Convert Bit Rate of Songs on iOS Devices with iTunes

Mar 9, 2012 - 5 Comments

iTunes now allows you to convert higher bit rate songs to three options: 128 kbps, 192 kbps, and 256 kbps. Enabling this option lets you save storage space on an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad by compressing the music stored on the device. While intense audiofiles and those who want the absolute highest audio quality of their music will probably not want to use this feature due to the compression, most of us can’t tell the auditory difference between how a 256kbps AAC file vs a 192kbps ACC file sounds, thus it makes sense for many users to use. To use this feature, you’ll need iTunes and an iOS device, here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. Connect an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to the computer and launch iTunes
  2. Select the iOS device from the list in iTunes, click the “Summary” tab, and scroll down to “Options”
  3. Check the box next to “Convert higher bit rate songs to ___ AAC”
  4. Click the “Apply” button in iTunes to have changes take effect

Convert Bit Rate of Songs in iTunes

Depending on how much music you have on the iPhone/iPod the conversion process may take a while. If you want decent compression while maintaing music quality, 192 kbps is a happy medium.

This option is available only to those using iTunes 10.6 or later. Prior to iTunes 10.6, users only had a single option, which was to convert the bit rate to 128 kbps. You will definitely save a lot of space with 128kbps compression, but audio quality does suffer slightly, though how much that is noticeable to you probably depends on your hearing and the quality of speakers or headphones you are listening to music with.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, iTunes, Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

5 Comments

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  1. Davis says:

    FYI I think you need iOS 5.1 for this to show up

  2. Stephen Tordoff says:

    iOS 5.1 isn’t required. My iPad is on 5.0.1, and the option shows up fine.

  3. Allan Mertner says:

    If you think the sound quality suffers if you convert from 192 to 128kbit, have a look at this article: http://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html

    I am not affiliated with it, but think it presents a lot of very valid arguments that 192kbit is slightly worse than simply wasting a lot of disk space…

  4. […] because the songs are downloaded as 128kbps MP3s. That’s not a big deal if you planned on compressing the audio to save space on an iPod or iPhone anyway, but if you’re listening to the music on a high […]

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