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What is the M4R Audio Format? How to Play and Convert It?

M4R Audio Format

Many are aware only of popular audio formats like MP3, AAC, and WAV.

They would not have heard about the M4R audio format.

If you’ve come across the M4R audio format and wondering what it is, this post will provide an explanation.

You’ll also learn how to open an M4R file and convert it to popular audio formats.

What is an M4R File

An M4R file is a ringtone file from iTunes. This file is used with an iPhone.

Although an M4R is used with iPhone, it was not created by Apple.

It is actually an M4A file renamed as M4R.

M4A (AAC) is actually a MPEG-4 audio file falling under the ISO-IEC standard 14495-3.

Now you know M4R stands for MPEG-4 Ringtone file.

M4R Compression

M4R is popular among iPhone users because of its excellent compression. They come with small file sizes but with excellent audio quality.

The compression is of the lossy type. But then no quality loss is noticeable by the ear.

AAC and MP3, too, use lossy compression. However, M4R has the added advantage of supporting auditory masking.

Auditory masking is the process of eliminating audio data that doesn’t make a difference to the human ear. Such audio can’t be heard or processed by the ear.

How is an M4R File Created?

An M4R file is created from a song you purchase over iTunes. The song must support ringtone creation.

Once created, you can sync your iPhone with iTunes to transfer M4R files to your phone.

Manual transfer is available, too with a third-party application.

An M4R file can not only be used as a ringtone, but also works well as a text tone, alert tone, or alarm tone.

iTunes isn’t the only route to M4R creation. There are some non-Apple programs that can do the job. M4R created through third-party software doesn’t come with copyright protection. So, it won’t work with your iPhone.

You can open these ‘non-authorized’ files though, through a universal media player like VLC.

After an M4R file is transferred to your iPhone, you can set it as a ringtone. Go to Settings -Sounds and Haptics – Ringtone.

How to Open an M4R File

Since M4R is not universal like MP3, only certain programs can open it.

You can use the Apple QuickTime Player and Apple iTunes. There’s iTunes for Windows, too.

On the Windows platform, you may use File Viewer Plus and Microsoft Groove Music (preinstalled in Windows 8 and higher) to open M4R.

If your media player doesn’t recognize M4R, you may try your luck by renaming .m4r to .mp3 to see if it solves the problem.

Generally, a media player like VLC should be able to play an M4R file, even on a Mac or Linux computer.

M4R File Conversion

An MP3 or M4A file on iTunes can be converted to M4R by following these steps.

If you have an .M4A file you can convert it to an M4R file by renaming the extension to .m4r.

So, if you have an MP3 file you wish to convert to M4R, convert it to M4A first and then rename it to M4R.

Then you would have to transfer the M4R file to iTunes before syncing with your it with your iPhone.

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