How to strip DRM off iTunes music on Windows and Mac

There are many ways to remove DRM (short for Digital Rights Management) protection from iTunes music. On Windows OS, you can remove iTunes DRM using the burn-and-rip method or you can turn to programs like TuneClone M4P Converter and DoubleTwist. On Mac OS X, iMovie is the perfect solution to removing DRM protection from iTunes music. Besides, freewares like FairGame is also a pretty good choice. So this article is dedicated to introducing several methods of removing the nasty DRM from iTunes music on Windows and Mac OS X. It is divided into the following five parts:

Note: To remove DRM from iTunes video on Windows and Mac, please switch to:

How to Remove DRM from iTunes Video on Windows
How to Remove DRM from iTunes Video on Mac

Part 1. Remove DRM from iTune with burn-and-rip method (Win & Mac, iTunes music only)

a. Insert a CD-R or CD-RW disc into your CD-ROM drive.

b. Burn DRM iTunes music to make an Audio CD. You cannot select the MP3 CD option since it requires the DRM protected iTunes music be converted to MP3.

c. After the Audio CD is successfully burned, insert the disc into your CD-ROM drive again. Then you can use iTunes to import the music tracks on the burned disc as MP3 files.

Part 2. Remove DRM from iTunes with TuneClone (Win & Mac, iTunes music only)

a. Download TuneClone M4P Converter and install it.

b. Make settings in TuneClone

Click the “Settings” button in TuneClone. In the pop-up dialog, you can specify the “output folder”, “output filenames”, “output format”, etc for the output files.

Note: A Virtual CD Drive will be installed to convert iTunes music files. You must make sure this CD burner is successfully installed. you can check whether it is successfully installed and where it is installed at the bottom left corner of TuneClone interface.

c. Make settings in iTunes

Create a new playlist, and add the iTunes songs you want to convert to the playlist.

Right click the playlist you just created and choose “Burn Playlist to Disc”.

In the pop-up dialog of “Burn Settings”, make the settings as highlighted below:

Remove iTunes DRM

d. Start to burn

Click the “Burn” button to start burning.

Part 3. Remove DRM from iTunes with iMovie (Mac only, iTunes music only)

remove iTunes DRM on Mac with iMovie

In the iMovie window, select the ‘Media’ tab located between ‘Themes’ and ‘Editing’. You will notice that the top right portion of the interface now offers a media browser. Select the ‘Audio’ tab and locate the playlist which contains purchased music, or search by artist/title.

iTunes remove DRM with iMovie

Remove DRM iTunes on Mac OS X with iMovie

Select the DRM-laden song and drag the file from the media browser into the iMovie timeline where it says “Drag audio here to build your project.”

remove DRM from iTunes on Mac with iMovie

In order to export the song, iMovie requires that a visual image be associated with the audio track – “iMovie thinks that it is going to be exporting a movie”. Simply drag a blank image (or any other image) to the track above the previously imported audio file. Once iMovie has processed the image, select the ‘Share…’ sub menu item from found inside ‘Share’ in iMovie’s menu bar.

remove iTunes DRM on Mac OS X with iMovie

Ensure that ‘Expert Settings’ is selected in the “Compress movie for:” drop-down menu. Selecting ‘Expert Settings’ mode will provide the options to export the file as an audio file. Select the ‘Share’ button.

In the Save as… dialogue, select “Sound to AIFF” in the Export drop-down menu, Choose an appropriate directory for iMovie to export to, title the file, and select ‘Save’. Depending on your machine configuration, iMovie will compress and export the movie project as an audio file in 15-40 seconds.

iTunes remove DRM on Mac with iMovie

Locate the exported AIFF audio file and drag to your iTunes Library. Right-click on the file and select “Convert Selection to AAC”. Once completed, ‘Get Info’ on the new file, edit meta data, add album art, and trash the originally purchased and AIFF audio files from your iTunes library.

Part 4. Remove DRM from iTunes with FairGame (Mac only, iTunes music only)

FairGame is freeware to remove DRM protection from iTunes music on Mac OS X. It will convert the DRMed songs you bought on the iTunes Store to an unprotected format (using iTunes default encoder) and keep all the original metadata, lyrics and artwork. FairGame doesn’t do lossless DRM stripping. It re-encodes protected AAC files purchased in iTMS into unprotected AAC file using Apple’s iMovie software.

Remove iTunes DRM on Mac with FairGame

What you MUST DO (only once) to get FairGame to work:

  • enable “Access for assistive devices” in the “Universal Access” system preference
  • select “Place clip in Movie Timeline” in the “Import” preference of iMovie HD

Then you can simply:

  • select some songs in iTunes
  • click on the “Process songs” button

Don’t touch anything and wait until it’s done…(FairGame is scripting iMovie’s interface to process the songs, don’t interfere)

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16 thoughts on “How to strip DRM off iTunes music on Windows and Mac

  1. How do I do this to remove DRM protection from a video file? I have a class project in which I purchased some footage and need to use it in a presentation but I am not able to open it due to the protection. Can you help!?!? please!!!

  2. Trying to avoid part one, but part 3 and 4 require iMovie HD and I have iMovie 08. Is there a method other than the burn-and-rip metod with iMovie 08?

  3. And just how do you make that preference selection in the Import HD section for the timeline? I’ve looked and looked and can’t find it anywhere!

  4. This does not work for me. I still get the same error that I can’t burn the selected tracks because my computer is not authorized to play them. I thought this was supposed to remove the DRM so I CAN burn them?

  5. Very helpful post! However, I still like DRM Music Converter. It can also remove DRM from iTunes music. What’s more it can be used to convert protected iTunes M4V/M4P and DRM protected WMA/WMV files.

    It can only be used on Windows.

  6. Ok it worked for me as I burned the tracks I selected in Itunes on to a CD-R. When the burn process was finished, but before I’d ejected the CD, I used Itunes to import the contents of the CD back into Itunes.

    There are two options at the bottom of the screen after the Burn option has finished. The right hand button says “Import CD” and the left one says “Import Settings”. If you click on “Import Settings” then choose MP3 encoder from the first field “Import using” then choose what quality you want then click OK and exit.

    Finally click on the “import CD” button and you’ll be asked if you want to replace the existing tracks. Select “Dont replace” and the contents of the CD are copied back into Itunes but as MP3 files :)

    Thanks for nothing Apple !

  7. Having done all that I now find that (using Itunes version 9) if you right click a track in Itunes, the fifth option on the drop down menu is “Create MP3 version”. By clicking on that option Itunes automatically copies the track in MP3 format. Probably still has Apples “fingermarks” on it so beware if you intend sending it round the web !

  8. tuneclone did not work. your instructions are confusing and not totally clear. so it’s possible I did something wrong. none of the stuff in this article worked for me as of yet.

  9. does anyone know if “iCloud’ will forever stop this crap when it comes out (Sept. or Oct. I think)?? If I recall right it’ll be a small charge annual for all music ever purchased on all your devices.

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