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How to Convert iTunes M4P to M4A (Without DRM)

By Patrick Dyer

Updated on January 15, 2019

"I have about 1000 songs in my iTunes library, some of them are formatted as .m4p while the others are in .m4a format. Those M4P songs are DRM-protected tracks that I bought prior to mid-2009. Is it possible to unprotected M4P and convert M4P to M4A?"

I assume that you might have downloaded some free/trial M4P to M4A converters to convert protected M4P tracks but with no luck so far. 

If you want to convert protected M4P file to unprotected one, the first thing to do is remove FairPlay DRM with an M4P DRM Removal tool. After that, you can easily turn protected MPEG-4 audio to other DRM-free audio formats including M4A, MP3, FLAC, AAC, etc. 

In this tutorial, I will introduce the most recommended method to convert protected M4P to M4A. Now let's dive deep into it.


Part 1. What You'll Need

Before you start converting M4P to M4A, please prepare the followings on your computer.

#1. TuneFab Apple Music Converter

M4P is an iTunes Audio file which is copy-protected using a FairPlay DRM technology created by Apple, while M4A is the file extension for unprotected AAC file. The best and most secure way to convert protected M4P to M4A is by using a professional M4P converter like TuneFab Apple Music Converter.

TuneFab Apple Music Converter is specialized in removing DRM from all protected M4P tracks including songs you purchased from iTunes before 2009 as well as the Apple Music tracks. It can convert M4P to different DRM-free audio formats such as M4A, MP3, AAC, FLAC, AIFF, etc. It is available for both Windows and macOS. You can download the free trial version of this program directly form the buttons below.

#2. iTunes and Your Playable M4P Songs

You need to download and install iTunes on your computer, and the latest version of iTunes is highly recommended. Last but not least, please make sure that the M4P songs stored in your iTunes library are playable. If the songs are not available in iTunes, you might not be able to convert them to M4A with TuneFab Apple Music Converter.

Once you have the above tools installed, you can start converting M4P to M4A by following the steps below.

Part 2. How to Convert Protected M4P to DRM-free M4A in 3 Steps

Step 1. Add M4P Songs to TuneFab Apple Music Converter

Open TuneFab Apple Music Converter on your PC/Mac. And iTunes will be automatically launched. You may notice, that all iTunes playlists will display on the main interface of TuneFab Apple Music Converter.

You can select a playlist from the left column and preview the songs from that playlist. For example, if you want to convert M4P songs, please: Go to main screen > "Playlists" > select "Library" or "Music".

Launch TuneFab Apple Music Converter

Then all songs in that playlist will show up on the right side of the main screen. To help you sort out the songs easily, you can click at the "Artist" or "Type" to reset the displayed order of all the songs in that playlist. Now you can add the M4P songs by ticking at the checkbox one by one.

Step 2. Select M4A as Output Format

Go to "Output Settings" on the main interface and click at the drop-down menu button of the "Output Format" section. You will find M4A format from there. Select "M4A - MPEG 4 Audio" from the drop-down list.

When the quality settings are all set, you can choose an output folder to save the converted M4A songs. Go to "Output Settings" > "Output Folder" to select the output path.

Set M4A as Output Format

Tips: To preserve the better output audio quality, I highly recommended that you use the following settings:

* Codec: m4a

* Bit Rate: 256 Kbps (the original bitrate of Apple Music track)

* Sample Rate: 44100

* Channel: 2

Step 3. Start the M4P to M4A Conversion

Now you are all set, you can start converting M4P music to M4A simply click at the "Convert" button on the main interface. All songs you added previously will be converted one by one.

Convert Protected M4P to M4A

Note: To make sure that the software can successfully convert M4P to M4A with no error, you'd better clear your iTunes playing history before converting:

* Go to iTunes's main interface and click at the playlist icon on the top of the menu bar.

* Clear the history of the "Up Next" & "History" section.

Part 3. Explore More: M4P vs M4A vs AAC - What's the Difference?

Simply put, M4P and M4A are both Apple iTunes Audio files that are encoded by Advanced Audio Coding (AAC).

M4P file is regarded as a DRM-protected AAC file. You can find the M4P files from Apple Music downloads and songs purchased from iTunes Store before April 2009. The protected M4P files are playable on authorized iOS device and PC only. If you want to play M4P on common media players like VLC, then you must remove DRM from M4P first.

M4A, however, is an audio extension for unprotected AAC file. Currently the songs you purchased and downloaded from iTunes Store are in M4A format.

Tips: You can download DRM-free version of the M4P songs via an iTunes Match subscription. Before you upgrade your music to iTunes Plus format, please make sure that the same album or song is available in the iTunes Store.

Editor's Note

All songs you downloaded from Apple Music will always be saved as protected M4P files. And if you want to get unprotected copies of all your Apple Music songs, using TuneFab Apple Music Converter is highly suggested. It’s easy to handle, and the conversion is simple, too. After converting M4P to M4A or MP3, you can transfer the songs to any device you like or you can burn your iTunes songs or Apple Music to CD once the DRM is removed.

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