How to cram twice as much music onto your iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad

Apple's iTunes News has posted up a helpful tip on how to use the new automatic 128 kpps downsampling function in iTunes to squeeze double the music (if lower quality) onto your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad.

Audiophiles will no doubt rather scratch their ears out than listen to anything that highly compressed, but if your ears are more greedy than golden, the 128 kbps downsampling might just be for you.

You can find it when you plug your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad into iTunes over USB, on the general screen that comes up. (See screenshot, above). Here are the extra-geeky details:

The bit rate for iTunes Plus (which is the format used for all music from the iTunes Store) is 256kbps (kilobits per second), and that's also the default for the Import Settings used when you rip CDs. It provides excellent sound quality through most any playback system. However, for many people 128 kbps provides very, very good quality itself and may be acceptable for most situations. Your ear, taste, and how and where you listen to the music matter at least as much as the bit rate. If you're feeling squeezed for space on one of your devices, select this option to fit in twice as many iTunes Plus songs. The music on your computer won't be altered in any way and you can always switch back to 256kbps (or higher if you've ripped music at a custom bit rate) by unchecking the option the next time you sync.

I tried it but ultimately switched back to the regular mode. I couldn't really tell the difference, but I didn't sync

[Apple iTunes News]

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 30 comments. Add yours.

tsb3 says:

Hate crappy audio quality, all my mp3's are 320kbps

Woody says:

i tried switching it on but it took too long to convert so i got tired of waiting and switched it off

Chris Vitek says:

I think I have mine lower than that already. :)

Matt says:

I have about 2,500 songs that I carry with me on my iPhone. It eats up about 22GB of space. I converted the songs on iTunes 9.1 and it saved me about 11GB. HOWEVER, it broke the lyrics to every song, and some of the artwork disappeared. The lyrics are still on the PC, they just simply don't work on the iPhone after converting to 128AAC. It appears that iTunes 9.1.1 has fixed this issue, but it is requiring me to re-sync those 2,500 songs again. This process took over 8 hours the first time...not looking forward to that. So, unless you are on iTunes 9.1.1, stay far away from this feature if you care about lyrics or artwork.

sM3e says:

Would be cool if you could pre convert em and hold em till u want to plug on ya iPhone so u didn't have ya iPhone out of business

D-Rob says:

I only have an 8GB 3G, so I always down-convert to 64kbps, Mono, cuz I can only listen in one ear at work.

frog says:

I personally can't hear any difference, and it effectively halved the memory I was using for music. That let me install more games/apps that I'd taken off. So I'm quite happy with it.

Dragonfly says:

Thanks, but no thanks. I cant accept music at a crappy 128kbps. 320kbps is a must.

Kris says:

The Apple page says this won't change the MP3s on your hard drive in any way (which is good). But does anyone know - does it then store the newly created AAC files on your computer as well, or only on your iPod/iPhone?

Jaredkaragen says:

Lower quality: I can hear the compression.
Remember the old 64kbps shoutcast streams? That garbadgey noise that is heard as a result of the compression? You hear that instead of the fedelity (or depth) of the music.
Higher quality: only recently have I begun to hear this on higher quality rips.... It is subtle, but there.
The kicker about all of them is volume level: take 2 different songs, let's say you were a dj and beatmatched them into a flowing track one after the other. In the second song (and thus any after) you will get a very retarded volume leveling destirtion fitting the profile of the first song.
This is the worst by far of distortions due to compression.

Limegrntaln says:

I only rip my music with exact audio copy. Encoded with "lame" that's it. Eac error corrects scratched CDs and you get a perfect rip. 320 or better is a must.

Mario Gonzalez says:

I've done it for three devices -- one iPhone and two iPod Touches. Other than long sync times, it works great. It saves space that can be used for apps, etc. The reason the sync takes so long is that it does the compression on the fly. It doesn't seem to change the files on the computer.
The long sync time only happens the first time. The only songs that are compressed in future syncs are any new songs you add to the device.
If the sound of the files isn't an issue and you don't mind waiting for the devices to sync, it's worth it.

AlanJN says:

Love keeping 256 on my computer and getting 2x songs on my iPhone.

Greyscale says:

I always listen to music on my iPhone with a pair of Denon 751 headphones (cost me £130), so this certainly isn't an option.

Dave01568 says:

Music streaming would solve all the capacity issues.then there wod be no need to compress

Lui says:

128 sounds like crap. Like going from cd to cassette

Lui says:

The word c,r,a,p gets censored? That's rediculous. Are you blogging from China?

ArtursBoy says:

I have a 32GB iPhone, with 5,400 songs ( its nice to have a replica of your whole music collection from your computer onto your phone ), before using the 128 converting option, I had less than a gig of free space available, as was beginning to wonder what I would need to do once I started adding more songs. I gave the 128 converting option a shot, now I have 8.3GB of free space available. The converting did take a long time, in my case it took a few hours, and the difference in sound quality as its heard thru headphones, is minimal (to me). If you are starting to run out of space, this is a great option.

Greg says:

I tried this a couple of weeks ago but the speed it was doing it I would have been waiting weeks. Maybe its because I did it on a netbook. Might try again from a more powerful computer.

jasonact says:

I LOVE this!!! I really do like high-quality audio, and that's what I like at home. But on the go, I want to have as much music with me as possible. Since it's an option you can turn on or off, I don't see how anyone can think this is a bad thing.

Michael Coyle says:

I had problems with the bit reduction When checked, the majority of my Ringtones disappeared. Uncheck it and they come back.

Crayolaboi says:

Does anyone know if this works if you "manually manage" your music?

Jose says:

This crushes my asus netbook in every way.
@Stephen: do u know if it works if u manually manage dz nuhts

ArtursBoy says:

@Stephen
It does. If you transfer your whole library to your iPhone, it will convert whichever songs need to be converted to 128 (as mentioned before, this option does not change the bit rate of the original songs on your computer library), if you manually select the playlists, then it will just convert the songs that need to be converted in those playlists. The long converting times happen only the first time you do it, after that it syncs as fast as before.

Luke Roberts says:

It would be a good idea to preconvert songs, so the first sync does not take hours.

GLS says:

@Michael Coyle...I had the same issue with ringtones. I downsampled the ringtones I had created to 128 and then they were able to resync. There's a thread about this bug on the Apple support forums. @Luke Roberts, if you preconvert the songs first before the sync, then all you have is 128 songs on your computer....doing it this way preserves whatever bitrate you have the songs encoded on your computer....and giving you the 128 songs on your iDevice....

niko360 says:

use dropbox or zumodrive. you can have as much music as you like (use your data that's what it is there for)

Chris M says:

Let me just say that if there were a 640kbps, i'd use that one....

Chris M says:

And i have beats studio so yeah xD but i definetely see the use for it.

Laura says:

Between me and my husband we've owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I've settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.