m4a to mp3 on iOS

iOS and iPadOS
Hi. I need an app to convert m4a to mp3 on my iPod. I have a few apps that convert files by uploading them to the cloud and then the conversion is done there and the converted file is re downloaded, but I would like an app that can convert the files on the device and without needing an internet connection. My iPod is jailbroaken on iOS 7.0.4, so I am open to ideas from Cydia or the app store. Thank you.



Submitted by sockhopsinger on Thursday, February 20, 2014

Why do you want to convert them? M4a sounds just as good as MP3 and takes up a lot less space. Just curious.

Submitted by alex wallis on Thursday, February 20, 2014

Hi, I don't know of any apps that will do this for ios, but I would suggest converting them from m4a to mp3 really isn't a good idea, this is because your converting from one lossy format to another, what this actually means is that a lossy format discards sound that you can't hear, and the lower your quality setting the more sound is discarded. Once this sound has been discarded its gone and you can't get it back, so when you convert from one lossy format to another your actually doing what is called transcoding and this will result in more loss of quality, generally its never a good idea to transcode from one lossy format to another, lossless to lossy is of course fine but if you want to keep your files good quality I would suggest don't transcode between lossy formats.

Someone asked me why I want to convert the files. It is because I play my music on other devices as well, not just iOS devices. IOS can read both .m4a and .mp3, but my other devices can not handle .m4a. I want my music in a format that is accessible on all my devices.

Submitted by Brother J. on Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The M4A extension is simply a container. Containers [e.g. WAV] can contain different types of audio streams. It is more common for consumers to use MPEG-4 audio in an M4A container which is absolutely lossy. The type of codec of choice if I was to use M4A is called Apple Lossless Audio Codec commonly abbreviated ALAC. Whilst not nearly as efficient as Monkey's Audio [my sole choice of audio format], it is still lossless and to prove this, the checksums would certainly match if you generated one for a WAV file before compressing it then after decompressing the M4A file to another WAV file. Using X Lossless Decoder commonly abbreviated XLD, one can easily prove my statements [both Exact Audio Copy and XLD generate checksums before optionally compressing to any format]. In summary, although you desire to play audio files regardless of device, converting from lossy to ANYTHING is the utmost worst idea within the realm of digital audio conversion. Upsampling makes absolutely no sense when converting either but this is even more ridiculous. The most sensible option is to obtain physical copies of the media and make lossless copies [I recommend using XLD for Macintosh and Exact Audio Copy for Windows] and convert to whatever format of your choosing. If obtaining physical copies is not an option, it is not worth the attempt to streamline. Personally, I am an audiophile so I except nothing less than lossless regardless of format and except nothing less than a software package to rip discs as intricate as the aforementioned two.

You can do it in iTunes, but it's a pain in the neck because iTunes doesn't save the Album Artist tag when converting due to a known bug, so if you have any compilation albums, you'll have to edit the Album Artist tags for each of them manually after converting. To convert in iTunes, under general preferences, click the import settings button, and select MP3. For less loss of sound quality, I recommend selecting custom, and setting the bitrate to 256 KBPS or higher, and unchecking variable bitrate which is on by default. Once you've done this, go to the song view, select all, right click, and you'll see an option that says "create MP3 version." If you have a lot of files, this will take several hours. I also recommend temporarily changing the location of your iTunes media folder before doing this, so you'll have all your MP3's in their own folder. Hope this helps.

Submitted by Brother J. on Thursday, February 27, 2014

Any bitrate less than 320 KBPS should be considered an insult to anybody's ears no matter whether or not they can discern bitrates for themselves. Forget about 256 KBPS; choose 320 KBPS if anything and ensure that is a constant bitrate. Variable bitrate or average bitrate options should never be enabled; constant bitrate ensures optimal quality, or in this case, the best quality obtainable. Bitrate should never be a question: 320 KBPS regardless whether or not the source material is lossy or lossless. Although it probably makes no sense, choose 48000 hertz / 48 kHZ as a sample rate. I say this because the transcoding will most likely originate from a lossy source. If that lossy source has a sample rate above the standard 44100 hertz / 44.1 kHZ, this should not be a question. If using the LAME encoder [version 3.99.5 or later is recommended], choose high quality encoding which is done via the command-line [I forget the syntax]. There are I think five different settings and the setting ‘0’ ensures highest quality. This specific setting is not either bitrate or sample rate. I do not think iTunes allows for such fine granular control, hence I would never use it.

Submitted by Cherokee Eagle on Friday, February 28, 2014

I can understand your desire to convert to MP3, but am not sure how much help I can be. Perhaps I can do some checking. In the meantime, have you tried audioshare? I can't remember if it will convert without the cloud, but thought it would convert files. Just don't remember for sure. I'll do a little googling and get back to you.

Submitted by Cherokee Eagle on Friday, February 28, 2014

Hi, Okay, AudioShare may be the way to go. It has an Open-In function for importing and exporting. However, the description didn't state whether you could choose a different file when exporting. I just hate to have you pay for it if it isn't what you need. If you like, I can post on here about converting within iTunes on your computer. It's really easy.

Submitted by Jessica Brown on Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Hi there. I actually already have audio share. I bought it a long time ago for a different project I was doing. That's one of the first apps I thought of when I was looking for an app to convert to .mp3, but it has 2 big problems. One, it can not batch convert and each file has to be converted one at a time. 2. There are only 3 or 4 different formats you can have your file converted to and .mp3 is not one of them. However, I did email the developer and he said he would add batch converting and converting to .mp3. However, I would like to find another app to use while I wait and incase he does not add the features like he said he would.

Submitted by Randi on Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Hi, I've been looking for a way to convert audiobooks I've purchased from iTunes to mp3 files in order to play them on other devices. I read through some of the comments here and just wondered if any programs will do this. I've heard about sound Taxi, but the trial only gives you 90 seconds per file... any suggestions? Thanks.

Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Have you considered using GoldWave? I just checked their site and, unfortunately, should you be a Mac user then this is not an option for you. But, if you are a Windows user then the program works very well with JAWS.

I personally use this program with Windows 7 and JAWS and couldn't be happier. This program does so much more than I even understand but I certainly get a lot of use from it. It will batch convert files to mp3 without a problem, although I think that the comments from Brotha J. are certainly worth consideration. I, too, want my music to be as pure as possible. The Batch Processing is found under the file menu.

Just a side note, if you are wanting to play the m4a files on a Victor Reader Stream they work on mine.

Also, with regard to the question about conversion to m4B from another commenter, GoldWave does not convert to this file type.

For your convenience, I have pasted the paragraph from GoldWave's site with regard to batch conversion below. Go to www.goldwave.com to see more details. The price for the US is $59.00 with free updates forever or $19.00 for a one year subscription. Frankly, I think the $59.00 price tag is a steal for as much as this program can do and it's very JAWS friendly, which, in my experience is hard to find when talking about a piece of software in this category.

Here is the text from GoldWave's site for batch conversion.

"Batch Process an unlimited number of files in many different formats.Use
Batch Processingto process and convert your complete library of songs: match volume levels of different songs, boost the bass, trim leading and trailing silences, convert to MP3, and much more. Supports
iTunes Plus,
FLAC, and even raw binary data. Entire folders and subfolders can be processed with just a few clicks and the entire hierarchy preserved. Advanced users can take advantage of the power and flexibility of command line processing."

Hope this helps you.

Submitted by jrjolley (not verified) on Wednesday, November 12, 2014

In reply to by Jessica Brown

I also do the same, use mp3 because it's standard as all hell. Alex is right about the lossy encoding, but if you set the bitrate high enough and have a suitably good encoder you will be fine for one shot conversions, just don't encode the same file 30 times. FLAC, although it is a lossless codec is really only good for archiving purposes and as I have stated, high resolution audio has no relevance outside of the recording studio. Confirmation bias is a beautiful thing

Submitted by Jessica Brown on Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hi. To the person wanting to convert m4b audio books to .mp3 I think you need audio book binder or handbreak. I think they are both mac apps that can do this conversion.

Submitted by Jessica Brown on Thursday, November 13, 2014

What does don't encode the same file 30 times mean and why would you do that anyhow?

Submitted by Jessica Brown on Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hi. I have both a Mac and a windows XP pc. But I have tried GoldWave and can't get it working even after reading the instructions. There is nothing about editing or converting audio files in the menus and the main app interface looks more like a bookshelf with 3 books on it then an audio editing and converting program. I can't get past the books and into the editing and converting part of the program.

Submitted by Toonhead on Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hi. Ok, explanations...
an mp3 is a compressed audio file, meaning that a lot of information from the file is compressed to keep file sizes small. Unfortunately when this happens, audio quality suffers, especially if you try to take an already compressed mp3 and convert it to something else. You aren't getting the full range of sound. Whenever possible, always, always convert from wav to mp3. Wav is an uncompressed audio format so your file size will be large but the original sound will be maintained. Obviously this isn't ideal for iOS due to file sizes. So you never want to take an already compressed mp3 and make it smaller by chopping the files down. The sound you get will be absolutely awful and you'll not be getting everything you can.

As for goldwave, you can do a whole lot with it, the bookshelf thing you're seeing is the help. Press alt plus f4 to close that down and you'll get a regular interface with different menus and such. Goldwave will even batch-convert files for you, that's an option in there too. Actually, to keep this simple I would just stick to m4a files. They're a bit smaller than mp3s and sound good enough for what you want to do, unless you're transferring these files to a device that doesn't support m4a files.