Best Music Format Does iPhone Use? How to Convert?

From the beginning, iPhone was meant to be a great music player. It was basically an iPod crossed with a phone, so it needed to have an extensive library of iPhone music formats that would work well. Though Apple isn’t exactly known for its openness, the iPhone can indeed handle some specific music formats.

Part 1: What Are Supported iPhone Music Formats?

What music format does iPhone use? While there are limits to iPhones music support, you will find that most of the usual iPhone music formats will work just fine on various apps. Here is a list of them:

iPhone supports the following music formats:

  • AIFF
  • WAV (a large, but popular format, especially in video editing)
  • AAX
  • AAX+
  • AA
  • MP3 (one of the most standard and ubiquitous formats in the world)
  • MP3 VBR
  • ALAC
  • AAC
  • Protected AAC (this is the iTunes store format for songs)
  • HE-AAC

As you can see, most of the formats that you would encounter on a PC or Mac or most other devices are well represented here.

What’s the Best Music Format for iPhone

So what is the best format to use when you put music on your iPhone? The truth is that there is no “best” format, it’s just a matter of what you want to do with your song files.

  • For example, MP3 is one of the most common audio formats ever, so if you want your music to be able to play on a wide variety of devices, it wouldn’t hurt to store your music in MP3 format.
  • AAC isn’t as common, but it will play on all Apple devices, and it will also play on many modern PC’s as well.
  • The problem with both of these file types, though, is that they are lossy files, meaning that they are compressed. If you want a format that is not compressed, WAV is a better option, though the file size is often huge compared to MP3 and AAC.

The recommended iPhone music format for general use would probably be MP3, simply because it has a compact file size and works on just about any device. Of course, this is ultimately a matter of preference.

Part 2: How to Convert Music Formats for iPhone with iTunes

Sometimes you will need to convert your music files to a different format. Here’s how to do that with iTunes.

1. Convert songs that are already in iTunes library

1. Launch iTunes.
2. Go to “Edit > Preferences” at the top left corner. (If you are using a Mac computer, go to “iTunes > Preferences”.)
3. Click “General > Import Settings”.
4. From the little menu next to where it says “Import Using”, pick which encoding format you want.
5. Click “OK” to save the settings.
6. Pick which songs you want to convert from your library.
7. Go to “File > Convert”, and then go to “Create [the format you want] Version”.

After that, you’ll see the new music file appear in your library next to the original files.


2. Convert songs that are in a folder or a disk

You might also want to convert a song that’s in one of your folders, but not currently in iTunes. Here’s how you do that:

1. Launch iTunes.
2. Go to “Edit > Preferences”. (If you are using a Mac computer, go to “iTunes > Preferences”.)
3. Click “General > Import Settings”.
4. From the little menu next to where it says “Import Using”, pick which encoding format you want.
5. Click "OK".
Now instead of picking from the library, do this:
6. Hold down “Shift” key (Press “Option” key if you are using a Mac), go to "File > Convert > Convert to [the format you want]".
7. Pick the folder that has the music you want to convert. iTunes will just convert all the songs in that folder.
The original songs and converted songs will appear in your library.

Part 3: How to Transfer Music to iPhone from iTunes

Once you convert songs with iTunes, you may want to add these songs to your iPhone so you can enjoy them on the go. If you use iTunes to sync the music , your existing music on iPhone will be erased. To avoid losing any music, you might want to check out iMyFone TunesMate. This is a smart iPhone transfer tool that allows you to transfer music to iPhone from different iTunes libraries/computers without erasing.

try it buy now

Here is a quick guide for how to quickly transfer music to your iPhone from your iTunes. You can download its free version and have a try.

Step 1: Install iMyFone iTunesMate to your computer and launch it. Plug in your iPhone.
Step 2: Go to the “Transfer iTunes Media to iDevice” tab and let it scan.

transfer music to iPhone from iTunes

Step 3: Make sure “Music” is ticked and hit “Transfer” button to begin.

transfer iTunes music to iPhone

That’s it. As you can see, it’s extremely simple and intuitive.


If you use "Transfer iDevice Media to iTunes" and "Transfer iTunes Media to iDevice" on iMyFone together, you will find that you can share your purchased music with friends.

  • Step 1: Apply "Transfer iDevice Media to iTunes" to have a large music collection on iTunes from different iPhone/iPad/iPod even signed in different Apple IDs.
  • Step 2: Use "Transfer iTunes Media to iDevice" as steps above to sync the large music collection back to 2-5 iDevices.

Of course, with TunesMate, you can also add music from computer to iPhone easily. Unlike iTunes, it supports all music formats.

Some of the advantages of using TunesMate to transfer your music instead of, say, iTunes include:

  • You won’t lose any of your music files when you transfer, even if you didn’t buy them from the official store.
  • Music formats will be automatically converted to iPhone-supported version. You don't need to convert in advance.
  • Even your iPhone is synced with one iTunes libraries, you can transfer music to iPhone from other iTunes/computer without erasing.
  • You can edit music ID3 tags and playlists at will.
  • You can share music among 2-5 iOS devices.
  • It’s easy to use with 1-click transfer or drag-and-drop process, and has a simple interface.

If you want to transfer and manage music without all of iTunes’ restrictions, then download TunesMate and give yourself some extra freedom.

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