M4A files are a relatively new file format that becomes widely popular by many users due to the benefits offered by files with the M4A extension. M4A is an abbreviation for audio files which are created with the M-PEG 4 format. This format provides a way to reduce the size of audio files to enable them to be downloaded faster. The reduction in size is accomplished in a similar manner to MP3 files, only much more efficiently by making the file as small as possible.
M4A files work in the same manner as MP4 and function the same way, except MP4 files are capable of playing video where M4A files only contain data related to audio. This means that M4A is simply an audio file which eliminates any confusion between both formats (M4A and MP4).
How to Open M4A Files
It is important to mention that M4A files are the same as M4P files, only the latter mentioned format indicates that the contents are protected by copyright. Although M4A files are fairly new, there is still a variety of software programs available for opening this type format.
If you use Windows, some of the most recent versions of Windows Media Player will open and play M4A files. Additionally, you can choose to open these files using Winamp Media Player 5.6, Media Player Classic, and Roxio Creator 11 or you can choose to convert the file using Xilisoft Video Converter Ultimate.
For Mac operating system you can use Apple QuickTime Player to open and play M4A files. Some of the other programs, which are compatible with the M4A file format, include Apple iTunes, Cog, Roxio Toast 11 and Popcorn 4, and NCH WavePad. For both Mac and Linux operating systems you can also use VideoLAN VLC Media Player.
If you are unable to open an M4A file, this may occur since there are still playback applications that do not yet support this format. In this case, you can choose to download a standalone M4A player or download and install one of the programs mentioned above. There is also a free iTunes player which is available for download from the Apple website and is compatible with the M4A format.
The primary advantages of M4A files are the small file size which saves space on your hard drive and storage devices, improved download time from music track websites, the ability to quickly share M4A files over the Internet, and the overall improved sound quality when compared to other audio file formats.