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How to Convert iTunes to MP3 [Unprotected and Protected Songs]

By Andrew Rowley

Updated on December 26, 2023

Are you still wondering how to convert iTunes to MP3? If you have a large collection of music on iTunes, you may want to convert it to MP3 format so that you can listen to it on a wider range of devices. Or if you want to share your iTunes music with others who do not use iTunes, exporting them to MP3 can make it easier to do so. While the native format in iTunes is AAC, which is not as widely compatible as MP3. Therefore, in this article, we will explore some of the most effective methods to convert iTunes to MP3 on Mac, Windows, iPhone, and online free.

convert itunes to mp3

Part 1. Can I Convert iTunes to MP3

For Purchased Music:

Music in the iTunes store is protected by DRM as AAC/128 Kbits files before 2009. If you purchased iTunes music previously, then it might be protected. Fortunately, iTunes music has been available with 256Kbps as unprotected AAC files since 2009. That means if you purchased music from the iTunes store, it will be available to convert to MP3. Unprotected songs in iTunes will have a file extension of M4A, while protected songs will have a file extension of M4P. You can check the song info on iTunes to see if it is an unprotected song.

For Apple Music:

Apple Music is a music streaming service that allows you to access a vast library of songs and playlists, not a platform for purchasing and managing your media content like iTunes. Apple Music is protected by the DRM which means it is not available to convert Apple Music tracks to MP3 directly. However, you can still convert your Apple Music to MP3 with the help of a third-party iTunes to MP3 converter such as the AudKit Apple Music Converter.

Part 2. How to Convert iTunes Songs to MP3 (Purchased Music)

Most songs purchased after 2009 in iTunes are unprotected. An unprotected song in iTunes does not have DRM encryption, which allows for greater flexibility in how the song can be used and shared.

So, purchased music can be converted to MP3 in iTunes and played on any device. Let’s check how to convert iTunes unprotected songs to MP3 on Mac, Windows, and iPhone step by step.

2.1 How to Export iTunes to MP3 on Mac

Step 1. Launch iTunes on your Mac computer.

Step 2. Click on “iTunes” > “Preferences” in the top right corner.

open preferences in itunes on mac

Step 3. Find the “General” button in “General Preferences” then click on “Import Settings”.

open import settings in itunes

Step 4. Select “MP3 Encoder” in “Import Using” and customize the audio quality in “Setting” then click the “OK” button.

choose mp3 encoder in itunes

Step 5. Select songs in the iTunes library that you’d like to convert to MP3. Click on “File” in the top menu and hit on “Convert” > “Create MP3 Version” to convert iTunes music to MP3 on Mac.

convert itunes to mp3 on mac

2.2 How to Export iTunes to MP3 on Windows

Step 1. Open iTunes on your Windows computer.

Step 2. In the top left menu bar, click on “Edit” > “Preferences” to set your general preferences.

open preferences in itunes on windows

Step 3. Tap on the “Import Settings” button then choose “MP3 Encoder” in “Import Using” and click on the “OK” button

select mp3 encoder in import settings

Step 4. Select songs on your iTunes library by clicking “File” > “Convert” > “Create MP3 Version”. Now it will automatically convert iTunes music to MP3 on Windows computer.

convert itunes to mp3 on windows

2.3 How to Convert iTunes to MP3 on iPhone

Step 1. First, open iTunes on your computer and sign in with your Apple ID.

Step 2. Click on the iTunes menu and select Preferences in the upper right. Hit on “General” under “General Preferences”. Select the “iCloud Music Library” check box.

click on icloud music library

Step 3. Switch on “Music” > “Sync Library” in the settings on your iPhone.

turn on sync library on iphone

Step 4. Once your MP3 music is uploaded to iCloud, you can access it from your iPhone that is signed in with your Apple ID.

Note: Please make sure that you have enough iCloud storage space to store your music library.

Alternatively, if you don’t have enough iCloud storage space, you can follow the steps below.

Step 1. First, you need to connect your iPhone to your computer with a USB cable.

Step 2. Open iTunes on your computer and you will see an “iPhone” icon in the top right corner.

Step 3. Click on “Music” in “Settings” in the left sidebar. Then check the box under “Sync Music” and choose whether you want to sync your entire music library or selected playlists, artists, albums, and genres.

sync itunes mp3 music to iphone

Step 4. Click on the “Sync” button to start syncing your iTunes MP3 music to your iPhone. Wait for iTunes to finish syncing your music and then safely disconnect your iPhone from your computer.

Part 3. How to Convert iTunes to MP3 Online Free (Unprotected Music)

There are several iTunes to MP3 converters free online including Convertio, Online-Convert, and CloudConvert. They allow you to convert iTunes files to MP3 format without the need for any software installation. You can simply upload your iTunes purchased file to the online tool and convert it to MP3 format. Here we will take Convertio for example to show you how to convert iTunes to MP3 online for free.

Step 1. Open “Convertio” on your computer browser.

Step 2. Upload the iTunes files you want to convert to MP3 on Convertio’s website by tapping on “Choose Files” or dragging and dropping them onto the conversion page.

choose files on covertio website

Step 3. Once all the iTunes files are uploaded, you can select MP3 as the output format and click on the “Convert” button to start the conversion process. After the conversion is complete, you can download all the converted MP3 files in a single zip file.

convert itunes to mp3 on convertio

Part 4. How to Download MP3 from iTunes (Protected Files)

The above are some useful ways to convert unprotected iTunes playlists to MP3. But when it comes to Apple Music and other protected iTunes music, do you know how to convert iTunes protected files to MP3? It’s important to note that if you attempt to export a protected song to MP3 in iTunes directly, you will receive an error message. Don’t be upset, we will provide you with the best way to convert all iTunes files, including unprotected and protected music to MP3 in detail.

Here we’d like to recommend a magic tool called AudKit Apple Music Converter. It allows you to convert protected iTunes to MP3 or even supports other common formats such as FLAC, WAV, M4A, AAC, etc. to play iTunes music on any device. Besides, AudKit Apple Music Converter offers a conversion speed of up to 30X to convert and download iTunes music losslessly while keeping the ID3 tags automatically.

With the help of AudKit Apple Music Converter, you can download and convert the entire iTunes library to MP3 no matter if they are unprotected or protected. Next, please follow the guide on how to download MP3 from the iTunes library.

audkit apple music converter icon

Main Features of AudKit Apple Music Converter

  • Convert Apple Music to MP3 and other common-used formats
  • Reach a conversion speed of up to 30X
  • Customize the audio quality like sample rate, bit rate, and channel
  • Keep and edit ID3 tags including artist, title, and album

Step 1. Download AudKit Apple Music Converter

Just simply click on the “Download” button above to install AudKit Apple Music Converter on your computers. Once open AudKit, it will launch iTunes automatically. You can choose to register an account for the full version or just try the trial version which can convert 1/3 content of an iTunes track for free.

download audkit apple music converter

Step 2. Add iTunes Songs to AudKit Apple Music Converter

Tap on the first “Add” button in the bottom left of the screen to select protected songs from the iTunes library that you want to convert to MP3. You can also import an iTunes playlist or album to AudKit to convert at once. If you want to convert unprotected music, just click on the second “Add” button to add them from your folder.

add itunes songs for conversion

Step 3. Customize the Output Format and Track Quality

Click on the “Format” icon at the bottom right to open the format setting. You can choose to convert iTunes playlist to MP3 or other output formats like M4A, AAC, M4B, etc. Besides, you can customize the audio quality including sample rate, bit rate, and channel according to your preference.

customize itunes songs output format and audio quality

Step 4. Convert and Download from iTunes to MP3

After confirming the output format and audio quality, tap on the “Convert” button at the bottom right to start the conversion. When the process is done, you can find your converted MP3 iTunes music by hitting on the “File” icon at the bottom of your computer folder.

convert and download itunes music to mp3

Part 5. FAQs about Converting iTunes Library to MP3

Q1: Will Converting My iTunes Music to MP3 Affect the Quality of the Audio?

A: Yes, converting iTunes music to MP3 in iTunes directly may affect the quality of the audio especially if the original audio was of high quality. However, AudKit Apple Music Converter is able to keep lossless high audio quality during the conversion and support you to customize the sample rate and bit rate.

Q2: How Do I Ensure that All of My iTunes Music is Converted to MP3?

A: Once the conversion is complete, you will see the new MP3 versions of your songs in your iTunes library. But it’s worth noting that if you have any songs in a format that iTunes doesn’t support converting to, they won’t be converted to MP3 and will need to be converted separately using a third-party iTunes to MP3 converter.

Q3: Can I Choose the Bitrate for My MP3 Files When Converting from iTunes?

A: Yes. You can choose the bitrate for MP3 files in “Import Settings”. Under the “MP3 Encoder”, you can select a bit rate for MP3 files including good quality (128Kbps), high quality (160 Kbps), and higher quality (192Kbps) depending on your needs.

Q4: Can I Still Access My Music through iTunes After Converting It to MP3?

A: Yes, you can still access your music through iTunes after converting it to MP3. The MP3 versions of your songs will be added to your iTunes library alongside the original versions, so you can choose which version to play on your device.

Part 6. In Conclusion

Today we’ve talked about how to convert iTunes to MP3 with several methods. As we mentioned before, you can simply export iTunes unprotected music to MP3 through iTunes or an online tool for free. As for protected music in iTunes, AudKit Apple Music Converter can help you out. You can download the entire iTunes library to MP3 via this proficient tool with a few steps to listen offline. Just give it a try and enjoy your music in a whole new way.

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