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Let's Play FLAC in iTunes and on iOS with Top 5 Tools Freely

While the average iTunes user probably hasn't heard of FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec), audiophiles swear by it. That's because FLAC is a lossless format, meaning that FLAC files retain all of the audio information that makes up a song. This is different than AAC and MP3, which are called lossy formats because they remove some parts of songs (usually the highest and lowest end of the range) to compress songs to create smaller files.

Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, FLAC isn't compatible with iTunes. This leaves FLAC-loving audiophiles who prefer iTunes and iOS devices in a bind: do they sacrifice audio quality or the tools they prefer?

Apple has also created their own lossless format: Apple Lossless Audio Codec, usually called Apple Lossless or ALAC. There is not much difference between ALAC and FLAC since they are both lossless formats, so quality-wise they should be the same. However, FLAC boasts higher compression levels which result in slightly smaller file sizes (not so critical, only nearly). Even though they are like brothers, one has to convert FLAC file to ALAC to make sure that iTunes plays their FLAC files. There are some free programs which allow you to do that and they can be easily found on the Internet. This is the first way, and it is more suitable for those who do not have a lot of FLAC files in their music library.

For audiophiles, there is another option: one can install a special FLAC player to their Apple product and save a lot of time which could be spent listening to high-quality music. There is a range of similar media players – some of them play only lossless audio formats, some of them only FLAC, most of them are available at a small price. It depends on your needs – it’s that easy.

Here are 5 ways you can play FLAC in iTunes and iOS.

1. FLAC Player (iOS)

The name says it all: FLAC Player lets you play your FLAC files on iOS devices. You can sync FLAC files to your iOS device via the file sharing interface in iTunes or download them via any system running SFTP or SSH. FLAC files are then accessed via the app (not the Music app) where, like other audio apps, they can be played in the background while you do other things or streamed to compatible devices via AirPlay. FLAC Player also supports gapless playback, equalizer presets, playlist creation, and more. This $9.99 app requires a device running iOS 8.0 or higher.

2. Fluke (Mac)

Unlike dBpoweramp or other Mac and Windows programs that convert your files to work with iTunes, Fluke actually lets you play unmodified FLAC files in iTunes. It does this by running at the same time as iTunes and working hand in hand with it. Just drag the FLAC files you want to add to iTunes onto the Fluke icon and they'll be ready to play in iTunes in no time. Even better, it's free.

While Fluke will play your FLAC files in iTunes, it isn't able to make them work on iOS or Apple TV, or over AirPlay (it uses a code library that's only available on Mac OS X).

Fluke is Mac only and appears not to have been updated recently, so it may not work with the latest versions of the Mac OS.

3. Tonido (iOS)

Tonido isn't an app devoted specifically to playing FLAC files, but that's one of its features. Rather, Tonido is designed to let you stream almost any kind of file—including FLAC audio—from your Mac or PC to a mobile device running the Tonido app. Doing this requires that you install the Tonido Desktop program on your Mac or PC and create a free account. Log into that account in the free app on your iOS device and, as long as you're connected to the Internet, your music (and videos, photos, and other files) come with you. Tonido supports AirPlay, offline use with saved files, and file sharing. It requires an iOS device running iOS 6 or higher.

4. TuneShell (iOS)

TuneShell provides another music player app option for iOS devices and adds a cool bonus: it can stream music from SoundCloud within the app. The app can play your collection of music stored on your iOS device, including songs in formats like ALAC, WMA Lossless, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, and many others. TuneShell also supports playlists, equalizer presets, AirPlay, importing zip files, ID3 tags, and more. The app is free, but a $5.99 in-app purchase removes ads and adds some features. The app requires a device running iOS 7 or higher.

5. Brorsoft iMedia Converter for Mac

In order to import FLAC to iTunes, import FLAC to iTunes 12/iTunes 11 and etc, iTunes Match, and stream FLAC to iCloud, a recommended solution is to convert FLAC to Apple friendly audio formats so that you can play FLAC on iTunes, iPad 4, iPhone and iPod, etc.You can convert FLAC to iTunes recognized audio formats like MP3, M4A, WAV, AIFF, etc.

Brorsoft FLAC to iTunes Converter (iMedia Converter for Mac) is one of the best audio converters out there with lots of features and functions.

*Convert a wide range of audio files for Apple devices and Android devices like FLAC to iPhone, VOC to Android, APE to iPad, etc;
*Extract your favorite music from your movies and save the music into popular MP3, WAV, etc;
*Have various types of output format to choose from when it comes to convert audio;
*Optimize audio with an inbuilt editing tool to cut unwanted parts, join a large number of clips, split a big audio file.

In addition to convert FLAC, it can also convert between almost all popular audio formats.

Step by Step Guide on How to Convert FLAC to Import FLAC to iTunes

Step 1. Add FLAC Files

Simply drag and drop FLAC files to the main interface of Brorsoft FLAC to iTunes Converter; click "Add File" button to open FLAC files that you want to convert;

Step 2. Select MP3 or M4A as the output format

Click Format and then choose MP3 or M4A as output format from Common Audio profile list.


Step 3 Finish FLAC to iTunes conversion

After all set done, click big "Convert" button on the interface of Brorsoft FLAC to iTunes Converter to start and finish the transformation from FLAC to iTunes.

When the conversion is finished, click "Open Folder" button to locate the converted FLAC files, and drag and drop the converted FLAC files to iTunes, then you can play FLAC in iTunes or sync FLAC to iPhone, iPod, iPad via iTunes.

Additional Tips:

If you want to import FLAC to iTunes with the quality of FLAC audio intact, you can convert FLAC to Apple's own lossless audio format, ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec). If you care more about file size, you can convert FLAC to a more common format like MP3 to gain more compression rate and smaller file size. No matter you convert FLAC to ALAC or FLAC to MP3, all meta data (title, composer, etc.) include album cover art will be kept.

This FLAC to iTunes Converter is a yet professional all-in-one Blu-ray Ripper, DVD Ripper and HD Video and Audio Converter, which comparatively has better output quality, in particular HD videos and intuitive interface. What's more, its deinterlacing function and merging, cropping, trimming, adding subtitles ability are what its many competitive products lack of.
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