Q: I’m wondering if it’s possible to have my fourth generation 16 GB iPod nano save voice memos in WAV format instead of M4A. I recorded my first voice memo before it was connected to my PC and I’m wondering if that’s why it uses M4A or if this is the only format the new iPod nano uses for voice memos. Everywhere I look on the net I read that iPod use the WAV format for voice memos, but my nano is using M4A.
A: Traditionally, the iPod has always stored its voice recordings in WAV format. The iPod nano 4G is the exception to this, which saves recordings in Apple Lossless format in order to make more efficient use of the limited space available on the iPod nano.
As the name implies this is a lossless audio compression format that takes up about 50-80% of the space of a raw WAV file without sacrificing any actual audio quality.
This is the standard audio format on the 4G iPod nano and there is not any way to change this. In fact, unlike other iPod models, the iPod nano does not offer any additional quality settings either; all recordings are saved in the highest possible quality.
Voice memos recorded on the iPod nano are automatically synchronized back to iTunes, and can be burned to a CD or transferred to another iPod or iTunes library in the same way as for other audio tracks. However, if you really need them to be in WAV format for compatibility with other devices, iTunes can easily convert them to WAV for you.
To do this, go into your iTunes Preferences and choose the “Import Settings” button from the General tab. From this dialog, set your default import format to use the WAV encoder.
Once you’ve set the default format, you can select the track(s) in question from your iTunes library and convert them into the WAV format by choosing Advanced, Create WAV version from the iTunes menu. This will create a copy of the selected track(s) which you can then copy out of the iTunes library and use in any other application which supports the WAV format. Note that you can also convert these M4A files into the MP3 format in much the same manner—simply choose MP3 Encoder as your default encoder, and then Create MP3 version from the iTunes Advanced menu.