How to Download MP3 Files for Mac

By Regina Edwards

The Mac operating system uses iTunes as the default music player. iTunes can play MP3 songs from CDs, computer files or from the Internet. To add (i.e., download) an MP3 file to the iTunes library, first save the file to a folder on your computer; clicking the link on the Web page merely broadcasts the Internet file through the application. iTunes converts a variety of audio formats, including MP3 files, and includes a function to add downloaded songs to the Music Library. The default setting confirms whether selected songs should be added to the Music Library.

Things You'll Need

  • iTunes application

Download an MP3 File

Step 1

Select "New Folder" under "File" in the top menu bar of the Finder. Highlight the folder name, "Untitled" and type a name, such as "MP3 files," to create a download folder.

Step 2

Switch to your browser window containing the Web page with the MP3 file(s) and right-click the link for the desired music file on the Web page to open a drop down menu of options. Alternatively, if you have a one-button mouse or trackpad, press and hold the "Control" key (key with the Apple logo) and click the mouse/trackpad button to activate a menu of options.

Step 3

Select "Save File As" from the drop down menu and release the key and the button to perform the option.

Step 4

Select the MP3 folder created in step 1 as the destination folder. Leave the file name as-is (i.e., don't type a new file name) and click the "Save" button.

Step 5

Repeat Steps 2 to 4 to download each MP3 file.

Download (Add) to iTunes

Step 1

Launch iTunes and select "Add to Library" under "File" in your top menu bar.

Step 2

Select your MP3 file--located in the folder created in Step 1--and click the "Add" button.

Step 3

Click the "Yes" button if a prompt is displayed, "Add this song to the iTunes Library?"

Step 4

Wait for iTunes to convert and add the song to your iTunes Music Library. Repeat Steps 1 to 3 for each MP3 file.

Tips & Warnings

  • With iTunes as your default music player, clicking a song on a website may simply launch iTunes to play the song, but the file will not be saved or downloaded to your computer or iTunes library. A different icon will appear next to the songs played on iTunes and the Web site URL will be linked to this song.
  • The MP3 file will automatically be converted and added to your iTunes library--so the MP3 folder can be deleted if desired.
  • MP3 files do not contain album or artist information, so this song information must be added in the iTunes library.
  • According to Apple, protected files (usually WMA format) cannot be converted and added to the library.
  • Make sure you have permission to download copyrighted files from the owner, such as a band, musician or artist.