How to Play FLAC Files in Windows, macOS, iOS and Android

This very brief guide will explain how to play FLAC files (and .SHN files) in Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS and Android.

play flac files


FLAC and SHN are both “lossless” audio formats. In a nutshell, lossless audio files allow the exact original audio to be reconstructed from the source. This can be contrasted to lossy audio (.mp3, .aac), which does not allow the exact original audio to be reconstructed. What does this really mean? If you encode a CD (or other audio files) to mp3, you lose quality. If you encode a CD to .flac or .shn, you do not. For more details, see A Beginners Guide to Lossless Audio.

How to Play FLAC and SHN Audio Files

Years ago it was a bit more complicated – now it’s painfully straight forward: just download and install VLC (if it’s not already on your computer). VLC is the media player of choice for both audio and video file formats, it supports nearly everything. It’s also available for Windows, macOS, Linux and pretty much every other operating system you can think of. With VLC installed, you can listen to FLAC or SHN files to your heart’s content :)

If you want to play lossless audio files on your phone or tablet, you’ll need to download VLC for iOS or VLC for Android (which is also how you’d play them on a Chromebook).

If you have any questions by all means please feel free to leave a comment below.

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