How to legally remove DRM-protection from iTunes music

Question: I have music that I bought from iTunes that I can't play on my blackberry, or even on my computer with Windows Media Player. Is there a way around this limitation? I mean, I paid for this stuff, so I should be able to play it outside of just iTunes!

Answer: I completely agree with you. If you paid for music, then you shouldn't be limited to playing it in on just your one computer running iTunes (in my opinion anyway).

When you buy songs from the iTunes store, it downloads them to your computer in .m4a or .m4p format. You won't be able to play those songs anywhere else because they have DRM protection built into the music files.

It turns out that there are two legal ways to remove DRM-protection from music purchased from iTunes, so you can play them on other music players like Windows Media Player, WinAMP, etc.

Let's start with the hard-but-free way first, and then we'll cover the easy-and-affordable way.

Approach 1: Make backup CDs using iTunes and then import the CDs back into iTunes.

With this approach, you'll need a recordable CD or DVD for each album that you want to convert. Plug in the CD-R into your CD burner, select the album in iTunes, and choose the File -- Library -- Back up to Disc menu in iTunes 8 (used to be File -- Backup to Disc in older versions, but now the menu is hidden under the Library menu in version 8 and greater).

Once the backup process has finished, then eject the CD-R, put it back into the CD burner, and then import the songs back into iTunes.

Be sure to configure iTunes to use MP3 encoding when importing songs, which will make sure that it imports them into mp3 format that will run on other music players.

Approach 2 (recommended): Convert DRM-protected songs directly to mp3 format using Aimersoft.

How to Transfer your iTunes Library to Another Computer

Question: I have a bunch of music in iTunes on my old computer. How do I transfer my iTunes library to my new computer?

Answer: There are two ways to do this: 1) by manually copying your iTunes music files to an external hard drive and then manually copy them to your new computer, and 2) using a program like iPod 2 iTunes or MediaPilot that let you copy music from your iPod directly to another computer.

I'll cover the manual route first, which is a little harder and requires that you have an external hard drive, and then I'll show you the easy way using just your existing iPod and an inexpensive copy of iPod 2 iTunes.

Manually copy your iTunes library to another computer using a external hard drive

Plug in your external hard drive to your computer. Open Windows Explorer and go to your iTunes music folder. On Vista it's C:\Users\your.username\Documents\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Music. On Windows XP it's under Documents and Settings.

Copy the iTunes Music folder to your external hard drive, and then plug the hard drive into the other computer.

Make sure iTunes is installed on the other computer, and just copy the contents of the iTunes Music folder from your external hard drive to the new computer (in the same location as the old computer). iTunes will recognize the files the next time you run it, and you'll be good to go.

Automatically copy your iTunes library to another computer with third-party software

A much easier option if you have all the music on your iPod is to use a third-party program that will copy music from your iPod to your computer (basically using your iPod as an external hard drive).

There are a couple of programs that you can use to upload music from your iPod to any computer running iTunes.


How to create a ring tone for free using iTunes

You can create ringtones for free with iTunes using the steps outlined below, and can upload them to your cell phone with a USB data cable or a Bluetooth connection.

I'm assuming you already have your song loaded in iTunes, and you can refer to other articles in the iPods and MP3 Players forum if you need instructions for loading songs into iTunes from your iPod or a music CD.

Set the song length to about 30 seconds

Right-click on the song in iTunes and select "Get Info" from the pop-up menu. Choose the Options tab and change the Stop Time to 0:30 for 30 seconds of play time.

This won't change or damage the actual file; it just tells iTunes to only play the first 30 seconds of the song (plenty of time for you to answer your phone). You can change this setting back to full length after you create your ring tone.

Configure the iTunes MP3 Encoder

Configure the MP3 Encoder built into iTunes to use 22khz and mono encoding (the format used by cell phone ring tones).

Click the Preferences menu and then choose the Advanced tab. Click "Importing" and then choose "MP3 Encoder" from the Import Using drop down. Choose "Custom..." from the Settings dropdown, which will display an "MP3 Encoder" dialog like the one shown below.