Which One is Better: AAC or MP3?


AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) is an audio format, it is written as file extension type .m4a, .m4b, .m4p, .m4v, .m4r, .3gp, .mp4 and .aac. The music tracks purchased in iTunes store and Apple Music app are in encrypted AAC format and only can be applied to iOS. Which is quite different from MP3 (MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3). MP3 is the most popular audio format that can be played at any mobile devices and computers. It’s friendly to Apple users and Android users.

Similar to MP3, the AAC format which utilizes lossy digital audio compression, seems to be in a convenient position to replace MP3 rather than FLAC, which is a completely different format for lossless compression of digital audio. AAC can provided higher quality compared with MP3, meanwhile, even to save 30% storage space and in lower kbps. So, without further ado, let’s pit AAC vs MP3 and find out if it’s ready to replace MP3:

AAC vs MP3: Comparison
AAC vs MP3

1. Popularity

AAC file format, is not even close to being as popular as MP3 as of now, but it’s rapidly progressing to say the least. A slew of streaming and broadcasting services presently use the AAC file format, as it’s a more efficient audio codec when compared to MP3. However, it has been overshadowed by the latter in terms of popularity and only until recently has it started to popularize like crazy, thanks to Apple making use of this format across all their popular services.

2. File Size

AAC outshines the MP3 file format in this department, as AAC files are slightly smaller than the MP3 files of the same song. Let’s say, you have an MP3 file of a song weighing in at 10 MB. The same song in the AAC file format will weigh just around 8 MB. If you’ve stored music in the AAC file format, you’ll certainly save a good chunk of storage space.

3. Sound Quality

AAC is a newer, adopting more sophisticated codec than MP3 so as to offer you an audio file with even smaller size and a tad higher quality. See, if your AAC audio file is inherent with 160kbps, then you should adjust your MP3 file with 256 kbps to reach the same audio quality.

4. Compatibility

I hope you probably know the answer already. If not, MP3 file format is the king of compatibility without a doubt, being supported by almost every single music player and device that’s capable of music playback.

Tips: There is a method to DRM protection and convert AAC to plain MP3 or M4A files. Apple Music Converter provides a shortcut for you to bypass the Apple’s Fairplay limitations and makes you enjoy Apple Music or iTunes Playlists freely.

When it comes to AAC, that’s not really the case, as it doesn’t work on certain music players and devices, but it’s getting there. AAC has been widely used by Apple across all their popular devices like iPhones, iPods etc. and iTunes software as well. Now that MP3 is considered obsolete, we’re certain that manufacturers and developers will jump on the AAC bandwagon and provide complete support for this audio format across all the devices and software.

AAC vs MP3: AAC Is The Future

Admit it or not, after the demise of the much-loved MP3 format, AAC can easily be considered as a worthy successor, as it outperforms the MP3 format in almost every aspect apart from Popularity and Compatibility, but tables can turn in the following years. Just give AAC some time, and it will soon be right at the top, where MP3 used to be. So, are you ready to make the switch to AAC format for music files or are you just going to stick with the MP3 for bit more?