Solutions If M4A Audio Doesn’t Play On Your Device (PC/Laptop/Phone)

This is an increasing problem as the M4A audio file format is becoming more popular these days against the older MP3 audio file format. Almost all devices play MP3 files, but not all devices play M4A audio files, so what can we do if we run into this problem?

That’s what we’ll cover in this guide, offering solutions if you can’t play M4A audio files on any of the following devices:

  • PCs
  • Laptops
  • Phones
  • Any other Android device
  • Mac devices
  • iOS devices
  • GNU/Linux

Here’s a summary of your main options if an M4A audio file won’t play on your device:

  • Download VLC Media Player (plays M4A audio)
  • Use the Cloudconvert tool to convert to MP3
  • Use the Poweramp app (Android)

Let’s look in more detail at these main options open to you to play or convert M4A files depending on your device.

Option #1 – Download VLC Media Player (Most Devices)

The first option that covers most devices is to use the free open source VLC Media player, which automatically plays M4A audio files.

Click here to get the VLC Media Player. It’s free and available for Windows, Mac OS X, Android, iOS, Linux and other systems.

Once you’ve downloaded and installed the VLC Media Player, it should just play M4A audio files automatically, just as it would MP3 files. I just tried an M4A file on my VLC player and it worked fine.

You can also convert M4A files into MP3 files using the VLC player – see here for a guide – or just skip to the next section just below, where we offer another free tool to use to convert M4A to MP3.

Option #2 – Convert The Files To MP3 Using a Free Tool (PC, Laptop)

If you’ve just got one or a few stray M4A files that your device won’t play, then another option is to convert them to MP3 audio files using a tool.

M4A audio was actually created by Apple, so there shouldn’t be any problem playing them on Apple devices, but what about Windows devices (PC, laptop) that can’t play M4A files for whatever reason?

This is where you can use a simple free online tool, of which there are many, to convert the M4A file into an MP3 file, which should easily play on almost any device now.

There are loads of these tools but for this purpose, we recommend the Cloudconvert tool.

The link just above has it set right on the M4A to MP3 converter option, so click on it and you are good to go with these steps:

  1. Go to cloudconvert.com
  2. Go to the M4A to MP3 converter
  3. Click Select File….From my Computer
  4. Find and upload the M4A file from your device
  5. You can add multiple M4A files if you want
  6. Click Convert and wait a few seconds.
  7. An MP3 version of the file should be created.
  8. Download this to your device.
  9. Alternatively, use the Poweramp app on Android devices.
  10. The VLC Media Player also plays M4A files.

Once you’ve got an MP3 version of the audio file, this should easily play on just about any device, since it’s a very old format and any device manufacturer doing things right will make sure their devices can play MP3 audio.

Option #3 – Use The Poweramp App (Android Devices)

You can try the above steps on Android devices as well, but if you really don’t to be messing around with this and just want to spend a bit of money to solve the problem once and for all, for all M4A files you’ve got on your Android device, then you are best off trialling then purchasing the Poweramp App.

Click here to visit the Poweramp website, or their app is also available directly from the Google Play Store here. There is a free 15 day trial available, after which a full license costs around $5.

It’s a very powerful audio player app that can play all of the following audio files with ease:

  • MP3
  • M4A/MP4/alac/aac
  • ogg
  • opus
  • wma
  • flac
  • wav
  • ape
  • wv
  • tta
  • mpc
  • aiff
  • dsd (dff/dsf)
  • mka
  • mpga
  • tak
  • flv (audio)

It also has a load more impressive audio capabilities that audio experts will no doubt appreciate; see here for a full list of specs/features of the app.

In other words, download this and you should be sorted playing any audio files permanently going forward.