Got Android? Here Are the iTunes Features That Work For You

Can you sync iTunes and Android?

iTunes on a Nexus phone running android

  iTunes logo copyright Apple Inc; Nexus phone copyright Google Inc.

Deciding to buy an Android device rather than an iPhone doesn't necessarily mean you're turning your back on the tremendous amount of music, movies, and other great media available in the iTunes ecosystem. Whether it's music or movies, apps or the iTunes program itself, some Android users may want to use iTunes — or at least its content. But when it comes to iTunes and Android, what works and what doesn't?

The information below should apply no matter who made your Android phone. Whether you've got a phone from Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, or any of the many other Android makers, these tips apply.

Playing iTunes Music on Android

Music downloaded from iTunes is compatible with Android phones in most cases. Music purchased from iTunes is in the AAC format, which Android has native support for.

The exception to this ​is songs bought from iTunes prior to the April 2009 introduction of the DRM-free iTunes Plus format. These files, called Protected AAC, won't work on Android because it doesn't support iTunes' DRM. However, you can upgrade these songs to Android-compatible Purchased AAC files.

Playing Apple Music on Android

The Apple Music streaming service is notable because it represents the company's first major Android app. In the past, Apple has only made iOS apps. Apple Music replaces the Beats Music service and app, though, and that ran on Android. Because of that, Apple Music is available to Android users, too. Download the app to get a free trial. Subscriptions for Android users cost the same as for iPhone users.

Playing Podcasts from iTunes on Android

Podcasts are just MP3s, and Android devices can all play MP3s, so compatibility isn't an issue. But with no iTunes or Apple Podcasts app for Android, the question is: why would you try to use iTunes to get podcasts for your Android? Google Play, Spotify, and Stitcher — all apps that run on Android — have sizeable podcast libraries. Technically you could download podcasts from iTunes and sync them to your Android, or find a third-party podcast app that lets you subscribe to iTunes for downloads, but it's simpler to just use one of those apps.

Playing iTunes Videos on Android

All movies and TV shows rented or purchased from iTunes have digital rights management restrictions. Because Android doesn't support Apple's iTunes DRM, videos rented or bought from iTunes won't work on Android. On the other hand, some other kinds of video stored in an iTunes library, such as that recorded using the camera on an iPhone, are compatible with Android.

If you get software to strip out DRM or that does that as part of converting an iTunes video file to another format, you should be able to create an Android-compatible file. The legality of those approaches is questionable, though.

Running iPhone Apps on Android

Alas, iPhone apps don't run on Android. With the huge library of compelling apps and games at the App Store, some Android users might wish they could use iPhone apps, but just like the Mac version of a program won't run on Windows, iOS apps can't run on Android. The Google Play store for Android does offer well over 1 million apps, though.

To learn more about this topic, including some surprising cross-platform possibilities, check out Can You Run iPhone Apps on Android and Windows?

Reading Apple Books on Android

Reading ebooks purchased from Apple's Apple Books Store requires running the Apple Books (formerly iBooks) app. And because Android devices can't run iPhone apps, Apple Books is a no-go on Android (unless, like with videos, you use software to remove the DRM from the Apple Books file; in that scenario Apple Books files are just EPUBs). Luckily there are a number of other great ebook apps that do work on Android, like Amazon's Kindle.

Syncing iTunes and Android

While iTunes won't sync media and other files to Android devices by default, with a little work and a third-party application, the two can talk to each other. Apps that can sync iTunes and Android include doubleTwist Sync from doubleTwist and iSyncr from JRT Studio.

AirPlay Streaming From Android

Android devices can't stream media via Apple's AirPlay protocol out of the box, but with apps they can. If you're already using DoubleTwist's AirSync to sync your Android device and iTunes, an Android app adds AirPlay streaming

It's not part of iTunes, but there's another interesting cross-platform option. Believe it or not, if you want to use Apple's iMessage texting platform on Android, you can.