Can MP3 Players Use iTunes Music?

You don't need an iPod to play iTunes music

iTunes compatible MP3 Players

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If you have a collection of music in iTunes, you don't need an iPod from Apple to listen to it on the go, nor do you need an MP3 player you can use with iTunes. In fact, you can put music from iTunes onto any MP3 player.

This means you can use Apple's iTunes software for your music needs even if all you have is an MP3 player. This is because iTunes is simply an organizer for your music; the music files themselves are stored on your computer like any other file, and you can copy them to your MP3 player at any time.

However, if your MP3 player only accepts MP3 music files, then you'll have to convert the music to the MP3 format. It's really easy to do so, and you can even do it within the iTunes program.

These directions pertain to iTunes 12.9 specifically, but might also work for older versions of the program.

How to Convert iTunes Music to MP3

There are two primary ways to do this: use iTunes or use a third-party conversion tool.

Converting iTunes songs to MP3 with iTunes is pretty straightforward, but you have to first change an import setting in iTunes to enable the MP3 encoder. Then, select the iTunes songs you want on your MP3 player, and go to File > Convert > Create MP3 Version.

Create MP3 Version option in iTunes for Windows

If a song is copy-protected using Apple's DRM encryption system, you won't be able to convert it with iTunes. If you've got songs that are protected, see our list of the top DRM removal programs.

Your other option is to use an audio file converter to save the iTunes music to MP3. There are both online converters and offline converters that you'll find in that list. Use an online converter like Convertio if you want to put just a few iTunes songs on your MP3 player; offline ones like Freemake Audio Converter are better for converting lots of files at once.

If you go the route of a file converter tool, you'll have to locate the song on your computer. To do that, right-click the song you want on your MP3 player, and choose Show in Windows Explorer (for Windows) or Show in Finder (on a Mac).

Then, you can upload that file to the online audio file converter or import it into the offline converter.

Convertio with iTunes music selected

How to Put iTunes Music on Your MP3 Player

Now that the iTunes songs that you want on your MP3 player have been converted to the correct format for your device, it's time to actually move the files over.

Not all MP3 players work the same way, so you'll need to consult the documentation for your specific device if these steps don't work.

  1. Plug the MP3 player into your computer.

  2. Open iTunes and locate the song or songs that you want to copy over.

    One easy way to do this is to right-click the song and select Show in Windows Explorer (Windows) or Show in Finder (Mac).

    iTunes Show in Windows Explorer option
  3. Copy the song(s), making sure to select the MP3 version if there are multiple.

    iTunes songs selected for copy in Windows 8
  4. Paste the iTunes music onto your MP3 player; this is usually just a folder you can access like you can a flash drive. Or, if you have software associated with your MP3 player, you might need to use it to import the iTunes songs.

    Copying music to an MP3 player in Windows 8