AAC vs. MP3

Find out which music format is best for your iOS device

Not all digital music files are MP3s, many other formats exist including AAC. Usually, you choose the file format you want to save songs in, which is useful when ripping CDs in iTunes or converting lossless high-quality files to other formats. Both MP3 and AAC music file formats have strengths and weaknesses, such as file size and sound quality. We’ve reviewed both to help you decide which is best for your iPhone.

For an in-depth look, find out what differentiates an MP3 from an AAC.

General Conclusions

AAC

  • Small file size.

  • Better sound quality than MP3.

  • Not a proprietary format.

  • May not be compatible with all devices.

MP3

  • Small file size.

  • Compatible with most mobile audio devices.

  • Not a proprietary file format.

  • Lower sound quality than ACC.

  • An older file format.

AAC and MP3 are the most common file types used with iPhone and iTunes. They are similar, but they differ in four important ways.

File size: AAC for victory

AAC and MP3 are compressed file formats. This means that they reduce file sizes by removing some hard-to-hear parts of the song while maintaining good sound quality. AAC is generally the slightly smaller file type.

AAC files are generally higher quality and slightly smaller than MP3 files of the same song. The reasons are technical, but the simplest explanation is that AAC was created after MP3 and offers a more efficient compression scheme to reduce audio quality loss.

Compatibility: MP3 works just about anywhere

MP3 is the most common digital music format, so you can rely on virtually any device capable of playing it. AAC isn’t as common, but most devices can play it, including all Apple products.

In addition to AAC and MP3, Apple devices support formats such as Apple Lossless Encoding, AIFF, and WAV, high-quality uncompressed file types used to create CDs. Avoid using them unless you know what they are and why you want them.

AAC was not created by Apple and is not an Apple proprietary format. AAC can be used with a variety of non-Apple devices, although it is the native file format for the iTunes Store and Apple Music.

Audio quality: the sweet sounds of AAC

The quality of the music in each file format is essential. It can be difficult to distinguish between AAC and MP3 files on most devices, but AAC sometimes sounds slightly better.

What is the best music format: AAC or MP3?

Proprietary format: it’s a draw

Digital Rights Management (DRM) refers to restrictions on how you use and share your music. There are no DRM restrictions on the files you create, but if you buy music from a store or download music from a streaming service like Apple Music, it’s worth knowing if DRM is used.

Final Verdict: AAFC

If you plan to stay with iPhone, iTunes and Apple for a long time, use AAC for your digital music. You can still use iTunes to convert AAC files to MP3 format if you decide to switch to a device that doesn’t support AAC (although there aren’t many such devices). In the meantime, using AAC means your music will sound great and you can store plenty of it.

Create AAC files from high quality sources such as CDs. If you convert MP3 to AAC, you will lose audio quality.


More information about AAC vs. MP3

Discover which music format is better for your iOS device

Not all digital music files are MP3s, many other formats exist, including AAC. Usually, you choose the file format in which you want to save songs, which is useful when ripping CDs in iTunes or converting high-quality, lossless files to other formats. The MP3 and AAC music file formats have strengths and weaknesses, such as file size and sound quality. We reviewed both to help you choose which is better for your iPhone.

For a deep-dive look, find out what makes an MP3 different from an AAC.

Overall Findings
AAC

Small file size.

Better sound quality than MP3.

Not a proprietary format.

May not be compatible with every device.

MP3

Small file size.

Compatible with most mobile audio devices.

Not a proprietary file format.

Lower sound quality than ACC.

An older file format.

AAC and MP3 are the most common file types used with the iPhone and iTunes. They’re similar, but they differ in four important ways.

File Size: AAC for the Win

Both AAC and MP3 are compressed file formats. That means that they make files small by removing some hard-to-hear parts of the song while keeping the sound quality good. AAC is generally the slightly smaller file type.

AAC files are generally higher quality and slightly smaller than MP3 files of the same song. The reasons are technical, but the simplest explanation is that AAC was created after MP3 and offers a more efficient compression scheme so that less audio quality is lost.

Compatibility: MP3 Works Just About Everywhere

MP3 is the most common digital music format, so you can count on virtually any device being able to play it. AAC isn’t as common, but most devices can play it, including all Apple products.

Besides AAC and MP3, Apple devices support formats like Apple Lossless Encoding, AIFF, and WAV—high-quality, uncompressed file types used to create CDs. Avoid using them unless you know what they are and why you want them.

AAC was not created by Apple and it’s not a proprietary Apple format. AAC can be used with a variety of non-Apple devices, although it is the natural file format for the iTunes Store and Apple Music.

Audio Quality: The Sweet Sounds of AAC

How good the music sounds in each file format is key. It can be tough to distinguish between AAC and MP3 files on most devices, but AAC sometimes sounds slightly better.

What Is the Best Format For Music: AAC or MP3?
Proprietary Format: It’s a Toss-Up

Digital Rights Management (DRM) refers to restrictions on how you use and share your music. There’s no DRM restriction on files you create, but if you buy music from a store or download music from a streaming service like Apple Music, it’s worth finding out if DRM is used.

Final Verdict: AAC

If you plan to stick with the iPhone, iTunes, and Apple for a long time, use AAC for your digital music. You can always use iTunes to convert AAC files to MP3 format if you decide to switch to a device that doesn’t support AAC (though there aren’t many such devices). In the meantime, using AAC means that your music will sound good and you’ll be able to store a lot of it.

Create AAC files from high-quality sources like CDs. If you convert an MP3 to an AAC, you’ll lose some audio quality.

#AAC #MP3


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