Both M4A and MP3 are audio-only file formats. Although we listen to music, audiobooks or podcasts, on daily bases but most of us are not well familiar with the format of these audios. MP3 and M4A are two kinds of formats which are used commonly in our daily life. Commonly, we have to choose one format for our music, audiobooks, or others. But, we don’t know what are MP3 and M4A? Are you not being able to tell the differences between M4A and MP3? Do you want to know which one is better?

  • [What is an M4A format][3]?
  • [What is an MP3 Format][4]?
  • [Difference between M4A and MP3 file formats][5]
  • [Conclusion][6]

What is an M4A format?

The M4A file format is an audio file created by using the AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) which is known as a lossy compression. The word M4A abbreviated as MPEG 4 Audio. These audio files usually have .m4a file extension.

**Pros: **Offering smaller file size with high quality of sound. It can stream a variety of audio without paying any license fee. Also iPhone users can set M4A sounds as ringtones for their phone.

Cons: It doesn’t support the video formats and also the support is available for limited number of devices.

What is an MP3 Format?

MP3 files are formally based on the MPEG-1 Audio Layer III or MPEG-2 Audio Layer III. It was introduced by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) that uses Layer 3 audio compression. The MP3 format compressed the file 1/10th the size of .WAV or .AIF files

**Pros: **Enables sharing across other devices and supports downloading the audio files, as it needs very low storage capacity due to its compression algorithm.

Cons: Since it can cut some part of audio, you can’t get the high quality of audio.

Difference between M4A and MP3 file formats

The table shows the differences between M4A and MP3 formats. There may not be a clear winner because Each format has its own advantages.


Apple devices users should choose M4A as it is natively supported. Therefore, it is not recommended for DRM protected, and instead, M4P is used. Anything else should choose MP3. Apart from what was mentioned above about it is also popularly used for the stream because of its smaller size, but you will have to compromise with quality.

[3]: #What is an M4A format [4]: #What-is-an-MP3-Format [5]: #Difference-between-M4A-and-MP3-file-formats [6]: #Conclusion