Play M4A Audio Files on Mac for Free

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avatar logo 1 March at 17:15

Have you ever found a file with this extension on your computer and wondered how to open M4A on Mac? Perhaps you tried to play M4A on Mac but could not open it.

For those of you that are wondering what is m4a and where did it came from, you should know that the file was popularized by Apple to create a distinction between the MPEG4 video formats and the M4A. No that we know what is m4a format, let’s see what are the programs that you can use to open it. In order to play a file that was save in the m4a format, you will need a M4A file player more advanced than iTunes or Quicktime. Luckily, such a software to play M4A music exists on the market and you will discover all about it in the following sections.

Check out Elmedia Player - a handy M4A player Mac app.

M4A Player Mac: 100% Safe and Free Audio Player - Elmedia Player

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Elmedia Player


Requirements: OS X 10.9+. 36.74MB free space. Version 6.12(1435). (2nd Oct, 2018). 4.9 Rank based on 367+ users, Reviews(356)
Category: Video
Free Elmedia Player can play M4A file without the loss of quality. Even compared to traditional M4A players like iTunes or Quicktime, Elmedia can deliver better performance with lossless audio format. A great thing about this M4A player for Mac is that it is not complicated at all having essential functions that one may need for the best playback experience. You can create playlists in Elmedia and name them up to your choice, so that you can find them easily.
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How to open M4A on Mac with Elmedia Player?

1. Download the app
1.1. Open the App Store and download the Elmedia Player then use it on your Mac.
1.2. Or, you can simply click on the download link posted on our site and get it really quick. Watch all your favorite video files.

Download free player for Mac from this page and install it the same way you would with other Mac apps.

2. Add your music file.

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You can add M4A files to Elmedia in several ways:

  • - Drop M4A files on the player window or onto its icon in the dock.
  • - Right-click M4A file in Finder to use "Open With" option. Select Elmedia Player from the list.
  • - In the Main menu of the player choose "File" and then "Open".

3. And then there is much more!

You can enjoy your M4A files on Mac with Elmedia Player in addition to FLV, SWF, MP4, MKV, MOV, AVI, WMV, etc.

More information about M4A


M4A is a file extension for MPEG-4 Part 14 or MP4 files, a multimedia container format to store compressed audio and video data. M4A (audio only) is often compressed with AAC encoding (lossy), but can also be in Apple Lossless format. M4A files are very similar to MP4 video files, however M4A files only contain audio. Songs in iTunes Store are in the M4A format. To make the size of these songs smaller AAC compression is used.

Also, some podcasts and audiobooks use the play M4A extension. It’s a bit less convenient because it doesn’t come with the possibility of adding bookmakers. That’s why they’re saved in a M4B format, making them unplayable even with the best free M4A player.

Another interesting fact about the M4A format is that Apple uses it for their iPhone ringtones, however the M4R extension is used simply to make it look different. It’s Apple after all, right?

M4A Player for Mac

M4A vs MP3: What’s the Best Format?


The M4A format is often refer to as being the new and improved MP3, however, when you but the two formats head to head, you notice some differences. First of all, M4A can better compress audio to deliver the same bit rate and quality in a much smaller file. The M4A also has quite a high standard for bit rate starting at 128kbps and also allowing 192kbps and 256kbps. That’s how much data is processed in a second, kilobytes / second = kbps.

Of course that a higher bit rate will ultimately lead to a bigger file size, however, when it comes to the power of compression, M4A is superior compared to MP3. So, to make things a bit easier to understand, quality-wise a MP3 file with a 256kbps bit rate is the equivalend of a M4A at only 192kbps.

With all these arguments favoring M4A, is curious that MP3 is still the preferred audio format, however, that has more to do with compatibility rather than anything else. In the end, every format has its ups and downs, your needs determine the best one.

Setting Elmedia as your default M4A player on a Mac

1. Locate the M4A file. Feel free to use any of the following methods:

  • - Use ‘Finder’ on the Dock then select the file.
  • - Go to "File" in the main menu of your Mac. You’ll get a dropdown list where you can select ‘New Finder Window’ and then select the file.

2. Now, right click on the M4A file. Choose Open with in the drop-down menu and then click on ‘Other’.

3. In the list you get, select the Elmedia player and make sure to also check the ‘ Always Open With’ box afterwards.

4. Then simply open the file and the Elmedia Player be the default players for the M4A file types. All the M4A files will be opened with Elmedia Player from now on.

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Elmedia Player

Requirements: OS X 10.9+ , 36.74MB free space
Version 6.12(1435) (2nd Oct, 2018) Release notes
Category: Video