Mossberg’s Mailbox

Converting Songs From AAC to MP3 in ITunes

Published on December 1, 2010
by Walt Mossberg


How do I convert songs in iTunes to plain MP3 files? I want to use them in another program that doesn’t recognize the AAC song format that iTunes prefers.


Assuming you are using the latest version of iTunes, for either Windows or Mac, first go into the General section of preferences, select “Import Settings” and then change to “Import Using MP3 Encoder.” Next, choose the AAC song you want to convert, go to the Advanced menu, and select “Create MP3 Version.”

Note that this works with songs you have imported into the AAC format from your CDs, or purchased from the iTunes store in unprotected AAC form. It won’t work with songs you bought in the days when iTunes song purchases were sold in a special copy-protected form of AAC. You can tell which type of song you have—purchased, but unrestricted; or copy-protected—by turning on the “Kind” column in your iTunes song listings. You do this from the View menu under “View options…”.


For years I have run a Norton Antivirus product and a Webroot antispyware product on my computers. For the 2011 version of the Norton product, installation requires uninstalling the Webroot program. This concerns me. Should I be nervous?


I haven’t tested Norton 2011, so I don’t know for sure. But I do know that standalone antispyware products are less and less needed because security programs that once focused mainly on viruses, and ignored spyware, now are designed to protect against both. Even Webroot now sells a combined product.

Write to Walter S. Mossberg at

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