How to convert M4A files to MP3

Anita George
·3-min read

You’re probably familiar with the M4A file format if you’ve ever downloaded songs from iTunes or Apple Music. You’re also probably quite familiar with the format’s limitations. While M4A tracks can be convenient to use, they can also be a bit narrow when it comes to their overall compatibility with music players. As a result, you may want to convert your M4A files into a more versatile and more widely-supported format, like an MP3.

Here’s how to convert your M4A files into MP3 tracks so you can play your music using a wider variety of devices.

Step 1: Select your M4A file

Cloud Convert screenshot 1
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There are a number of cloud conversion sites, but our favorite for this particular task is CloudConvert. Head to its homepage and click the red Select File button, and then select the desired M4A file you wish to convert. Clicking the Select File button directly will open up a File Explorer view of your system, from which you can select your file. If you click the Down Arrow button, you can select from a number of other sources, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, or a URL.

One possible alternative online converter is Online Audio Converter. You can learn more about this method in our how to convert FLAC to MP3 guide.

Step 2: Customize your output settings

Cloud Convert conversion screen screenshot
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Once you’ve selected your file, you’ll be presented with the conversion options screen. Click on the File Format arrow, and select the MP3 option from the list of audio formats.

You can click the Wrench icon next to the drop-down menu to adjust the file’s output settings. From there, you can change the bitrate, trim your audio file, and more. Once you’re satisfied with your settings, click the red Okay button in the bottom-right corner.

Step 3: Convert the file

Convert button screenshot
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Click the red Convert button on the right-hand side. When the conversion process finishes, your file will be available for download.

Step 4: Download your new MP3

Cloud Convert Download page screenshot
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A preview of your new MP3 file may automatically play for you once the file finishes converting. Either way, a green Download button will appear to indicate that your MP3 file is available. By clicking on the button, your file automatically downloads and saves to your default downloads folder.

Alternative: Apple Music app for MacOS

As an alternative to the above methods, MacOS users can also use the Apple Music app to convert their M4A files to MP3 tracks. Here’s how to do it.

To start, open the Preferences menu and tweak your import settings to use MP3 Encoder. Then, select the file you want to convert via your music library. Click File, then Convert, followed by Create MP3 Version. After that, the Apple Music app will do all the heavy lifting for you.

Though the limitations of M4A can be frustrating when you download new tunes, it’s not impossible to convert the files. Mac users have a shortcut, of course, but it doesn’t take much extra labor to convert files on any operating system. With a few simple steps, you can convert M4As to MP3s on any machine.

After you finish creating your MP3s, you can load them up on any compatible device for playback. If you’re in the market for new listening equipment, check out our list of the best modern MP3 players. With a brand-new music player and improved MP3 files, you can take your music anywhere without sacrificing quality.