How to Convert FLAC and APE to iTunes and Maintain Your Sanity

Do you have a large collection of FLAC files that you want to use in iTunes or on your iPod? If you do, you’re out of luck because Apple only supports their own lossless format. Of course you know that already which is probably why you are here.

I too have the same problem as you. I spent hours scouring the Internet for instructions on how to convert my FLAC and APE files into something I could bring into iTunes. I found some instructions for doing this in Windows, some plugins that I could hack into Quicktime. Each solution I found seemed to be rather convoluted.

After spending a few hours on searching for this, I was resigned to write some of my own Apple Script to perform this process. Just before I started, I came across a tool that could convert all of my lossless audio files to Apple formats or MP3s. Incredibly, this program was free.

Enter XLD

XLD is an open source application Mac application that will convert audio file formats from one format to another. It’s really simple. It was written by a Japanese Mac developer so it was a bit of a challenge to find on the Internet.

Download XLD from this link and follow the instructions below.

Launch XLD

When you do, you’ll see that not much has really changed. You need to first setup XLD to convert to the format you’re interested in. Select XLD then preferences from the menu bar. This will open the following dialog

iTunes FLAC Conversion

The default output format is WAV. This is another lossless format originally for Windows. We want to change that to either MPEG-4 AAC or Apple Lossless. Click the Output dropdown menu and select the format you want to convert to.

XLD Select Formats

 

I generally convert to MPEG-4 AAC. The default settings for this format are not that great so you may want to bump them up a bit. Select Option to the right of the output dropdown list and the make the following adjustments.

XLD AAC settings

You also want to make sure that the track and title information or metadata is preserved when you convert the audio formats. This will ensure that the song titles show up in iTunes properly. Select the Metadata menu and make sure it is setup like the screen shot below.

XLD Metadata settings

The last step will load the files into iTunes when the encoding is finished. If you go back to the”General” tab there is a checkbox “Add encoded files to iTunes if possible.”

 

Now you’re ready to convert. Select Open from the XLD File menu, select the File or Files you want to convert, then sit back and relax. It’s that easy. It’s also really fast. You should be finished in a few minutes.

2016-05-08 at 8.48 AM

There you have it a super easy way to convert FLAC files to an iTunes compatible format. You didn’t even need to get your hands dirty.

10 Comments

  1. sunshinetom on August 30, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    In order to import FLAC to iTunes, we will need to convert FLAC to Apple friendly audio formats.
    If you care the quality of the output audio, converting FLAC to Apple Lossless audio is recommended. You can visit this guide for converting FLAC to Apple Lossless at http://www.bigasoft.com/articles/how-to-convert-flac-to-apple-lossless-audio.html then import FLAC to iTunes for enjoy or for sync.
    If you do not care about the quality of the music, you can convert FLAC to MP3, a versatile audio format across system and devices then import the converted FLAC files to iTunes. You can find the step by step guide at http://www.bigasoft.com/articles/how-to-import-flac-to-itunes.html

    • Joe on September 21, 2011 at 8:26 pm

      Cool thanks for the info.

  2. jerseyanon on February 9, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    awesome. works perfectly and quickly. thank you

  3. SS on May 5, 2012 at 12:40 am

    Thanks a lot!

  4. Emre Tiritoglu on March 10, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Working to do this like 4 hours until I see this. Thanks for your help! This is the easiest way!!!

  5. lruaimbso on April 26, 2014 at 4:02 am

    I suggest you read this article http://faasoft.com/articles/flac-to-itunes.html to import FLAC to iTunes.

    • portotalley on July 20, 2014 at 11:20 pm

      According to wikipedia, iTunes can currently read, write and convert between MP3, AIFF, WAV, MPEG-4, AAC and Apple Lossless (.m4a). That is we still cannot import and play FLAC in iTunes.

      In order to play FLAC/APE in iTunes, we had better convert FLAC/APE to iTunes more supported audio format with a third party software like idealshare videogo which can convert FLAC/APE/OGG/WMA/RA to iTunes supported Apple Lossless, MP3, WAV, AAC, AIFF on Mac or Windows

  6. portotalley on July 20, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    Just google search How to Use iDealshare VideoGo to Convert FLAC to iTunes, you will find a detailed guide.

  7. […] written about XLD and how cool it is to convert FLAC and APE files into iTunes. Using that program is only part of my workflow […]

  8. xiangshuii on February 20, 2017 at 4:40 am

    You can convert APE to Apple Lossless with Avdshare Audio Converter.

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