Converting Music from M4A to MP3 on a Mac

If you go back ten years, file formats were crucial. File compression formats were being debated, and users often had to download an add-on in order to open a specific file type within their preferred application.

With the introduction and subsequent success of the iPhone, everything appeared to change. Since everything was stored in apps now, we never had any compatibility problems. Additionally, as more of our work is done online, it is automatically saved within the proper software, eliminating the need to convert files.  

The need to convert an audio file to a different format or the occurrence of a file you can't open does arise. When using a Mac, one of the most common problems is with M4A files, which are frequently converted to MP3s. Therefore, let's quickly go over what the M4A format is and where you can find the best M4A to MP3 converter right now.  

Can You Explain What M4A Is and How to Play It?

Since M4A files are identical to MP4s (an MP4 can store video while an M4A file can't), you may be more familiar with MP4s. The.m4a format is used exclusively for audio.  

Because of its foundation in QTFF, MP4 (also known as MPEG-4) was created as a successor to MP3. For example, M4A files can store audio at a higher quality than MP3s while being significantly smaller in size. The only real drawback to M4A files is that it is much more difficult to find an M4A player, while MP3 is one of the most widely supported audio formats.  

The question is, where can you find the m4a format Most commonly found in Apple's own iTunes Store, as it is the default file extension for song downloads, which are then encoded with either AAC to decrease file size or ALAC to preserve lossless audio quality. It's possible, though, that some of the music you download has copyright issues. m4p, a subset of the MP4 file format. m4a  

This raises the questions of which format plays better on a Mac, M4A or MP3, and how simple it is to convert a file from one format to the other.

The Macintosh player for M4A files

Most M4A files you encounter will be purchased from the iTunes Store, so it makes sense that you'd be able to open and play them in iTunes (or the Music app starting with macOS Catalina). Your M4A files will automatically be imported into Music when you drop them there.  

Since M4A files are based on the QuickTime File Format, you can also open them in QuickTime Player, which is one of the preinstalled programs you can find in your Mac's Applications folder (along with Music, or iTunes). While QuickTime's primary function is to play videos, it also includes a fairly standard audio player. The problem arises, however, if you want a truly fantastic audio playback in m4a format  

One of the most flexible media players available is Elmedia Player. It is compatible with a wide range of M4A and MP4 file types, and it also supports online video playback and streaming. g without commercials) from YouTube Also, you have full control over the subtitle presentation when streaming to any smart TV or AirPlay-enabled device.  

Elmedia Player video audio M4A MP4 Mac

Converting music from M4A to MP3 in iTunes.

The Mac has a number of built-in and third-party M4A players, but converting to the iTunes-compatible MP3 format makes your music and audiobooks compatible with a much wider range of devices.  

Despite the fact that it's not exactly obvious, iTunes can be used as an audio file converter. In any case, here's how to make an MP3 from a file using iTunes:

  1. Get started with music by firing up iTunes (or the new Music app).

  2. To access settings, click the, symbol.

  3. Simply go to "File" and then "Import Settings..."

  4. Set MP3 Encoder as the importer and click OK.

  5. Simply add the M4A file by dragging it into iTunes.

  6. Obtain an MP3 version by selecting it and then going to File > Convert > Create MP3 Version.

  7. Locate the updated file in your collection (the original will remain untouched).

iTunes convert MP3 M4A Mac Similarly, the default iTunes encoder can be altered to produce WAV, lossless, AIFF, or AAC files. In general, if you only need to convert one or two songs to MP3 from time to time, iTunes is a fine choice. There are far superior apps available for frequent conversions.

Optionally better Mac M4A to MP3 conversion

It's natural to wonder if there are any other specialized apps that can do a better job converting M4A to MP3 than iTunes.  

Professional and truly universal, Permute is a media converter's media converter. Simply drag and drop your files into this lightning-fast app, and within seconds you'll have converted files. Adjust the volume, change the tempo, add effects, and more to any audio, video (or video to audio), image, or combination thereof. Two videos can be combined into one, and subtitles can be added instantly.  

Using Permute as an M4A to MP3 converter entails:

  1. Spread the Word: Permute

  2. Simply add your M4A file by dragging it into the app's window.

  3. Choose MP3 from the Audio menu.

  4. Select the Programs tab

Permute app Mac convert audio MP3 M4A

The obtained MP3 file can be found on your computer's desktop. As often as you like, and remember that Permute can process an unlimited number of files at once, so you can use it to change the entire album's worth of music in a single go.  

Ultimately, we rarely have to worry about file formats and can quickly locate the appropriate app. Although M4A files can be played in both iTunes (Music) and QuickTime, Elmedia Player is the superior choice as your default media player. And if you ever find yourself in need of an MP3 file converter, Permute is your best bet.  

Setapp is a platform with over 200 top-tier Mac apps across all categories, from productivity (2Do) to following your favorite blogs (News Explorer), and for the next seven days, you can get Elmedia Player and Permute for free as part of the trial. Discover a whole new world of possibilities by trying any of them out for free today.

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