How to Convert the .m4a File Extension to the .m4r Format

Introduction to the .m4a file extension

Files with the .m4a file extension are audio files that are compressed with Apple Lossless Encoder (ALE). The .m4a files use Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) to compress audio data and are saved in the MPEG-4 container format. One thing worth noticing is as that .m4a files use a lossless codec, which means that there is no loss of quality when the data is compressed. Another thing worth mentioning is that .m4a files use the same compression as .mp4 video files. But instead of storing video tracks, .m4a files store audio content.

The iTunes Store extensively uses .m4a as the file extensions for audio tracks.

Steps to convert an .m4a file to the .m4r format

This section teaches you how to convert .m4a files from iTunes to the .m4r format that is used by iPhone ringtone files without using any converter software.

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. Select the song you wish to make a ringtone.
  3. Play the song, decide on the section of the song and note its time window (start and stop time in seconds) that you wish for your ringtone.
  4. Click the song to select it.
  5. Click the File menu and then click Get Info.
  6. Click the Options tab.
  7. Select Start Time and Stop Time, and insert the time you noted in step 3.
  8. Click OK.
  9. Right-click the selected song and click Create AAC Version to create a file within the time limits you specified in step 7.
  10. Right-click the AAC Version you just made and click Show in Finder for Mac or Show in Windows Explorer for Windows.
  11. Next, locate and right-click the .m4a file and click Rename.
  12. Now, change the file extension from .m4a to .m4r and click Enter.
  13. Click OK when asked to confirm your action.

How to open .m4a files

If you use Windows, you may use any of the following programs to open .m4a files:

  • Apple iTunes
  • Apple QuickTime Player
  • Microsoft Windows Media Player
  • Media Player Classic
  • KSP Sound Player
  • Roxio Creator 2010
  • Nullsoft Winamp Media Player
  • NCH Swift Sound WavePad

If you use a Mac OS, you may use any of the following programs to open .m4a files:

  • Apple iTunes
  • Apple QuickTime Player
  • Roxio Popcorn 4
  • Roxio Toast 10 Titanium

In case you are unable to open an .m4a file on your Windows computer, then you may use a reliable file extension repair program to enable you to play the file.