How To Easily Convert M4a To Mp3 Using iTunes (and Locate the Files)

Alvaro Bernedo

ITunes Converting m4a to mp3 Main

If you have a bunch of songs or audio files that you purchased from the iTunes Store, you might have noticed that they are in the m4a format, which sometimes tends to not play too nicely with non-Apple devices.

The solution of course is to convert your m4a purchases to mp3 files, which are widely accepted by just about any application or device.

Related: Learn how to convert your MP4 files to MP3’s as well.

Even better: A lot of users might not know about this, but you can actually perform this conversion quite easily using iTunes, which will save you time and money if you were thinking about purchasing specialized conversion software.

Let’s get into the steps you need to take in order to perform this conversion.

Setting Up iTunes

Step 1: First, you need to tell iTunes that all converted files need to be on the mp3 format from now onwards. To do that, head to iTunes Preferences and there click on the General tab. You will find a button labeled Import Settings… Click on it.

ITunes Import Settings

Step 2: On the next window, click on the drop-down menu named Import Using. There, select ‘MP3 Encoder’ from the available options and click OK both in this window and in the main preferences panel to close them.

ITunes MP3 Encoder

Preparing for Conversion

Step 3: Before converting your audio files from m4a to mp3, it is highly advisable to get them all into a separate playlist for organizational purposes.

ITunes Playlist Created

The reason for this is that when iTunes converts an m4a file, it actually creates an mp3 duplicate of it so as to not delete the original m4a one. Now, while it is nice to preserve all your original m4a files, the issue is that if you have to convert a large number of them, you might end up with a nasty mess of m4a and mp3 files that you will have to manually find and check one by one in order to find out which ones are the mp3 versions.

Thus, with your playlist created, all the files will stay there and remain easily accessible.

Converting Your M4a Audio Files to Mp3

Step 4: Converting your m4a files is actually a piece of cake once you’ve taken care of the steps mentioned above. To do so, head to your playlist and select all the m4a songs.

Step 5: Then, right-click on them and from the available options select Create MP3 Version. Wait for a little while and your converted files will be ready.

ITunes Create mp3 Version

Finding Your Mp3 Files Fast

Step 6: You’ve created all your new mp3 files already, but now you have to actually get a hold of them. If you hadn’t created a playlist, this could be a nightmarish task, since you would have to find each of the songs manually and then check each of them to verify if it is the mp3 version or the m4a one.

Thankfully, with your playlist at hand this is not an issue anymore. What you have to do here is just right-click on any given song and select Show in Finder from the options shown.

ITunes Show In Finder

You will then be shown a Finder window where both the m4a and the mp3 versions of your audio file will be located.

ITunes File Converted

Now just go get your new mp3 files and enjoy them!

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Alvaro Bernedo

Written By

Alvaro Bernedo

Contributor at Guiding Tech