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How to compress your iTunes library songs

Sections: Features, How-To, iTunes

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Your iTunes library. It’s great. It has all of your favorite songs and movies just ready and waiting for you to use. It’s taking up half of your hard drive!!!! If your obsessive love of bad horror flicks or punk music is starting to take up a bit too much room on your system, and migrating to an external drive is not an option right now, then you have a problem. Luckily, you have a solution; this simple tutorial will show you how to compress your iTunes library to save space on your computer.

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. Click on “iTunes” in the menu bar and select “Preferences…”
  3. Click on the “General” icon.
iTunes File Compression
  1. Click on the import settings button, then choose Import Using: “MP3 Encoder” and Setting “Good Quality (128 kbps).”
iTunes File Compression
  1. Save your preferences, then go back to the main iTunes window and select all of the songs in your library by clicking on “Edit” in the menubar and choosing “Select All.”
  2. Click on “Advanced” in the menubar, and choose “Create MP3 Version.”
  3. Wait. This can take quite a while, depending upon the size of your library.
  4. Delete your old copies and the new ones are created.

By more heavily compressing your songs, you are going to be throwing out sound quality. This likely won’t be an issue if you’re primarily listening to music on your iPod with Apple’s earbuds. If you’re burning CDs or using quality headphones, though, you’ll notice a difference. Still, you should see at least a 20% reduction in the amount of disc space your iTunes files take up, though some users have reported up to 40%.

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  • flottenheimer

    Worst. Piece. Of. Advice. Ever.

    Recompressing songs will in it self decrease audio quality.
    And recompressing to 128 kbps will make all the music you love suffer from a great lo-fi invasion. And no, you can't simply recompress to, say, "256 kbps" later. The quality will be lost forever.

    Shame on you, Appletell, for giving advice like this. You should at the very least clearly warn people about the irriversible, great loss of audio quality. 128 kbps seriously sucks! I would never advice anyone to go below 192 kbps. 256 kbps & 320 kbps is the standard these days. Your "By more heavily compressing your songs, you are going to be throwing out sound quality. This likely won’t be an issue if you’re primarily listening to music on your iPod with Apple’s earbuds. If you’re burning CDs or using quality headphones, though, you’ll notice a difference" warning is not nearly strong enough.

  • Katie Gatto

    The warning is clearly stated, and says exactly what it should flottenheimer. The words, "you are going to be throwing out sound quality…" are easy and strong enough to understand for anyone who reads the piece. The warning was strong enough for the way that most users will be using their iTunes library.