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iPhone Audio Formats: What Audio File Types Can the iPhone Play?


iPhone 4S

iPhone 4S

Image Courtesy of Apple, Inc.
Question: iPhone Audio Formats: What Audio File Types Can the iPhone Play?

What formats does the iPhone support for listening to digital music?


Does the iPhone Support More Than the AAC Format?

There is sometimes a misconception that the iPhone only supports the AAC format and can only be used with the iTunes Store -- this is presumably because they are both Apple products. In fact, the iPhone supports quite a lot of different audio formats.

So, what other audio formats does it actually support other than the standard AAC format?

iPhone Audio Format Specifications

Knowing about all the audio formats that the iPhone supports is important especially if you want to seriously start using your iPhone as a portable media player (PMP). This can be essential if for example the contents of your music collection has come from different sources -- like: several online music services, ripped CD tracks, digitized cassette tape / vinyl record, etc. If this is the case then there's a very good chance that there will be a mix of audio formats.

The current supported audio formats for the iPhone (3GS / 4 / 4S) are:

  • AAC (Bitrates 8 to 320 Kbps)
  • HE-AAC
  • Protected AAC (used for DRM copy protection on the iTunes Store)
  • ALAC (Apple Lossless)
  • MP3 (bitrates 8 to 320 Kbps)
  • MP3 VBR (Variable Bitrate)
  • AA (Audible formats 2, 3, 4) / Audible Enhanced Audio / AAX / AAX+
  • WAV
  • AIFF

Uses for the iPhone and Digital Music

As well as being a great smartphone, there's a lot you can do with the iPhone when it comes to listening to digital music. For starters, the iPhone makes a stellar portable media player which can plays audio and videos too. You may have already synced the iPhone with your iTunes music library and listened to your songs on the go. The iPhone can also be used to access streaming music services via apps for an almost unlimited supply of music.
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  6. iPhone Audio File Format Compatibility

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