Deciding to buy an Android device rather than an iPhone doesn't mean you have to turn your back on the tremendous selection of music, movies, and other great media available in iTunes. Whether it's music or movies, apps or the iTunes program itself, some Android users may want to use iTunes — or at least get its content. But when it comes to iTunes and Android, what works and what doesn't?
The information in this article should apply no matter who made your Android phone. Whether you've got a phone from Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, or any of the many other Android makers, these tips apply.
Playing iTunes Music on Android: Yes
Music downloaded from iTunes is compatible with Android phones in most cases. Music purchased from iTunes is in the AAC format, which Android has built-in support for.
The exception to this is songs bought from iTunes prior to the April 2009 introduction of the DRM-free iTunes Plus format. These files, which use the Protected AAC format, won't work on Android because it doesn't support iTunes' digital rights management (DRM). However, you can upgrade these songs to Android-compatible AAC files.
Playing Apple Music on Android: Yes
If you're looking for iTunes for Android in order to get access to all the music from the iTunes Store, you're in luck. Apple Music runs on Android, too. That means you get unlimited access to the tens of millions of songs in Apple Music.
The Apple Music streaming service is notable because it represents the Apple's first major Android app. In the past, Apple only made iOS apps. Apple Music replaces the Beats Music service and app, though, and that ran on Android. Because of that, Apple Music is available to Android users, too. Download the app to get a free trial. Subscriptions for Android users cost the same as for iPhone users.
Playing Podcasts from iTunes on Android: Sort Of
Podcasts are just MP3s, and Android devices can all play MP3s, so compatibility isn't an issue. But with no iTunes or Apple Podcasts app for Android, the question is: why would you try to use iTunes to get podcasts for your Android?
Google Play, Spotify, and Stitcher — all apps that run on Android — have sizeable podcast libraries. Technically you could download podcasts from iTunes and sync them to your Android, or find a third-party podcast app that lets you subscribe to iTunes for downloads, but it's probably simpler to just use one of those apps.
To learn more about this, check out How to Listen to iTunes Podcasts on Android.
Playing iTunes Videos on Android: No
All movies and TV shows rented or bought from iTunes have digital rights management restrictions. Because Android doesn't support Apple's iTunes DRM, videos rented or bought from iTunes won't work on Android. On the other hand, some other kinds of video stored in an iTunes library, such as that recorded using the camera on an iPhone, are compatible with Android.
If you get software to remove DRM or that does that as part of converting an iTunes video file to another format, you should be able to create an Android-compatible file. The legality of those approaches is questionable, though.
Running iPhone Apps on Android: No
Alas, iPhone apps don't run on Android. With the huge library of compelling apps and games at the App Store, some Android users might wish they could use iPhone apps, but just like the Mac version of a program won't run on Windows, iOS apps can't run on Android. The Google Play store for Android does offer well over 1 million apps, and many of them have both Android and iOS versions.
To learn more about this topic, including some surprising cross-platform possibilities, check out Can You Run iPhone Apps on Android and Windows?
Reading Apple Books on Android: No
Reading ebooks purchased from Apple's Apple Books Store requires running the Apple Books (formerly iBooks) app. And because Android devices can't run iPhone apps, Apple Books is a no-go on Android (unless, like with videos, you use software to remove the DRM from the Apple Books file; in that scenario Apple Books files are just EPUB files). Luckily there are a number of other great ebook apps that do work on Android, like Amazon's Kindle.
Learn more about your options in Best Ebook Readers for Android Tablets.
Syncing iTunes and Android: Yes
One of the key things iTunes does for iOS devices is sync data between the device and a desktop computer. If you're looking for iTunes for Android in order to sync with your computer, you've got some options.
While iTunes won't sync media and other files to Android devices by default, with a little work and a third-party application, the two can talk to each other. Apps that can sync iTunes and Android include doubleTwist Sync from doubleTwist and iSyncr from JRT Studio.
AirPlay Streaming From Android: Yes
Android devices can't stream media via Apple's wireless AirPlay software out of the box, but with add-on apps they can. If you're already using DoubleTwist's AirSync to sync your Android device and iTunes, an Android app adds AirPlay streaming.
It's not part of iTunes, but there's another interesting cross-platform option for Android users. Believe it or not, if you want to use Apple's iMessage texting platform on Android, you can. Learn how in iMessage For Android: How to Get It And Use It.