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Archived - How to Convert MP3 or AAC Files to AIFF Format

Learn how to convert MP3 or AAC files using iTunes or QuickTime Pro.

Some applications use Audio Interchange File Format (AIFF) sound files instead of compressed MP3 or AAC files. AIFF sound files are the standard file format defined by Apple and several third-party developers for sampled (digitized) sound. AIFF files are uncompressed (PCM) audio files.

This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

Using iTunes

To convert an MP3 or AAC file1 to AIFF using iTunes, follow these steps:

iTunes 8:

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. Choose iTunes > Preferences (Mac) or Edit > Preferences (Windows).
  3. Click General at the top of the Preferences window.
  4. Click Import Settings.
  5. From the Import Using menu, choose AIFF Encoder instead of MP3 or AAC encoders.
  6. If you are going to use this file in a DV video editing program such as Final Cut Pro or iMovie:
    1. From the Setting menu, choose Custom.
    2. From the Sample Rate menu, choose 48.000 kHz. This is the standard sample rate for DV.2
    3. From the Sample Size menu, choose 16 bit.
    4. From the Channels menu choose Stereo (or Mono if your files are monaural).
    5. Click OK.
  7. Click OK again.
  8. If the file you are converting is already in your iTunes library, select the song, then choose Advanced > Create AIFF version. If the file is not in your iTunes library, hold the Option key down (Mac) or Shift key (Windows) while choosing Advanced > Convert to AIFF and then locate the file for the song you want to convert on your hard disk.

When the conversion is finished, the new file appears in the iTunes library under Music. To locate the song on your hard disk, see this document. To continue using compressed songs—with an iPod, for example—be sure to change the encoder back to AAC  when you've finished converting files to AIFF.

iTunes 7 or earlier:

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. Choose iTunes > Preferences (Mac) or Edit > Preferences (Windows).
  3. Click Advanced at the top of the Preferences window.
  4. Click the Importing tab.
  5. From the Import Using menu, choose AIFF Encoder instead of MP3 or AAC encoders.
  6. If you are going to use this file in a DV video editing program such as Final Cut Pro or iMovie:
    1. From the Setting menu, choose Custom.
    2. From the Sample Rate menu, choose 48.000 kHz. This is the standard sample rate for DV.2
    3. From the Sample Size menu, choose 16 bit.
    4. From the Channels menu choose Stereo (or Mono if your files are monaural).
    5. Click OK.
  7. Click OK again.
  8. If the file you are converting is already in your iTunes library, select the song, then choose Advanced > Convert Selection to AIFF. If the file is not in your iTunes library, hold the Option key down (Mac) or Shift key (Windows) while choosing Advanced > Convert Selection to AIFF and then locate the file for the song you want to convert on your hard disk.

When the conversion is finished, the new file appears in the iTunes library under Music. To locate the song on your hard disk, see this document. To continue using compressed songs—with an iPod, for example—be sure to change the encoder back to AAC when you've finished converting files to AIFF.

Using QuickTime Player

You will need QuickTime Pro to complete these steps. To convert an MP3 or AAC file to AIFF using QuickTime Pro, follow these steps:

  1. Locate the MP3 or AAC audio file in the Finder or Windows Explorer. If the song is in iTunes, select the song and choose File > Show in Finder (Mac) or File > Show in Windows Explorer (Windows). AAC song files have a filename extension of .m4a.
  2. Drag the song file onto the QuickTime Player application icon. You can also open QuickTime and chose File > Open File and then find and select the song you want to use.
  3. Choose File > Export.
  4. In the Save dialog, navigate to the folder you would like to save the new file in.
  5. From the Export pop-up menu, choose Sound to AIFF.
  6. From the Use pop-up menu, choose Default Settings. Note: For advanced users, you can use the Options buttons to set more advanced settings.
  7. Click the Save button. 

Additional Information

Notes

  1. iTunes digital rights management (DRM) protected music includes audio with a bit rate of 128 kbps and allows users to transfer songs and videos to up to five computers, burn seven copies of the same playlist to CD, and sync to an unlimited number of iPods. Protected files cannot be converted to other formats.

    iTunes Plus music refers to songs and music videos available in our highest-quality 256 kbps AAC encoding (twice the current bit rate of 128 kbps), and without digital rights management (DRM). There are no burn limits and iTunes Plus music will play on all iPods, Mac or Windows computers, Apple TVs, and many other digital music players.

  2. By default, CD audio is recorded at 16 bit stereo with a sample rate of 44.1 kHz. This is not the DV standard, and you may hear popping sounds when you play these files if they are not converted to 48 kHz prior to importing them into applications like Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Express, or iMovie.

Important: This software may be used to reproduce materials. It is licensed to you only for reproduction of non-copyrighted materials, materials in which you own the copyright, or materials you are authorized or legally permitted to reproduce. If you are uncertain about your right to copy any material you should contact your legal advisor.

Last Modified: Aug 10, 2012
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  • Last Modified: Aug 10, 2012
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