I’m having a problem with podcasts in iTunes. Here’s how it seems to work:

  1. I listen to a few episodes of a podcast, rating them as I go. (I use the 2-star rating to mark podcasts for deletion once I’ve listened to them. I use higher star ratings for podcasts I want to keep.)
  2. Once I’ve rated a few (I’m not sure how many), iTunes seems to give the podcast’s “album” a default average rating. This is shown via hollow stars, as opposed to the filled stars for user-assigned ratings.
  3. This rating gets assigned to all episodes of that podcast, which means:
    1. Episodes of this podcast no longer show up in my “unrated” smart playlist
    2. If the automatic average rating is two stars, episodes of this podcast show up in my “To delete” list.

Is there any way to stop iTunes doing this auto-rating? Maybe a plist setting or something?

5 Answers 5


I have been having this problem and while I don't use the rating quite the way you do, I get annoyed when new episodes are automatically assigned a rating.

I found this solution tonight for iTunes 12.5.1. I selected the podcast which was getting auto assigned (2 stars in my case). It's a very frequently updated podcast as episodes are short. I set View->View As->List. In the upper right corner there is a circle with three dots across the middle. Click on that and the rating option appears. I set the default back to no rating and all the hollow star auto ratings went away, even for episodes I was finished listening to.

  • Ah, yeah good shout — so I guess iTunes automatically assigns ratings to albums in some circumstances, and that rating then sort of gets applied to individual tracks. Mar 5, 2019 at 17:01

I'm not aware of any way to turn this off. Perhaps you could work around this issue by giving the podcast "album" a rating of 3 stars?

Then your smart playlist for delete could check for 2 star rating. Your smart playlist for "unreated" would check for 3 star rating. Your smart playlist for "keeper" could be 4+ stars…

  • Yeah, that’s a decent workaround — I had something similar in place for one podcast when this happened previously. Feb 7, 2011 at 16:52

When I listen, for the shows I want to save, I tell iTunes to save them all. If there are a few I don't want, I eventually go out there and manually delete them. Otherwise, I have iTunes delete everything I have listened to.

  • Sure — it would make more sense to use “unplayed” as my indicator that I’m not sure if I want to keep a podcast, instead of a zero-star rating. Thing is, I actually mark all podcasts as played straight away when they’re downloaded, as I don’t like seeing the “unplayed” indicator on to the podcasts source item — looks too much like a to-do indicator to me, makes me feel ever so slightly stressed. Feb 7, 2011 at 16:51
  • 1
    What? You don't like seeing 100 unplayed podcasts? I know the feeling. I just learned to ignore it.
    – Mike Wills
    Feb 7, 2011 at 17:21

I’m currently working around this issue by deleting any podcast subscription that gets the automatic hollow star rating, then resubscribing to it straight away in the iTunes Store. That seems to get rid of the hollow stars for a while.

If I’ve saved any podcasts from the subscription, I just tell iTunes to put them in the Trash, then drag them out of the trash and back into iTunes after I’ve resubscribed. They go back into the right place, and the hollow stars don’t reappear for a while.


Try assigning a rating to the overall podcast item. Then, click just to the left of the leftmost star on the same line. That cleared it for me.

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