How to play .flac files in iTunes

This tutorial will guide you in installing all of the required software (and in which order) to get iTunes to play .flac files. This works for iTunes version 7.4.1 and up (and Quicktime 7.2.0) running on OS X.

Update: I’ve added a 2nd, much easier way to accomplish the same thing (playing FLAC files in iTunes. And this method works using iTunes 7.6.2 or higher.


The original (longer) method can be found at the bottom of this post. But the new “updated” method really is much easier and faster.

Updated method to play FLAC files in iTunes

  1. Download and install Fluke. Fluke is actually an AppleScript, saved as an Application bundle, that includes all of the software used in the longer method
  2. Select one or more FLAC files, right-click (ctrl-click for single-button mouse folks), choose Open With and select Other….
  3. righ-click flac files and select open with then other

  4. Navigate to Fluke, select it and click Open
  5. opening flac files with fluke
    click to enlarge

  6. A window will pop up, some text will fly by, the window will close and you’ll be presented with the option to import the “items” (flac files) into iTunes. Click Yes
  7. confirmation window on importing items to itunes

  8. And your FLAC files will be added to iTunes. That’s it – give them a play, set the tags etc. You’re done!
  9. flac files playing in itunes

Longer method to play FLAC files in iTunes

  1. Exit out of iTunes and Quicktime if they’re open.
  2. Start by downloading xiph-qt-0.1.8.dmg. Unpack it and drag XiphQT.component to /Library/Components/ if you’d like it to be available to all users on your Mac, or /Users/your-user-name/Library/Components/ if you want it to just be available for you. If you’ve ever installed the Xiph QuickTime Component before, drag it to the trash before copying the new version over.
  3. play flac files in itunes
    click to enlarge

  4. Now download flac_import_0.5b1_p0.1.dmg. Open it up and drag FLACImport.component to /Library/QuickTime/ or /Users/your-user-name/Library/QuickTime/
  5. play flac files in itunes
    click to enlarge

  6. And finally, download set-OggS-0.1.dmg. Unpack it and drag Clear OggS.app and Set OggS.app to your Applications folder.
  7. play flac files in itunes
    click to enlarge

  8. Launch iTunes. You can try loading a .flac file now, but it likely won’t work quite yet. If it doesn’t, drag the flac (or multiple .flac files) and drop them on Set OggS.app. A window will pop up confirming that all of the .flac files have been ‘converted’.
  9. play flac files in itunes
    click to enlarge

  10. Now you should have no problem loading the flac files that have been through Set OggS.app into iTunes. You’ll have to tag them manually (tags aren’t carried over to iTunes) but at least they’re working!
  11. play flac files in itunes
    click to enlarge


Home » Mac » How to play .flac files in iTunes

205 thoughts on “How to play .flac files in iTunes”

  1. If you Want to batch convert FLAC audio files to iTunes compatible MP3, AAC, AIFF, WAV, etc ,we suggest you should choose Avdshare Audio Converter – the best FLAC to iTunes Converter for Mac and Windows

  2. Pingback: How to Convert iTunes Flac to MP3 or Playing FLAC in iTunes?

  3. rachelgreenhappy

    Another way is convert WMA, OGG, FLAC to iTunes more supported audio format.

    I use a software called iDealshare VideoGo which can convert iTunes
    unsupported WMA, OGG, FLAC, APE, 3GA, etc to iTunes supported MP3, Apple
    Lossless, AAC, AIFF and etc

    Just google search How to Use iDealshare VideoGo to Convert FLAC to iTunes, you will find a detailed guide.

  4. black hadland

    i use iDealshare VideoGo to convert FLAC and APE to iTunes supported Apple Lossless, MP3, AIFF, M4A, AAC and etc

  5. I encountered the similar issue with HK. I just get iTunes work with 64-bit.

    I have to turn to Google, and found Faasoft. It supports importing FLAC to iTunes.

  6. I tried several times, It does not support in Itunes, when I click open the fluke disappear and opening with itunes but no response
    then I changed itunes to 32b but then Itunes not work , i got message that i i should turn on settings as Itunes only work with 64 bit and change setings.

    SO this failed. I downloaded Winap, cant play air play and mac version not work well in mac, so covertion from FA file, it not working.

    Perhaps new versions of Apple done this, but I think there should be ways

  7. newperterblack

    Just google search Step by Step Guide on How to Import FLAC to iTunes, you will find a simple solution

  8. I just did this, and I was thrilled, it worked fantastically! I had dowloaded 3 albums that were FLAC, and there were literally no other versions of those albums in existence of the internet world. I luckily stumbled upon this as a last resort, and it was a breeze to convert! THANK YOU!!!!!

  9. So I installed Fluke, read that it doesn’t work with my iTunes edition, tried to uninstall and the uninstall application is ignoring my password, any thoughts?

  10. In order to import FLAC to iTunes, we will need to convert FLAC to Apple friendly audio formats.

    If you care the quality of the output audio, converting FLAC to Apple Lossless audio is recommended.

    If you do not care about the quality of the music, you can convert FLAC
    to MP3, a versatile audio format across system and devices then import
    the converted FLAC files to iTunes.

    Just google search Step by Step Guide on How to Import and Add FLAC to iTunes on Windows and on Mac?

    You will find a step by step guide

  11. Pingback: The Mac .flac iTunes Blues | A High-Tech Blech!

  12. hi! i just tried to install fluke several times.. it worked fine but when i get to stage 4, instead of gettng the window you are referring to i get an error message :

    _____________________________
    Fluke Error
    An unexpected error has occured during execution of the main script

    IndexError: list index out of range
    _____________________________
    I have a Mac OS X version 10.7.2 running Lion.

    what should i do? …. thanks !!

  13. Hi,

    I get this error message when importing file to iTunes:
    “Python quit unexpectedly”

    Do you have any clue why that happens?

    Thanks!

    Jordan

  14. Amazing! This is the best thing ever! I’ve been bouncing flac files to mp3 until now. This makes so much more sense. Thanks!

  15. We´ll if someones intrested in .flac files, i persume they are in one or another way linked to making/mixing/whatever music. So open your .flac file in a sequencer, render it to a .wav file and drag it to iTunes. Simple as that !

  16. help- anybody?
    I get a Fluke Error
    ITunesReferenceError: Supplied argument is not a valid ITunes track- gives me an option to terminate or open console, when I open console…last message exited with exit code 255
    what?

  17. Pingback: How to play .flac files in iTunes « PsychoBabbleOnline

  18. Pingback: FLAC: Cómo utilizar y convertir archivos en Mac | Todo es cuestion de gustos

  19. For those who couldn’t find their files anywhere, you should try quitting iTunes. When you reopen it, you will for sure find them! Thanks for this app!

  20. downloaded fluke finally, and it asks if i want to import into iTunes, i click YES – and i still can’t find them in itunes. ?

  21. I downloaded and installed this fluke every thing well, till the last step but i couldn’t find the final files either in my itunes or in my lap….
    What is dat?????
    iam Using intel based mac 10.5
    with itunes 10

  22. Pingback: FLAC: Cómo utilizar y convertir archivos en Mac

  23. this method does not work for me. the link for fluke on this website isn’t working, so i found it on the web, but i mean everything goes like you said, it says it installs it in itunes, but it’s just not there…

  24. Pingback: How to play .flac files in iTunes – Simple Help « Absurditäten des Alltags

  25. We are simply chasing the Flac shadow, anyway. What’s all this about “without sacrificing quality”? Can you hear a dog whistle? You can’t hear any difference between a Flac and an AAC 320 file. This “sacrifice of quality” is all academic.

  26. Pingback: How To Play .flac on iTunes OS X / JAUHARI

  27. Pingback: How To Play .flac on iTunes OS X / JAUHARI

  28. It worked well; but I wasn´t able to play the songs with loudspeakers connected via airtunes and apple TV. The songs played only on the computer (iMac).
    Is there any idea to solve that issue?
    regards
    hermann

  29. To play them on your iPod convert the files to Apple Lossless (Go to Advanced settings and select the Import Settings and the quality instead of AAC to Apple Lossless), and then convert your selected songs to Apple Lossless and presto!

  30. Used Flac to Fluke to iTunes simple method.
    iTunes 9.01, OS 10.5.8
    Files came into iTunes as .mov files.
    Play in iTunes but do not transfer to my iPod.
    Any ideas how to get them to the iPod?

  31. Pingback: FLAC in iTunes 9 or free way to convert FLAC to Apple Lossless - Mac-Forums.com

  32. A quick question before i start using on of these methods: will i also be able to import art work on the files in iTunes? Heard that FLAC files don’t allow this; which would be a bummer…
    Thanks!

  33. Has anyone had success with fluke in iTunes 9.0.1 and Snow Leopard 10.6.1?
    (I haven’t, and I’m wondering if it’s a version conflict or operator error…)

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  35. I tried using Fluke the short method you mention, but after the “do you want to import to itunes” window, the files never appeared in itunes. Why? What else do you suggest?

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  37. I appreciate the help, although you forgot the most important step in the “short method” directions…. which is of course, the first step:

    1.Exit out of iTunes and Quicktime if they’re open.

    just spent 15 frustrated minutes before i figured that one out:)
    Of course, that could be because apple has turned me into an iZombie!
    (or I’m just a dumb-ass)

  38. Fluke works great transfering flac to itunes but they only play on the cumputer speakers. Streaming to Airport Express does NOT work for any of the files added to the itunes lib thru fluke…. Any ideas?

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  41. I’m sure someone has asked this already but I use itunes on windows XP professional. Is there a way of playing flac files with itunes run on windows xp?

  42. I’m sure someone has asked this already but I use itunes on windows XP professional and was wondering how I could get it to play flac files

  43. ShrekUnderTheMistletoe

    Apparently the updated method works fine, I´m using Leopard & iTunes 8.2, but strange things happen when I add album art to the files, sometimes the pictures remain but sometimes they “dissappear”. Any suggestions?

    Thanks

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  45. Tried all of the steps in the longer version, and everything worked OK, but my flac files still won’t drag/drop to iTunes (using 7.5). I’ve tried to open/close it, then drag/drop again. I’ve tried to open iTunes by right-clicking the flac files and selection the program. Within iTunes, I’ve tried importing the files. Nothing. Can’t drag/drop anything from Set OggS (0.1), so I’m stumped. Please advise. Thanks!

  46. On a mac… drop all the flac tracks with TOAST in audio mode… save disk image on the same folder as the album. Then right click the disk image file and select the option MORE and from the submenu MOUNT IT.
    Itunes will open and recognize the file as an album… that way you can listen to it in a CD kinda like experience or import them to mp3…
    cheers

  47. Pingback: 24-Bit 48kHz FLAC! It’s Better For You! « Invisible Sound

  48. Didn’t work for me on lastest OSX & itunes. It says its imported but the tracks jsut aren’t there in itunes

  49. worked great once i remembered to quit iTunes. i did, however, get pretty annoyed when it imported the album in alphabetical, not sequential, order. and since iTunes won’t allow you to move songs around without making a playlist (again, annoying) do you have a suggestion on how to “fix” this ? thanks!

  50. For those wondering, Apple will most likely never include support FLAC or other open formats themselves. The reason for this is that they’d open themselves up to numerous patent lawsuits as the target with the most $$$. Instead, they can develop their own, or license others and get better legal protection. They’ll also continue to allow plug-ins as a way of partially making up for this…since they don’t hate these formats, they just don’t want the legal risk.

    Apple does have a lossless codec that FLAC files can be losslessly transcoded into. When this is done, you can then play them in iTunes, as well as your iPod, iPhone, Apple TV, etc…

    A FREE and very handy tool for transcoding audio files is Max:
    http://sbooth.org/Max/

  51. Ritwik Banerjee

    Hi,

    All this is very nice, but Fluke means I can’t do this on Windows. Is there a way I can make iTunes play .flac files in Windows?

  52. Pingback: The Mac .flac iTunes Blues | The InkWells

  53. I have used the slow method to put these components in place on my Mac (10.4). However, my end goal is slightly different.

    I have all of my music as flacs stored on an Ubuntu machine running RhythmBox. RhythmBox provides a DAAP share just like iTunes. I am able to connect to that share and play an mp3 or wave file as expected.

    After following the directions, I hoped that iTunes would be able to play the flacs as well (it has always displayed them). It fails to play anything nor does the progress bar move across the song.

    It is (obviously) not feasible to run the ogg application on the flacs.

    Can you offer any further advice or links or whatever? This is one of the final pieces of the puzzle.

  54. Thanks for making the Fluke file available. Seemed like I had to look forever to find info on how to convert flac files to AIFF files (downloaded 2 albums from Mindawn.com), but the installation & use of Fluke appears to be a better option. The only problem I had was that the graphic you used in Step 3 (Applications) did not show up the same on my Mac (OS X Version 10.4.11), so I had to figure that out first (still kind of new to Macs). Thanks again for the headache relief. ;-)

  55. When your create a Apple Lossless version of your ‘fluked flac’, you will be able to add artwork and play it on your ipod keeping the lossless compression.

    René

  56. Gewoon even Apple Lossless versie aanmaken van je ‘fluked flacs’ in Itunes en vervolgens kun je:

    1. Gewoon album art toevoegen
    2. Gewoon afspelen op je Ipod

    René

  57. Pingback: Ride the Waves in Ubuntu or Get Me Some Flac | The InkWells

  58. Impossible d’importer mes fichiers FLAC dans iTunes…. Quelqu’un pourrait-il m’aider ? J’ai la dernière version d’iTunes et j’ai correctement installé Fluke.

    Merci d’avance pour votre aide

  59. In iTunes if I change the title to the album it changes, but once the song is played it reverts back to the prior title? Can you help?

    Thank you very much for your software!!!!!

  60. Hi Ross,
    I’m having a bit of trouble. I downloaded Fluke and installed as per the instructions. Then I followed the “Updated method to play FLAC files in iTunes”. The files are copied over to itunes. However, no matter which one I select an play I get nothing but some sort of complexed noise. It sounds terrible. Any thoughts? Software: Mac OS X 10.5.3, iTunes 8.0.2. The files are Linn Records, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Mozart Requiem, “Studio Master”, FLAC 24bit 96kHz. http://www.linnrecords.com/recording-mozart-requiem-sacd.aspx
    Thanks, Chris

  61. The second image under the original steps is the wrong one — you’re showing the same pic for Steps 2 and 3. The “enlarged” image link is fine, just not the smaller version above.

  62. Didn’t know about fluke thanks for the heads up. For those interested in playing flac on their ipod should check out RockBox.org. I have a 5th gen 30gb ipod and its easy to install and works great. Unfortunatly it only works on a select number of older model ipods.

  63. When you try to import the first song, make sure your iTune is shut down, it will allow to install script… I did not work for me the first few times i tried because iTunes was running.

    Closed iTune, trid to import and now works like a cherm… Excellent!

  64. I use Mac OS X 10.5.5 and iTunes 8.0.1. OggS says it imported all my FLACs ‘okay,’ but I can’t find them in my iTunes library.

    To those who wonder if they can read FLACs on an iPod: the answer is no. Fluke installs software to decode FLACs on your Mac, but not on your iPod. You’ll have to convert them into one of the 6 formats officially recognized by Apple (lossy: MP3, AAC and MPEG-4; lossless: Apple Lossless, AIFF, WAV) to listen to that music on your iPod.

  65. i am sure there is more to that. i downloaded flac compilation and although i cannot see the album art on individual songs, i can see it under the cover flow mode. which is weird. also I am sure I read some other post saying that it is possible to embed artwork in flac.. should find the link i guess.

  66. @yiogos –

    Yes that all sounds about right. You’d have to tag the flac files, and then import them into iTunes. Since flacs don’t support album artwork, you can’t embed that.

  67. ok. the last thing i noticed is that NOTHING CAN BE CHANGED ON TAGS IN ITUNES. change the name of song or artist and it comes back to the one that was imported.

  68. Fluke looks like it works good. I am playing a .aep reference cd converted to flac.
    BUT
    there is a problem with the album artwork. apparently for some reason the individual files (songs) cannot store album data=photos. don’t know why. tied several times. any ideas?

  69. Pingback: AVforum.no - Apple Lossless vs FLAC

  70. hi

    thanks for the advice. i’ve successfully imported flac files into itunes but they will not copy onto my ipod.

    any further tips?

    thanks.

  71. I just found a MUCH better way of dealing with FLACs.

    Download the free application X Lossless Decoder (XLD) and you can just drag your FLAC’s onto XLD’s icon…and it will quickly convert the file to ALAC (Apple Lossless Codec) so you can play it on your iPod or iPhone as well as your computer!

    It also supports cover art!

    http://tmkk.hp.infoseek.co.jp/xld/index_e.html

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  73. sorry just to clarify those two applications of course are not a solution for playing flacs on the iPod (unless the tracks are converted; but XDecoder allows direct conversion to Apple lossless, mp3 etc

  74. can i transfer flacs to the iPod’s library?

    Personally i use toolplayer, doesn’t have playlist function but plays flacs outright. I also recommend X Lossless Decoder(XLD) for fast decoding and/or splitting a single album flac file into separate track files.

    those apps are very cool and easy to use

  75. For some reason they didn’t import when iTunes was open during the conversion. I quit out of iTunes and then it worked great! Album rocks.

  76. Works perfect! Thank you very much …

    FLUKE makes it very easy to work with .FLACs in iTunes – it is even possible to convert .FLAC files into .WAV or .MP3 within iTunes – with no problems at all!

    Wondering why the FLAC format is not included as a standard format within iTunes (yet) – a good player should be able to read the most used formats.

    For some time ago I bought the Amadeus sound editing software which reads, converts and saves in a lot of different formats – including FLAC – and that’s not a very bigsized, advanced software at all. So I was a bit stunned over the fact that iTunes didn’t read FLAC files.

    – but now it does! Thank a lot.

  77. FLUKE sounds like exactly what I’m looking for. But the server hosting the FLUKE file(s) seems to be down so I am unable to download the software.

    Would anyone have a copy of the current version of FLUKE they would be willing to email me? Would be much appreciated.

    Thanks!

  78. You could also just use a .flac->.mp3 conversion tool.

    I mean honestly, why do you even bother with .flacs? The quality gained is probably lost on your equipment anyway.

  79. Have downloaded Fluke OK into OSX Tiger, iTunes 7.4.1 Process goes Ok until ‘Yes” to iTunes import which produces an ‘OggS’ box with a failed message. Any ideas? Mark.

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  82. thanks for this excellent tutorial! works very well (OSX 10.5.2, iTunes 7.62)

    also no problem with adding cover art, at least via download from apple store… that’s all i tried.

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  84. I’ve just finished with these instructions. Everything went as described up to, “Now you should have no problem loading the flac files that have been through Set OggS.app into iTunes…”. The files won’t open in iTunes. I had to make both ‘Components’ and ‘QickTime’ folders in the Library folder. The SetOggs window pops up and says what it should, but no go in iTunes. Suggestions? Please?

  85. Excellent tutorial. It works very well.
    Thank you and keep up the good work. If the tags are: the name of the song, artist, album, date, and all other details you get in iTunes by right-click -> Get Info (Mac OSX) then I have to tell you that all that info got transferred in iTunes just fine from the .flac file(s).
    Thanks

  86. Pingback: How to play .OGG Vorbis files in iTunes (Windows and OS X) - Simplehelp

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  89. I don´t know wich is the tag format. I haven´t did anything else with the Flacs, only launch them ehit the set oggs and then to iTunes.
    I only want to play them in iTunes, not for iPod. But I have all my files with art album except the Flac files.
    I have done a “little” one second Mp3 file with the album art and added to the album with the Flacs files. It works but this is not really a great solution because I would like to have each file with each artalbum.
    Any better idea?
    Thanks

  90. Pingback: How to Convert .flac to .mp3 in Mac OS X? « Apple Clinic, the FAQ Repository

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  95. Works fine for me … thanks a lot!! Been trying to get this setup for ages… and Itunes read my flac tags fine also :)

  96. this all works fine for me thanks.

    I’ve got a problem playing wireless to airport express/streaming it to my stereo system with Airtunes…

    of curse I could use airfoil which I already do with other applications, but is kind a silly to launch it every time a .flac file appear in the play list….

    is there any solution to this problem, which also occur when playing url’s

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  98. Pingback: How to Play High-Quality .FLAC Audio Files in iTunes

  99. I think it’s easier just to convert the .flac files to .wav files with Flac Frontend. They remain lossless and then you can play them on anything you like.

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