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"I have about 200 protected AAC audio files in my iTunes library, which are not playable on my MP3 player! How can I convert these iTunes protected files to MP3 so that I can put them on my MP3 player for listening?"

"I have just downloaded my favorite songs in iTunes and I really want to put them on my USB stick for my car. But it says the files are protected! Is there any possibility to convert protected files in iTunes to MP3 please? I don't want to waste my money downloading them."

There are many people looking for available ways to convert protected AAC to MP3 on the internet. The truth is that unlike plain audio without DRM protection, protected AAC can't be easily converted to MP3 without a professional protection bypassing tool (which I am going to share with you in this post). Even though you can find some AAC to MP3 converters online, none of them supports converting protected AAC indeed. Because they are only equipped with a normal MP3 encoder but lack DRM-removal technology.

Key takeaway:
To successfully get your protected iTunes AAC audio files converted to MP3, you will need the right tool, TuneFab iTunes Music Converter, which is able to convert iTunes songs, audiobooks, and podcasts to MP3 without hassle.


Part 1: What Is Protected AAC Audio File?

Generally, the protected AAC audio file was the default file format for music sold on iTunes Store prior to 2009 and is also the audio file streamed on the Apple Music catalog, which is protected and can only be streamed on some Apple-authorized devices. In this term, you need to use a professional tool to convert them to MP3.

While in iTunes, if you enable "Kind", you will see the songs are labeled as "protected AAC audio file". "Protected" means these AAC audio files are encrypted by Apple's FairPlay.

FairPlay is a digital right management (DRM) technology developed and used by Apple to prevent content from being copied, shared or played on non-authorized devices. This makes sense why you can't play protected AAC audio files on Android phones, Zune, Sonos hi-fi systems and other non-Apple devices.

Since April 2009, Apple has stopped adding DRM protection in iTunes music and used a new, high-quality format called iTunes Plus as the default format for music buying from iTunes Store. The DRM-free AAC audio file is also called iTunes purchased AAC audio file.

However, you are not guaranteed to download all iTunes files to MP3 successfully as some of them are still protected by FairPlay. And you will also need to remove FairPlay DRM if you bought these files before 2009. Please keep on reading and learn how to convert protected aac audio files to mp3.

Part 2: How to Convert Protected iTunes AAC to MP3

The quickest way to convert protected iTunes AAC to MP3 is by using TuneFab iTunes Music Converter. This is a desktop program compatible with both Mac and Windows and lets you convert songs, playlists, albums, or audiobooks from your iTunes library.

Not only does this converter support MP3, but also it provides output format AAC with a customizable sample rate and bitrate to let you get the converted audio matching the original sound quality. The best part is that you can keep the music in AC3 with Dolby digital, channel 6 to enjoy a true surround sound quality. Moreover, all original ID3 tags can be well-preserved. And if you like, you can even change the audio metadata information like the album cover on this tool.

Key features of TuneFab iTunes Music Converter

#1. Remove DRM from protected AAC audio files
#2. Convert iTunes songs, albums, playlists, audiobooks, podcasts, movies
#3. Save converted music to MP3, M4A, AC3, AAC, AIFF, AU, FLAC or WAV
#4. Keep original quality: 256 Kbps, 44,100 Hz
#5. Preserve original ID3 tags & metadata information
#6. Supports 5X speed to batch convert audio on Mac (1X on Windows)

Here's the step-by-step tutorial on how to use this tool to set your protected AAC free:

Step 1. Get the Tools Ready

Before you get the conversion started, you need to get two tools ready: one is iTunes (12.4 or above) and the other one is TuneFab iTunes Music Converter which you can download by clicking on the download button below. After the installation, you need to log in to Apple Music with your account on iTunes so that the converter can get the protected AAC files from it.

Launch TuneFab iTunes Music Converter and your iTunes will run automatically. You need to be aware that you can't shut iTunes down during the music conversion.

Import iTunes Library

Step 2. Select the Protected AAC File

When the two tools are ready, you will see your iTunes library on the converter. Then you can select the protected songs or playlists you wish to convert to MP3.

Select AAC Music to Convert

Step 3. Select Output Format as MP3

Hit the output format at the lower part, and you can select the output audio format from a list. Select MP3 - MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3. As for outputting music in original quality, you need to change the sample rate to 44100hz and bit rate to 320kbps.

Select Output Format

Step 4. Convert iTunes Protected AAC to MP3

Tap the convert button and then the converter will start to convert all songs you selected. When the conversion is done, you can find them on the "Finished" tab easily.

Convert Protected iTunes AAC to MP3

Part 3: How to Convert Apple Music AAC Audio File to MP3

Streaming songs from Apple Music are also protected AAC files. Even though you can download them on your Apple Music App or mobile iDevices, the downloaded files can't be read by other players or converted with simple audio format converters at all. If you wish to get those AAC files converted to MP3, TuneFab Apple Music Converter is all you need.

This is a tool that is built-in with the Apple Music web player and lets you convert songs to MP3 simply by drag-and-drop. Unlike TuneFab iTunes Music Converter, this tool allows you to browse the Apple Music library as you do on the Apple Music app and you are able to convert any music content on it. Songs from your playlists or even from an artist page can all be converted in one click. And thanks to the ID3 tag preservation, you can perfectly manage the protection-free MP3 files easily. Check more features about this converter:

#1. Convert Apple Music singles, albums, and playlists to normal audio files
#2. Support Up to 5X faster conversion speed and batch conversion
#3. Output MP3, M4A, FLAC, and WAV DRM-free audio formats
#4. Save Apple Music as MP3 in high quality with parameter settings
#5. Preserve ID3 tags including song title, album cover, title, etc.

Step 1. Get the Best Protected AAC to MP3 Converter Ready

The first thing you should do is to download and install TuneFab Apple Music Converter on your computer. It can help you perfectly convert protected AAC to MP3 on Mac or Windows. Once launched, the software will show you the Apple Music web player and ask you to log in to it.

Apple Music Web Player on the Converter

Step 2. Add Protected AAC Audio Files

After logging in to Apple Music, you can see your playlists and other content on the converter. If the songs you wish to convert to MP3 are in your playlist, you can just navigate to it and drag the song to the plus plugin on the right side. If you want to dig more songs, just search for them as you do on the browse tab. And then drag the songs and add them to the convert list.

Select Protected AAC File

Step 3. Select MP3 as Output Format

Here comes the most important part. You can set up the output audio format as MP3 from the output setting on the top right of the list. If you wish to adjust the sample rate and the bitrate, just hit the hamburger icon at the upper right corner and change it from the preferences.

Select MP3 Format

Step 4. Start Converting Protected AAC to MP3

Now simply click on the "Convert" button at the bottom and the TuneFab Apple Music Converter will instantly convert protected AAC audios to MP3.

Convert Audiobooks to MP3

That's it. With TuneFab Apple Music Converter, you can easily convert protected AAC files to MP3. Therefore, you don't have to worry about the playback problem of protected AAC files. as MP3 files are compatible with portable devices such as iPod Shuffle, iPod Nano, MP3 players, Zune player, and various different non-Apple devices.

Part 4: Can You Convert Protected AAC Audio File to MP3 in iTunes?

You may ask is it possible for you to convert protected AAC to MP3 through iTunes? Actually, there're 2 options available for you. The first option is to use an iTunes Match subscription and the second option is to burn protected AAC audio files to CD, then rip them from CD to MP3 format with iTunes.

How to Convert Protected iTunes to MP3 on iTunes Directly?

You can use iTunes Match to upgrade protected AAC file to iTunes Plus which is completely DRM-free. When the DRM is removed, you can use iTunes to convert AAC to MP3 directly.

Step 1. Go to "Preferences " in iTunes.

Step 2. Click "Import Settings " and then choose as MP3 encoder.

Step 3. Select the AAC files you want to convert.

Step 4. Click "File " > "Create MP3 Version ".

Create MP3 on iTunes

Note: There is no guarantee that all protected AAC songs can be upgraded successfully. Generally the same album or song must also still be available in the iTunes Store otherwise you won't be able to convert or upgrade these protected AAC or M4P files into DRM-free version.

How to Convert Protected AAC to MP3 Using the Burning Feature?

To convert protected aac to MP3 in this way requires you to prepare a blank CD first. If there are tons of songs you wish to convert, you'll need more than one and change the CD during burning. It's time-consuming to complete the whole process as well.

Moreover, it might cause quality loss after these burning procedures. Thus, I won't rank this method as the first option. Here's how to burn the protected AAC to CD and import the MP3 songs from the CD back to your computer.

Step 1. Launch iTunes and go to the "Music" category.

Step 2. Create a new playlist in iTunes and drag your AAC songs to it.

Step 3. Insert your CD to the CD drive that connects to your computer.

Step 4. Right-click on the playlist and burn it to disc.

Burn iTunes to CD

Step 5. Import the songs from CD back to iTunes using the MP3 encoder.


Given the methods above, you've already known TuneFab iTunes Music Converter is the most convenient and quickest way to convert protected AAC to MP3. Every beginner could easily finish the conversion as it's intuitive and efficient, and all the original quality of files will be ensured after conversion is complete. Now enjoy your MP3 music on any device you like freely.

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