Audiobooks and iTunes Match
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: I was wondering if iTunes Match or iCloud supports audiobooks?
A: The short (and official) answer is no; iTunes Match is only for music at this point, although that does include music videos as well.
That said, however, the only real difference between a music track and an audiobook track is how it’s tagged in iTunes, so reclassifying your audiobooks as Music tracks will cause iTunes to treat them the same way as it would any other music track, making them potentially eligible for iTunes Match.
You can do this simply by opening the track properties using File, Get Info, choosing the Options tab and changing the “Media Kind” to “Music.”
This will cause these tracks to appear in the Music section in iTunes and iOS rather than the Audiobooks section, however you can still use artist, album and genre tags to help locate and classify them and add them to playlists. The downside is that you will lose access to audiobook specific features such as variable speed playback, chapter markers and bookmarks; the Remember Playback Position can still be set on a music track but this does not sync between devices via iCloud.
As long as these reclassified “music” tracks otherwise meet the criteria for iTunes Match—a bit-rate greater than 96kbps and maximum size of 200 MB—iTunes will attempt to match them with music on the iTune Store (and fail of course) and then upload them to iCloud in the same way as any other unmatched music track.
The most common problem you’re likely to run into with this trick is that most audiobooks use a lower bit-rate and are therefore ineligible for iTunes Match. In this case, however, you can convert these tracks to a higher bit-rate if you really want them available in iTunes Match; you won’t gain any quality but it will allow the tracks to be uploaded. Note that this will not work for audiobooks purchased from the iTunes Store or Audible.com as the DRM protection on these files will prevent them from being converted to an iTunes Match eligible format. Further, iTunes will not convert tracks to a higher bit-rate in the same format, although you can get around this by converting MP3 tracks to AAC or vice-versa or simply using an external audio conversion tool.
The 200 MB limitation may also be an issue for longer audiobooks, although at 128kbps you should be able to get around three hours of audio in a single file. If your audiobooks are divided into chapters anyway this is unlikely to be a problem; larger audiobooks can also be split manually using any number of freely available tools and then organized into playlists for listening.
The bottom line is that how effective this workaround is will depend on the type of audiobooks you have in your library. This works best with unprotected audiobooks imported from CD, particularly since these are often divided into manageable individual tracks anyway. On the other end of the spectrum, if your library consists mostly of audiobooks purchased from iTunes or Audible you’ll simply be out of luck as there is no easy way to get these into iTunes Match. Hopefully we will see support for audiobooks, podcasts and other media types come to iTunes Match in the future, but as always Apple is completely quiet about its future plans and therefore we can only speculate if this support will ever appear.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Elgato announces HomeKit-enabled Eve Light Switch
- Apple delays AirPods release
- Report: iPhone 8 likely to come in three glass-backed sizes
- Report: New Apple TV app to provide show recommendations
- Apple’s German website adds Apple Pay support page, but still no launch
- Notes from Apple’s Q4 2016 earnings call
- Apple Q4 2016: $46.9B revenue, 45.5M iPhones + 9.2M iPads sold
- Apple reportedly hiring engineers from BlackBerry, developing car operating system in Canada
- Apple releases PowerBeats3 Wireless earphones
- Apple Pay launch in Japan encounters major problems
- Creative iRoar Go Portable Bluetooth Speaker
- Bowers & Wilkins P3 Series 2 Headphones
- Incase Icon, Pop, and Textured Snap for iPhone 7/7 Plus
- Philips Hue Motion Sensor
- Bowers & Wilkins P9 Signature Headphones
- Tech Armor FlexProtect and Shock Flex for iPhone 7/7 Plus
- SwitchEasy Flash and Fleur for iPhone 7/7 Plus
- Blue Microphones Raspberry Mobile Microphone
- Incipio Haven for iPhone 7 and Reprieve Sport for iPhone 7 Plus
- Mophie Hold Force Magnetic Case System for iPhone 7
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of watchOS 3
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 10
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 10
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps