Songs you purchased from iTunes Store were protected by Apple's FairPlay Digital Rights Management before 2009. Those restrictive MPEG-4 audio files can't be played on an unauthorized computer. At the Macworld Expo of 2009, Apple finally decided to drop DRM from the iTunes music library. But songs purchased before this decision are still wrapped in DRM.
If you want to liberate the purchased music from DRM restriction, you've come to the right place. This guide will show you how to unprotect iTunes songs easily. After that, you can transfer or put the iTunes songs to whatever device you like.
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Part 1. Unprotect iTunes Songs with TuneFab Apple Music Converter
First of all, we need TuneFab Apple Music Converter to assist us in unprotecting iTunes songs. This is a professional audio converter to convert iTunes protected M4P to MP3 legally. As you know, MP3 songs are flexible to copy for sharing. Also, you don't need to wait for a long time as it supports up to 10X conversion speed. The most important feature is that it will keep all the ID3 and metadata information without any loss. Besides, it is fully compatible with Windows and Mac and it couldn't be easier even if you have never used a music converter before.
* Convert protected iTunes songs and Apple Music songs to high-quality MP3 tracks;
* Easy-to-use and fast conversion;
* Transfer AA/AAX/M4B audiobooks to MP3;
* Keep metadata info after conversion.
* Support batch conversion.
* Compatible with Windows and Mac,
The following part will show you how to unprotect iTunes songs with the help of TuneFab Apple Music Converter in 3 easy steps.
Step 1. Select iTunes Songs That You Want to Convert
Launch TuneFab Apple Music Converter and iTunes will pop up automatically. In the main interface, go to "Playlist" and click "Library" to select songs or albums.
Note: iTunes installation is required. Please install iTunes first. Then, you should make sure that the iTunes songs you want to convert are available in iTunes.
Step 2. Set Output Format for Converted iTunes Music
Click "Output Format" and from the drop-down list, you can find that it supports MP3, M4A, AAC, FLAC, AC3, AU, and AIFF formats. Then select MP3. From the right side, you can adjust codec, bitrate, sample rate, channels.
Step 3. Convert Protected iTunes Songs to MP3
Make sure all parameters you've set meet your requirements. Then tap "Convert" to start converting.
That's it! These are all the procedures to unprotect iTunes songs. After removing the DRM from iTunes music and successfully converting, you can gain iTunes songs in the format of MP3
Part 2. How to Unlock iTunes Music in iTunes
Now you've known that Apple Inc declaimed to remove DRM of iTunes music since 2009. However, your purchased files before 2009 are still with DRM. Does Apple offer any method to deal with this problem? Yes, it does. In the following, there are 2 ways you may be interested in to unlock iTunes Music in iTunes.
Method 1. Unprotect iTunes Music via iTunes Match
iTunes Match is a paid service provided by Apple, aiming at help Apple users better manage their music library of all devices that has Sync Library turned on. After you subscribe to iTunes Match, you can remove the DRM protection from purchased music files and make them playable on any other devices.
Step 1. Subscribe to iTunes Match and open "My Music".
Step 2. Choose all songs you want to unlock and delete them.
Step 3. Go to iTunes Store and find all your purchased songs.
Step 4. Click the "Clouds" icon to download and get all your favorite songs without DRM.
Method 2. Burn iTunes Music to CD with iTunes
In this case, you will need a blank CD and a CD drive (if necessary) to burn all iTunes Music with DRM protected into it. This burning process will automatically remove DRM protection.
Step 1. Create a playlist and put all the songs you want to unprotect.
Step 2. Select the playlist you want to unlock and click "Burn Playlist to Disc" to rip them into the CD. Please notice it will take a relatively long time to burn all the songs to CD.
Step 3. After the burning is completed, eject the CD and insert it to your computer.
Step 4. Start ripping these songs to iTunes.
Part 3. FAQ about DRM iTunes Songs
Q1. What is DRM-ed iTunes Song?
Purchased media files including music, videos, audiobooks are usually encrypted with DRM (Digital Rights Management) for legally and efficiently protecting digital contents. All songs purchased from iTunes Store are encrypted with DRM before 2009.
Q2. What is DRM-free iTunes Song?
Songs purchased from iTunes Store these days are in the iTunes Plus format: M4A. They aren't encrypted with Digital Rights Management protection and the bitrate of the downloaded music is twice the resolution of the original iTunes standard.
Q3. How to Identify What Songs Have DRM Protection?
In your library, use the "Songs" view, and look at the "Kind" column for ones with the word "Protected". If you do not see Kind, enable it by going to "View > View Options".
Check our detailed guide: How to Check If Songs Are DRM Protected in iTunes
Q4. Does the Lack of DRM Mean that I Can Copy iTunes Songs Unlimitedly?
No, copyright law is still in effect. The removal of DRM cannot give you the flexibility to judge what's right and what's wrong. The lack of DRM can just help you in making them more compatible and playing these non-DRMed songs freely on devices that cannot support the iTunes-protected audio format. More importantly, you cannot distribute these converted music files or use them for commercial purposes. They are for personal use only.
Q5. Are There Ways to Upgrade Old DRM-ed Songs?
Yes, but the updates are not free. Apple allows you to upgrade songs to iTunes Plus by charging you a $0.30 fee for each song. But that option disappeared quietly when iTunes Match was launched in 2011. Therefore it is not possible to upgrade old DRM-ed songs to iTunes Plus by paying $0.30 per track. However, you can use iTunes Match to upgrade the DRM-ed songs you already bought to the new DRM-free version.
Pro Tip: Apple rolled out its music streaming service, Apple Music, in 2015. The service has gained 72 million subscribers as of June 2020. With an Apple Music subscription, you can stream on-demand or download tracks for offline playing instead of purchasing songs on iTunes. However, the downloaded Apple Music tracks are DRM-protected. In comparison, tracks available on iTunes are without DRM protection after 2009. If you mean getting a DRM-free Apple Music track, take a look at our detailed guide. >> How to Remove DRM from Apple Music Tracks
All in all, hope that you've learned the easiest way to unprotect iTunes songs from your old iTunes music files. TuneFab Apple Music Converter always provides all-inclusive solutions to unlock iTunes music for better enjoyment. If you have any other better options or advice, please let us know in the comments!