Forum Question: iTunes 9.1 Convert higher bit rate songs to 128 Kbps AAC

How does the new option “Convert higher bit rate songs to 128 Kbps AAC” effect my music library? Does it just change the bit rate for the iPhone/iPod/iPad music or the whole library?

— Greg Howland

Comments: 142 Responses to “iTunes 9.1 Convert higher bit rate songs to 128 Kbps AAC”

    3/31/10 @ 1:08 pm

    That option has been around for a long time for the iPod Shuffle. Now it is simply there for all devices. It just converts the music as it transfers it to the iPod/iPhone to save space on that device. Your original is still the same.

      Greg Howland
      3/31/10 @ 1:13 pm

      When the conversion occurs the song has a “VBR” attached to the file. What does it mean and by the way thanks for the quick response to my question. Awsome!!

        3/31/10 @ 2:20 pm

        VBR stands for “variable bit rate.”

          H Fletcher
          4/1/10 @ 8:10 am

          Thankfully, Apple now allows this for all iPods…

          But why only allow conversion to 128 kbps? Those of us with 160 GB Classics, etc., might want to onvert to a higher rate of 256 kpbs or 320 kpbs if playing back through a high end auto link… Come on Apple, losen up the control a little. Windows Media Player will let you sync to any quality level you like that is equal to or below that of the original.

            4/1/10 @ 12:03 pm

            There is no benefit from converting to a higher bit rate. Converting to a higher bit rate would be analogous to blowing up a thumbnail image for the background of your desktop. It takes up more space, but is not any better.
            If you have a high-quality source for your audio (CD or Vinyl) you are free to encode at a higher bit rate and have this transferred to your iPod at the full bit rate. This can be enabled in the ‘Import Settings’ section of your preferences pane.
            If you are asking for the option convert from Lossless down to 256 kbps – you should try some A-B Comparison between the three and determine if you can really tell the difference between bit rates when playing them from an iPod and iPhone. If you really can legitimately tell the difference between 128 and 256, then you would probably also want to maintain the Lossless encoding on your iPod. If not, then the only concern is how much space is consumed.

              8/11/10 @ 8:12 pm

              That is such a general statement! I can hear a tremendous difference between my FLAC files and an mp3 of ANY bit rate. Of course, the fact that I’m they’re played through equipment that costs more than most peoples cars, but your statement(s) of “There is no benefit from converting to a higher bit rate. Converting to a higher bit rate would be analogous to blowing up a thumbnail image for the background of your desktop. It takes up more space, but is not any better.” is analogous to a person saying that PCs are better for business and Macs are only good for digital processing.

                9/25/10 @ 10:31 am

                Yes, a lossless format like FLAC will be better than any lossy format like MP3 or AAC, assuming both files were made from a lossless source (like a CD). If your files are 160 kps, transcoding it to 320 kps does not make it better, (it’ll actually make it worse). This is where the “enlarging a thumbnail analogy” comes from. The information has already been lost, it cannot be regained, and re-encoding it with another lossy format just recreates more loss on top of that.

                Note that Apple here is using a 128 AAC file (not MP3). 128 AAC is better than a 160 mp3 and comparable to a 192 kps mp3. There is more to a file than the bit-rate. For 99% of ears out there, 192 kps MP3 is perfectly fine (and thus, so is a 128 AAC file). If you think its not, do a blind comparison and see if your ears can really hear the difference between 128 AAC and 256 kps mp3. If you REALLY want to play a lossless format on some billion dollar stereo system, an iPod/iPhone isn’t the way to go anyway (because of jacks, connections, etc). Go buy a cd player or a turntable if you’re that uptight about whats good enough for your super fancy stereo with $100 cables (that really don’t do anything, except be well marketed, sorry to tell you).

                  11/24/10 @ 11:02 am

                  Nylund, Fletcher is not saying that he wants to take a smaller file and blow it up. He’s simply asking for an option not to convert his already 320 VBR files to such a low kbps. The original analogy from Ohmar, therefore, doesn’t work and is moot point (no offence Ohmar).

                  AND AAC is of course better than mp3. HOWEVER, it doesn’t compare to WMA and its bit-rate vs resolution. Once again, an option not offered (understandably so) with iTunes.

                8/7/11 @ 6:14 pm

                trunks_cscs does not understand the situation H fletcher is trying to get at. Ohmar is right that trying to take a 128 kpbs track and “improve it” to 256 or anything higher has no point and is just like trying to enlarge a thumbnail. The data that was removed in ripping at 128 is gone and cannot be restored. One must re-rip from the original high-quality source at a higher bit rate. It is not possible to improve the quality of a track by increasing it’s bitrate. Again, the removed data is gone. The only way to get a better quality sound is to re-rip at a higher rate from the original source (CD, etc.)

                  8/7/11 @ 6:17 pm

                  Oops. Fletcher is trying to go down to 256 or 320 from higher, rather than going all the way down to 128. I read wrong. This is a good idea. Ohmar is still correct that you cannot increase the quality of a track already ripped at a certain bitrate by increasing its bitrate.

              11/24/10 @ 10:54 am

              Ohmar, your last sentence is exactly what H Fletcher is getting at. I also import at 320 vbr, but I rarely would want to take up that much space on a mobile device. You can’t tell much of a difference between 320 and 256, but with a high end audio output there is a small difference between the 256 and 128. All H Fletcher is asking for is options. This is something that Apple, imho, isn’t very good at and has shown that for years. The number of options available to WMP users is so far above that of the iTunes user (not to mention WMP has the correct album information and album artwork). Further more, other programs offered by Mac are the same way. Office for Mac has to be the most juvenile version of a what is a really great program (once again, having OPTIONS that Mac doesn’t offer). The Microsoft counterpart has so much more functionality, even when you compare the bundle of iCal, Mail, Address Book, Stickies, & Text Edit with Outlook on a Windows OS. I’m with Fletcher on this one. Mac needs to stop deciding that ‘they know better’ all the time. Many times they don’t accurately predict software wise what people might need or want. Just my $0.02

            4/4/10 @ 6:21 am

            You can convert in your library to any bit rate you want. Change your bit rate for importing files, select the files you want to convert, and convert them. Nobody is stopping you. You won’t even get slapped on the wrist, or be told to go to bed without your supper.

            As for the automatic click conversion for shuffles and ipads, that’s for the convenience of people using devices with limited amounts of storage, with the (correct) assumption being that 99% of people interested in the function would want the smallest listenable bit rate possible. There’s no sense in going from 320 to 256, after all, and the number of people using Apple lossless is small enough that it would be fairly idiotic to add an option just for automatically converting apple lossless to 320 mp4. (Not to mention that with the automatic conversion the transcoding is done on the fly at syncing, which again is why it is targeted at devices with limited storage. Do you really want to iTunes transcode 30 GB of music at sync time?)

              4/15/10 @ 8:02 am

              @jason – First, this topic is about the option to convert automatically before transferring music to an iPod/iPhone etc. Of course you can create lower bitrate versions of existing songs, but you have no option to transfer ONLY those files to your portable device, so now you have 2 versions of the same song both in iTunes and on your iPod.

              Secondly, on what basis do you claim 99% of people want the “smallest listenable bit rate possible”, and what bitrate is that exactly? Different people have different sensitivities to music – why not give them the choice? Programatically it would take nothing to offer it, and for myself I can DEFINITELY hear the difference between a 128 and a 192kbps song.

              It’s certainly not “idiotic” to let us decide in the same way we’re allowed to decide when we import to the library.

                11/24/10 @ 11:05 am

                @Chris THANK YOU CHRIS. Perfect response.

            4/19/10 @ 7:09 pm

            There is a way for you to convert them to higher bit rate, go to itunes preferences, import settings, and set the bitrate to what you want, then go to the song(s) you want to crank the bitrate up on, and highlight them, then click advanced tab at the top, and convert to aac (or whatever you have your import settings set at).

            4/27/10 @ 6:31 pm

            Definateley agree with you…

          4/3/10 @ 6:02 am

          Does this process for converting files to 128 KB for iPhone/iPod have any impact on the computer hard drive stored files? Does the shift to VBR reduce the quality of the lossless stored music at all?

            4/3/10 @ 6:07 am

            No. It makes new versions. The originals are still intact.

              4/21/10 @ 5:45 pm

              but if it makes new versions and keeps the originals will it take up more space on my computer? and does it effect the sound quality of the songs?

        4/8/10 @ 3:42 am


        when i did it, i lost ALL my custom ringtones that were converted from my library, even though the apear on my device list, they dont exist on the device itself to select from.
        any idea how to fix it?

          4/8/10 @ 6:00 am

          Interesting. Maybe it conveys ringtones too, and it shouldn’t. Try turning it off and see if you get them back.

          6/15/10 @ 2:26 pm

          just reverse what you did and you will get your ringtones back

      5/1/10 @ 4:33 pm

      hey.. some songs im trying to copy to my itunes library from my music isn’t being copied. out of 10 songs, only 5 were copied, and i noticed that the ones that were copied were lower than 320 bitrate, can you tell me please how to fix the problem?

        5/2/10 @ 8:48 am

        Where are you copying them from –what is “my music” a folder? Try copying one of the songs by itself. Do you get an error messGe? If not, then are you sure the song wasn’t copies — perhaps it is there, just filed under a different artist or album. Where did these files come from that they are greater than 320 Mbps? Perhaps they don’t have the proper ID3 tags so they are not being files in itunes where you expect.

      5/27/10 @ 7:46 am

      What effect does kbps have on the selection of ear monitors?

      Will better earphones need higher rates?

      How high?

        5/27/10 @ 7:50 am

        Well, better headphones will be able to convey a wider range of frequencies and produce better quality. So having a high bit rate won
        t help if you have bad headphones. A high bit rate and good headphones will produce the best quality. But it all comes down to your ears. If you can’t hear a wide range of frequencies and your hearing isn’t excellent, it may not matter.
        The answer is: experiment. Use the headphones you have and try a favorite song at different bit rates. See if you can tell the difference.

      8/31/10 @ 10:55 pm

      Ok, I am a dummy when it comes to these things, but can you make this plain to me? Like spell it out, because I want to know if I am making a right decision if I decide to do this conversion.

      9/10/10 @ 11:25 am

      thts sweeet :)

      9/6/11 @ 3:04 pm

      thank you that was very helpful

      1/12/12 @ 11:59 am

      i am trying to put songs on my 4s from my laptop through itunes but it keeps telling me to convert them 128kbps and it wont do it otherwise ! how do i convert my downloaded songs to this? idiots answer please am not good with technology !

        1/12/12 @ 12:17 pm

        Control+Click on the song in iTunes and one of the options that appears should be to convert that song.

    4/4/10 @ 7:53 am

    How does iTunes determine which songs get converted to 128 bitrate? Is it everything above 128 or are they talking 320 and above?

    I love this feature as I rip all my cd’s in lossless and don’t have to have a duplicate library now. Lossless files on an iPod is overkill as when listening to the little headphones, it’s doubtful anyone could tell the difference.

      4/4/10 @ 8:00 am

      I think that everything over 128 gets converted.

    4/4/10 @ 11:07 am

    Will Converting my songs give my music better or worse quality

      4/4/10 @ 11:14 am

      Well “worse” — smaller file size = more compression = lower quality. But 128kpbs is still pretty good. You will probably not hear much of a difference over earbuds or a car stereo. I can’t.

        7/1/10 @ 7:01 pm

        I can

          8/29/10 @ 3:15 pm

          you won’t on a real blind test. nobody does.

            7/10/11 @ 2:18 am

            this is old now, but regarding your comment that nobody can tell the difference… My friend gave me a double blind test between apple lossless and 320 CBR AAC and although it require very careful listening, I was able to tell the difference in every single song tested. Is it a big difference? No, hardly noticeable and sometimes even hard to tell “why” it doesn’t sound as good, but nonetheless still possible to tell every time. I for one would be happy with a lossless to 320 on the fly conversion for my ipod. 128 doesn’t cut it. ever.

        7/10/10 @ 10:45 am

        How lucky you are not to be able to tell! On a car stereo, 128 makes my earns burn. Cymbals, especially, sound awful.

        Before getting ridiculed bizarrely by others above, the poster had it right — the option to convert to higher bit rates with a simple little drop down would solve the issue. 300+ is plenty fine in the context of a portable music players (understandably) weak pre-amp.

    4/4/10 @ 7:52 pm

    My problem with it wasn’t difference in sound quality, but time… 2096 tracks took 36 hours to sync, and I just don’t have that kinda time… (I add/subtract tracks & podcasts every two or three days, so it isn’t like once I put ’em on there, I won’t have to deal with synching new stuff anytime soon… And if giant chunks of those 2-3 days are spent synching rather than listening, the additional space on the iPod just isn’t worth having…

    (With a 60g iPod and 211g of music alone–not to mention over 100g of podcasts–there’s no way it’s all getting synched to the ipod, no matter what I do…)

      4/4/10 @ 7:56 pm

      It shouldn’t take 36 hours the next time. It should only compress the new songs. But if you have a lot of new stuff (podcasts, etc). Then you are right, it isn’t worth it.
      Remember, this was originally for the iPod Shuffle. They don’t have much space and can’t hold many songs anyway. So it didn’t take this long. For a 60gig iPod, this isn’t a function many will use.

    4/5/10 @ 1:43 pm

    but what does it do?

      4/5/10 @ 1:53 pm

      If you turn it on, and then sync with your iPod, it will send 128kpbs versions of the songs to your iPod, not the higher bit rate versions you have stored on your Mac. In other words, it send compressed versions of the songs to your iPod to save space.

    4/5/10 @ 6:02 pm

    when i tried this with my library of 2451 songs (which were all on my ipod before). it took its time converting them, but then i checked my ipod and only 1478 were there, what happened to the other 1000

      4/5/10 @ 6:33 pm

      Is the iPod full? What do the missing songs have in common? Are you sure they aren’t missing in iTunes too (listed in iTunes, but the files aren’t there). Are you sure you are syncing ALL songs — not just the checked ones, and not just ones from certain playlists or artists. And finally, what happens when you turn 128kpbs off? Do you still get 1478, or all 2451? Lots to check…

      4/7/10 @ 4:44 am

      this happened to me as well. i have gone through the process of converting all my files to 128 twice now and it seems that my music just does not go onto the ipod for some reason.

      4/7/10 @ 6:41 pm

      Everytime I hit sync, another handful of songs get transferred. I do not understand why, but it seems like not everything gets encoded at once.

        Christoph Sullivan
        4/7/10 @ 7:21 pm

        I, as well, have encountered this. It just transfers over some each time, so eventually, it will get them all over. This is not quite as swell as I had hoped, because this is far too valuable and useful of a feature to be as buggy as it apparently stands now.

          Christoph Sullivan
          4/8/10 @ 12:38 pm

          Me Again. It now went well with all others with 2,300 songs (until it ran into a damaged files with 500 left, and then I synced again, and one-shot all the way, it just finished.)

    Tonny Liljenberg
    4/8/10 @ 12:17 am

    I was very happy to discover this feature, as my 160gb ipod was almost full… BUT it did not transfer all of my songs…AND every time ipod I plug my ipod in, it takes half a day to sync. I am NOT impressed!

      Christoph Sullivan
      4/8/10 @ 12:41 pm

      It doesn’t sync them all. Unless it runs into a damagaed file (which it can’t convert b/c it can’t play it, either), it should work, but doesn’t. It will always take a while when syncing with option whenever you’re putting new songs on it (b/c it converts them then and there to preserve the originals on your comp. and not take up hard drive space, though it is a pain in the ass that it takes so long). If you’re just updating playlists, it shouldn’t take longer than usual. Does it? I don’t have experience yet, and have a 160GB as well, and would love to know. Thanks in advance, Tonny.

    4/9/10 @ 1:37 am

    I have 791 songs in my itunes library and non of them is corrupted, but after i converted my music and videos to higher bit rate songs to 128 kbps AAC i only have 489 songs recognized on my iphone, and all the purchased songs are gone!

      4/9/10 @ 6:01 am

      Try it again. Some people are reporting that a second or third sync later on solves the problem. Perhaps iTunes converts songs in the background and it takes a while.

    4/10/10 @ 8:49 am

    Can I just check that if you select this option, does it only convert new songs added to the ipod or does ii also convert songs that are already on the ipod?

      4/10/10 @ 8:55 am

      It should convert and re-sync everything.

        4/10/10 @ 9:41 am

        It hasn’t done that. It converts the new songs that are over the 128 limit but has done nothing with the c. 18 GB of songs already on there.
        I am using an ipod touch 32GB but I do not sync to my library as the library is over 250GB

          4/10/10 @ 9:52 am

          Odd. This feature seems to be very buggy and inconsistent.

            4/24/10 @ 7:35 pm

            Perhaps the 18 gigs of music on your ipod that isn’t being converted is no longer on your computer — itunes might not have a file to convert so instead of removing it, it leaves it ‘as-is’

    4/11/10 @ 1:21 pm

    This change has effectively taken my 25gig library down to 13 gigs.

    be warned though, this will take over 12 hours to finish converting everything if you have a large library.

    4/13/10 @ 12:50 am

    Does this process follow like this:

    Does it convert files?

    Or does it duplicate an exact copy of what it would have been if you ripped it to 128?

    Because when you convert (320 250) to 128 the quality is lower than if you ripped it to 128 in the first place.

    So does it give the exact quality of 128 or does it convert to 128 (meaning the quality will be less)?

      4/13/10 @ 5:54 am

      It should be the same as if you converted it yourself. But there are more options than just 128. There is aac vs mp3, for instance.

    brian p
    4/16/10 @ 6:06 am

    Are you sure it does not change the sound quality at all? I would hate to do that to myself.

      4/16/10 @ 6:08 am

      If you use the same settings (all of the settings) then why would it differ? But if quality is your concern, then why use this function at all?

    4/16/10 @ 1:22 pm

    So if you use this feature, does your iTunes library on your hard drive have 2 versions of everything so that when you go to play music normally off your computer you have to look to see which copy you are playing and make sure that you select the higher bit rate version? Or is the downconverting all done in the background and you never see the duplicate versions?

      4/16/10 @ 2:01 pm

      When I used this feature with a Shuffle some time ago, I did not see two versions in iTunes. Maybe someone who is using it now can comment…

    4/21/10 @ 10:36 am

    I’d love to use this and make some space on my iPod / iPhone.
    I looked everywhere, but I do not seem to find the option. I have iTunes 9.1
    I see the Options “convert to AAC version” / “Create AAC Version” but I think thats just to create an AAC version in ITunes.
    Where do I find this option – feels like kind of a stupid question at the end of this long thread…sorry for that but I really looked hard.

      4/21/10 @ 10:46 am

      Plug in your iPod or iPhone. Select it on the left. Then look under the “Summary” tab. Under Options.

        4/21/10 @ 11:02 am

        D’oh! Got it – thanks!

    4/24/10 @ 2:00 pm

    I tried enacting it and it worked well. As far as I can tell, it has not created duplicate copies of the files in my iTunes.

    4/29/10 @ 12:09 pm

    I have a 30GB ipod video and it ended up converting around 1800 songs and now all the album art is gone for all the songs that have been converted when I play them on my ipod but the album art is still there in i tunes. Is this supposed to happen?

      4/29/10 @ 12:18 pm

      The album art should remain. Try re-syncing, maybe?

    4/29/10 @ 2:04 pm

    Really weird. After syncing 3 separate times it finally added the album art back. I guess it was just some silly glitch. Thank you.

    4/29/10 @ 5:19 pm


    I just recently bought an ipod touch. A week or two after I had purchased it, a friend of mine imported all of the songs from his itunes library into my ipod. After the syncing I now had a bundle of music in my ipod. One day I plugged in my ipod to my computer to let it charge. While it was charging I was playing a couple of songs from the ipod the music that I had recently gotten from my friend then all of a sudden the music stopped and all of the songs that I had imported just disappeared. I dont have a clue what happened. Can any one tell me what went wrong?

      4/29/10 @ 5:39 pm

      You can only sync your iPod Touch to one computer. The idea is you have all of your music on that computer, and a subset of that on your iPod (or all of it, if you don’t have a large collection).
      When you plugged in your iPod into you computer, you probably told it to sync. That’s what you want. But since you don’t have that music on your computer, it removed it from the iPod. It is not synced to your computer — not your friend’s computer. So it has your music, not your friend’s music.

      7/24/10 @ 12:07 am

      Perhaps you should buy your own music so the artists get paid royalties instead of importing songs from someone else’s library that aren’t really yours to play. I don’t know how you earn your living, but suppose you reported for work each day, did a good job, and then the person or company who benefited from your work decided not to pay your wage. If you want songs you need artists. They need to eat, too.

        12/19/10 @ 10:16 am

        If you want the music but dont have the money (like me) put the songs onto a CD from your friends computer and then rip them onto your computer.

          12/19/10 @ 10:23 am

          Say it any way you want, it is still stealing.

    4/29/10 @ 7:49 pm

    I just found the feature to automatically convert to 128 bit when syncing to my iPod Touch and tried using. It worked OK (took a couple of hours) and I was happy. Later, downloaded a couple of updated apps to iTunes. When I synced the iPod again, iTUnes started downloading all my songs over again. This has happened 3 times. Takes hours to sync. Not acceptable. Am using latest version of iTunes Has this happened to anyone else?

      4/29/10 @ 8:02 pm

      A few others have reported that. It might be that not all of your songs were converted the first time. So it is doing them in batches.

        4/30/10 @ 5:40 am

        Ouch! I’ll give that a try over the weekend. I’ll check the song counts on the iPod and the storage used by music on the iPod after each sync. Hopefully those numbers go up each time that I sync. I’ll also check the forums at the Apple site.

          5/5/10 @ 5:38 pm

          I tried syncing again and noticed that it started syncing the same songs over again, then left – when I came back the iPod was full again. This evening I started another sync. Same songs started syncing, and just as the music sync was starting I noticed that the blue bar at the bottom of the screen dropped from around 1 GB to 240 MB. Not to zero – so it appears that iTunes thinks that some music is still on the iPod. Very strange.

        gary tenenzapf
        11/14/10 @ 4:02 pm

        i have noticed over the years and even more so with newer more digitally recorded tunes that there is a volume difference….granted old songs are old songs i.e. spanish harlem by aretha from way back sounds nimbly on itunes and on an i pod while say fro example the newer recordings such as tunes by alison krauss and robert plant just break up i comparison to older tunes (albeit analog recorded and/or digitally recorded….does bit rate have anthing to do with that?????? thanks gt

          11/14/10 @ 4:48 pm

          Volume of a track is independent of the bit rate. Different songs can have different base volumes. You can adjust the volume of a track in iTunes under that track’s info. You can also use “Sound Check” in the iTunes preferences, under Playback prefs, to compensate.

    5/4/10 @ 9:02 pm

    I use 192kbps for my songs and it works great for me

    5/7/10 @ 5:34 pm

    Whenever I connect it, it reconverts on the fly all the songs over 128kbps. Like it reconverts the songs each time. Is this the correct behavior?

      5/7/10 @ 5:37 pm

      No. It shouldn’t do that. Are you sure it just isn’t doing your library bit-by-bit?

    5/7/10 @ 5:45 pm

    Pretty sure. I’ve got a 8GB 3rd gen nano. I’ve set it up to only sync certain playlists (including some “smart” playlists). Before checking the option, I had effectively filled it up. After checking the box, it took forever, but it filled it back up except with about 1 GB to spare! Only thing is, everytime I plug it back in to my computer, iTunes starts “synchronizing” about 241 songs and sure enough, at the top of iTunes it’ll show the conversion progress. Once it’s done, all the songs are there on the iPod. I just don’t want the internal flash memory to wear out if it’s rewriting a ton of it everytime I connect it, not to mention the time it takes.

    5/7/10 @ 5:48 pm

    I take it back; it doesn’t appear to be converting. My bad. It’s just seems to be resyncing the same 241 songs that were already on there. Hmm….

    5/8/10 @ 2:44 am

    does it convert songs already loaded on the iphone or do u have to delete them and then transfer them again?

    5/11/10 @ 11:43 pm

    Infuriating – both my iPod (80Gb classic) and iPhone (3G) take hours (or days for the classic!) to sync as it converts the same files each time.
    For sure this is happening – it’s not converting different files each time.
    This really needs a fix from Apple for those of us who frequently get new music or keep up with podcasts. Aaarghh!

    5/12/10 @ 7:37 am

    This constant resynching seems to be a problem with the recent iTunes, whenever you change anything in your library.

    I used CoverScout to find missing artwork for albums I had ripped from my CD collection. It worked well, and synched the artwork to my iPhone. But then every time I connected the iPhone it kept re-synching every song in those albums (over 200 songs). That lasted for several weeks and then it finally got back to normal. Some songs must have been re-sent dozens of times.

    It’s not clear what finally fixed the problem, but it’s OK now. I’d like to save some space by down-converting my recent iTunes purchases, but I have a feeling that once again I will be in for weeks of repeated synchs of songs already there.

    5/19/10 @ 3:55 am

    I am one of the few who uses apple Lossless. my songs run at about 1000 kbps. I convert my songs to AAC before they are put on my dinky iPod nano 4gig because theses lossless files just wont fit.

    Unfortunately it takes a LONG time to convert to AAC

    5/25/10 @ 10:09 am

    Gary, I could use some help too if you don’t mind. I have a problem with itunes I’m on a pc not a mac, running xp sp3. I’m trying to load some mp3 from an album I dl but itunes won’t let me. Mp3’s are fine playing on whatever player you’d like but doing nothing when I click “open with itunes”. Compression is at 320kbps. ANY other mp3 on my pc can be added with no problem at all, except for those 10 songs. This is really annoying! Any ideas???

      5/25/10 @ 10:39 am

      My only thoughts are that something is different about the format of these files. It is even possible that they are not mp3 files, they are just labeled as such by an mp3 file extension. Whatever they are, they are not compatible with iTunes. You could use a program like Audacity to convert them. Or VLC might do it too.

    6/7/10 @ 8:32 pm

    What happens if you turn off the 128 conversion to the songs the you compressed on your i-pod. Will they stay that way so it doesn’t take a lifetime to sync…

      6/7/10 @ 9:29 pm

      I’m pretty sure all those songs will re-sync.

    jason A
    6/13/10 @ 7:26 am

    This is taking so sodding long ¬¬..if I knew it would take this long id not have bothered even attempting to convert the songs to a lower kbps…i turned the option off after reading this from what i hear there is a difference with sound quality…I also thought that since i took the option of it would just put all the songs back on quickly, however i seem to be wrong as it is still takign forever!!!

    6/17/10 @ 7:31 am

    Where does iTunes store the songs it converts to 128kbps? I did this last week and now the drive on my MacBook has 7GB less space than before. I want to go back to regular quality and delete this extra space hogging folder on my machine.

      6/17/10 @ 7:45 am

      I’m sure it stores them in the iTunes music folder. But to get rid of them, just switch this off. It should delete the files.

    Stuart P
    7/6/10 @ 9:56 am

    Also have the problem of re-converting the same songs time and time again.

    It would be nice if i-tunes help site at least admitted that their was a problem and that they might be working on a solution, rather than reinstall everything and if that doesn’t work erm reinstall everything.

    7/9/10 @ 10:57 pm

    Did the problems of re-syncing the same songs get solved by updating to iTunes 9.2, as far as I can see this was a feature introduced in 9.1?

      7/10/10 @ 7:08 am

      I heard that too. But I didn’t have this problem (don’t use the feature) so I can’t be sure.

    7/23/10 @ 5:04 pm

    I selected the ‘convert higher bit rate songs to 128 kbps AAC’ this morning at 1 am. It’s now almost 10am, so 9 hours later and it’s still not done! Out of 1250 songs, only 535 are being converted (after 9 hours its on the 395th). At first I assumed that the other half were just not big enough for them to be automatically converted, but now I’m worried half of them are going to be kicked off after reading all these unsuccessful comments! Apple really should’ve just put a ‘What’s this?’ button next to the check to save everyone the trouble.

    8/7/10 @ 10:26 am

    I have a filled-up 120GB and I’d love to use this feature since nearly 10,000 of my 30,000 files could be converted down to 128, which I’m sure would open up quite a bit of space. But everybody here is right … the process is slow, slow, slower. It would probably take 3 days to do them all; I only let it go about 3,000 songs and gave up, leaving everything as was. If it reconverts every time I sync, no way! Hopefully, Itunes can figure out a way to speed up the process. Call me when this happens.

    8/8/10 @ 5:59 am

    To all of you, saying this process takes forever: The first time you sync it WILL take long, not because of itunes, but your computer. The faster CPU you have, the faster it converts.

    BUT, it shouldn’t take that long each time, THAT is apple/itunes fault

    8/28/10 @ 1:44 pm

    Hi all,
    I used this option on my iPhone 3gs 32gb, and quite a lot of space was freed: about 4750 songs and still 4,3 gb left.
    Then, a month ago, I bought an iphone 4, and restored from the 3gs backup. Same songs, same option of converting to 128kbs, but only 1gb left on the iphone.
    Have you ever heard of something like this happening? Or I am doing something wrong?

      8/28/10 @ 4:16 pm

      It isn’t about how much space you have left, but how much is used up. Sync with iTunes and you will see a color bar that shows you how much space is used by which types of files. It probably uses the same amount of space for the music, but maybe you have more apps, videos and other things?

    8/28/10 @ 4:45 pm

    thanks for the quick reply!
    i checked the color bar, of course. and the amount of space used by other files are about the same, if not less.

    the strange thing, I noticed, is that in my iPhone4 the color bar says audio 21,76 gb.
    If clic “music” in the iPhone, under “devices”,, down under on the iTunes bar I see: “4378 elemnts, 13,1 days, 17,gb”.
    4,5gb difference from the color bar. I wonder were they are…
    any idea?

      8/28/10 @ 4:56 pm

      Audio would include audio books, podcasts, iTunesU and other things as well.

    8/28/10 @ 5:09 pm

    yes, but i don’t have 4,5gb of those.
    it seems a common iPhone 4 issue:

      8/28/10 @ 7:52 pm

      Doesn’t seem like anyone there can explain it. Theories: The 128kpbs conversion isn’t working for the iPhone 4, or it isn’t complete (still processing at spare moments in the background). Maybe some other audio data is taking up space, like the VoiceOver data? iOS 4 is not accurately recording disk usage. Photos take up more space on the iPhone 4 (compressed for retina display, which is higher res).

        8/31/10 @ 10:57 pm

        I really just need a clear explanation. I am a dummy when it comes to stuff like this. Can ANYONE give me that explanation? I just want to know am I making a good decision when if I did the conversion?

          9/1/10 @ 6:04 am

          Not sure which aspect of this topic you want explained.
          If you have an iPod, and it is full of music, but you really want to fit more music on it, then this is one way to do it. Instead of transferring the music file-by-file from your Mac to your iPod, this make a copy of each song at lower quality (and smaller size) and transfer that to your iPod, allowing you to fit more songs on it, but at a slightly lower quality. The drawback is that it can take a lot of time to do the conversion, especially on older Macs.
          That pretty much sums it up.

    rajesh Shah
    10/21/10 @ 10:04 am

    I have on my mac 2500 Audiobooks @ 128kpbs and weight of files are roughly about 85 Mb.would this automatic conversion of 128 kpbs aac conversion will save space and sound?. please guide me.Ofcource I am going to try myself.

      10/21/10 @ 10:10 am

      No. Converting 128kbps to 128kbps won’t save anything — kbps is a measurement of file size per second, so while a 128kpbs AAC file may be better audio quality than a 128kbps MP3, they will be exactly the same size.

    rajesh Shah
    10/21/10 @ 11:01 am

    Thanks gary I just tried to copy on my iPhone 4 but there is no diffr….. in size .I will try tonight to see if there is any distortion in audio quality. First time I connected my iphone it did take only the name of album and not the contents So , i had to go and change @ files tag from Audiobook to Music. let me see if the audio quality is ok then I need not carry my 160gb classic every time

      10/21/10 @ 11:19 am

      Let me be clear: if you already have 128kbps files, then DON’T use the “automatic conversion” feature. You won’t gain anything.

    Geoff Scobel
    12/7/10 @ 10:51 am

    I have a strange problem w/ the convert to 128kbps function. I have found that after the conversion finished, (over 15000 songs and 5 1/2 days), all my songs are on the ipod but any song that didn’t need conversion (already at 128kbps) is missing the artwork. The artwork is still in Itunes but didn’t sync to the ipod. I’m on Itunes 10.1, any idea what might cause this and how to fix it?

      12/7/10 @ 11:01 am

      Sounds like a bug.

        Geoff Scobel
        12/7/10 @ 12:06 pm

        Great, just seems strange since those tracks were theoretically the only ones that never even got affected by the conversion, they should have remained intact on the ipod. I’ll try deleting them from the ipod and resyncing and see if that fixes it. Thanks for the response.

        Geoff Scobel
        12/7/10 @ 3:31 pm

        Ok, it looks as though deleting and copying fixes the issue. Here’s the even weirder part. If I look at the Music on the Ipod directly through Itunes, I see artwork only on the tracks that were unconverted and not on the converted ones which is the exact opposite of what I see on the Ipod itself. This is one oddball bug, I’ll tell you that!

    Ricky Nehring
    12/7/10 @ 4:32 pm

    So all these comments summarized means that if I choose to export songs onto my ipod at a consistent bit rate of 128kbs AAC for every song, not only will the difference in quality be ill to none, but I will also save space.

      Geoff Scobel
      12/7/10 @ 4:44 pm

      I have a very large library and apart from it taking forever to convert, I was able to save almost 28gb of space on my ipod. I’ve had some strange syncing issues but I’m dealing with those now. Still trying to decide if it was worth it or not. Sound quality seems fine to me.

    Clad Duff
    1/23/11 @ 5:31 am

    I got a new mac and my I would like to put my songs from my i pod to my i tunes , then back onto my I phone. Very confused and I have 0 songs on my new phone. What do I have to do does anyone know ?

      1/23/11 @ 11:35 am

      The iPod should only contain copies of the songs that you synced from your computer. Where are the originals? And old Mac? You want to move them to your Mac. You can’t really move from iPod to Mac — you sync music the other way.

    1/24/11 @ 3:21 pm

    I agree with H Fletcher (near top of the thread).

    I have all my (1000+) cds imported as (lossless) AIFF. That’s many hours of inserting cd’s and I simply couldn’t be bothered to spend that much time creating an inferior counterpart to my cd collection.

    I know that by using Apple Lossless I’d save disk space with no compromise in quality, however I use a dj system that doesn’t support this format.

    In AIFF most albums are approx. 500 MB, so I was very happy to see the new option of auto-compressing music enroute to mobile devices

    But just as H Fletcher I don’t understand why 128 kpbs AAC is the only option.

    2/7/11 @ 8:13 pm

    You refer only to changing bit rates to, or from, iPods. What is the way to lower the bit rates already on a MacMini or MacBook Pro. I need to lower them to upload my original music to the Copyright office. Huh?

      2/7/11 @ 10:45 pm

      You can do that in iTunes. Just set your import settings to something like MP3 128kpbs and then control+click on the songs in your iTunes library and convert them to that format.

        3/2/11 @ 1:44 pm

        Thanks for this. This is a much easier, faster and more selective way to do this.

    2/13/11 @ 1:39 pm

    my new 8 gb touch shows that audio is using 4.4 g of space, which is “664 songs, 1.7 days” Does that make sense or is something configured incorrectly? Thanks!

      2/13/11 @ 5:48 pm

      Depends on what compressions settings you have for your songs 4.4/664 id 0.0066 GB or 6.8 MB per song. Sounds reasonable to me.

    3/3/11 @ 7:24 pm

    Okay, now I’m worried, after cancelling the conversions halfway through (too time-wasting,) my songs went from 7.0 GB to 6.4 GB…I thought it didn’t affect the original file? And I unchecked the option, so shouldn’t it be 7 GBs again?

      3/3/11 @ 8:43 pm

      If all you did was to check the “convert to 128kbps” then no, it won’t change the original files. It just makes copies of each and sends them to your iOS device.

        6/11/11 @ 6:42 pm

        thanks gary.

        you have the very best and correct answer to this forum.
        others above just shouting that they are good at technologies but not answering the question in the first place

    8/12/11 @ 11:02 am

    I’m relieved by Gary’s answer. I chose “convert higher bit rate songs to 128 kbps AAC” when my “160GB” iPod was full and couldn’t synch w my larger library; iTunes immediately set out on a >24 hr operation. I had to stop the process [clicked “x” on the iTunes progress window at top], and for awhile it looked that iTunes had crashed but it recovered [the process is a real CPU hog, slowing all operations on my MacBook], so I unmounted, and started again; it went right back to what it had been doing w no apparent problem. The iPod summary window has shown the same “79.5GB free” as it has since the stop. Hope that remains true! Indeed, thanks Gary.

    9/12/11 @ 9:57 am

    from where shall i get that converter(converting higher bit rate to 128kbps aac formet)

      9/12/11 @ 10:22 am

      There isn’t anything “to get.” This is an option in iTunes. Sync your iPod with iTunes, then select it in the left sidebar. Then look at its settings on the right and select this option.

    10/12/11 @ 11:09 am

    when i transfer songs 2my Ipod shuffle…sum songs don’t play or most of them r not there….could that convert bit rate thing be the effect….i love my iPod…it doesn’t scratch…lol…thx

    1/18/12 @ 8:50 am

    If you can’t hear the difference form 254 to 128 then your deaf and it does’t matter any ways. my friend is a dj and on even med. quality equipment you can hear a big difference. but to try and put the bit rate up is not going to work , you have to buy your music at higher bit rate

    2/21/12 @ 11:56 pm

    I had my music ripped at 254VBR and synced at full version with my 160 GB ipod. Then I re-ripped all my CDs into a lossless format and they are reduced to 128 to fit on my 160 GB ipod which is less than 1/2 full. The difference between the 128 and the 256 is very audible. With over half my ipod empty (even with 900 albums), I would love to convert my lossless to 256 or even 198 instead of 128 when syncing. Anyone know why apple does not provide such a simple option? Is there a workaround?

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