What is the advantage and how to open music in M4A format

The M4A (MPEG-4 Audio) extension is used for compressed audio files created in MP4 or MPEG-4. However, unlike them, the M4A contains only audio data. In Apple's QuickTime, these documents can apply to Apple products such as iPod multimedia or iTunes multimedia software. The higher the compression ratio, the smaller the file size than in a regular MP3 format. In addition, the playback quality is higher.

Ways to open files with M4A extension.

M4a extension

To understand what kind of format M4A, it is enough to get acquainted with its purpose. M4A is a file extension used in MPEG-4 compressed audio files. The official file extension is determined by MPEG-4 MP4, which is a file containing video and audio data. However, it is worth noting that MPEG-4 files containing only an audio track often also use the M4A extension. Features of the format:

  • M4A sound files are not protected. Protected files usually have the M4P extension.
  • Audio M4A can be decoded to the original quality of the track.
  • Most of the songs from iTunes Store M4A paid, but sometimes you can get them as a gift or a kind of bonus.

M4A music can be directly installed as an iPhone ringtone by changing the file extension from M4A to M4R in iTunes. This codec was created to provide decoding without loss of quality and to save free memory space.

Advantages : M4A files are compressed, but the process occurs without loss of quality. Another advantage of the M4A format is the lack of protection against digital rights (DRM), which gives users the freedom to edit and download them.

Cons : M4A files are recognized by iTunes, iPod and other Apple devices. Unfortunately, their poor compatibility with other devices makes the M4A sound tracks not very comfortable to use compared to MP3 files.

How to open M4A file

Files in the relatively new M4A format can be opened using a variety of external media players. Depending on the operating system, you can use the current Windows Media Player, the latest versions of VLC Media Player, KMPlayer or Apple QuickTime Player. The full name of the extension is MPEG-4 Audio File. It may also happen that, despite installing one of the following programs, your M4A file will still show an error when you try to start it.

When you first run the M4A file after installing a new application, the operating system should automatically associate the M4A file with the installed program. If this does not happen, you can do it yourself. To do this:

  • right-click the M4A file you want to open, then click on the "Open with" option;
  • then go to the option “Select default program” and find the path where the new application was installed (in most cases it is the “Program Files” folder on drive C);
  • Confirm with “OK”.

When you do, the operating system should automatically associate our M4A extension with the new application. Next, we consider several of the most popular applications that support the playback of files in the M4A format.


Created by Apple Inc., iTunes is a four-in-one application that can be used as a media player, media library, web radio interface, and mobile device management application. Windows also has a version of iTunes, which allows you to open M4A audio files on your computer.

Quick Time Player

QuickTime Player - QuickTime Player is also a member of the Apple product family. This is the most suitable media player for running M4A files.

VLC media player

VLC is an application that offers management functions for audio and video data, their conversion, interception and transmission in the network. And they allow you to use VLC as a practical alternative to iTunes, which many iPhone owners simply do not like. Using the application, you can listen and view not only M4A, but also almost all media file formats.

Media Player Classic

Media Player Classic is a compact multimedia player created and maintained by a programmer with the nickname "Gabest". Currently, Media Player Classic is available only for Windows (32-bit and 64-bit) systems.


KMPlayer is a fully functional multimedia player that offers convenient playback of not only M4A files, but also DivX, XviD, HD, 4K Ultra HD and 3D movies. The player allows you to adjust the aspect ratio of the screen and video resolution, as well as adjust the external subtitles connected to video files. There are advanced settings related to WiDi technology and three-dimensional movies. Users can change the sound and adjust its quality, as well as improve the quality of the video image. One of the biggest advantages of the player is the ability to smoothly play video content. This applies to movies divided into several parts and must be saved in AVI, MKV, MPEG, OGM, MP4 or ASF.


AIMP is an alternative to Winamp, one of the most popular programs for playing music files. The instrument was equipped with a very extensive set of tools, allowing even adjust the sound. The built-in equalizer has the ability to slow down, speed up a song or add echo and many other effects. Of course, there is the possibility of looping playlist play or random play.

Quite unusual for this type of software is the function of automatically turning on the computer, closing the player or other applications. You can set a specific time for the task or make the program turn off at the end of the playlist. The schedule can also act as an alarm clock that will play the selected song at the time we have specified.

The application allows the user to customize the appearance, supporting plugins and skins. The manufacturer also reduced the mode to a single window, which allows you to significantly save space on the desktop computer screen. An additional advantage of the program is a low system load (about 8 MB of RAM is used). AIMP also offers a tag editor, thanks to which we can easily change information about audio files.

Windows media player

Microsoft also supports M4A audio files, which suggests that Windows computers can recognize these types of files without having to install additional codecs. In fact, it was not very popular until Apple began using iPod and iTunes to encode songs in the Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) system and using the Apple Lossless (ALAC) codec, which are different from other MPEG-4 audio tracks since 2007 .