This article explains how to convert iTunes songs to MP3. Instructions apply to iTunes 12 for Windows and Mac, but the process should be similar in older versions.
How to Convert iTunes to MP3
If you want to download songs you buy from the iTunes Store on other devices, you'll have to convert them to MP3s. You can use a tool built into iTunes to convert iTunes AAC formatted songs to MP3s.
iTunes and Apple Music Use AAC not MP3
People use MP3 as a generic name to refer to all digital music files, but that's not quite right. MP3 actually refers to a specific type of music file. Songs bought from iTunes and downloaded from Apple Music come in the AAC format. While both AAC and MP3 are digital audio files, AAC is a next-generation format designed to provide better sound and take up as much or less storage than MP3s.
Since music from iTunes comes as AAC, many people believe it is a proprietary Apple format. It's not. AAC is available to virtually anyone. AAC files work with Apple products and products from many other companies, too. Still, not every MP3 player supports them, so if you want to play your music on those devices, you need to convert the iTunes songs to MP3.
There are a lot of audio programs that can perform this conversion, but you don't necessarily need them. You've already got iTunes on your computer, so using it is probably easiest. The instructions in this article show you how to use iTunes to convert songs from iTunes format to MP3.
There are lots of programs that can convert songs from one format to another, including from iTunes to MP3. That's great, but in most cases, you don't need them. Unless you have very specific needs (such as FLAC; if you don't know that is, chances are you don't need it), don't spend the money on audio-conversion software. Just use iTunes.Alex Dos Diaz / Lifewire
What to Do With Unwanted or Duplicate Songs
If you've converted iTunes to MP3, you may not want the AAC version of the song taking up space on your hard drive. If so, you can delete the song from iTunes. You can even delete duplicate songs in iTunes to make the cleaning-up process easier.
Since the iTunes version of the file is the original, make sure it's backed up before you delete it. You can also use iCloud to redownload iTunes purchases.
Can you Convert Apple Music Songs to MP3?
These instructions apply to songs you buy from the iTunes Store, but what about songs you've got on your computer from Apple Music? Can they be converted to MP3?
While Apple Music songs use the AAC format, they're protected by a special kind of DRM so you can't convert them to MP3. The DRM verifies that you have a valid Apple Music subscription. Apple (or any streaming-music company) doesn't want you to download a bunch of songs, convert them to MP3, cancel your subscription, and keep the music. So, there's no way to convert Apple Music to MP3 unless you can break the DRM.
Converting songs can degrade sound quality. Before you convert iTunes to MP3, it's important to know that doing this slightly lessens the music's sound quality. This is because both AAC and MP3 are compressed versions of the original song file and thus already lower quality. Converting from AAC to another compressed format like MP3 means there will be even more compression and loss of quality.
How to Tell iTunes and MP3 Files Apart
Once you've got both the AAC and MP3 versions of a song in iTunes, it's not easy to tell them apart. They just look like two copies of the same song. But every file in iTunes stores information about the song, such as its artist, length, and file type. To find out which file is the MP3 and which is the AAC, you can access ID3 Tags like artist, genre, and other song Info in iTunes.