OS X: Convert FLAC Files to MP3s for iTunes/iPod for Free (Screencast)

   Posted by David Kirk in Apple Mac

FLAC files are high quality lossless files. Sadly, iTunes (and thus all apple devices such as iPods or iPhones) do not support them either. This tutorial demonstrates easy to use free software that makes the conversion of FLAC files a snap.

FLAC is one of the most popular audiophile formats. It uses lossless compression and thus has quality that is extremely close to the original recording. Even as popular as it is, Apple does not support it through iTunes. This means that Apple devices such as iPods, iPhones, and AppleTVs can not play this file format.

FLAC files are much larger than Apple’s compression or the universal MP3 file format. Most people who want to listen to music on portable devices will gladly sacrificed a little audio quality for huge gains in storage space.

The youtube screencast below will walk through these steps.

1. Download and Install X Lossless Decoder (XLD)

2. Run XLD.

3. Under XLD menu select Preferences

4. Set your output format to be MP3 LAME. If LAME is not an option, you may need to download and install the LAME binaries. MP3 is not the only option here. XLD has a ton of file formats available.

5. Click the option button and set your conversion preferences. If you are not familiar with these options, the defaults will do fine.

6. Close the Preferences window

7. Drag the FLAC files onto the XLD icon in the dock.

8. Watch them convert!


About David Kirk

David Kirk is one of the original founders of tech-recipes and is currently serving as editor-in-chief. Not only has he been crafting tutorials for over ten years, but in his other life he also enjoys taking care of critically ill patients as an ICU physician.
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  • steve

    Hey i’ve downloaded this 2x so far ( xld-gui-20080914.tbz (GUI version ) which seems to be the latest verson, and it wont seem to open. Not sure what im doing wrong but any info i would greatly appreciate. Thanks

  • I just downloaded and decompressed again. It works for me. Are you decompressing using the archive utility?

    • steve

      hey, dont think i decompressed anything, i just downloaded the program… but i assume your talking about that i need a program to compress the tbz file? but i dont see anything like that in the archive. thanks for the reply.

      • The archive utility is what you should use in OS X to decompress the tbz file and extract the application.

        Should be located in /System/Library/CoreServices/Archive Utility.app in 10.5 or /System/Library/CoreServices/BOMArchiveHelper.app in 10.4.

        Best of luck!

        • steve

          man i thought this was going to work but once i try and open up the archive utlity it just goes right into my dock and doesnt open as well. any suggestions?

          thanks again

          • You could try a different archive utility.


            When you open the archive utility app in osx it should appear in the dock. Drag the file into the archive utility on the dock or select Expand Archive from the archive utility menu at the top of the screen.

          • steve

            Thanks i just dragged it in, when it copies a 2nd xld icon pops up. i click on it and nothing happeneds.

            btw i apologize for my ignorance im fairly new to macs.


          • When you click on it, does an xld icon appear in the dock? Does the xld menu appear at the top? My screencast at about 1:56 talks about that nothing super obvious happens when you click on the correct icon.

            No problem. I’ll do my best to help.

          • steve

            Hey thanks alot! Your screencast helped a lot, should of checked that out first. regardless thanks for patience and help. awesome program.

          • Cool! Glad we could help!!!