iPod: About compatible song formats

Learn the different song formats (codecs) and sample rates that work with iPod.

For codecs that work with iPod shuffle, click here.



This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

Compatible codecs
iPod can play songs encoded with these codecs:

  • MP3 (from 32 Kbps to 320 Kbps)
  • MP3 Variable Bit Rate (VBR)
  • AIFF *
  • WAV (with no compression)
  • The following require iPod software 1.3 or later:
    • M4A AAC *
    • M4P AAC (Protected) *
    • M4B AAC (iTunes Store Spoken Word files) *
  • The following require iPod software 2.2 or later or iPod mini 1.1 or later:
    • Apple Lossless Encoder
* Requires iTunes 4 or iTunes 4 for Windows. AAC files also require the most recent update to the iPod software.

Compatible sample rates

iPod can play songs with the these sample rates, and with all compatible codecs:

  • 8 kHz
  • 11.025 kHz
  • 16 kHz
  • 22.050 kHz
  • 32 kHz
  • 44.1 kHz

Audible Spoken Word files

iPod Software 1.2 and later can play Audible spoken word files in formats 2, 3, and 4. These files have the filename extension, ".aa".

iTunes 4 and iTunes 4 for Windows work with Audible spoken word files.

Incompatible codecs

iPod cannot play songs that use these audio formats:

  • snd
  • QuickTime
  • MP2
  • MP1
  • WAV with compression
  • WMA and WMA Protected
  • any other format not in the Compatible codecs list

If you copy a song that uses one of the incompatible codecs from your iTunes Library to iPod, you can select the song on iPod, but it will not play. Instead, iPod skips to the next song in the playlist.


Note: The iPod has upgradeable firmware that enables Apple to add more codecs in the future, if necessary. In iTunes 7, you can update the iPod Software. For more information see "How to update iPod."

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