How do I restore iTunes Match Ratings after upgrading to OSX 10.8.5 Mavericks?

Anonymous December 8, 2013

I have upgraded to Mavericks and made a couple of iTunes updates around the same time. I had previously rated hundreds, maybe thousands of TV shows and all of those ratings are gone.

I love Apple support, but iTunes’ support is among the worst support organizations I’ve encountered. Their email-based support is of no help, even though the ratings are stored on their servers when iTunes match is used.

Can someone assist? Using a backup library file is not an option as I don’t have one.

  1. Oron J
    December 9, 2013 at 9:38 am

    As Jan points out, the database (rather than the music itself) is not backed up on the cloud. Two copies of the file are kept, in different formats - iTunes Library.itl and iTunes Library.xml, and sometimes it is possible to recover the library (the .itl file) from the "backup" (the .xml copy), but not after using iTunes, since the .xml file will have been replaced too.
    All I can suggest is that in the future you back up those two files regularly. In fact, given the cheapness of hard drives and the simplicity of using Time Machine, back up everything regularly, it's worth it.

    • David K
      December 11, 2013 at 11:27 am

      I found a folder with backed up itl files but when I try to restore them, still no sign of ratings.

  2. Jan F
    December 8, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    iTunes Match is only a music service. Therefor only the ratings of your music and within it's limitations - all matched songs plus the 25.000 unmatched once - are stored in the cloud.

    I'm afraid all your movie or TV show ratings were stored in the iTunes Library (iTunes Library.itl) and if you don't have a backup of it they are lost.

    You should, in general, keep a backup of your iTunes Library or better your entire user data.

    At this point it could have been lost by either, the upgrade to Mavericks or the iTunes updates. There are various reports where the iTunes Library has (sort of) reset because e.g. an anti-virus program has prevented iTunes from upgrading the iTunes Library file after a software update.

    • David K
      December 11, 2013 at 11:16 am

      Thanks for schooling me on iTunes Match only being for music. So I guess what I mean to say is that I understand the ratings data to be stored in the cloud for iTunes in the Cloud purchases. The reason that I am under this impression is 2-fold. First because Apple told me so (I even have an email from them saying so with certainty). Second is when I go back to earlier versions of iTunes (I found a folder with backups after all), none of the ratings are there. I am sure that I need more schooling.

    • Jan F
      December 11, 2013 at 6:01 pm

      I don't want to claim I am right and the iTunes Support is wrong but the truth is at a company the size of Apple, support is so divided that the first person responding to your request may not know much about that topic.

      iTunes Match tries to match your existing music with songs available on the iTunes store. Once they are matched you can download the iTunes Store version and they are considered "Cloud purchases". Also all music purchased via iTunes is considered "Cloud purchase". In addition to that it allows you to store 25.000 unmatched (third-party so to speak) songs in the iCloud.

      For all these songs, "Cloud purchases" plus the 25.000 iCloud songs the ratings should be stored. If that is not the case I'm afraid it's yet another issue of iTunes Match + iCloud.

      Have you found an "iTunes Library.itl" file or only the XML? The XML does only contain basic information wherein the itl also stores the ratings and playlists.
      If you have both I suggest to try only using the itl file. This way you will see if iTunes is actually accessing the itl or restoring the database from the XML file.

      Macs are really "smart" in following what you do with your files so iTunes may just be accessing the "newest" library file where all the data is missing. To make sure you are using the old backup press and hold the ALT (option) key while clicking the iTunes symbol. This will give you a popup to select a Library.

    • David K
      December 11, 2013 at 6:51 pm

      I'm convinced your are right that iTunes Match is no longer relevant to this conversation since it only applies to music and I am talking only about ratings for TV Shows.

      I did find ITL files (not XML files) in the User > [Me] > Music > iTunes > Previous iTunes Libraries. But alas, when I open iTunes from any number of the historical files, there are still no ratings to be seen (except the ones that were locally stored on my computer at the time). All of the other TV Shows that were back up in the iCloud have no ratings, furthering the likelihood that it is true that the ratings are managed in iCloud.

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