How to Convert M4R to MP3 in iTunes

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If you've ever created ring tones for your iPhone, you know that iTunes can convert various music formats to M4R, the ring tone format. What you might not know is that the process works in reverse as well, turning ring tones back into music files. Change an M4R file extension so that iTunes views it as a music file and then convert it to MP3.

Step 1: Locate the M4R File

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Right-click the ring tone in iTunes 12 and choose Show in Windows Explorer to open the Windows folder containing the ring tone file.

Step 2: Change the Extension

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Open the View tab in Windows 8 and turn on File Name Extensions. Select the ring tone file, press F2 to rename it and change the extension from M4R to M4A.


  • To continue using the file as a ring tone, create a copy of the file first -- select the file and press Ctrl-C then Ctrl-V -- and rename the copy instead of the original.
  • To show extensions in Windows 7, click Organize and choose Folder and Search Options. Open the View tab and uncheck Hide Extensions for Known File Types.

Step 3: Load the File

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Drag the file with the M4A extension into the iTunes window to add it to the library as music.

Step 4: Set the Format for Conversion

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Open the iTunes Preferences in the Edit menu -- or press Ctrl-Comma. Click Import Settings on the General tab and choose MP3 Encoder from the Import Using drop-down menu. Set the quality level and click OK on both open windows.

Step 5: Convert the File

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Right-click the song in your iTunes music library -- not in the tones library -- and choose Create MP3 Version.


After conversion, you'll have both the M4A and MP3 versions of the song in the music library. Deleting the M4A copy won't erase the MP3 copy.