How to Convert and Encode Audio Files with Mac OS X Finder

There are several options for encoding or converting audio files in OS X, including iTunes, QuickTime, and third party software. But OS X also includes a handy AAC encoder built in to Finder. Here’s how to convert your audio files with just two clicks in OS X Lion and beyond.
First, note that this method is somewhat limited compared to other audio converters. It can only accept AIFF, AIFC, Sd2f, CAFF, or WAVE files and can only output to four AAC presets. However, these presets cover a range of uses and should accommodate most Mac users who manage their music in AAC formats.
Once you’re ready to proceed, find your audio files in Finder. You can select either a single file or multiple files for a batch conversion. Next, right-click (Command-click) on the selected file(s) and choose Encode Selected Audio Files.
How to Convert and Encode Audio in OS X Finder
Alternatively, you can select your audio files, then use the Menu Bar to choose Finder > Services > Encode Selected Audio Files.
How to Convert and Encode Audio in OS X Finder
A window labeled “Encode to MPEG Audio” will appear and present you with a couple of options. Choose from one of four settings: High Quality (128kbps), iTunes Plus (256kbps), Apple Lossless, and Spoken Podcast (variable, about 64kbps for stereo).

How to Convert and Encode Audio in OS X Finder

Next, choose where you’d like the converted files to be saved. By default, the encoder will put encoded files in the same directory as the source files. Tip: if you want to add your encoded files to iTunes, enter the following path as your destination and the files will be automatically added to the iTunes database the next time you open the app.

~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Automatically Add to iTunes

Finally, you can choose to have Finder automatically delete the source file after the audio encoding is complete. Press Continue to finalize your settings and begin the encoding process. Most songs of average length will take just a few seconds to encode, and you’ll be left with your desired audio file type without having to launch an app.
The built-in audio conversion feature in OS X isn’t nearly as versatile as other options like QuickTime, but it’s fast, simple, and will likely satisfy the requirements of most users looking for an easy way to get audio into the Apple-friendly AAC format.
How to Convert and Encode Audio in OS X Finder
Don’t see an “Encode Selected Audio Files” option in Finder? You may have accidentally disabled the feature. To turn it back on, head to System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Services and make sure that “Encode Selected Audio Files” in the list on the right side of the window is checked.

6 thoughts on “How to Convert and Encode Audio Files with Mac OS X Finder”

Grahame R says:
Where do you set the bitrate for mp3?
128 is unusable.
Pingback: How to transcode an AFIC file with macOS Finder | The WP Guru
Tomashdowns says:
The article will introduce a best WAV to M4A converter – Avdshare Audio Converter help you converter WAV to M4A with High Quality; Also Convert M4A to WAV.
bulesky says:
Avdshare Audio Converter is the best M4A to MP3 converter which can batch convert M4A to MP3 with the relatively high audio quality on Mac and Windows computers. It also can directly play M4A or MP3 audio files
Yulya Softorino says:
Thanks for the post!The idea is really interesting))
We`re developing WALTR – an app that can convert audio/video files directly to your idevice, it doesn`t require using itunes for sync! WALTR has no limits and supports all video/music formats. Despite being so powerful, it is extremely easy to use.
Look it up to check if it`s true;)
oceantracks says:
Wow this is great, had no idea, been dragging WAV files into iTunes and then converting!

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