Potion Factory Blog

I Love Stars

I Love Stars has a new home now at Karelia Software. If you have any questions, suggestions, or need support for it, please go to our new support page.

UPDATE (1/6/2011): I Love Stars is now available exclusively at the Mac App Store for the price of $1.

I Love Stars Icon

"I Love Stars" is my new freebie application that shows the rating of iTunes' currently playing song in the menu bar. Before I say anything else, here's the download link.

I spent a good part of yesterday solving a problem that's been bugging me. That is, how to rate songs in iTunes with as few brain cycles as possible.

You tend to get distracted switching back and forth from iTunes and even rating songs with iTunes' dock menu is not fast enough when your hands are on the keyboard. Apps like QuickSilver and CoverSutra already solve a big chunk of the problem by letting you assign keyboard shortcuts for raising and lowering ratings—I have command-option-control-up and down arrow set to raise and lower the rating, for example—but I needed a way to quickly see what the rating actually is before changing it.

If you cringe at the thought of having unrated songs in the library like I do, you'll enjoy I Love Stars. Mainly, it's there to show the rating, but you can adjust it with the mouse as well.

Here is what you'll get once you launch I Love Stars:

Screenshot 1

To quit, right click for the menu:

Screenshot 2

If you want I Love Stars to launch at boot up, go to System Preferences, Accounts, then Login Items and add it to the list.

I Love Stars is completely free (as in beer), but if you are a music lover, check out my commercial application Tangerine! too.

Thanks to Steve Harris for sharing the rating control code.


I think I'm having too much fun working on this little app. I found myself giggling like a schoolgirl a few times today. In what might go down in the history books as the fastest release of a 2.0 version, a day after the initial launch, the sequel is ready already.

The new version features 150% more features:

  • I Love Stars hides itself when iTunes is not playing
  • It does so with a nifty animation
  • You can assign half a star rating by clicking on the last star
  • It is smaller and requires less memory
  • 1 bug has been fixed

Here is a short demo of version 2:

Thanks to people who sent in suggestions. Enjoy.

Download I Love Stars (Release Notes)



Hi Andy,

I downloaded this and already put it as a Login Item. I like the cocept and will love this product. Thanks!


Perfect! I have tried all the iTunes controls, but they all fell short. All I ever wanted was a quick way to change the song rating. That was all. This is the simplest and most elegant way to complete that task. Thanks for the effort. I sincerely appreciate it.


Great app!! Already downloaded it and hope to finally organize my iTunes library.


Does this require Leopard? I downloaded it and it isn't working for me. Sounds like a great idea. If it doesn't require Leopard and you can help me get it working I'd really appreciate it.


Andy Kim

I forgot to mention this crucial fact in the post, but yeah, it does require Leopard. There was one piece of technology in Leopard that made life much easier for me.

Greg Abbott

Thank you very much! I love the app! I love the icon!

Andy Kim

On version 1.0, I actually spent more time on the icon than the code. Thanks for expressing your love!

Chris Drackett

I love.. this app!

I have been waiting for something like this forever. You rock my world.

Dave Hornsby

Fantastic - I've been looking for something that I can just drag my mouse across to rate songs - the only thing lacking is the ability to rate 1/2 stars.

My current app of choice is called Star does allow ratings of 1/2 a star but you have to click and select from a long menu of options - and the company behind it seem to have gone so I suspect it's days are numbered..

If you could add support for 1/2 stars - I know it might require some precise mouse dragging - perhaps clicking on a star could toggle it between full and half or you just have a couple of options in the drop down menu - add and subtract half a star?

Then it would be perfect!

Andy Kim

Thank you for the suggestion. Version 2.0 has this feature.

Dave Hornsby

Now it's perfect!

Thanks :)


There is another similar app called Funes, released a few weeks ago. It also stars your iTunes songs but without the stars in the bar but with a smaller icon.


Nice but i would like to rate an entire album...

Andy Kim

Sorry, but that is not a goal of this application.


I don't think half stars are supported by iTunes, so it wouldn't really make much sense in this app.

What I would love to see, however, is an option to only display the stars when a song is actually playing, to keep the menubar from becoming too cluttered.

Andy Kim

This was actually the most requested feature (with 2 whole requests!). Enjoy version 2.


Just type "defaults write com.apple.iTunes allow-half-stars -bool TRUE" into the Terminal, press enter, and restart iTunes. This will enable half-star ratings.


Great app, if only the stars were a little bigger it would be perfect.

Peter Smith

Wow! What an Awesome little app. It's absolutely the best complement to iTunes for us Star obsessed. I have one request Andy Kim! Please will you make it compatible with Tiger, that would be so appreciated....

Andy Kim

Sorry, but it'll have to stay Leopard only. This is a free product and I can't justify spending time testing on two OS releases and giving up the technology in Leopard that makes coding this much easier.

Chris Messina

I'm so excited about this app! I've waited a long time for a success to iTunesRating (which was never upgraded for Leopard) and it's awesome to see this app -- especially with all the nice flourishes you added! Nice work!

Joachim Bengtsson

Absolutely beautiful UI, applause! I literally laughed when I saw that the stars actually *twirl* when they exit the menu bar :)

Andy Kim

I agree that right clicking for the menu is not standard behavior, but I think left clicking to set the rating is still the correct behavior. The main thing people want to do with this app is to set the rating just as in iTunes. Plus the menu should rarely be used as it's only good for quitting the app anyway. It won't be the end of the world when a user discovers that a left click sets the rating, but it'll be more efficient in subsequent uses.


Great application....... i was wondering if you're suggesting making the same application also for iPhoto, or other Mac apps which utilises stars..

Andy Kim

I Love Stars will only work with iTunes. It'll be too confusing otherwise.


This is clearly the most important mac app of the year, and you should submit it for an apple design award if not too late.


Feature requests:

1. click and hold shows menu, in addition to right click
2. alt. slim view using single star and a number
3. make it a menu extra so it can be repositioned via cmd-drag
4. release the code so we can play with it?

Further specs:

item 1:
On mousedown, nothing happens until either:
- a drag occurs; then you star setting the rating by the star being hovered
- a few hundred ms have passed; then you show the menu and no rating change occurs
- the mouse button is released; then you set the rating to the star that was clicked

item 2:
- menu icon is just a star with a number, either inside it or beside it
- rating is set by clicking and dragging sideways in the "air" (like knob buttons in some audio apps)
- rating could also be set by using the scrollwheel over the icon (this could also apply to the current UI)

And that's all. Thanks for a great and well polished app.

Andy Kim

I have to say no to the left click hold for menu and the narrow menu icon because I like that it works the same way as in iTunes. If you want a similar app that takes less space in the menu bar, check out Funes.

The scroll wheel is a great idea though. I frequently make my sliders accept scroll wheel input and I can't believe I forgot this time! Version 2.1 has this feature now.

I have no interest in looking into menu extras right now, but maybe I'll see how difficult that is when I work on version 3.

Jonathan Lang

Leave it as is. If people want smaller menu bar icons, there are other tools to accomplish that.
I would love to have it as a menu item for greater flexibility... iStat Menu has accomplished that as a 3rd party developer!

Also I would love an option to disable ratings for podcasts (so that it doesn't show when iTunes is playing podcasts). But I guess I'm in a minority with that request :-/

Thanks for the great app!!

Andy Kim

Version 2.1 hides when a podcast is playing. This was annoying me too :)

Anders Dahlgren

Wonderful little app! I love it!

One thing I that you hopefully could fix is that stars for albums are displayed when the current playing song doesn't have any stars of its own. That way it looks like I've rated the song already. My suggestion would be for you to either could supress stars for albums completely or include the outline stars seen in iTunes.

Thanks for the great work and for keeping this app a freebie!

Jonathan Lang

Just noticed the same thing that Anders mentioned. I second his opinion in its entirety! :)
Love the app.

Andy Kim

@Anders Dahlgren and Jonathan Lang

Thank you for letting me know. Version 2.1 now correctly shows the album rating.

Dan Buchoff

Wow. This app is definitely worthy of five stars. I've gone through two other similar apps: menuBarRating [broken in Leopard] and Stars [slightly obnoxious interface], and this totally blows them out of the water. Thank you!


An unusual, but maybe appealing, feature request:

If the tune I'm listening to is not rated pulse the stars red when it has a minute left to play. This would be a handy reminder that I should rate the tune, and happens when I've had some time to decide what I think of the song.

Even if you don't change another thing, I love your app!

Cheers, Paul

Andy Kim

Thanks for the suggestion but I'm hesitant to put in a feature that could be annoying/distracting for a lot of people.


I like the idea. Seems a good way to "force" someone like myself to rate songs. I think there could be various ways as to how to tackle something like this. A gently pulsating glow shouldn't hurt, and I'm sure it could be implemented so you can have the option to not have it glow?

Great app! Loving it at the moment, and am starting to love stars! =P

Matthew J McCullough

Love the app. It is spreading virally amongst my friends. However, most of us rate our podcast episodes. I would like to have the stars still appear on podcasts. Why the 2.1 update to take them away?

Most of my smartplaylists are often built on the stars I've rated my podcasts, thus why having the podcasts rated is important to me.

Matthew J McCullough

Andy Kim

To disable hiding on podcasts, you can paste the following into Terminal.app:

defaults write com.potionfactory.ILoveStars hideOnPodcasts -bool NO

Matthew J McCullough

You rock Andy. That worked superbly. Now the app truly is perfect (for me)!


Fantastic! Thanks for this app.

I was using the first version and occasionally it stopped responding to left clicks and I'm not sure why, either:

1. conflict with Spaces?
2. conflict with MaxMenus, which pops up a list of open applications when I click on an empty part of the menu bar. I disabled that feature in MaxMenus, and download version 2 of I Love Stars - hopefully there's no more conflicts!


Andy, thanks for your app, it is a great piece of software.

I often listen to radio streams. Would it be possible for I Love Stars to hide when playing those like it does when playing podcasts? Rating streams does not make a lot of sense either.

Best regards from Germany,


This is just was I was looking for. Thank you very much :)

Now, is there a way to make this open and close with iTunes automatically? I have two other applications that makes extra features for iTunes that I would like to do the same, is there a stand-alone app that does this?

Andy Kim

What I do is just add it to the Login Items in System Preferences and have it running all the time. The app is very lightweight and it hides itself when iTunes is not running only to spring back into action when iTunes is playing a song.

Olivia Baker

This is an awesome app. I love how subtle and easy to use it is. Good work :)

Jeff Shepherd

I came here after the 2.1 release and it has all the great features I want.

May I make the following recommendations regarding half star selections:
* Have a brief delay between the star selection in the menu bar and syncing with the current song (perhaps the same system duration that distinguishes between a double-click and two single clicks). I do a lot of half stars and whenever I double-click to get a half star I get a pause as the iTunes database gets one update and then another.
* If there are no ratings, the click gives the full star rating for the first click. After that have clicks that are within a star rating of the current rating adjust by a half rating. The current behavior only allows for half star ratings that are a half star less than the current rating. So, if you have rated a song 3 stars, if you click on the fourth star the rating goes up half a star. But if you have a song with 3 stars and you click on the fifth star the new rating is 5 stars because you are obviously correcting a star rating as opposed to advancing. Interestingly, this is the behavior when adjusting ratings downward. Now you just have to adjust it so when you click an empty star slot next to a full star it goes up a half star rather than a full star.
Great, minimalist app.

justin hileman

i love this. thanks :)


I love it! Thank you thank you!


export stars with the song file

Nice app. But is it possible to export the stars with the songfile? After reimporting the songs to itunes all the stars have gone. Many Tags are exported and saved with the file, but nostar-rating. Do you know an solution?

Andy Kim

I recommend that you look around Apple's iTunes discussion group: http://discussions.apple.com/category.jspa?categoryID=149


buggy application.
There is no way to quit the app or manner in which to uninstall it. Is it just a script? SOME information should be provided.

On launch, stars weren't displaying, just the default dimples. Trying to add stars: could only add 4 ro 4 1/2 stars. User feedback in the menu bar was limited to displaying a "1/2", no stars, empty or full, and no more dimples after the first click. iTunes was registering the input, but it's pretty well useless if the only ratings working are 4 and 4.5 and that their display is broken in the menu bar.

Then, a memory leak in I Love Stars ate up over 3G of memory and ground my computer to a halt as it thrashed desperately.

27/08/08 4:30:31 PM com.apple.launchd[117] ([0x0-0x589589].com.potionfactory.ILoveStars[34548]) Exited abnormally: Bus error


great. now your captcha isn't letting me post this in Safari. Trying Firefox. Unimpressed.

Andy Kim

The second screenshot in this blog post shows you how to quit the app. After quitting, you can trash it to uninstall it like most Mac applications.

At the moment I don't have time to track down the problems you mention, so regretfully, I recommend that you just stop using it.


this is an awesome app. simple, yet does it job well. kudos to you !

my suggestions for possible future improvements:

- option to reduce the size (horizontal menu bar space) of the app. sometimes, especially when using on a MacBook where there is only 13" screen, the menubar can get overly cluttered. Maybe add an option as someone else pointed out earlier to display a star with a value inside it to signify the rating for the current song.
- some sort of framework that enables I Love Stars to start together with iTunes and quit with it as well. I use another iTunes helper, GimmeSomeTune, and it has this functionality. You can take a look at it to get what I mean.

nonetheless, this is an awesome app and thanks for providing me with what i absolutely needed !

Craig Grannell

For what it's worth, I Love Stars will be getting a very positive review from me in MacFormat 201 (the UK's leading Mac mag), but I do have a feature request: any chance of _optionally_ making it so the track and artist can be displayed in the menu bar? I'm currently using iTunesMenu for that, but the fewer extras running, the better.


great job. :]
I'd like to suggest some small feature:

- an option to show title/author/album when a new song is starting, maybe via growl or so.

- an option for alternative rating, a star half black and half light gray would be nicer than 1/2 imho.

keep up the nice job. :]

Benjamin Rister

Any chance of open-sourcing this so we developer types can customize it to our nefarious whims? Happy to contribute back any fixes/features, of course, I just feel a bit weird showing up and asking for more of your unpaid time when I'm perfectly capable of doing it myself. =)

P.S. The capcha failed for me too on both Safari and Firefox. You might want to take a look at that.

kc! Bradshaw

Love this application! I have been looking for something this simple and elegant for a long time... works and looks great. Thank you for creating it and providing it for free.



+1 for Benjamin Rister

In the meanwhile, with iTunes 8 albums have ratings too. Any chance the app could be updated to set them too? (eg via opt or shift)


also, captcha thing failing for recent camino nightly too.

Brandon Short

I absolutely love this application. I couldn't be happier about it. Perhaps the option to autostart when iTunes starts?

Thanks so much!

gordon Cohen

CLEARLY the best part about this app is the slow motion effect.
No but really the easy half stars is the best thing about this app.
That is the one reason why i think most people should have this.
(only if they are into music and half stars like i am)


I'll keep it short: thanks for a great app!


This is fantastic! It's exactly what I need when listening to a new CD while surfing the Internet or designing with Adobe apps.

One question: How hard would it be to change the bullet point color? I have a black menu bar, and I managed to get the stars white just fine, but I cannot figure out what to edit for the bullet point color.

Thanks again!

Andy Kim

Thanks Ben. You can't change the bullet point color because those are drawn by the app itself and not with an image.

Elia Kanaki

Hi. Great app indeed. Now it can dump CoverSutra, which I have to admit was bothering me by lots of pointless features.


Nice update. I would still like to see an "Always keep to the left" option though. As an aside, the flashing for unrated songs is too quick. Most of the time I miss it. I would prefer if it flashed or pulsed until the end of the song. Some sparkle integration would be cool too.


Hey !

Great app ! Thank you very much.

Alert (Sound) doesnt work for me though


The alert sound (tringggg!) bugs me and it took me a while to figure out it came from I Love Stars. How can I turn it off? It's useless and annoying.
The good news is, I Love Stars!

Andy Kim

Right click on the stars to get the preferences menu item. There's an option to turn them off there.


I love "I Love Stars"! Thanks!

When Increase rating/Decrease rating with keyboard,
i want to choose "Half rating".

Bill Patrianakos

I really want to use this program. But I can't. You see, I already use Bowtie even though I am unhappy with it. The only thing missing from this app is Last.fm support. If this app scrobbled the songs I played in iTunes I would use it in a heartbeat.

Right now I use Bowtie because it Scrobbles whatever is playing AND I always have a small window on top of all other apps to rate my songs. The only problem is that it also has little buttons to change songs. I don't need that. I have the aluminum keyboard so I don't need to use the mouse to change tracks even if the iTunes window is closed

Ideally, I need an app that sits in my menu bar and lets me rate songs while it scrobbles to last.fm for me. I could use the last.fm app + i love stars but i hate the idea of having so many apps open at once especially if I have the option of using one app that does the job of several. And god forbid I have 2 apps open and one their functions overlap.

But this app is awesome. I'm not trying to diss it at all. Sorry for being so longwinded too


This is excatly what i want. Thanks for the excellent product.

Dave Nicoll

Great app - although it would be nice if it only runs when iTunes is running.


Nifty little application, fantastic concept and a joy to use.
BTW you probably know, but your application was mentioned in the April 2009 issue of MacFormat UK.
5 stars! :)
If you don't have access to it i could send a picture if you like.


Just found out about this app, it's GREAT!!!! Have you ever thought of adding a scrobbling to Last.fm feature?


Seconded! Growl notification would also be nice, and then I can get rid of that annoying iScrobbler...


Seriously, where do I send money to? I LOVE this app!

I spent hours and hours last night adding ratings. PLEASE DO NOT CHANGE how the app displays the stars in the menubar, the motion effect is cool, the ½ symbol sizes perfectly with the star symbols, the fact that it disappears when not in use is awesome! It never used more than about 14mb of memory all night long, it's the best I've ever had the pleasure of using and I've tried them all.

I would be happy to see scrobbling to Last.fm added, so I can ditch Cover Stream, Cover Sutra and even the last.fm app itself ( all those apps are memory hogs, caching album art and information crap that I don't even care about seeing ). If people need those apps for navigating songs, maybe you could just add 3 more hotkey options, 1.previous song, 2. play/pause, 3.next song.

Also, could you please make I love stars keep to the far left of the menubar at all times?

P.S. - I'm serious about sending money.


Wow, version 3 already--I am still loving this app! So simple and useful.

I have one request: an option to disable half-star ratings. I don't use them.

Oh, and +1 for the ability to keep it on the left side of the menu bar at all times, if that's possible.

And (sorry) one small complaint: the scroll-wheel input is /extremely/ sensitive. I find it difficult to hit the exact rating I want.


thanks for this, it's great. discovering the rightclick-for-menu was one of those great little moments, and seeing the stars roll in and out on pause / play is great.

i'd also love to be able to use the incrementing shortcuts to add by half-stars — this was my favorite feature of Synergy back in the day..



I just switched from QuickTunes to the simpler iTunesMenu, which only shows the title/artist of the currently playing song in the menu bar. So I Love Stars is exactly what I was missing with iTunesMenu: ratings!
But since ILS is a greatly built software, with animations and all, I thought that having an application built from you, that would take the place of iTunesMenu giving a nice interface and a little more features would be amazing.
I don't think that it would take much more coding either, you're already up there in the menu bar and you're already pulling informations from iTunes, so what about pulling the title/artist/album infos too?

Also, I don't see any donation link!

Jeff Shepherd

I love the features of 3.0, but the functionality is a step backwards from 2.1. For me, 2.1 was rock solid. In 3.0 there seems to be a disconnect between ILS and iTunes. Half the time ILS doesn't show the ratings when I update them from iTunes. Also, ILS has a tendency to roll away as though a podcast was playing even though I've got a song playing. I have hotkeys (non-ILS) to set the integer ratings but I use ILS to set the half-star ratings and a lot of the time ILS has disappeared from the menubar.

The main reason I'm still with 3.0 instead of regressing to 2.1 is the unrated song alert. This is a tremendously cool feature when it works. Unfortunately for me it only works about half the time. Lots of time I get the alert when I have already rated the song and other times I get no alert and the song goes by unrated. But that 1/3 of the time it works gets me ratings that I would have missed.

Again, I think the disconnect is between ILS checking the ratings (and perhaps the genre) of the song. ILS 3.0 came out in Dec08 (according to the app creation date) and iTunes 8.1 has come out since then, so there may be some functionality broken with the later version of iTunes.

Unfortunately, the fact ILS was recently reviewed in Macworld Gems and the lack of comments since then leads me to believe my issues are an outlier and this works fine for most people.

Mac OS X 10.5.6, iTunes 8.1.1, ILS 3.0


Very nice!

One feature I'd like to request: there used to be a Konfabulator widget for rating songs, and you could set it so that if you gave a song a certain low rating it'd automatically jump to the next song. I would love that!

I'd also like it if the flashing for unrated songs happened, but subtly, through the whole song. That one little flash near the end has very little chance of catching my eye (and I disabled the sound without trying it; unexpected sounds make me jump out of my skin, and that gets messy.) For me, the best solution would be if the five dots pulsated in size or maybe animated side to side--even if you just made an option-8 bullet scroll back and forth, that would work. Any kind of movement would do the trick.

I ADORE the tumbling stars, by the way.


+1 for a Preferences option to disable half stars. I don't use them either since they are not supported by iPods anyway.

And yeah, the flash notifications are a great idea, but they need some more work. I personally would like a flash at the start of the song and a flash near the end. And they don't work reliably yet.

Otherwise, I LOVE I Love Stars!


Does this work on Windows?


I really like I love Stars, but one cannot assign a keyboard shortcut for rating the currently playing song with zero stars. No biggie though, wouldn't use it anyway. Just thiking ;)


Thank you so much for a great little application. The alert is a real godsend.

Steve Moser

3.0 has a bug in the developer's preview of Snow Leopard. It keeps iTunes awake by restarting it whenever you quit iTunes. The only way to stop iTunes is to force quit it or quit I Love Stars first. Please fix. Thank for developing a great widget I use everyday.

Patrick Lewis

I'm experiencing the same issue as Steve in build 10A394 of Snow Leopard; if I Love Stars is running, iTunes will always re-launch itself after I quit iTunes.

Andy Kim

This is now fixed in 3.1.


Thank you so much for the nice app.

Most of the time the Alert dosen't work. Do you think you can find the problem and fix it?


I love your application =) I want to keep my menu bar as clean as possible but I Love Stars has been rewarded it's own place. Thanks =).


Hi - Would love to get this up and running but am getting the following error on my Mac's "crash log" - could you help, please?:

Host Name: AR-Macbook
Date/Time: 2009-07-17 07:13:03.344 -0400
OS Version: 10.4.11 (Build 8S2167)
Report Version: 4

Command: I Love Stars
Path: /Applications/I Love Stars.app/Contents/MacOS/I Love Stars
Parent: WindowServer [66]

Version: 3.0 (29)

PID: 776
Thread: Unknown

Link (dyld) error:

Library not loaded: /System/Library/Frameworks/ScriptingBridge.framework/Versions/A/ScriptingBridge
Referenced from: /Applications/I Love Stars.app/Contents/MacOS/I Love Stars
Reason: image not found

Andy Kim

Andrew, you need Mac OS X 10.5 to run I Love Stars.


I absolutely love your app!
A sincere thank you for sharing I Love Stars for free

Greg Abbott

This is still my favourite app!
Thank you again.


Before I install I Love Stars;

Former track ratings were added via the comm-i window in iTunes.
My iTunes source is stored on an external hard disk that stayes home while travelling.
While on the road I use the (smaller) iTunes Music folder on the Mac itself temporarily.

After my return home I need to reactivate the external and complete source again but importing that library again does not bring back my ratings (nor the smart playlists on the left side).
Am I doing something wrong and may I expect the same problem using I Love Stars?


I don't know the answer to your problem, but I recommend asking on a site like MacOSXHints Forums (http://forums.macosxhints.com), CNET Mac Forums (http://forums.cnet.com/mac-forums) (formerly MacFixIt Forums (http://www.macfixitforums.com), or Apple Discussions (http://discussions.apple.com).


Thanks for the update. Love your app!

Steve Moser

Thanks for the update. Keep up the good work.


On Snow Leopard, I cannot set shortcut keys, well, shortcuts are all empty, is it really SL-compatible? However, I can still rate songs thanks to I Love Stars.


Cheers for the 10.6 compatible update, much appreciated. Now I can rate my songs AND quit iTunes ;)


I would second the call for growl notifications with song change/update. I believe Star used to send these, and I miss that functionality. Thanks for your work and making this available for everyone to enjoy.

Andy Kim

Growl notifications are outside the scope of this app. I'm pretty happy with the app as it is. Someone would have to suggest a really cool feature for me to change the app at this point.

Gianvito Fanelli

the app is beautiful but I hate the unrated songs alert. How can I deactivate it?

Thanks in advance

Gianvito Fanelli

I'm idiot, it was in the preferences (that I could not found I don't know why) XD


Christian Hoffmann

I was looking for an app that would alert on unrated songs, there it is.
It would be MUCH better to rate the song AFTER it has been played! I imagine it like this:
I listen to an unrated song. When it is over I am being confronted with a dialogue that

1. Priority

  • has an OK and a CANCEL Button
  • forces me to rate the song with the five star menu

2. Priority

  • stops iTunes until rated or canceled
  • provides the ability to scan through the song to bring it back to mind

3. Priority

  • shows some displayed Information about the song like album and title
  • shows the current album rating if available

4. Priority

  • shows the cover of the album
  • shows additional info like playtime, tracks in the album etc.
  • has a menu to choose which information to show with a song to be rated
Daniel Beattie

Brilliant little app - really well thought out - just perfect! (Well, it would be if it scrobbled!)

It doesn't seem to be working with iTunes 9 though.

Andy Kim

I see that setting the rating on a song that's playing in the Genius Mix doesn't work. I'll fix this when I have some spare time.


This is my most favourite app in the world.


iTunes 9 bug: In Genius Mix mode you cannot assign ratings to tracks (stars don't "stick").

Gerald Carson

I've discovered the same bug in iTunes 9 Genius Mix. Will Potion Factory be issuing an update for this?

Jeff Triplett

Running on Snow Leopard with iTunes 9 and it crashes after a song or two. Pulling up the Preferences dialog box and changing the "Playing sound" about 5 to 8 times consistently causes it to crash (albeit it maybe unrelated). Great app and I'm missing it not working already :(


I got the same crash when repeatedly changing the alert sound on Leopard (10.5.8 build 9L31a) with iTunes 8.2.1 (6).


just got the app and itunes9 (its even more useful when using itunes9 because when playing genius mixes i can't seem to find the actual song playing to rate it!) but i think i have too many things in my menu bar because i can only see the stars when i am in safari. it doesn't show up when i am in itunes. is there a way to move it around or make it more of a priority or something?


If you have other apps running in the menu bar, you need to launch ILS before them.

Skinny Mulligan

I also discovered the iTunes 9 /Genius Mix bug. You cannot assign ratings to tracks (stars don't "stick").

John Merlin

I was on my way here to tell you that it doesn't play nicely with iTunes 9. Little did I expect to see an update!

Great work!


Sarah - The only way to do this is to move it up your Login Items list. You should be able to reorder them in System Preferences→Accounts→Login Items, but that’s been broken for a long time. Instead, use an app like LoginControl from http://www.thoughtfultree.com/app/logincontrol. It’s shareware, but this feature is available for free.

I love I Love Stars as well, and am glad to see you updated it even while hard at work on The Hit List.


Thanks for this great (best) app :) I'm using it every day...

Just one thing. I've updated to version 3.2.1 (40) and sometimes (let's say every 5 song or so) the app just quit. Am I doing something wrong or it's u bug?

One more time thank you for this app:)


I think that left-clicking while the menu is open should just close the menu and not give a rating. Also, when the menu is open and I click on the last star, it does not change to a half star.


Great work dude, this is an elegant, simple and highly usable app that I've found indispensables since installing a few months back.

One small bug I've found though; sometimes when my screen saver goes active or my screen goes into sleep mode upon returning the screen back to an active usable state ILS is gone. And sometimes, as jakudo noted, it just randomly quits every so often... though for me it seems to be more like every 10 songs on average.

I've tried reinstalling the app and indeed was hoping your latest snow leopard related update would fix this as it only started occurring once I had upgraded to Apples latest OS offering.

It's no biggy as I just relaunch the app manually, just a minor quip really.

Andy Kim

I wish all my users were as understanding and patient as you. Version 3.2.2 should fix this.


THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Andy Kim

YOU'RE WELCOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John Owens

you are amazing, and I just wanted you to know that.

I've used I Love Stars for about 6 months now, and most of my library is rated.
The half star feature is essential!

And now sparkle updates so I don't have to worry about compatibility ever again?
You're just swell.

Alex Millar

For those of you looking for half star increments I came up with a work around. I use quicksilver and assigned AppleScripts to increment/decrement by half stars to desired shortcut keys. The scripts are trivial but ping me if you have any questions. alexander.millar@gmail.com


Many thanks for the app. Love it. I know you said someone would have to suggest a good feature for you to change the app. Fingers crossed.

To rate my unrated music I use playlists of songs that are unrated. Problem is, as soon as I rate it using ILS, the song drops out of the playlist and music stops playing immediately. This is incredibly annoying (and a fault with iTunes, not ILS).

What would be perfect would be for ILS to have an option in prefs where it waits until the song has finished playing before applying the rating to the song. This would allow those of us using playlists to use your app and rate our music as it plays.

Thanks for your time and effort and great app!

Andy Kim

You have two option to get around this iTunes behavior:

1. You can set the source of the iTunes DJ playlist to your smart playlist and rate the songs that way.

2. Turn off live updating on the smart playlist.

I personally go with option 1.

Niklas Morberg

Thanks for a great app. This is the first iTunes ratings app I've found that can rate songs playing in a Genius Mix.


Hey there!
I really love this app, it's been a great help actually but, while playing songs in Tangerine the stars don't appear. Maybe an idea in case your planning an update again?


How do you update this app when it's running in the background at all times/doesn't show up in the force quit menu/can't be overwritten when running?

My iTunes library is empty (On a drive somewhere else)

Andy Kim

You can use the Activity Monitor app to quit it.


Love you plug-in !!!
I'm using every day.

Scott Rose

Awesome app! Love it!!!

I only have one very minor feature request: any chance of giving us a keyboard shortcut to assign ZERO stars? Sometimes I assign a rating and then I realize that I need more time to think about that rating after all. I could just keep decreasing the rating until I got to zero stars, but it would be even more convenient to just hit one keyboard command to get immediately to zero.



Hi, It's a great and simple useful cute application!
but there's a little problem confused me, cause I can't set the shortcut,
every time wen I try to type something,
there's an alert pops out, but says nothing..
it looks like this:
thx again! : ]

Gaurav Patel

I can not tell you what a pleasure it is to find out this application exists. I would have paid money for this, but it's free! Thank you so much for developing this.



This is amazing! After recently realizing i have a collection of more than 40gigs of music which have yet to be rated, I knew i had to find something to make my life easier.

Thanks so much for this wonderful, and thankfully free, application!

P.S. - The keybindings are invaluable!


This app is amazing! I love it!

I second (or third, or whatever) the request to make the unrated songs alert more noticeable. A simple pulsing sort of animation (for example, the animation that Quicktime uses when it's connecting to a live broadcast) that shows the entire time the song is playing would be awesome!

Other than that, the app is great! Thank you for all your hard work!

If there was a donation link, I definitely would be clicking on it!

Mark Jarrell

Great application!

I'm getting flickering on the stars at some points. I've got Snow Leopard 10.6.2 and version 3.3 of the application. It seems to flicker about once per song. Flashes blue three times. I've also seen it do it a time or two when I hover over the stars.

Andy Kim

This is a feature you can disable in the app's preferences window. It's there to remind you to rate the song.

Clint Reno

I am a neatfreak when it concerns my music catalogue. But for one reason I never really cared about the ratings. With the library expanding of the years and switching from winamp to iTunes, rating my collection became a too big of a task.

But after reading about this I Love Stars program on the "Mac Gems" article on MacWorld.com, I decided to give it a try.

Thanks a lot, the way rating songs is now on hand every time music is played, makes it much more inviting to rate the music collection.

ian St. Germain

love this
one question
i've never had half stars in iTunes before - is this functionality that you created?
because I don't know how to rate something with a half star aside from using your app
and i'm wondering how that will work with my smart playlists, etc

Matthew Davidson

Hi, I love this app. Great for those of us obsessed with rating our music.

However, I started using Genius Mixes, and keyboard shortcuts don't work for some reason! I can still click directly on the stars to set a rating, but the keyboard shortcuts refuse to change anything. If I'm not in a Genius Mix, they shortcuts work fine, though.

I'm running iTunes 9.0.3 and ILS 3.3 (44).


Kenneth Collins

Hey, I love this app!
I hate to request features, but maybe you can consider this a little wish list of an anonymous user...
First of all, I would like the option to disable I Love Stars when I have an iTunes LP open, as rating videos included in LPs are pointless. (You can't access them any other way.)
And second of all, I would love it if hovering the mouse over the stars would show the artist, song... all the stuff you get when you right-click.
Please consider releasing an update. I don't mean to sound ungrateful... This is one of my favorite apps! Just these couple of things would make it one of the few flawless apps out there. :)
Thank you!

Rhys Lewis Bartels-Waller

Nice work, thanks.


Hi, beautiful app. I'm with Ciao to try to rewrite it into Menu Extra so it could be dragged around. It seems to be a proper way to do menu apps although nobody seems to know how to do it. Please be a pioneer!


This is the app I have been searching for forever. Thank you. One feature I hope to see in the next version is to allow skip to next song when user rate a song 1-3 stars - as it is very clear that they don't like the current song.


Is anybody else having this problem – computer freezes for 5 seconds and shows a beach ball when you quickly switch keyboard layouts and I love stars is running?


Loving the app - its gotten me to star a lot more tracks.

Any chance we'll be able to add 1/2 stars in a future version? I have my iTunes set to use half stars (some terminal command I ran across enables it), otherwise I end up rating nearly everything a 4. it would be great to be able to do that from the keyboard.



I was using You Control iTunes but it can be buggy.

Is there a way to keep the ratings in the menu after they have been chosen? I like to see what I have rated a song because my rating change depending on my mood :) or whether I found a version of the same song I like better.

cindy in indy


The app always crashes when I try to launch it:

Process: I Love Stars [15416]
Path: /Applications/I Love Stars.app/Contents/MacOS/I Love Stars
Identifier: com.potionfactory.ILoveStars
Version: 3.4 (45)
Code Type: X86-64 (Native)
Parent Process: launchd [1494]

Date/Time: 2010-05-11 03:25:57.197 +0700
OS Version: Mac OS X 10.5.8 (9L30)
Report Version: 6
Anonymous UUID: CE240D54-8A63-42DD-8828-5B41BE6672B0

Exception Codes: 0x0000000000000002, 0x0000000000000000
Crashed Thread: 0

Dyld Error Message:
Symbol not found: _objc_msgSendSuper2
Referenced from: /Applications/I Love Stars.app/Contents/MacOS/I Love Stars
Expected in: /usr/lib/libobjc.A.dylib

Matt Stanford

I was also loving using this till recently I noticed it not-there in the menu bar; now I can kill it as a process in Activity Monitor and launch it again...but nothing. What gives?

Matt Stanford

...went back to v3.3 and it works now. I'm on a MBP with OS 10.5.8, iTunes 9.1.1

Back to being very happy!
I didn't want 1/2 stars anyway.



I also don't have the menu bar stars for the new version. Where can I find the old version?



New version doesn't work on my system either. Is the old version available anywhere?

Andy Kim

I fixed this so you should be good to go with the latest version now. So you may want to try downloading it again. However, version 3.3 is available here:



Thank you very very much!! After trying other apps, this is the best! Thanks


I will echo the issues a few posts up... newest version doesn't seem to run properly on my machine. Star disappear and reappear seemingly randomly (sometimes if I rate a song, they disappear on the next song... sometimes if iTunes is open they disappear... not sure exactly why). I also run Gimmesometune which may be the conflict, but the only version which is stable for me is v2.1.

Nevertheless, the app is and *essential* part of my computer setup and I really appreciate your work on the program. Feel free to contact me if you need beta testers for the next version...


Thanks for the update! This is a great program!


Amazing little app!!! I lost my iTunes song rating while transfer my music library from Windows to Mac. This app is save me a lot of efforts!! Thank you so MUCH!!!

Joshua Altmanshofer

I absolutely love I Love Stars. So helpful and clever. I really like the little animation when it hides and reveals itself. Very nicely done.

That said, I have one small suggestion for future updates. I like to create smart playlists. Sometimes I use a smart playlist of unrated songs for the purpose of rating. (I'm going to guess that the creator of an app like I Love Stars might understand this) Anyway. With live updating on, once I rate a song, that song leaves the playlist and a new song starts playing. This is all as it should be. But, with I Love Stars, I often accidentally rate multiple songs, as the next song starts playing it also gets rated. I'm not a particularly slow clicker on my mousepad so I'm not sure what is causing this. Perhaps a little lag could be built in, but I know nothing about programming, so maybe that is like asking for the world. Anyhow, love your app for sure, and thanks so much.


Is it possible to turn hiding off completely, eg when iTunes is paused, I Love Stars is still displayed in the menubar?


Hi there,

I'm using iTunes 10. When skipping a track in the iTunes DJ, I Love Stars hides itself. Is it a bug, is there a way to get around pausing an resuming the track??

Greetings and thank for the great application.


I'm so excited to try this program. it took a few minutes after I downloaded for the rating "dots" to appear in my menu bar. I rated the song and since then the "dots" for the next song did not appear. I paused the song and played again, played another song, still no luck. Any thoughts?

Also, what is the keyboard shortcut? Thanks for this app!


First of all, I use this app daily. Can you, somehow, link it to iTunes so "I love stars" will open together with iTunes? Sort of, instead of "Open at Login" to have "Open when iTunes opens" feature. Thanks.


Very neat application, thanks. It would be great if the half star rating worked like in iTunes (once some has enabled it: defaults write com.apple.iTunes allow-half-stars -bool TRUE), i.e. if the half stars appeared as one drags around the rating bar rather than requiring an extra click on the last star.

I second the menu extension suggestion. It would be great to be able to drag this somewhere else in the menu bar (f.lux and Dropbox, are you listening?).

I would ask for next track/prev track menu items but that is a slippery slope.... and most Mac keyboards now have those on function keys... I just need to learn to use them!


really love this toy!
thanks dear, great job!!!

it will be perfect, if there is an option to set/unset launch at startup in the native preferences.


Thank you for an app which fits its niche neatly, indeed fills the niche wonderfully.

I am using version 3.4.1 and I have keyboard shortcuts assigned through the preferences for all the integral stars. Hardly surprising: I have keys+1 for 1 star, keys+2 for 2 stars, ... and then keys+up / keys+down to reach the half-stars.

It would be great if I could assign key-combos directly to the half-stars in a single key-combo too. (Personally I'd just use keys+2 instead of keys+1, keys+4 for keys+2, ... and that way use the entire set of number keys to cover the entire set of stars).


LOVE. THIS. I tend to organize my music based on how much I like it, and this little ap makes it so easy for me to quickly say what I love and don't love just as easy as if I were doing it on my iPod! Thanks guys!


Great thanks !


Awesome app that does exactly what it's supposed to do. I tried quicksilver and rateme! and just couldn't get them to work like I wanted. I Love Stars is perfect for me. Thanks!


Just found this app, fantastic and thank you very much. I would like to request auto start with iTunes. I don't like a lot of items in my startup list and I don't always listen to iTunes so auto start would be fantastic. Keep up the great work.


maybe take this out of the "free" section.

Andy Kim

Thanks for pointing this out. It's now gone from the Free Stuff page.


I´ve used this app for a long time and I love it, but suddenly I can´t see the half stars in iTunes, just in the menu bar.

Andy Kim

Hi Lars. Thanks for being a long time user. This thread here has your solution:



I still live in the dark ages and don't have an Intel Mac (PowerMac G5) , thus don't have OSX 10.6, thus am excluded from Apple's fancy new App Store (requires Snow Leopard). I would still love to give you one hard earned dollar in exchange for this program (as long as it still works under 10.5). Any way we can work this out?


I second Eric - could you give us a PayPal option?
Also, if I'm here - I'd also like an option to un-tick songs from the library - so they never get played again.
thanks for listening :)


Hi, I encounter a problem using this great app! If I launch this app, when I quit my itunes, it need to be playing. Else, I cannot quit itunes properly.

Dear Apple

Did you fix the issue with Snow Leopard when I Love Stars was causing 10 seconds freezes everytime you switch keyboard layout or jump to another window/application?

Andy Kim

I don't think that this is a problem with I Love Stars. I use multiple keyboard layouts and have not run into this problem.


This is great but takes TOO MUCH SPACE on the menu bar. Can you make the option to have just a star and then drop down from 1 to 5? I know is 2 clicks but, hey the menu bar space is getting expensive real sate!!!

Paul Wickett


My I Love Stars isn't working any chance of it being not working with newest iTunes ?
or Lion?

Andy Kim

I just tested it on Lion and iTunes 10.4. It seems to work fine on my Mac. If you let us know by email how it's not working, I'd appreciate it.


I love the tool but what about another colour that that ugly yellow-green? I'd propose an intense sun-yellow instead.

Fakey McFakerson

There is a bug with version 3.4.1.

To reproduce:

Construct a smart playlist that excludes songs with star ratings of 1 or 2 stars (but not unrated songs). The playlist must dynamically update.

Play an unrated song. Change it's rating to 2 stars by clicking on the menu helper. The playlist will update itself, removing the 2-star song, and will begin playing the next song. However, ilovestars will then *also* apply a 2-star rating to the new song, which will also be removed from the playlist. A third song will then start playing correctly.


It doesn't work for me. Could it be a problem with using Itunes Match?

V. Arora

I absolutely love I Love Stars. Amazing work, Andy.

I'm not sure if this is even possible but I have a feature request. I just signed up for iTunes Match and am really enjoying having my music synced across my various devices. I keep all of my music on a external HDD connected to my desktop computer but I mostly use my MacBook Air these days. I'm able to "stream" songs from that other computer but for some reason I Love Stars doesn't recognize that I'm playing anything. I tried unchecking the hide when playing streams feature but that didn't seem to fix it.

Again, I'm not sure if this is possible (Apple might have some weird things going on) but it would be amazing if it worked as normal with iTunes Match streams as I don't intend to download any music to my Air (but will be playing music from it regularly).

Thank you again for an amazing product.


Me again, please put up a disclaimer for people using iTunes Match. As Arora also pointed out, it doesn't work. I usually wouldn't pay for small apps like this, but since it's not working at all with iTunes match I think its a rip off. Free or a disclaimer.

Andy Kim

An updated version that fixes this issue will be submitted to the Mac App Store very soon.

V. Arora

That's great! Thanks for the update, Andy.


thats cool


Any update on a fix as this app no longer works and I really miss it.

Do I need to go find another solution?

Andy Kim

Version 3.6.1 was released to the Mac App Store and it should fix this issue. If it didn't, please let me know by email.


I would love to use this app, and even pay for it. But screw the Apple app store. Let me know when you release this via a method that is not horrible. I know it makes it easy for you as a developer, but it is a piss poor application from a user standpoint.

Dan Svoboda

How exactly?


Just bought the app and I love it. Please add the ability to assign a keyboard shortcut for giving songs a zero star rating. Thanks.


Any chance you can stop I Love Stars from spamming the system.log every few minutes?

Feb 25 19:40:20 imac I Love Stars[71692]: DEBUG: Processing iTunes notification: __CFNotification 0x10460d510 {name = com.apple.iTunes.playerInfo; object = com.apple.iTunes.player; userInfo = {
"Album Rating" = 0;
"Album Rating Computed" = 1;
"Artwork Count" = 0;
Genre = "College Indie";
"Library PersistentID" = "-9108565026719149586";
Location = "http://voxsc1.somafm.com:9004";
Name = "Indie Pop Rocks on SomaFM [aacPlus] [SomaFM]";
PersistentID = "-7037389020832485774";
"Play Count" = 468;
"Play Date" = "2012-02-26 02:25:29 +0000";
"Player State" = Playing;
"Playlist PersistentID" = "-9108565026719149379";
"Rating Computed" = 1;
"Skip Count" = 0;
"Store URL" = "itms://itunes.com/link?n=Indie%20Pop%20Rocks%20on%20SomaFM%20%20%5BaacPlus%5D%20%5BSomaFM%5D";
"Stream Title" = "Minor Leagues - Good Boys";
"Stream URL" = "http://somafm.com/logos/512/indiepop512.png";

Andy Kim

I'm trying to get an updated that fixes this and a few other things pushed out to the Mac App Store. The review team is not making it easy this time, though.


Please bring back the ability to click the star twice for a half star!
I don't like to drag to create half-stars.

Dan Svoboda

Although the app is placed in start up items it doesn't start on boot since Mountain Lion upgrade. Any ideas? Thank you.

Andy Kim

You might want to make sure that it's set as a Login Item in the System Preferences inside Users & Groups. If it's there already, see if removing it then re-adding it takes care of the problem.


The pop-up controller frequently stops working, despite being enabled in the preferences. Disabling and re-enabling it solves the problem until the next sleep/restart but it would be great to not have to got through this step.

Anyone else having this issue?

Stephen Galliver

Hi Andy, thanks for such a great app. I've loved it for quite some time now.

Sadly, it just stopped working. Okay, more to the point: it can still control iTunes, but it does not receive updates from iTunes (play/pause/next song, etc.) When the current song ends, the stars don't change to match the new song and the pop-up controller goes blank, but a quit/restart picks up the now-current song. I have a screenshot of the blank controller here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/gase29y14jon5dn/Screen%20Shot%202013-06-21%20a...

I just had to restore my system from TimeMachine, but I Love Stars worked after the restore (I'm pretty sure). I believe this behavior started after upgrading iTunes to 11.0.4(4). I deleted and reinstalled the app, but the behavior is the same. I'm on OSX 10.7.5.

:-( I hadn't realized how dependent I'd become on it until now. :-)


Only since the update (4.4 72) which was suppposed to fix an iTunes 11.1 compatibility issue, I can ALSO ONLY QUIT ITUNES, when it's still playing. If not, I am not even able to shut down my computer. Even prevents iTunes from Force Quit...
Tx for fixing this.... Reinstalled ILS already twice, but still....


Whenever I quit iTunes it immediately relaunches when I Love Stars is running. If I quit I Love Stars then I can quit iTunes normally. Please fix as it blocks shutdowns & restarts…

Christopher Payne

Hi Andy,

I have used I Love Stars for years and rate it very highly. I was happy to buy your new version on the App Store.

One thing I notice (and I am using the very latest version of I Love Stars and Mavericks)...

If I play a song in iTunes, and show the lyrics using Cmd-I, I can change the star rating from, say, 3 stars to 4 stars on the menu bar, and I can see this reflected in the main iTunes window behind the lyrics window...

...but, as soon as I close the lyrics window, the rating reverts back to its previous setting in iTunes. Very frustrating!

Is this issue fixable?



Andy Kim

Hi Chris. This is an iTunes bug. Basically, the rating in the iTunes info dialog window is not being updated along with the main window when a rating is changed. So clicking Save in that window is saving back the old rating. I'm afraid there's not much that ILS can do to get around this bug.


I've created some Retina graphics for this app :)

You only have to copy the files inside the app (right click → Show Package Contents → Resources). Works fine with version 3.3.



Thank you for this nice tool. I really appreciate it.
But actually I've got a problem with it.
Even when i put ILS in my startup items i need to start it manually - but only to show the player. The ranking always shows up.
Is it possible to add a feature to control the volume of itunes within the little player?
For me this would be a killer-feature as i always have to go to itunes to adjust the volume.
This feature makes perfect sense when a mac is connected by SPDIF to a amp because then you can only control the volume by application and not with the system.