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Is there a way to down-convert songs on-the-fly while syncing from iTunes to my iPod?

Most of my music library is in Apple Lossless format, which obviously takes a large amount of space - not suitable for a mobile audio player.

I want to be able to convert songs from Apple Lossless to MP3/AAC on-the-fly, without needing to convert them manually prior to syncing. Thus I will have more space on my iPod, and the lower sound quality is negligible when using normal headphones.

I know this feature is available for iPod Shuffles, but how can I enable it for other iPod types?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Of course such on the fly conversion is possible since iTunes 10, at least with the iPod Touch models. I was doing this in late 2010 I believe with an iPod Touch 3rd gen and with the iPhone 3gs after that. The downside of course being the conversion takes some time.

If other models of the iPod, Nano and so one support this I don't know.

Unless your device have IOS 5 on it, this script by Doug Adams could also work: Lossless to AAC Workflow v2.2: "Makes a converted AAC copy of each Apple Lossless or AIFF track selected in iTunes Adds the AAC file to iPod, deleting the original AAC from iTunes."

I haven't tried as my 3gs is on IOS 5.1.1 and except for FLACs I already have conversion support.

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Thanks for updating. :) –  Ory Band Jan 13 '13 at 23:20

I have the exact same issue and the exact same request of iTunes. It does not exist for other iPods/iPhones. (And since I don't have a Shuffle I'm not exactly how good the feature is.) It really does surprise me that this feature hasn't been built out for other devices.

My only advice is to let Apple know that you want this feature, that's what I did. http://www.apple.com/feedback/itunesapp.html

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That is a long standing request with iTunes/iPod, and the answer looks like a no. Do send your feedback to apple!

I also have mostly ALAC files and settled on using smart playlists to auto-sync my ipod with various music without having concerns for disk usage management. I divided my ipod into fixed-size 'chunks' such as : most recently added albums (up to xGB) + most often played or top rated (up to xGB), etc.

Still, a downside is that battery usage remains quite higher with bigger files, especially on the HDD-based ones.

A last resort is to abandon iTunes. MediaMonkey is a pretty good paying alternative to iTunes that have supported portable device on-the-fly transcoding for a long while (it works great, tested it). But some specific features I like, such as embedded lyrics, were not supported the last time I checked.

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