.M4A File Extension

MPEG-4 Audio

Developer Apple
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What is an M4A file?

An M4A file is an audio file that may store various types of audio content, such as songs, podcasts, and audiobooks. It is saved in the MPEG-4 format and encoded with either the Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) codec or the Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC). Various media players, including Microsoft Windows Media Player 2022 (Windows) and Apple Music (macOS) can open M4A files.

More Information

Screenshot of a .m4a file in Adobe Audition 2021
M4A file open in Adobe Audition 2021

MPEG-4 is a multimedia container format that supports video, audio, subtitle, and image data encoded in different codecs. MPEG-4 files that store video bear the .mp4 file extension (.MP4 files). However, if the MPEG-4 file only stores audio, it is saved with the .m4a extension, which stands for "MPEG-4 Audio." This name change helped distinguish between MPEG-4 video files and MPEG-4 audio-only files.

You will most likely encounter M4A files when downloading audio content via the Apple iTunes Store. The content, typically songs, is encoded with AAC compression, which significantly reduces the size of each file. In addition, songs that include copyright protection have an .m4p file extension (.M4P files).

How to open an M4A file

You can play M4A files with various audio players, including Microsoft Media Player (Windows), Apple Music (macOS), Adobe Audition (multiplatform), and VideoLAN VLC media player (multiplatform).

How to convert an M4A file

Many audio players and editors, including Adobe Audition, Apple GarageBand, and VideoLAN VLC media player, can convert M4A files to other audio formats.

For example, VLC media player can convert M4A audio to the following formats:

  • .MP3 - MP3 Audio
  • .OGG - Ogg Vorbis Audio
  • .FLAC - Free Lossless Audio Codec
  • .WAV - WAVE Audio

Programs that open M4A files

Verified by FileInfo.com

The FileInfo.com team has independently researched the MPEG-4 Audio file format and Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, and iOS apps listed on this page. Our goal is 100% accuracy and we only publish information about file types that we have verified.

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