How to convert any video (or song) into an MP3

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convert MP3 iPhone workflow
With a couple of taps, you can convert any audio or video file to MP3
Photo: Cult of Mac

Converting an audio track to MP3 on the Mac is dead easy. Just open it with iTunes, and choose the File > Convert option from the menubar. On iOS there’s no native way to do this. There are lots of shonky-looking apps in the app store that offer to create MP3s for you, but it’s likely that you already have the answer installed on your iPhone or iPad.

That’s right. Apple’s own WorkFlow app can quickly and easily convert any audio (or video) file to MP3.

WorkFlow to the rescue… again

WorkFlow is like Automator on the Mac, only better, and on iOS. Apple bought it last year, and continues to update it. WorkFlow lets you automate all kinds of things, and do tasks that either require downloading a whole new app, or would be impossible otherwise. Best of all, it’s free.

Today we’re going to use WorkFlow’s Encode Media action to take a video or audio file and convert it to MP3.

WorkFlow's Encode Media action will get the job done.
WorkFlow’s Encode Media action will get the job done.
Photo: Cult of Mac

First, open up Workflow and tap the + button to create a new Workflow. Then, choose Action Extension as the kind of workflow we want to create. This makes the workflow available in any app via the standard Share Sheet. While you’re here, you may want to tap the little cog icon to rename the workflow, and give it a nice icon. I picked Convert to MP3. You may also want to tap on This workflow accepts, and deselect everything but Media. This will make sure the workflow only shows up in the Share Sheet when you’re sharing an audio or video file.

Next, tap the Actions button (iPhone) or just browse or search in the Actions list (iPad) until you find the Encode Media action. Drag this over to the Workflow.

Then, drag over another action — Save File. That’s it for actions. Lets set them up.

Encode media settings for MP3

Set up the actions as they are in this screenshot:

Just follow along with this action. Just follow along with this action.

The picture makes the setup look more complex than it is. All you need to do is:

  • Set Audio only to On.
  • Format is MP3.
  • Mode is Stereo.
  • Bitrate to Auto.
  • Fill out the metadata as you like. I have it set to ask me to fill these out when the action runs.

You can of course set these any way you like. I have set the Year field to Current Date, and told the workflow to grab any artwork from my clipboard and use it for the MP3’s cover art. You should also set the Save File destination. the choices are iCloud Drive, Dropbox, or Box. You can have the workflow ask you where to save the file each time you run it, or you can set a default folder that is used every time.

Tap done, and you’re done.

Using the Convert MP3 Workflow

Share the file, tap Worlflow, and choose the one you want to run.
Share the file, tap Worlflow, and choose the one you want to run.
Photo: Cult of Mac

To convert an audio track, or a video, to MP3, just share it, and pick the workflow you just created. Depending on how you set it up, you may be asked to fill out dome of the fiords along the way (name, album, and so on), and you may have to choose a folder save it in. Other than that, the conversion runs unsupervised.

Sharing the file can be done from the Files app, or you can

Price: Free

Download: Workflow from the App Store (iOS)