlists with suitable names - they end up as text files. Move the 5 text files to the new machine and File->Library->Import Playlist... Once the playlists are loaded, go into each one in turn, select all tracks and right click to set the rating level. All manual but pretty quick and easy to do.

    Play counts are not so straightforward. The play counts are stored in an xml file in the same directory as your iTunes library. I have written a java program to read both old and new xml files and then to pull the play counts from the old xml file to the new one. However, iTunes doesn't read the xml file after you've made the changes, you have to force it to by renaming/deleting the iTunes library (binary) file (not the file with songs in, just data); then when you open iTunes it appears empty - but don't worry - go to File->Library->Import Playlist... again and this time import the xml file output by my program. After a few minutes of processing everything is back including the updated play counts. This link is to a post that talks about this process of rebuilding the iTunes library from the xml file: -library/

    There are two issues that I found with following this process, both to do with synching devices to iTunes. I have an iPhone and after synching the applications did not show up in iTunes. So to fix this I plugged in the phone waited for iTunes to detect it, then right clicked on the iPhone device in the left bar of iTunes and selected Transfer Purchases - this pulled the applications across from the iPhone to iTunes and then I was able to sync the iPhone completely.
    Second issue was with my AppleTV, which simply didn't appear in iTunes despite on the AppleTV still showing connected to my Computer. My fix for this was to disconnect and then re-choose the computer on the AppleTV, enter the pass code in iTunes and re-connect it again. When AppleTV re-appears in iTunes, you have to input all the sync settings and let it sync again - which is a pain, but having put in the sync settings it just gets on with it - so it wasn't a problem apart from the time it took to re-sync.

    If after that explanation you would like to try my program send me an email and I'll happily send you the zip file containing it. You can contact me: tim AT
    iMac 27" AppleTV iPhone 3GS, Mac OS X (10.6.2), iLife 09, Aperture 2.1.3, iWork 09
  • Bizquik Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 4, 2010 4:54 PM (in response to Gil Ramirez)
    I recently switched from a PC to a Mac. What I did was move the folder with the iTunes library information to the Mac. Then on the Mac, when opening iTunes, I held down the 'command' key ('shift' key on a PC). This opens up a second library. It asks you which library you'd like to use. You then pick the one you just moved over from your other computer. The play counts and ratings should be there. Then, under preferences, you could choose the path to your music and you should be set. It shouldn't take more than 10 minutes, if that!
    Dell, Windows XP
  • ScotteWilson Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 22, 2010 3:23 PM (in response to hedgert)
    Hi Gil,

    I read your posting with the title in the Subject line above. Thanks for that. Is your XML copy program still a good fix? I recently had catastrophic failure during upgrade to Leopard OS and had to restore from my Time Machine backup (back to OS 5.8). Everything worked perfectly, but all essentially all my ratings (about 6000) were lost, only retained about 50 ratings.

    I am very confused why it would retain a small remnant of my ratings...Play counts would be nice to restore too.
    My playlist export text files are outdated and have about half I could restore from. But I would like all of them if possible?

    Any advice?

    Thanks so much

    California, USA
    MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.8), 3ghz 3GB RAM
  • chenango232 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 23, 2012 5:07 AM (in response to Bizquik)

    On the new mac I deleted the file called iTunes Library.itl (I also deleted the Extra's, Genius, and xml file).

    Copy your old .itl file over to the new mac and start itunes by double clicking.

    Everything is there instantly.


    If you hold down the [option] key it will ask you which library you want to use.  However this method seems to work fine.

  • stoh Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 27, 2012 5:51 PM (in response to chenango232)

    I just tried this, got the ratings and playlists back, but now iTunes is unable to locate any of the actual files.  I originally transferred over the files via home sharing.  Did I do something wrong?

  • stoh Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 27, 2012 5:54 PM (in response to stoh)

    Never mind, I realized that I had to point iTunes to the right folder.  Fixed!


    Thanks for the tips!

  • Helen C on apple Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 19, 2013 4:29 AM (in response to Gil Ramirez)

    Amazing, this post just saved me! I had lost half of my cover artwork and all my star ratings and times played data when transferring to my new mac. I then copied over the XML and ITL files, and this has restored pretty much eveything : )  Happy.

  • seelove Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 10, 2013 5:02 PM (in response to hedgert)

    this is an awesome fix!  i called the itunes support desk and they could not help me with retrieving my ratings, but this solved the problem with very little effort and time.  thank you for posting this solution!

  • Morriz Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 24, 2013 2:47 PM (in response to Gil Ramirez)

    But nobody answered the original question. Does anybody know how to transfer the ratings from an iphone, when that is the only rating source left?

  • mouneet Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 16, 2014 11:56 PM (in response to chenango232)

    This helped me. Thanks for sharing this information.


More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked By (0)


  • This solved my question - 10 points
  • This helped me - 5 points
This site contains user submitted content, comments and opinions and is for informational purposes only. Apple disclaims any and all liability for the acts, omissions and conduct of any third parties in connection with or related to your use of the site. All postings and use of the content on this site are subject to the Apple Support Communities Terms of Use.