Do I Need an iPod to Play iTunes Songs, or Can I Use Any MP3 Player?

iTunes compatible MP3 Players

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This iTunes FAQ explains how you can convert the songs in your iTunes library to work on practically any MP3 player or portable media device.

If you thought that you needed an iPod or iPhone to play songs purchased from the iTunes Store, then think again. In actual fact, Apple's iTunes software comes with the ability to convert between popular audio formats such as MP3 to enable you to play your songs on virtually any MP3 player or portable media device.

Supported Formats

Currently you can use the iTunes software to convert between the following formats:

Converting Files

The default audio format when purchasing songs from the iTunes Store is AAC. Unfortunately, this format isn't supported by the majority of MP3 players and so you'll need to convert using an audio file converter.

If songs are copy-protected using Apple's Fairplay DRM encryption system, then you will not be able to convert these using the iTunes software.

As mentioned above, you can use the iTunes software to convert between audio formats providing they are DRM-free. If you've got songs that are protected, then you can either burn them to CD and rip back as MP3s (see tutorial) or use special software to convert the songs to an unprotected audio format -- see our Top DRM Removal Programs article for more information.