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What is the M4B Audio File Format? How Do You Play and Convert It?

M4B Audio File Format

Last updated on January 23rd, 2024 at 02:18 am

You may never have heard about M4B because it’s not as popular as MP3, WAV, or even M4A.

M4B is an audio file format popularly used for audiobooks by Apple Books and iTunes.

M4B vs M4A

M4B belongs to the MPEG-4 family. It uses the same AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) compression as M4A.

You can say that they are no different from M4A. Except that they come with features necessary for audiobooks – chapter sections and bookmarks.

How Do You Open an M4B File?

M4B files over the Apple platform come with copy protection, namely FairPlay DRM.

What does this mean? It means you can only play M4B files over iTunes or Apple Books (for Macs).

If you can’t play an M4B file over these platforms, it means your account isn’t authorized to play it.

If you’re authorized to open an M4B file, you can do so in Windows with iTunes.

Unprotected M4B Files

M4B files come in the unprotected, mode, too. For example, LibriVox offers free public-domain audiobooks in the M4B format.

Since they aren’t copy-protected, you can play them on any media that supports M4B playback,

VLC Media Player can open such M4B files.

How to Play M4B Files on Android

As mentioned, you can play only unprotected M4B files outside of the Apple platform.

There are two ways to play such M4B files on Android Devices.

The first is to use a player that plays DRM-free M4B files.

Here are some popular M4B file format readers on Google Play.

Smart AudioBook Player

This player supports such little-known file formats as AWB, OGG, M4A, and also M4B.

An advantage of this audiobook player is controls are available on the home screen during playback. So, if you pause an audio file, you can resume it from the home screen instead of opening the app to do so.

Check out the Smart AudioBook Player.

Listen Audiobook Player

Audio file formats supported include FLAC, M4A, OPUS, OGG, M4B, and of course, MP3, among others.

You can synchronize your reading position and bookmarks across multiple devices. You may also create and share an audio clip of your bookmark.

Check out the Listen Audiobook Player.

Raise Audiobook Player

This audiobook player supports a wide range of audio file formats, including, WMA, RM, FLAC, M4A, and M4B, among them.

Unlike other apps on Google Play, you get an ad-free experience with this full-featured audiobook player.

Check out the Raise Audiobook Player.

M4B vs MP3: Which is Better?

There are also audiobooks available in MP3. How do they compare to M4B?

They differ in terms of user-friendliness and quality and compatibility.


If you listen to an M4B audiobook, you can resume from where you left off. With MP3, you’ll have to start all over again when you reopen your audiobook file.


M4B offers better quality because of its higher bitrate. However, the drawback is its large file size.

MP3 offers a smaller file size. Quality suffers, but then it isn’t noticeable on most devices, especially on mobile devices.


M4B comes with copy protection if its source is iTunes or Apple Books. Unless it’s DRM-free you can’t play them on most other devices.

Not all built-in media players may play the M4B file format. You may need to install an audiobook reader app.

MP3, on the other hand, is a universal audio format, playable in most devices that support audio playback without having to install a dedicated app.

Can You Convert M4B to MP3?

If you don’t fancy installing an app on your mobile device or if your media player doesn’t support M4B, you may want to convert M4B to MP3.

But bear in mind that your M4B file must be unprotected.

If you have VLC installed, you may use it to convert M4B to MP3.

You may use an online video converter to do the job for you.

These online video converters also support conversion of the M4B audio file format to popular ones like MP3 or WAV.

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