June 16, 2012, 7:15 AM — Like OS X itself, iTunes has a good number of hidden settings that affect how the program works and what options are available to you—some of them letting you revert to the behavior and appearance of older versions of iTunes. And as with those hidden OS X settings, accessing iTunes’s secret features requires you to either hunt down special shell commands that you run in Terminal or use a third-party utility that presents the settings in an easy-to-use interface.
Though many utilities let you change these settings, most toss them into a window with dozens—or even hundreds—of other secret settings that have nothing to do with iTunes. And not all of those tweaking utilities include the latest iTunes options. A few years back, I covered Change Hidden iTunes Preferences 1.0, a tool from Doug Adams, the master of iTunes AppleScripting. Doug recently updated Change Hidden iTunes Preferences to version 3.0, and the latest version includes several features not available in 2009. (It also removes a couple settings that no longer work in the current version of iTunes.)
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Double-click the Change Hidden iTunes Preferences app—or, if you use other iTunes scripts, put it in iTunes’s Scripts folder (~/Library/iTunes/Scripts) and choose it from iTunes’s scripts menu—and you get a single window listing all of the utility’s options. You just quit iTunes, check the box next to each option you want to enable, click Apply, and then relaunch iTunes.
Here’s a quick description of each setting:
Show “Library” playlist: Restores to iTunes’s sidebar the main Library item, which includes everything in your iTunes library in a single view. (The Library item was removed in iTunes 8 in favor of separate items for each type of media.)
Changing view setting is global: iTunes normally maintains separate view settings (list, grid, Cover Flow, columns) for each library category and playlist. With this option enabled, changes you make to any item or playlist’s view settings are applied to all categories and playlists.
Allow half-stars in ratings: iTunes has long had the capability to let you rate tracks in half-star increments, but the feature has always been disabled by default. This option lets you enable it.