In 2009, Apple dropped the annoyingly restrictive FairPlay DRM (Digital Rights Management) protection from its iTunes music library.
Anti-piracy technology was introduced to curb the illegal sharing of music files, which meant that you could only play songs on Windows PCs and Macs, as well as Apple devices such as iPhone, iPad or iPod.
Any songs purchased between 2003 and 2009 are still DRM-riddled, but you can bypass copy protection and enjoy DRM-free music files on any compatible device.
You can also burn tracks to Audio CDs, but you cannot transfer them to third-party devices such as Android devices or third-party media players.
While it is technically illegal to infringe on copyright protection, the law to remove DRM protection is not clear. But if you have legally bought music for personal consumption and do not distribute it, it will fall under Fair Use.
We’re going to show you how to free yourself from the horrific DRM and enjoy your favorite tunes.
How to bypass DRM copy protection from old iTunes music files
Burn music files to audio CD
Â· Use DRM Removal Tool
Burn Music Files to Audio CD
The advantage of using this method is that you don’t need a software removal tool to get rid of DRM protection. However, this can be slow and tedious if you have a large collection of FairPlay encrypted music files to burn to CD and rip back to your music library.
It includes the following steps:
Â· Create your own playlist
Â· Customize iTunes and customize your CD burning options
Â· Burn music files to audio CD
Â· Import songs from an audio CD to your music library
Create your own playlist
The final step is to create your own playlist to burn your DRM protected music files to an audio CD.
1. Click File> New> Playlist.
2. Drag and drop music files from the library into the new playlist you just created.
Note. The total playing time should not exceed the disc capacity, which is usually about 80 minutes if you are using a 700 MB CD. You can check it at the bottom of the screen.
Customize iTunes and customize your CD burner settings
1. From the main iTunes menu, click Change.
2. Click “Settings”.
3. Click the “Advanced” tab and select “Recording”. Select your CD burner from the drop-down menu next to CD Writer.
4. Then click Audio CD.
The next step is to configure your CD import options as described below.
1. In the Settings menu, click the General tab. The CD ripping settings are displayed.
2. Set the “When I Insert CD” option to “Ask to Import CD”.
3. Then click Import Settings.
Set the Import Using option to your preferred format. If you want to convert and import audio CDs as MP3 music files that will play on any compatible device, choose the MP3 Encoder format.
4. In the “Settings” section, select the encoding bitrate. The usual setting is 128 Kbps.
5. Select the Automatically retrieve CD track names from the Internet check box and click OK to save your changes.
Burn music files to audio CD
You now have music in your new playlist, so you are ready to burn the files to an audio CD. Our guide on how to rip a music CD using iTunes goes into the details of this process, but in short, here’s what you will do.
1. Click Library, go to the Playlists section and left-click the new playlist.
2. Click File and select Burn Playlist to Disc. Insert a blank audio CD into the CD-ROM drive tray. When you see the iTunes notification popup, click Continue to start the recording process.
Import songs from audio CD to your music library
You have already set up iTunes to encode your audio CD as an MP3 file, so the process will be automatic. Insert the CD into the drive and click “Yes”.
Songs are now DRM-free. Now you can remove DRM protected files in your library if needed and transfer DRM-free MP3 music files to any compatible device you want to listen to.
Use a DRM Removal Tool
DRM is restrictive because you cannot play it on any media player or device other than Windows PC or Mac, or other Apple devices. However, bypassing copy protection can free you from downloading music files on your own.
If burning your collection to an audio CD seems like a long, slow and tedious process, try using a legitimate DRM removal tool.
There are many applications that can remove DRM legally without breaking the encryption. This will create DRM-free music files that you can listen to on any compatible device.
Here are some good DRM removal software options that you can use:
- Tunebite: This tool does not crack DRM encryption from the original file, but writes a protected file to create a DRM-free version. It also supports many file formats. In addition, it has a built-in CD writer.
- Noteburner: This DRM removal software works with your media playback software and allows you to burn DRM-free music files to a virtual CD that is installed on your system. If your media player can burn audio CDs, you can use it and transfer DRM-free files to any compatible MP3 or media player.
- MuvAudio: This software processes DRM copy protected music files into DRM-free units. It converts multiple music files at the same time with built-in support for audio file formats.
We hope you now know how to bypass DRM copy protection for your old iTunes music files. You can choose between two options, whichever is most cost effective for you.