What File Extension Does iTunes Music Have?

iTunes Music

File extensions are used to indicate the format of files so operating systems know what to do with them. It is part of the file name and uniquely identifies the type of file, also referred to as the format. There are hundreds of file extensions – from .a to .z. And then there are special characters and numbers, too. Why so many? Reason are as follow:

  1. Different files can contain very different data
  2. Different software applications organize similar data in different ways
  3. Some formats are very specific to a single operating system. For example, some multimedia files may only play on a computer with Windows and some only on a Mac.

So, now that you’ve got a basic understanding of file extension, let’s get back to our topic today. Do you know what file extension do iTunes music have? In this article, we’ll discuss about iTunes music extension and see how iTunes uses iTunes library file and media folder to organize and store the music and other media.

About iTunes supported audio file format

iTunes supports five different audio file formats. You can see them by choosing iTunes > Preferences, clicking the General tab, then clicking Import Settings.

  • AAC Encoder: This default choice compresses files in AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) format. AAC is not, as many people think, a proprietary format created by Apple. It is part of the MP4 standard and can be used by any hardware or software. In the early days of the use of AAC, not all devices supported this format, but now, pretty much every device – both for portable use and for use with a home stereo – can handle AAC.
  • AIFF Encoder: Both AIFF and WAV files encapsulate raw sound data (in PCM, or pulse code modulation, format) from a music CD in file headers so the data can be used on computers. This format is uncompressed, and it takes up a lot of space, around 600–700 MB per disc, or about 10 MB per minute of audio.
  • Apple Lossless Encoder: Apple Lossless is a lossless format that Apple created. It retains all the original musical data while taking up much less space than AIFF. Audio from a CD ripped in Apple Lossless format takes up about 250–400 MB, or around 7 MB per minute, depending on the type of music. (See this article for some real-world examples of the actual amount of compression achieved with Apple Lossless.)
  • MP3 Encoder: Most people are familiar with MP3 files, which were the catalyst for the digital music revolution. MP3 files can play on just about any device or program that handles digital music.
  • WAV Encoder: Like AIFF, WAV is uncompressed, and takes up the same amount of space.

About the iTunes Library.itl file

The iTunes Library.itl file is a database of the songs in your library and the playlists that you’ve created. Some song-specific data is saved in this file. If you delete this file, iTunes creates a new, empty copy the next time that you open it. Your playlists, song ratings, comments, or other information is lost. The iTunes Library.itl file is used only by iTunes, and is the only one backed up by Time Machine on OS X.

New versions of iTunes sometimes include enhancements to the iTunes library. When you open a new version of iTunes, iTunes updates your existing library to the new format and places a copy of the old library in the Previous Libraries folder.

About the iTunes Library.xml file

The iTunes Library.xml file contains some, but not all, of the same information that’s stored in the iTunes Library.itl file. The purpose of the iTunes Library.xml file is to make your music and playlists available to other applications on your computer, such as iPhoto, Garageband, iMovie, and third-party software, in OS X Mountain Lion and earlier. These applications use this file to make it easier for you to add music from your iTunes library to your projects.

By default, iTunes 12.2 and later doesn’t create an iTunes Library.xml. If you’re using OS X Mountain Lion or earlier or a third-party app that uses the XML file, you need to enable Legacy library XML support:

  • Open iTunes.
  • From the menu bar at the top of your computer screen, choose iTunes > Preferences.
  • Click the Advanced tab.
  • Select “Share iTunes Library XML with other applications.”

iTunes Music Library

The iTunes Library.xml file is no longer used by the latest versions of Apple media applications on OS X Yosemite and later. Some third-party applications might still need it. Contact the software developer for more information.

If iTunes seems slow to open, try deselecting “Share iTunes Library XML with other applications.”

Read more:

How to Convert iTunes M4P Music to MP3

How to Move iTunes Music Library to Dropbox

Zoey Wesson

Zoey Wesson is passionate about providing digital media solutions to people who want to create innovative content via Apple music conversion, online audio recording, etc.