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How You Can Convert M4A to MP3/AAC on MacOS Big Sur?

How to Convert M4A to MP3/AAC on Your Mac

M4A is a file extension that's used with the AAC format. The M4A and the MP3 files are both used for audio files, but the M4A sounds better while at the same bitrate as MP3. It also takes up less space. But unfortunately, not all players support the M4A format. That means you'll need to convert the file to MP3 or AAC.

how-you-can-convert-m4a-to-mp3-aac-on-macos-big-sur

The Difference Between MP3 and AAC

The AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) format is similar to MP3, but the MP3 format will be lower quality than AAC even though they have the same bitrate. That's because the MP3 format compresses the file to reduce its size, which leads to some original data being lost.

Convert Audio Files in iTunes and Apple Music

Either you want to convert your audio file(s) to an MP3 or AAC format, the easiest way to do that is with iTunes and Apple Music. You can either select files from your music library or import audio from your Mac to the music library. That way you can convert any audio file you need.

Loss of Sound Quality

When converting a compressed audio file (like MP3) to an uncompressed format (Like Wav), you won't notice a loss in sound quality. When converting an uncompressed audio file to a compressed one, the sound quality will be reduced. If you want the best result converting a file, we recommend using original audio.

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How to Convert M4A to MP3 on Your Mac

You can easily import a song or multiple songs into MP3 format using iTunes or the Music app. If you're Mac runs on macOS Mojave or older, you can use the iTunes app. If you're Mac runs on macOS Catalina or later, you can use the Music app.

To convert M4A to MP3 in iTunes, follow the steps below:

1. Open the iTunes app.
2. From the menu bar, click on "iTunes" and select "Preferences".
3. Then, click on "Import Settings".
4. Next to "Import Using", click on the drop-down menu and select "MP3 Encoder".
5. Next to "Settings", click on the drop-down menu and select the MP3 bitrate.
6. Now, click on "OK" two times.
7. Go to the "Music" section in iTunes. If you have any music files outside the iTunes library, drag them to the library.
8. Select all songs you want to convert, right-click on the selection and click on "Create MP3 Version".
You can also click on "File" from the menu bar, hover over "Create New Version", and select "Convert to AAC" or "Create MP3 Version".
9. An MP3 version of the selection will be created and will appear in the Music list. Select the MP3 file and drag it out of iTunes and place it where you want.

Note: You can only convert files from the iTunes Store if they're iTunes Plus.

To convert M4A to MP3 in Music, follow the steps below:

1. Open the Music app.
2. From the menu bar, click on "Music" and select "Preferences".

Go to Music Preferences

3. Go to the "Files" tab.
4. Click on "Import Settings".

Click on Import Settings

5. Next to "Import Using", click on the drop-down menu and select "MP3 Encoder".

Select MP3 Encoder

6. Next to "Settings", click on the drop-down menu and select the quality of the file.

Choose file quality

7. When done, click on "OK" two times to save the settings.
8. In the Music app, go to the music library and select one or more songs you want to convert.

Select a song or multiple songs

9. From the menu bar, click on "File", hover over "Convert", and select "Convert to MP3" or "Create MP3 Version. If the option is grayed out, select the song(s), press the Option key, and repeat the last step.

Click on Convert to MP3

By using this method, you can convert your music files to other formats as well. When importing settings, instead of selecting MP3, choose a different format.

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How to Convert M4A to AAC on Your Mac

Converting M4A files to AAC is almost the same process as converting the file to MP3. All you need to do is change the former. But if you're not sure, just follow the steps.

To convert M4A to AAC in iTunes, follow the steps below:

1.Open the iTunes app.
2. From the menu bar, click on "iTunes" and select "Preferences".
3. Then, click on "Import Settings".
4. Next to "Import Using", click on the drop-down menu and select "AAC Encoder". If it's already chosen by default, you don't need to select it.
5. Next to "Settings", click on the drop-down menu and select the quality of the file.
6. Now, click on "OK" two times.
7. Go to the "Music" section in iTunes. If you have any music files outside the iTunes library, drag them to the library.
8. Select the files you want to convert to AAC.
9. Right-click on the selection and click on "Create AAC Version".
You can also click on "File" from the menu bar, hover over "Create New Version", and select "Convert to AAC" or "Create AAC Version".
10. A duplicate of your songs in the AAC format will be created. You can drag the converted file from iTunes anywhere you want.

To convert M4A to AAC in Music, follow the steps below:

1. Open the Music app.
2. From the menu bar, click on "Music" and select "Preferences".

Go to Music Preferences

3. Go to the "Files" tab.
4. Click on "Import Settings".

Click on Import Settings

5. Next to "Import Using", click on the drop-down menu and select "AAC Encoder". If it's already selected, you don't need to select it again.

Select AAC Encoder

6. Next to "Settings", click on the drop-down menu and select the quality of the file.

Choose file quality

7. When done, click on "OK" two times to save the settings.
8. In the Music app, go to the music library and select one or more songs you want to convert.
9. From the menu bar, click on "File", hover over "Convert", and select "Convert to AAC" or "Create ACC Version". If the option is grayed out, select the song(s), press the Option key, and repeat the last step.

Click on Convert to AAC

When the converted file is created, you can drag it from the Music app and use it where you want.

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We hope you've managed to convert your music files easily.

You can also check out the video below for a step-by-step tutorial.

Video on How to Convert M4A to MP3/AAC on Your Mac

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter to stay informed about the latest tech news or online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

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