ALAC File Extension

Have a problem opening a .ALAC file? We collect information about file formats and can explain what ALAC files are. Additionally we recommend software suitable for opening or converting such files.

What is the .ALAC file type?

Derived from the ALAC acronym (Apple Lossless Audio Codec), the .alac filename extension serves as a non-standard, impromptu means of labeling ALAC audio files. ALAC is Apple's proprietary lossless audio compression method, similar to other lossless codecs like FLAC. ALAC files take up more disk space than their lossy counterparts (AAC or others), yet retain all audio data and provide better sound quality.

Both ALAC (lossless) and AAC (lossy) audio files use the same MPEG-4 container and are commonly designated with the .m4a extension suggested by Apple. The .alac extension is rarely used per se, often occurring merely as a reference to the ALAC codec, to distinguish the ALAC-encoded files from the AAC-encoded ones. By their internal format, .alac files should be playable by all multimedia software that supports MPEG-4 and ALAC (e.g., iTunes, VLC).

Using the .alac extension is improper and may lead to compatibility problems on extension-reliant systems such as Microsoft Windows. A much better way of denoting ALAC files is to use the commonly recognized .m4a extension together with a codec reference in the filename (e.g., "Track_01_ALAC.m4a").

Software to open or convert ALAC files

You can open ALAC files with the following programs: 

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