Instructables

Can iPods play "normal" MP3 tracks?

OK, noob question, but google holds no clear answers (I just get lots of "convert iTunes to MP3" hits).

I'm thinking of buying a music player with a much larger memory than the current 2G.  There are iPod-dedicated birdwatching products that tempt me towards Apple products, but I have hundreds of MP3 tracks.

If I get an iWhatever, will it play ordinary MP3 tracks "as is", will I have to convert them to iTunes, or will I have to start from scratch?

lemonie4 years ago
You will have to import them into iTunes before synchronising with the iPod. I believe this just takes as long as it takes and isn't really very hard to do.
Did you try Apple for an official answer?

L
Kiteman (author)  lemonie4 years ago
Try Apple... >doh<
The really cool thing is that when you install iTunes, it has an option to automatically scan your computer for audio files and convert them all at one time for import, including any audio CD that may be in your drive. If you go that route, pack a lunch and don't make any plans to use your computer for anything else for a while. That said, it is rather nice to get it over with in one fell swoop.
Another cool thing is, it keeps on scanning your system (after that initial overhaul is done), over and over again, so that computers that are supposed to be fast aren't fast.
In other words, if you really have to get Macintosh/Apple stuff, make sure your computer can handle 2 users at once - you and Apple.
Kiteman (author)  RavingMadStudios4 years ago
Oh...
PKM Kiteman4 years ago
Health warning: you remember those MIDI music files that you thought were neat in 1996?  iTunes does, and if there are any MIDI files on your hard disk it will find and import those by default as well as your music MP3s.  I'm sure you can tell it not to, though.

I only found this out because Frets on Fire stores track information as MIDI, so my iTunes library is full of tracks consisting of a single piano tunelessly tinkling on five notes.
Kiteman (author)  Kiteman4 years ago
And round and round I go....
Kiteman (author)  Kiteman4 years ago
Good grief.  Slippery people, Apple.  I couldn't find a simple email address, and just got redirected to forums that I'd have to register with just to ask the question.

There's an Apple store in Norwich - I'll collar a human being there.
Ive had good experiences with the apple support system before - very prompt responses that are helpful. However, (i think) you need to havean apple account.
lemonie Kiteman4 years ago
Aztof4 years ago
yes, an iPod CAN play mp3s.  However, I have found that iTunes can be finicky at times, and have had trouble renaming my songs. 
I saw once an alternative to iTunes that can be used to synchronise with an iPod, but can't recall what it was. (sadly)
NYPA4 years ago
Hundreds isn't a problem for even the smallest iPod. A 4G can hold 1,000, and the 160 GB classic I have can hold 60,000. And they can play MP3s and WAVs. But that's it.
=SMART=4 years ago
Yes, and buy an iPod, they are much better than any other mp3 players

Hi there

Yes, and Iwhatever will play MP3s...

However, I would highly recommend totally avoiding Itunes if you value your sanity (and love your PC enough not to render all control to Apple!)

I personally use SharePod (http://www.getsharepod.com) it's easier to use, is compatible with virtually all Ipod type things and the nicest thing is that you can backup and sync ANY (yes ANY!) Ipod to your PC (unlike itunes which can only sync 1 Ipod per PC without grief)

hope that is of some help!
waterbaby4 years ago
Kiteman, check out http://anythingbutipod.com/ for information on pretty much every non-iPod player available.  Don't know how many support applications outside of audio/video/data, but I do know there are some running on the Android operating system, for which, if there isn't a birdwatching product among the more than 10,000 apps already created for it, perhaps with Android being open source a Great Maker such as yourself might be inclined to create one....
Willard2.04 years ago
Yup, just import the song into iTunes and sync your iWhatever.  I have ~900 songs and 99.9% of them are .mp3 format. 
acidbass4 years ago
yes
I had the very same question when I bought my iPod - the answer is Yes. No problems - just add to the iTunes library and sync. 
DJ Radio4 years ago
ALL music players should play MP3's, otherwise it's a design fail.  I have 3 MP3 tracks of underground hip-hop not available on itunes on my iPod as a matter of fact.
Burf4 years ago
Simple answer, yes, iPods will play standard MP3 tracks. No hassles, just move the files into iTunes and they will play just fine when loaded onto an iPod.
zoltzerino4 years ago
 As lemonie said: you will have to import them into iTunes anyway, the software kindly converts most (if not all) music files into iPod suitable formats (AAC, m4a, Apple Lossless - similar to FLAC). If you have your songs on CD and have a large enough capacity iPod I would recommend adding them in Lossless  format, due to its better sound quality over mP3, although when played through the standard Apple headphones the difference is marginal.

On the hardware front I would recommend the iPod touch; the 'app store' and web browser (Mobile Safari) really do make it very versatile, although this does depend entirely on your budget and gadget lust.