iTunes is a popular media player and library application that allows users to purchase, download, and manage music, movies, TV shows, and more. However, many of the songs available on iTunes are protected by digital rights management (DRM) technology, which restricts how and where they can be played. This can be frustrating for users who want to listen to their iTunes songs on non-Apple devices or share them with friends and family. Luckily, there are several ways to remove DRM from iTunes music, which we will explore in this article.
Part 1. Overview of iTunes and DRM
iTunes is a digital music platform developed by Apple Inc. that allows users to purchase, download, and listen to music on their devices. DRM, or Digital Rights Management, was a technology used by Apple to protect the copyright of the music sold on iTunes. This technology restricted the use of the purchased music to authorized devices and limited the number of times that the music could be copied or burned onto CDs.
However, in 2009, Apple announced that it would remove DRM from its music library, allowing users to freely transfer and play their purchased iTunes music on any device. If your iTunes contains other unpurchased songs or purchased songs before 2009, they are still DRM-encrypted.
Part 2. How to Check If iTunes Songs Are DRM-Protected
Before diving into the process of unprotecting iTunes music, it's crucial to identify whether your iTunes songs are protected. This section will guide you through the steps to check the DRM status of your iTunes music files, ensuring you target the right files for liberation.
Step 1. Launch iTunes on your computer.
Step 2. Go to "View" > "Column Browser" > "Show View Options".
Step 3. Select the "Show Columns" drop-down menu.
Step 4. Select "File" > "Kind" and click on any iTunes song you would like to check and hit on "File".
Step 5. In the "Kind" section, you can see the file kind of your song. If it shows as "Protected AAC audio file", the iTunes music is protected with DRM and can only be used within iTunes.
Step 6. If the file format is listed as "AAC audio file" or "MP3 audio file", it means the song is not DRM-protected.
Part 3. How to Unprotect iTunes Songs - Professional iTunes DRM Removal
There are several professional iTunes DRM removal tools available that can help you convert protected iTunes files to unprotected. One such tool is DRmare Audio Converter, an all-in-one DRM remover that lets you remove DRM from iTunes music, Apple Music songs, and Audible audiobooks. It can also convert iTunes music to MP3, AAC, M4A, M4B, WAV, and FLAC with lossless sound quality.
Plus, all the metadata information such as the year, title, album art, etc. will be preserved fully. This software works at a super-fast 30 times speed, and it supports batch conversion. With it, you can use unprotected iTunes music offline on any device without any limitations.
Key Features of DRmare Audio Converter
How to Unprotect MPEG-4 Audio File (Protected)
Before we show you how to unprotect iTunes songs, you can free install DRmare Audio Converter via the "Download" button above. It works well on both Windows and Mac computers. Just choose the right version according to your computer system.
- Step 1Load iTunes songs to DRmare Audio Converter
- Open the DRmare Audio Converter on your Windows or Mac computer. Then browse and add protected iTunes files directly via the 'Add Files' button at the bottom right. Or you can drag and drop files from iTunes to this software.
- Step 2Choose output format for iTunes music
- Simply click the "Format" button and you can select the output format for iTunes songs to match your needs. You are also allowed to change the codec, sample rate, bit rate, and so on. Remember to click on "OK" after the changes.
- Step 3Remove DRM from iTunes music
- Please just click the "Convert" button to start the 30X conversion process. In a few minutes, DRmare will make protected AAC audio file unprotect and convert them to the format you set before. Then you can see all your iTunes DRM-free songs inside the "Output" folder. You can move them to any other device to play freely, no license is required.
Part 4. How to Remove iTunes DRM Free
DRmare Audio Converter is powerful but requires a license to unlock all features. So, here we would like to show you two free tools to help you make iTunes remove DRM. Note that they do not provide lossless sound quality like DRmare Audio Converter.
➡️ 1. Requiem 4.1
Requiem 4.1 is a free iTunes DRM removal tool that allows you to remove DRM from iTunes videos and music. It was developed by a team of programmers, so there are no hidden fees. Unlike other software, it works by cracking the DRM encryption of original iTunes files, so the sound quality is 100% lossless.
It's available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, and it's very easy to use. However, it hasn't been updated since 2012. Additionally, using Requiem 4.1 may violate iTunes' Terms of Service, which may result in account suspension. If you don't mind, follow the steps below to use it.
🔖 Note: It is only available for iTunes 10.7 or lower versions.
Step 1. Download and install Requiem 4.1 on your computer.
Step 2. Open iTunes and download the iTunes music that you want to remove DRM.
Step 3. Close iTunes and open Requiem and it will automatically remove DRM from iTunes songs in your library.
➡️ 2. Audacity
Audacity is a free and open-source audio editing software that has been around for over 20 years. It is available for Windows, macOS and Linux operating systems and offers extensive audio recording, editing and processing functions. You can use it to remove DRM from iTunes music free easily. The process involves recording iTunes' audio output while playing a protected music file, and then exporting the recording as an unprotected audio file.
However, there are some disadvantages to consider when using Audacity. It may take some time for users to learn all its features and how to use them effectively. Some users have criticized Audacity's interface for being outdated and difficult to navigate.
Step 1. Choose the right version according to your computer and install Audacity.
Step 2. Open Audacity and select the "Windows WASAPI" option, which allows you to record audio output from your computer.
Step 3. Click the red "Record" button in the "Recording" section.
Step 4. Then open iTunes and play the protected music files.
Step 5. Click on the "Stop" button to end the recording process.
Step 6. Then choose "File" > "Export" to export iTunes music files to unprotected MP3, WAV, etc.
Part 5. How to Remove DRM from iTunes Music via iTunes
You can just use iTunes Match and iTunes' burning to CD feature to unprotect iTunes music. You don't need to install extra apps. However, it's important to note that both iTunes Match and burning to a CD can be time-consuming processes, especially when working with large batches of songs. Additionally, the output quality of the resulting files may vary depending on a variety of factors.
➡️ 1. iTunes Match
Currently, songs purchased from the iTunes Store do not have Digital Rights Management (DRM). However, music purchased from the iTunes Store before 2009 still has DRM. Fortunately, you can use iTunes Match to remove DRM from iTunes purchases.
iTunes Match is a paid service from Apple that allows you to upload up to 100,000 tracks from your iTunes library to iCloud. Uploaded songs will be matched with DRM-free tracks in the iTunes Store. Afterwards, you can stream or download these DRM-free tracks to any device you want.
Note that instead of actually removing DRM from your music files, iTunes Match provides access to high-quality, DRM-free versions of songs via the cloud. Now let's see how to unprotect MPEG-4 audio file (protected).
🔖 Note: iTunes Match only works for DRM-protected iTunes purchases.
See also: Apple Music vs iTunes Match
Step 1. Open the iTunes program and go to the 'iTunes Store'.
Step 2. Find and click on 'iTunes Match'
Step 3. Check for your payment info and hit 'Subscribe'.
Step 4. After subscribing, iTunes Match will scan your iTunes music library for matches automatically.
Step 5. Go to the "My Music" tab at the top of iTunes. Then choose the songs you want to remove DRM.
Step 6. Hit the 'Delete' key on your keyboard and then hit 'Delete Songs' at the pop-up text.
Step 7. After deleting the original DRM-protected iTunes purchases, you get the unprotected iTunes songs.
Step 8. To access them, go to "iTunes Store" > "Quick Links" > "Purchased" > 'Music'. You can click on the "Cloud" icon to re-download the DRM-free iTunes purchases.
➡️ 2. Burning to CD
Burning music to CD is a feature in iTunes that allows you to create physical copies of your music files on a blank CD. You can use it to unprotect iTunes songs for free without installing extra apps. Also, this is useful for creating backups of your music library or for playing music on CD players that don't support digital files.
Remember, you'll need a CD/DVD that supports AAC format, since DRM-protected iTunes songs are AAC files. If your playlist contains DRM songs, you can only burn it up to 7 times. Plus, burning to CD requires a physical copy of the music and can be time consuming.
See also: How to Burn Apple Music to CD
🔖 Note: You can only burn the same song once in iTunes.
Step 1. Insert a blank CD into your computer.
Step 2. Open the iTunes application and hit on 'File' > 'New Playlist' to create a playlist that contains the audio files you want to unprotect.
Step 3. Then right-click on the playlist and choose the 'Burn Playlist to Disc' option.
Step 4. Choose 'Audio CD' from the window box. Then click on the 'Burn' button and it will remove iTunes DRM and burn them to CD.
Step 5. Once burned, you can rip the burned iTunes songs to your computer from CD. Please eject the CD from your computer first.
Step 6. Open iTunes, head to 'Edit' > 'Preferences' > 'General' option. Then hit 'Import Settings'.
Step 7. Insert the CD into your computer again. Then hit the 'Yes' button to start to rip iTunes songs from CD.
Part 6. Which Is the Best Method to Remove iTunes DRM
|Output Audio Quality
|Easy to Use
|DRmare Audio Converter
iTunes music, Apple Music, Audible
|iTunes music and videos (only work for iTunes 10.7 or lower)
|purchased iTunes music
|Burning to CD
Through the comparison table above, you can understand the advantages and disadvantages of the above 5 methods. Obviously, DRmare Audio Converter is the best tool to help you remove DRM from iTunes music, Apple Music and Audible. It is easy to use, saves time, and provides lossless output audio quality. If you prefer a free approach, you might consider Requiem 4.1, Audacity, or iTunes. But they all have disadvantages. Requiem 4.1 only works with iTunes 10.7 or earlier. Audacity and iTunes may result in poor output quality and the process is complex and time-consuming.
Part 7. FAQs about Unprotecting iTunes Songs
Q1: What Is FairPlay DRM of iTunes?
A: It's Digital Rights Management, an encryption method developed by Apple Inc to protect iTunes content, including music, movies, videos, eBooks, and more. You cannot use DRM-protected iTunes content on unauthorized devices.
See also: Everything You Want to Know about DRM
Q2: Why Do You Need to Remove iTunes DRM?
A: Because iTunes music protected by DRM can only be accessed on the device you authorized with your iTunes account. Plus, if you cancel your subscription, your entire iTunes music library will disappear. If you remove DRM protection, you can keep unprotected iTunes music forever, or listen to it on any device you want.
Q3: Can I Remove DRM from iTunes Music?
A: Yes. Today we have shown you five methods to remove iTunes music DRM. You can use a professional iTunes DRM removal like DRmare Audio Converter, audio recording tool like Audacity, iTunes, etc.
Q4: Is It Legal to Unprotect iTunes Music?
A: Generally speaking, if you remove DRM from iTunes for commercial purposes, it is illegal. However, if you have purchased and downloaded songs from iTunes, then convert them to popular DRM-free audio formats just for personal use, it is legal.
Part 8. In Summary
Removing DRM from iTunes music can be a simple process with several options available depending on your preference. Whether you choose a professional tool like DRmare Apple Music Converter or a free option like Requiem 4.1 or Audacity, or prefer using built-in features like iTunes Match or burning CDs, there are ways to enjoy your music without any restrictions. With the right tools and a little patience, you can enjoy your iTunes content on any device you choose.