Differences in iTunes Music File Extensions and Guide to Convert iTunes Music to MP3

Summary
This article introduces the differences in iTunes music file extensions, and guides you how to find and change the file type of songs in iTunes and macOS Music. In addition, you will get an easy way to convert iTunes music and Apple Music to universal MP3 for offline listening anytime, anywhere!

iTunes is not only a mobile device management utility, but also an excellent media player. It allows you to enjoy your favorite music, artists, albums, movies, TV shows, audiobooks, etc. on Mac and PC, and manage your music collection. Music files in iTunes have different extensions according to the format. If the format is not compatible with the player, then the music file may not be playable on the device. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the music file extension in iTunes. In this tutorial, we will introduce iTunes music file extensions, and show you how to change the music file extensions in iTunes and macOS Music. Apart from this, we will also teach you an easy way to convert iTunes music to MP3 files, so that you can enjoy iTunes music on any device, tablet and player without restrictions.

Part 1. Differences in iTunes Music File Extensions

Currently, iTunes works with five audio file formats, including MP3, AAC, AIFF, Apple Lossless, and WAV.

MP3 (MPEG audio file) is the most popular type of lossy compressed audio format. Compared with other uncompressed audio formats, MP3 takes up less space on the device. It is supported by almost all devices, tablets and players.

AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) is a standard audio file developed by Apple. It is lossy and compressed, an Apple’s alternative to MP3. The AAC audio format can be divided into protected AAC (.m4a) audio files and unprotected AAC (.m4p) audio files.

Protected AAC (.m4p) audio files: Some songs purchased from the iTunes store and subscribed Apple Music songs are in the protected AAC format, also known as M4P files. This DRM restriction prevents songs from being copied or shared.

Unprotected AAC (.m4a) audio files: After April 2009, all songs sold in the iTunes store are in the AAC audio file format without DRM protection.

AIFF file is an audio file saved in the Audio Interchange File Format. It sounds better than MP3, as it is lossless and uncompressed (so big file sizes). AIFF is the standard audio format for Mac, Apple’s alternative to WAV.

WAV, is known for Waveform Audio File Format. Similar to AIFF, WAV is a lossless and uncompressed audio format, which is a standard audio format for Windows. And the size of WAV files is bigger than MP3, M4A, almost all CDs are encoded in this format.

Apple Lossless is a lossless format that retains the full quality of uncompressed audio, but takes up much less space; usually about 40% to 60% less than WAV or AIFF files.

How to Find a Music File Extension in iTunes and macOS Music?

Step 1. Launch iTunes on your PC or Mac. For MacOS 10.15 Catalina, please open the Music app.

Step 2. Click “Songs” under the Library section in the left panel.

select songs in iTunes

Step 3. Select a song and right-click on it, and choose “Get Info”. In the old version of iTunes, please choose “Song Info”.

check song info in iTunes

Step 4. Tap “File” option. You can see the music file extension in “kind”.

check file format in iTunes

How to Change the Music Extension within iTunes

After understanding the different extensions of the songs in iTunes, you can also change the extensions through iTunes (convert the extension of music). That is, convert songs to MP3 through iTunes. Please note that you can only convert unprotected iTunes songs to MP3. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1. Open iTunes on PC, click “Edit” > “Preferences” > “General” > “Import Settings” . Then select “MP3 Encoder” in the Import Using option. You can adjust the quality in the Setting option. Then press “OK”, and click “OK” again to confirm.

iTunes import settings

For macOS Catalina, open the Music app. Click “Music” > “Preferences”, and click the ” File” tab > “Import Settings” > “MP3 Encoder”.

Import Settings on Music for Mac

Step 2. Click “Music” or “Playlist” in the left side, and select the target songs.

Step 3. Tap “File” > “Convert” (in some older versions of iTunes, pick “Create New Version” instead), and then choose “Create MP3 Version”.

create mp3 version in iTunes

Step 4. All selected songs will be converted to MP3 files. The converted MP3 file will appear next to the original song in iTunes. You can check their file extensions in iTunes.

Part 2. Easy Way to Convert iTunes Music to MP3

As we mentioned above, some purchased iTunes songs and subscribed Apple Music songs are in the protected AAC format, they can only be played through iTunes on PC, Mac or Apple Music app on authorized devices. In other word, you can’t play iTunes music on iPod Nano/ Shuffle/Classic, nor transfer Apple Music to MP3 players, iPods, USB drive, etc. In order to play all your iTunes music library and Apple Music tracks on any device and player, you need to get rid of the DRM and convert iTunes music, Apple Music to common MP3, M4A, or other formats. Here you can turn to TunesBank Apple Music Converter.

TunesBank Apple Music Converter is an one-stop iTunes Music Converter, Apple Music Converter, and DRM Removal software. Simply put, it can convert all audio and video files in your iTunes library, including Apple Music songs, iTunes music, audiobooks, music videos, etc., whether they are DRM protected or DRM-free! It can help you strip DRM protection from iTunes music and Apple Music, and then convert iTunes purchased M4P songs and Apple Music M4P songs to unprotected MP3, M4A, FLAC and more formats compatible with any device, tablet and player! In addition, it will preserve audio quality, ID3 tags and metadata of the music track in output MP3 files.

Step-by-step: Convert iTunes Music & Apple Music to MP3

Step 1. Download TunesBank Apple Music Converter
First, download TunesBank Apple Music Converter to your Mac or PC and then install it. When you launch the program, iTunes will run automatically. Then TunesBank will load all the contents from your iTunes library.

launch tunesbank apple music converter

Step 2. Select iTunes Music & Apple Music Songs
Click “My Songs” or “Playlist” in the left panel, then choose the target songs by ticking the checkbox. Also, you can enter the song name in the Search Box to locate the song.

select iTunes songs and apple music songs

Step 3. Customize Output Settings
After importing the songs, move to the bottom of the interface. Here you can customize the Output Settings and Metadata. In the Output Settings section, you can set the Output Format, Output Quality, Output Path, Bitrate, SampleRate, Channels, Codec, etc. To listen to iTunes music and Apple Music on any device, MP3 format is perfect.

choose mp3 format

Tips: TunesBank Apple Music Converter for Windows offers 7 output formats, including MP3, M4A, AAC, FLAC, AIFF, AU, AC3.

Step 4. Start Converting iTunes Music to MP3
Simply press on “Convert” when the settings are complete. Then TunesBank software will start converting the selected iTunes songs and Apple Music songs to MP3 (All music file extensions will be changed to MP3). During the process, you can turn back to the “Library” to add more songs.

convert iTunes msuic to mp3

Step 5. Get Converted iTunes Songs in MP3 Format
After conversion, you can go to “Finished” section, click “View Output File” to locate the output MP3 songs.

get drm-free iTunes music

Final Words

The most common file types in iTunes and Music (macOS Catalina) are MP3, AAC, WAV, AIFF, Apple lossless formats. Some purchased iTunes music and Apple Music use protected AAC (.m4p) instead of MP3, they can only be played on authorized devices by Apple. If you want to enjoy iTunes music and Apple Music on any device and player without limits, you can try this powerful TunesBank Apple Music Converter. It can help you remove the DRM lock and convert all audio files in iTunes music library to DRM-free MP3, M4A, FLAC files with 100% lossless audio quality, or even better (up to 320kbps). With its supports, you could not only keep all Apple Music tracks forever, but also can freely listen to iTunes music, Apple Music and audiobooks on any MP3 player, iPod Nano, iPod Shuffle, iPod Classic, iPod Touch, iOS, Android phone and tablet, PSP, PS4, Windows Media Player, QuickTime, VLC Media Player, etc.

Check iTunes Music File Extensions