Finding MP3 tracks in iTunes
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: For a while now I have been trying to figure out how to locate all of the MP3 formatted songs in my iTunes library and convert them to AAC. This becomes increasingly difficult when your iTunes is over 50 GB and the only way I have is to use the search feature in Finder to see a list then go back into iTunes and search again then convert. This takes forever as you might imagine. Is there a better way to do this?
A: There are definitely much easier ways to do this; you can create a Smart Playlist to gather all of your MP3 files in one place and then view and convert them from there or simply display the “Kind” column in your main iTunes library by going to your View Options and then sort by that column to group all of your MP3 tracks together.
Ideally, if you have a lot of tracks you’re planning to convert, a Smart Playlist is the easiest option. A Smart Playlist is basically a saved search of your iTunes library that will always display tracks based on selected criteria. You can therefore easily tell it to only include MP3 tracks and it will remain updated to only display those tracks in your library that are in MP3 format.
To create a new Smart Playlist, simply choose New Smart Playlist from the File menu in iTunes, and a dialog box will appear asking you to specify the criteria for your Smart Playlist. Set “Kind” to “MPEG Audio” and the Smart Playlist will only include your MP3 files.
You can also specify additional criteria if you want to narrow the list down further, such as ensuring you include only Music tracks, or filtering your list to a certain bit rate only.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind about converting your tracks to AAC. Firstly, be aware that iTunes makes a copy of any converted tracks rather than overwriting the original track. This means that the MP3 file will still remain in your Smart Playlist and a new, duplicate track will be created in AAC format. You’ll have to manually delete each MP3 track yourself once you’re satisfied with the conversion; you can do this directly from a Smart Playlist by holding down the SHIFT key (Windows) or OPT key (Mac) while hitting the delete button.
More importantly, however, you may want to consider the issue of quality loss from converting between lossy formats. Converting an MP3 file to AAC will result in a quality loss, as you’re effectively getting the combination of two different lossy encoders. This may not be a huge issue if you’re dealing with high-quality source MP3 files (ie, 256kbps or higher) and going to a lower bit-rate AAC format, but there will still be a quality loss. You will always be far better off to re-rip the tracks as AAC from their original source CDs if you have them, and as an added advantage, iTunes can actually replace reimported tracks for you, saving you the trouble of having to cleanup duplicate tracks. In this case, the MP3 Smart Playlist can still be a useful way of identifying those tracks that you want to re-rip from CD, and the tracks will actually be removed from the Smart Playlist as you re-rip them in AAC format.
- 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?
- Apple releases iOS 9.3 beta 3, tvOS 9.2 beta 3, watchOS 2.2 beta 3 to developers
- Indie game ‘The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth’ rejected by Apple over violence toward children
- Apple likely to receive approval to open retail stores in India
- Study finds Apple Watch is best fitness tracker for privacy, security
- Conflicting reports over pink color to be featured in iPhone 5se
- Report: Some third-party repairs ‘bricking’ iPhones with iOS 9
- Report: Apple to bid on NFL Thursday Night Football streaming rights
- Apple to begin taking broken iPhones for trade-in, offer in-store screen protector installation
- Apple ordered to pay $625M to VirnetX in patent case
- Apple Pay reaches 2 million retail locations
- Gumdrop Cases DropTech Case for iPad Pro
- Edifier MP700 Rave Portable Bluetooth Speaker
- Just Mobile HoverDock for Apple Watch + HoverDock for iPhone
- VRS Design Dandy Layered Case for iPad Pro
- Just Mobile TENC for iPad Pro
- Native Union DOCK Lightning
- Native Union DOCK for Apple Watch
- Hitcase Pro+ Action Pack and Snap for iPhone 6/6s
- Urban Armor Gear Trooper for iPhone 6/6s
- NEBO CaseBrite for iPhone 6 Plus/6s Plus
- Inside the betas: What’s new in iOS 9.3 and tvOS 9.2 (Updated)
- Life with HomeKit: Our experiences with Apple’s home automation system
- Under the Radar: 10 ‘hidden’ details about the new Apple TV
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.0
- Under the Radar: A closer look at smaller iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus changes
- A First Look at iOS 9’s Transit in Apple Maps (Updated for watchOS 2)
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iTunes 12.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 8.4 + Apple Music
- CE Week 2015: IK Multimedia, Monowear’s Apple Watch bands + More
- Live From CE Week 2015: Brand New iPad, iPhone + Mac Accessories!