Convert FLAC to High-Quality MP3 (or WAV, or AIFF) for iTunes (OS X)

Something that has bothered me for a very long time is my inability to play FLAC audio files on my Mac. (FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec and does not play in iTunes.) Well, I’ve finally gotten it figured out. Just follow these simple steps.

This tip applies to Apple computers only.  Windows users, follow these tips instead.

  1. Decide whether you would like to keep your files in a lossless format, or to degrade the quality ever so slightly and save tons of space by converting to MP3. Most people can't hear the difference, but if you downloaded FLAC files, maybe you're an audiophile. If you aren't sure, I would recommend going with MP3 to avoid filling up your hard drive.

  2. If you want to convert your FLAC files to MP3, download All2MP3, a free and positively reviewed app (or Tunesify Lite, an alternative on the Mac App Store). Skip the next step.

  3. If you want to keep your audio in a lossless format, Download xACT, which converts from FLAC to WAV or AIFF for free.

  4. Open your FLAC files in xACT, All2MP3, or Tunesify, and begin the conversion process.

  5. Import your converted audio files into iTunes (I usually just drag them onto "Library" on the left).

  6. You’re done! Don't forget to delete the original FLAC files.

Updated November 1, 2009 to compensate for the disappearance of AtomicLemur's converter iLAS; on June 27, 2011, to remove a step indicating a need to manually edit metadata (Thanks, Ben!); and on July 27, 2011, to make note of All2MP3 (thanks, Lionel!).

Cüneyt writes in (April 2012) to recommend X Lossless Decoder as yet another way to convert or play FLAC files on your Mac.

If you discover an even better way to convert FLAC on a Mac or play FLAC audio in iTunes, let me know and I'll update this page, which still helps dozens of other people every day (as of June 27, 2011). Thanks for your helpful comments so far!

November 11th, 2007. (Updated: April 03, 2012 at 3:02am.)
Alan Hogan (@alanhogan_com).  Contact · About