I've recently bought some high quality music, and as expected was offered a FLAC file. On top of said FLAC file I was also given the option to download an ALAC file. Now I'm really not an expert on audio codecs; Besides the ALAC one being 10MB bigger than the FLAC one, I wouldn't know which is preferable.

What is ALAC and should I prefer it over FLAC?

1 Answer 1


There is no real difference.
They are to all intents & purposes identical, to the listener.

Both are lossless audio compression technologies - FLAC is open source, ALAC is proprietary, owned by Apple.

It really comes down to where you want to play them.

iTunes [& in fact all the Apple ecosystem] won't play FLAC but it will play ALAC.
Non-Apple players will tend to be more likely to play FLAC if they can only do one of the formats.

There are freeware converters on all platforms that can convert one to the other, so overall it really doesn't matter which you choose. I'd go for the one that best fits your ecosystem.

  • BTW, it's free to use; just not free to rewrite the code. Many people get confused between the two, so I just thought I'd clarify.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented May 25, 2017 at 13:06

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