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Which iTunes Music Format Should I Use?

Hi Gary – Need your down to earth & easily understandable advice after a bit of an endless loop on the ‘net – if I convert all iTunes music to mp3 (then deleting all AAC and others – for sake of easy compatibility with lot of devices/car etc, will I be eternally damned?. Note – would also set iTunes to in future “rip” with mp3 format (not sure how to automate purchases to get mp3).
What are pros and cons – how would you suggest doing conversion ?

Comments: One Response to “Which iTunes Music Format Should I Use?”

    7 years ago

    I did exactly the same thing many years ago. I converted my entire library to mp3 files so I could be completely compatible with any system — like a car CD player — that used mp3 but not aac.
    You should be able to automate the process by simply switching your preferences in iTunes to mp3, and then selecting all of your songs, and choosing Edit, Create New Version.
    You can use View Options, and turn of File, Kind. Then sort to easily be able to select only the aac files for conversion. Then when you are done, you can select the aac files again for deletion.
    AAC is slightly better quality for a slightly smaller file size. But if you can’t use AAC on a device like a car CD player, then no amount of better quality is going to be worth it.
    But this issue is a lot less important today than when I did it years ago. Many devices (most?) now support aac. And it is becoming more irrelevant. My new car has a CD player and the ability to take a USB thumb drive with files on it. Does it support AAC? I don’t know because I have never tried — it is just too easy to plug in my iPhone or iPod and play the music from there.
    And then there is iTunes Match. Once I switched to that it sucked in all of my music — mp3 and aac — and it is now in the cloud. If I examine what happens when I play a song, I see that a aac file (.m4a) gets downloaded and played. I suppose I could still easily download all playlist of songs, use the iTunes convert feature, and create a CD or USB drive with mp3 songs if I had to. But I doubt I will ever need it now.
    So if you are planning on using iTunes Match, then certainly don’t bother with this. Even if you are not, you may want to think about how often you really will be creating a collection of mp3 files, and explore whether or not you can just do the mp3 conversion when you need to instead of all at once.
    And you can always change your mind. Leave them as aac files for now and convert to mp3 only as you need. If that is too much of a pain, then you can do the whole library at some later point. It doesn’t take much effort or time.

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