Can you download songs from Apple Music to mp3?

Apple Music is Apple’s streaming music service that gives users access to over 90 million songs that they can listen to on demand. MP3 is a popular digital audio format that allows songs to be compressed so they take up less storage space. MP3s became widely used in the late 1990s when peer-to-peer sharing sites like Napster gained popularity for sharing music files online.

While Apple Music streams music that is not actually downloaded to your device storage, many people still like having local music libraries of songs stored as MP3 files. Downloading Apple Music songs as MP3s allows you to play them on non-Apple devices, burn songs to a CD, and have music available offline.

Can You Download Apple Music Songs as MP3 Files?

Yes, it is possible to download songs from Apple Music as MP3 files using third-party software. Apple Music songs are downloaded in the proprietary AAC format by default. However, with the right tools, you can convert the AAC files to the more common MP3 format.

Apps like TuneFab Apple Music Converter allow you to download Apple Music songs, albums, or playlists and convert them to MP3. The conversion maintains high audio quality while changing the file format. This gives you more flexibility with where and how you can listen to the music.

So with third-party software, you can download any Apple Music song for offline listening and convert it to MP3 format. This lets you play the music on more devices, back it up, and organize it how you want.

Why Download Apple Music to MP3?

There are several key reasons why someone may want to download their Apple Music to MP3 files:

Owning the music forever – When you download songs from Apple Music as MP3s, you get to keep that file forever, even if you unsubscribe or cancel your Apple Music membership. The MP3 is yours to keep.

Portability – MP3s can be easily copied, transferred and played on almost any device. They allow you to take your music collection with you and listen on different platforms.

Uploading to other services – Once you have the MP3 files, you can upload them to other services like YouTube, Facebook or cloud storage. This gives you more flexibility in how and where you access the music.

Compatibility – Older devices may not support newer formats like Apple’s proprietary AAC files. Converting to MP3 allows the music to be played back on older MP3 players, car stereos, etc.[1]

Backups – Having MP3 files gives you a backup of your Apple Music collection that is not dependent on an internet connection or subscription to access.

Higher bitrates – Apple Music’s streaming bitrate is 256kbps AAC. Converting to 320kbps MP3 allows for higher audio quality.

Steps to Download Apple Music as MP3

Downloading Apple Music songs as MP3 files requires using third-party software, as iTunes and Apple Music do not have a built-in option to convert songs to MP3 format. Here are the steps to download Apple Music as MP3:

  1. Install third party software like NoteBurner Apple Music Converter on your computer.
  2. Open the software and log into your Apple ID associated with your Apple Music subscription.
  3. Find and select the Apple Music songs or playlists you want to download and convert.
  4. Choose MP3 as the output format.
  5. Configure any other output settings like bitrate quality.
  6. Click the “Convert” button to start downloading and converting the songs to MP3 format.
  7. The MP3 files will be saved to your designated local folder on your computer once the process finishes.

Following these steps using iTunes-approved third party software provides a straightforward way to download Apple Music songs for offline playback and usage as MP3 files. The process requires installing the software and logging into your Apple Music account, but then it’s just a few clicks to select, convert and save the files.

Using Third Party Software Options

There are several third party software options available to help convert and download Apple Music songs as MP3 files. Some top choices include:

iSkysoft iMusic – This is an Apple Music converter and downloader that allows you to convert songs to MP3 or other formats. It works on both Mac and Windows. iMusic can download music directly from Apple Music with metadata and covers preserved. It is easy to use with fast conversion speeds (source).

NoteBurner Apple Music Converter – Designed specifically for converting Apple Music to MP3 while removing DRM protection. It can download and convert playlists or tracks while maintaining original quality. NoteBurner works at 10X faster speed than real-time playback (source).

Sidify Apple Music Converter – Allows you to convert DRM-protected Apple Music files to common formats like MP3, FLAC, AAC at 5X faster speed. It downloads and converts in batch. Sidify is compatible with Mac and Windows (source).

There are free trials available for most of these converters so you can test them out before purchasing. They provide an easy way to convert Apple Music to unprotected MP3 format.

Tips for Downloading Apple Music

When downloading music from Apple Music, there are some best practices you can follow to avoid issues. Here are some tips:

  • Make sure you have a stable internet connection when downloading. Downloads can fail if the connection drops.
  • Download one album or playlist at a time. Trying to download too much at once can overload the servers.
  • If a download gets stuck, cancel it and try again. Restarting the download can often resolve errors.
  • Update to the latest version of iOS or macOS. Apple sometimes fixes bugs related to Music downloads in software updates.
  • If downloads keep failing, try toggling Airplane Mode on and off to reset the network connection.
  • Delete old downloads to free up storage space for new downloads. Apple Music caps device storage.
  • Check that you have enough iCloud storage available if you use iCloud Music Library.
  • As a last resort, try deleting the app and reinstalling it to clear out any corrupted files.

Following these tips should help avoid the most common issues that can prevent successfully downloading tracks from Apple Music. Let the songs download completely before turning off or suspending your device to have the best chance of getting an error-free download.

Downloading Playlists vs Individual Songs

When using Apple Music, there is a difference between downloading a full playlist versus downloading individual songs. Playlists in Apple Music are collections of songs grouped together for easy listening. Downloading an entire playlist will save all the songs in that playlist locally on your device.

To download a full playlist, open the playlist, tap the three dots next to the playlist name, and select “Download”. This will download all the songs in that playlist to your device. You can then listen to the playlist offline without using mobile data or an internet connection. The songs will be saved until you delete the downloaded playlist.

Downloading individual songs is a bit different. When you download a single song, it is saved locally but not added to a playlist. To download individual songs, tap the “+” icon next to any song, album, or artist to add it to your library. Then tap the cloud icon next to each song to download it.

The main difference is that playlists allow you to download batches of songs grouped together, while individual songs let you cherry pick specific tracks to save for offline listening. Playlists are better for downloading full albums or themed collections, while individual songs give you more granularity.

Maintaining Quality When Converting

When converting Apple Music files from AAC or m4a to mp3, it’s important to be aware of potential quality loss. The AAC format used by Apple Music offers better audio quality than mp3 at similar bitrates. So converting to mp3 may degrade quality if the bitrate is lowered too much.

To maintain the best possible quality when converting Apple Music to mp3, it’s recommended to use a bitrate of at least 192 kbps. This provides a good balance of quality and file size for most listening. Going lower than 192 kbps risks more noticeable quality reduction.

In addition, make sure to use constant bitrate (CBR) instead of variable bitrate (VBR) encoding. VBR can sometimes alter quality during playback by lowering bitrate at quieter sections. CBR keeps the bitrate consistent throughout the file.

Some Apple Music conversion software like TuneFab allows customizing encoder settings when converting to mp3. Take advantage of this to dial in the optimal quality settings.

Also be aware that converting from lossy to lossy (AAC to mp3) can compound quality loss versus converting original lossless files. So when possible, seek out original lossless versions for the cleanest mp3 conversion results.

With some care taken on encoder settings, mp3 conversion can retain excellent quality while greatly reducing file sizes compared to AAC. Maintaining 192+ kbps during conversion is recommended to preserve a transparent, near-CD-quality listening experience.

Alternatives to Downloading as MP3

While downloading Apple Music songs as MP3 files is useful for some listeners, there are other ways to access your Apple Music library that don’t require converting songs.

One alternative is to download Apple Music songs as AAC files, which is the default format used by Apple for audio files. AAC provides better audio quality than MP3 at similar bitrates. Downloading as AAC avoids any potential quality loss from converting to MP3.

You can also choose to simply stream your Apple Music songs directly within the Apple Music app. This does not require any conversion or downloading. Streaming provides access to your library from any device where you’re logged into your Apple ID.

Using an Apple TV, AirPlay, or Bluetooth to stream to speakers is another way to listen without downloading audio files. This allows high quality wireless playback.

Overall, while MP3 downloads provide offline listening and portability, alternatives like AAC, streaming, and wireless audio playback give more flexibility. Consider your listening needs to decide if downloading as MP3 is necessary versus other options.


In summary, downloading songs from Apple Music as MP3 files can be beneficial for several reasons. It allows you to access the songs offline, play them on more devices, back them up long term, and avoid issues if you unsubscribe from Apple Music. While downloading directly from Apple Music is not possible, using third party software provides a workaround to save tracks as MP3 files. The key points covered were:

  • Downloading lets you access songs offline and across more devices than Apple Music streaming alone.
  • MP3 versions can serve as backups so you still have the songs if unsubscribing from Apple Music.
  • Software like TunesBank Apple Music Converter enables converting to MP3 format.
  • You can download individual songs or full playlists as MP3 files.
  • It’s important to maintain audio quality when converting to MP3 format.

Overall, with the right software, downloading Apple Music as MP3s gives more flexibility and control over your music library.