How to Convert Protected AAC Audio Files to MPEG

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Copy protected AAC audio files were the default format for the iTunes Music Store, using the .M4P extension. In order to play those files with programs and devices other than Apple's, you will have to remove the Digital Rights Management (DRM) and convert them to the more standard MPEG format, using the .MP3 extension. Apple has since gone completely DRM-free with their music offerings and provide a DRM-stripping service, for a fee. Not everyone is willing hand over more money to the company and luckily you don't have to. Using the same software used to purchased the protected files, you can re-import them as standard MP3s.

Things You'll Need

  • iTunes
  • Blank CD
  • Open iTunes and create a new playlist. To create a new playlist select "File" > "New Playlist" or click the "+" icon in the left-hand corner of the main window.

  • Drag-any-copy protected AAC files you'd like to convert into the playlist. Simply drag the files from your library onto the playlist within iTune's sidebar.

  • Insert a blank CD.

  • Click on the playlist and select "Burn Disc." Select your disc burner and select "Audio CD" as the type. Click "Burn" to begin burning the disc.

  • Eject and re-insert the disc once the burn completes.

  • Highlight the disc within iTune's sidebar and select "Import." This will begin importing all the files into your iTunes library, sans DRM. You can optionally delete the original files to avoid having duplicates once all files are imported.

Tips & Warnings

  • Before importing, be sure that iTunes is set to import new files using the MP3 Encoder. To do this, open iTune's Preferences via the menu bar. Select the "General" tab and click "Import Settings..." Select "MP3 Encoder" via the drop-down menu and select "OK" to save the changes.

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