Resources: Fit More Music Onto Your iPhone Automatically with iTunes

One argument I've heard on more than one occasion against buying lossless downloads like CD-quality FLAC or AIFF files is you can't fit as many onto your portable device as compared to the lossy version. So some people buy the lossy version (say it ain't so!) and make due with its less than optimum sound quality even when listening on the hi-fi at home. After all, who wants to make and store two separate copies of every single song, one lossy version for the iPhone and one lossless version for the hi-fi? Wouldn't it be great if iTunes took care of this automatically? Well, it does.

All you need to do is tell iTunes to automatically convert your lossless music to a lossy AAC version when copying it to your iOS device. This takes all of 3 simple steps:

  1. Connect your iOS device to your computer which should automatically launch iTunes.
  2. Go to the "Summary" tab and scroll down to "Options".
  3. Under "Options" you'll see "Convert higher bit rate songs to...AAC" with a drop-down menu and these choices: 128kbps, 192kbps, or 256kbps. Just select the target sample rate you want to compress your music into and wala! You can have your lossless cake for your hi-fi and eat your snack-sized lossy versions on your iOS device too.
I know this may be old news for some people but I recently discovered its not old news for everyone. And I view giving people good reasons to stop buying lossy downloads as a public service.

bigrasshopper's picture

I wish someone had written an indepth article on managing music files in iTunes for the average computer audiophile back in 2008, when I first got started.  I could really have  used more of this sort of practical, basic advice for non-techy people like me using iTunes and Apple devices.   Wanting to Maximize sound and keep music organized in a sane way.   Back in 2008 after subscribing to Stereophile I stopped downloading from itunes and went back to purchasing CDs.  The Computer Audiophile was nice, but was usually populated by the computer savvy, who didn't need the advice that I did.  Although that site became more fleshed out later, I still don't think he has addressed the issues and pitfalls of organization.  I can't even remember all the permutations of play lists by file type ( you get all versions on your phone ), alternate music libraries by file type ( I think you get the same problem) and finally, what I do now is have separate hard drives that are named the same, but each contain different file types, AIFF, and Apple lossless.   On a number of occasions I completely mangled my library, files not found, missing art work, the hours spent with cluless apple advisors.  Ask for a supervisor !  Part of my problem, I think was that I had two computers.  One for using, one for listening.  But I still have artwork issues, I constantly have to replace incorrect artwork, even after having changed it.  Or it comes up missing ?  If you have replaced art work differently on different drives?  I think the art is stored locally.  Uhhg.  Someone needs to come up with a bulletproof setup configuration and options list that is somewhat comprehensive.  

 I think I came across that option a long time ago and must have assumed that it was going to reconvert my library, so I didnt use it.   Now Im hoping that Apple will begin increasing storage on their devices again so I won't have to use that option.  But with the Cloud looming overhead that dosnt seem as likely.  

This headache would seem to be an argument in favor of servers like the Man, but you still have to cope with I tunes for your device/phone, so isn't it easier just to try and master one monster?  

Vincent Kars's picture

This is what is called transcoding (conversion on the fly).
Many media players support it.

It has another benefit as well.
Instead of maintaining 2 libraries (the main one and the lossy one for the portable) one maintains a single library.
As this one is in general to big, the trick is to create a playlist and sync the content of the playlist with the portable.

Ddncons's picture

I use iTunes to store and organize my ALAC collection (red book and 24/96). In doing so, I attach the artwork directly by pasting it into the song properties. The trick in this article does not send he artwork when the files get to my iPhone. Help is appreciated. 

deckeda's picture

... but merely comment that it's likely a bug, given that "I attach the artwork directly by pasting it into the song properties" embeds the artwork into the song file as part of the metadata, whereas (for example) downloading the artwork from Apple does not, and puts it into a seperate folder that iTunes references for display.

Gravity-wave's picture

I noticed this option but never used it as turning every file in my iPhone to mid-fi is not an option to me.
BTW, I noticed that iPhone and iPad can take and play 44/24 files.
Is there any reduction of the noise floor? JA can you check with your wonderful analyzers?


A2sound's picture