Convert Higher Bitrate Songs on Your iPod Touch

Down-sample iTunes songs on your iPod Touch to free-up space

Apple Launches Upgraded iPod
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Songs purchased from the iTunes Store come in the AAC format and have a typical bitrate of 256 Kbps. This provides good quality audio when listening on a wide range of equipment including decent stereo systems. However, If you listen to your iPod's songs using equipment that may not be that 'hi-fi' (standard earbuds or a speaker dock for example), then you probably won't hear much of a difference (if any) in quality by downgrading the bitrate.

The iTunes software provides a painless way to convert the songs stored on your iPod to a lower bitrate -- doing this can reduce file sizes by up to half. This is quite a reduction and can free-up quite a bit of space on your device. Luckily, you don't have to go through every single song in your iTunes library and convert them by hand. There's just one option you need to enable in the iTunes software to transcode songs to a lower bitrate.

Another upside in doing it this way is that songs only get changed on your iPod, leaving the ones in your computer's music library untouched. It's an 'on-the-fly' process that converts songs as they get synced to your iOS device.

Configuring iTunes to Downgrade The Bitrate of Songs When Syncing

To enable the option to automatically convert songs to a lower bitrate, launch the iTunes software and follow the steps below.

  1. If you don't have the sidebar already enabled in iTunes then consider using it as it makes things a bit easier when viewing your iPod's status etc. This view mode is disabled by default in iTunes 11+, but can be enabled by clicking the View menu tab at the top of the screen and choosing the View Sidebar option. If you are a Mac user, then there's a keyboard shortcut that you can use -- simply hold down [Option]+[Command] keys and press S.
  1. Using the data cable that came with your iPod Touch, connect your Apple device to your computer -- this will normally require a spare USB port. After a few moments you should see your iPod's name displayed in the sidebar (look in the Devices section).
  2. Click the name of your iPod. You should now see information about your device displayed in the main iTunes pane. If you don't see information about your iPod such as model, serial number, etc., then click the Summary tab.
  1. On the main summary screen scroll down to the Options section.
  2. Click the check box next to Convert Higher Bit Rate Songs to...
  3. To reduce synced songs as much as possible it's best to leave it on the default setting of 128 kbps. However, you can change this value if you want by clicking the down arrow.
  4. You'll notice that an 'apply' button also appears when enabling the above option. If you are sure you want to convert the songs stored on your iPod to the new bitrate, click Apply following by the Sync button.

Don't worry about the songs stored in your computer's iTunes library. These won't change as iTunes only converts them one way (to the iPod).

Tip: You'll also notice right at the bottom of the screen that there's a multi-colored bar. This gives you a visual representation of what types of media are on your iPod and the proportions of each. The blue part represents the amount of audio taking up space on your device. Hovering your mouse pointer over this part will show a numerical value for a more precise reading. It's interesting to see how much space is saved using this visual once the conversion process has finished.