How to play MIDI files on a Mac

Play these old tunes on iTunes

Have a Mac, iOS or Apple tech question? We've got the answer. This time we have a reader who wants to know how to listen to old MIDI music files with iTunes on a modern Mac. Luckily, it can be done with a piece of software you probably already own. Read on to see how it's done.

Question

I have some old MIDI music that I used to listen to through iTunes on my iMac, but the latest versions don't support MIDI files. What cheap/free/built-in method would you advise to convert these files into something that's usable with modern iTunes?

Answer

Converting MIDI files to playable music is something that Apple has long removed from the iTunes music player, unfortunately. However, Apple has another app that you most likely already have on your Mac and will convert these files as well. That other app is Garageband, and it comes free on all new Macs (and you can download it from the Mac App Store for $4.99/£3.99/AU$7.99).

Once downloaded, select File > Open and navigate to your MIDI file to open it inside of Garageband. Once opened, Garageband may require you to download a few other components required to generate all of the sounds - let these downloads complete, and then select Share > Song to iTunes.

MIDI Conversion

The MIDI converter inside of Garageband works just like iTunes did, except it's more of a manual process.

This will open a dialog that will prompt you for metadata about the song, such as title, artist and the export quality of the file.

MIDI metadata

The conversion process will let you add additional metadata about the song you're creating and adding to iTunes - this will help the organization process later on.

When you select "Share" the file will be exported in an iTunes-compatible file format using the export quality setting you've selected and will launch iTunes and begin playing the newly exported song.

Alternatively, you could use an online, web-based file converter such as the one found at zamzar.com. All you have to do is select your files, choose to change them to MP3 or M4A format (or whatever audio format you prefer), and then download the new files from the email link that you're sent. It's free, and it doesn't even require you to sign up for an account (although you might want to if you have a lot of files to convert). Once you've converted the files, you'll be able to easily play them through iTunes.

Play MIDI Files

Zamzar offers a free and easy way to convert old MIDI files.

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