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Archived - iPod 101: Which Files Work With iPod and iTunes

This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

Want to know which files play nicely with which iPods? Read on for the list of all compatible file types for iPods and iTunes.

You know that iPods play music, but that doesn't mean that every type of music file will play on your iPod or in iTunes. Same goes for iPods that can display images or play videos. To find out which file formats will work on your iPod or in iTunes, choose your product below*.

Note: If needed, you can download the latest version of iTunes here.

* Don't know which iPod model you have? See this article.

Fifth Generation iPod

If you're using iTunes 6 or later for Mac or Windows and have a Fifth Generation iPod (aka iPod with video), you already know that your iPod is capable of playing video. But which file formats work with it? In general, your iPod can play H.264 and MPEG-4 video in .mov, .m4v, and .mp4 file formats. All videos purchased from the iTunes Store play nicely on a Fifth Generation iPod. You can also use iTunes to convert some unsupported video formats to a format that will play on your iPod. For more information about viewing and syncing video with your iPod and compatible movie specifications, see our video FAQ for iTunes and iPod.

As with video, any audio file that you can play in iTunes will play on your iPod, including MP3, AIFF, WAV (uncompressed), AAC, and Audible (.aa) files. All music and audiobooks purchased from the iTunes Store will play on your iPod. For audio file compatibility specifics, see this article.

And, of course, you can view photos and image files (such as album artwork) on your iPod too. Both your iPod and iTunes can display most popular image file formats, including JPEG, TIFF, GIF, BMP, and PSD (Photoshop). For more information, see our "Compatible photo formats" article.

iPod nano

If you're using iTunes 4.9 or later for Mac or Windows and have an iPod nano, your iPod can play any audio file that you can play in iTunes, including MP3, AIFF, WAV (uncompressed), AAC, and Audible (.aa) files. All music and audiobooks purchased from the iTunes Store will play on your iPod. For audio file compatibility specifics, see this article.

You can also view photos and image files (such as album artwork) on your iPod nano too. Both your iPod and iTunes can display most popular image file formats, including JPEG, TIFF, GIF, BMP, and PSD (Photoshop). For more information, see our "Compatible photo formats" article.

iPod with color display

If you're using iTunes 4.7 or later for Mac or Windows and have an iPod with a color display and the latest iPod software, your iPod can play any audio file that you can play in iTunes, including MP3, AIFF, WAV (uncompressed), AAC, and Audible (.aa) files. All music and audiobooks purchased from the iTunes Store will play on your iPod. For audio file compatibility specifics, see this article.

You can also view photos and image files (such as album artwork) on your iPod too. Both your iPod and iTunes can display most popular image file formats, including JPEG, TIFF, GIF, BMP, and PSD (Photoshop). For more information, see our "Compatible photo formats" article.

iPod mini

If you're using iTunes 4.7 or later for Mac or Windows and have an iPod mini with the latest iPod software, your iPod can play any audio file that you can play in iTunes, including MP3, AIFF, WAV (uncompressed), AAC, and Audible (.aa) files. All music and audiobooks purchased from the iTunes Store will play on your iPod. For audio file compatibility specifics, see this article.

iPod shuffle

If you're using iTunes 7.0.x or later for Mac or Windows and have an iPod shuffle, your iPod can play almost every audio file that you can play in iTunes, including MP3, WAV (uncompressed), AAC, and Audible (.aa) files. If you want to play higher bitrate songs on your iPod shuffle, be sure to choose the "Convert higher bitrate songs to 128 kbps AAC for this iPod" option in the iPod preferences pane in iTunes preferences.

All music and audiobooks purchased from the iTunes Store will play on your iPod shuffle. For audio file compatibility specifics, see this article.

iPod with monochrome display

If you're using iTunes 4 or later for Mac or Windows and have an iPod with a monochrome display and the latest iPod software, your iPod can play just about any audio file that you can play in iTunes, including MP3, AIFF, WAV (uncompressed), AAC, and Audible (.aa) files. (Please note that Apple Lossless files are only compatible with iPods with Dock Connectors.) All music and audiobooks purchased from the iTunes Store will play on your iPod. For audio file compatibility specifics, see this article.

iTunes

Get the latest version of iTunes for Mac or Windows and you'll be able to enjoy a motley of music and multimedia on your desktop. iTunes 7 and later allows you to watch videos, listen to music, subscribe to audio and video podcasts, curl up with a good audiobook, view album artwork, and more.

iTunes can handle just about any file format that works with QuickTime and will play any file purchased or downloaded from the iTunes Store. If you've got video files that end with a .mov, .m4v, or .mp4 file extension, you can watch them in iTunes. If you've got music and audio files such as MP3s, AACs, AIFF or WAV files, or Audible (.aa) files, you can play them in iTunes. Got JPEG, TIFF, GIF, BMP, or PSD (Photoshop) image files? You can append graphics to your music in iTunes preferences to display as album artwork or just pretty pictures in iTunes.

For more information about playing video files in iTunes, see the video FAQ for iTunes and iPod. To learn more about audio file compatibility specifics, see "About compatible song formats." To see a complete list of compatible image file formats, see "Compatible photo formats."

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Last Modified: Feb 18, 2012
  • Last Modified: Feb 18, 2012
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