If you’ve bought albums on iTunes, or ripped CDs into its library, then you’ll notice that when you want to move them to another device they might not be compatible. This is because Apple uses the AAC format, and not the more universally supported MP3.
We show you how to convert these files to MP3 so you can use them on your Android smartphone or any other music playing device.
One thing to note before we start: any tracks from Apple Music will not convert as they feature DRM to prevent anyone stealing them. If you want to listen to albums and songs from the service then you’ll need a subscription.
Convert AAC files to MP3 in iTunes
There are various dedicated audio conversion software packages available, but the best one is probably already on your hard drive, as it’s iTunes itself.
While its default setting is to use AAC, you can switch this so that any new songs imported into the library will automatically adopt the MP3 format instead. iTunes also allows you to easily create new versions of songs already in your library.
Open iTunes on your Mac, then go to the menu bar at the top and click on iTunes > Preferences.
PC users will find the setting by going to Edit > Preferences instead.
From the menu that appears, check that the General tab is selected, then click on the Import Settings button at the bottom of the window.
In the next window you’ll see a section marked Import Using. Click on the dropdown menu here and select MP3 Encoder.
Beneath it is another section with the title Setting. This allows you to specify the quality of the tracks created. The higher the setting, the larger the file size, so choose the one that suits your preferences. To save the settings click OK.
With this done, any CDs you rip into iTunes from now on will use the MP3 format instead of AAC. To convert an existing track to MP3, find the song in your iTunes library and highlight it.
Next, go to File > Convert > Create MP3 version, and iTunes will duplicate the existing tracks but in the new format.
With this done, you’ll be able to move the tracks to any other device, knowing they’ll happily play without issue.
For more ways to get the most out of Apple’s music management software, read our iTunes problems and fixes guide.