iTunes 6

Some of you have been pinging me about iTunes 6. I’ve yet to start reverse engineering iTunes 6 as I don’t have much free time in my personal life these days. Spending hours on end in front of a debugger with pen and paper is not an attractive proposition in the great San Diego weather. Perhaps I’ll find the time in December.

51 thoughts on “iTunes 6”

  1. I have suggestion to everyone: Click on the paypal link and send our grand webmaster a contribution. Sitting for hours in front of a debugger with pencil and paper is a lot more fun when people show some appreciation and cover your costs and time. Even when the weather is nice.

  2. Just a thought… he’s living in the USA now. If he WERE to sit down and crack the iTunes 6 encryption while living in the USA, could he then be prosecuted under the DMCA?

    I remember reading about Jon moving here (welcome, by the way) but also thinking that the timing was awfully convenient- just as Jon moves to the USA, Apple releases a totally overhauled version of the iTunes encryption.

    It actually surprises me that Apple or somebody hasn’t tried to retroactively file charges against him- I mean, if Adobe can get the FBI to grab Dmitry Sklyarov when he visits the USA, what’s to stop Apple from doing the same thing to Jon? (It surprises me even more that this idea hasn’t appeared on Slashdot.)

    Jon, was this something you thought about before you moved here? Are you worried about Apple or some other “big media company” coming after you now that you live in the USA?

  3. Is it the encryption that’s causing the problem in SharpMusique or just a change in the XML? I was able to get SharpMusique working again after I made a few changes in how it handles the XML fed to it. I know just about nothing about encryption, but I was still able to patch SM and get it back up and running. This was a week or so ago, though, since I last used it, so maybe there have been changes to iTunes since.

  4. Sorry for anything stupid here… but does iTunes 6 break both JHmyn based on your original cracking work (it does break JHymn) AND SharpMusique? My limited understanding is that JHymn (using your purchased keys) removes the encryption to make the file a normal AAC file which it can convert to MP3 while SharpMusique simply emulates the download without actually ever applying the encryption to the file which bypasses the need of a program like JHymn to then remove it.

  5. Maybe someone in Europe/Africa/Asia/etc. should set up a server and copy Jon’s repositories and take over the work?

  6. suggestions

    1. call in some sick days ( should work being that you are from norway and cultural differences can cause food conflicts that could have you sitting on the toilet dropping watery solids just tell them you ate olean based products.

    2. borrow domeone’s wife close to delivery and take maternity leave.

    3. borrow someone’s wife and claim honey moon.

    4. work on itunes at work if you have a laptop then you can crack it while you are waiting for your work to render at work and while on lunch breaks.

    5. yes the dmca may cause problems while in the usa but you can secretly transmit the results to some back in norway or using some steganography hide the results on a laptop oc and make a special trip to norway to visit someone and deliver the code or email it to someone as an encrypted attachment you should be safe because carnivore is required to snoop on email and that is only used for national security cases and cracking itunes is not national security.

  7. Hey Jon,
    I dont know if you will read this, but don’t let people force you into anything. Breaking the code in iTunes6 could be quite danjourous inside the USA. You will find out soon that people are very nasty and will jump at the chance to sue you again. I hope you are having a good time at your new job!

  8. As you have shown that AirTunes streams are just AES encrypted lossless data, would it be easier to decode an iTunes6 file by having iTunes play it to an AirTunes device and snoop the stream? Would that be less work than trying to reverse iTunes every time they come out with a new algorithm? Seems to me Apple won’t be able to change their algorithm as quickly on a hardware platform as they can with a software platform such as iTunes.

    Granted, you would have to do the decode in real-time, but you could make an external application automate queuing and nameing of tracks so you could unDRM while you sleep.

    Just a thought. Welcome, by the way, to the USA, and happy birthday!

  9. … of course, the next step would be to write a daemon that looks like an AirTunes on the network to iTunes and just writes out files. Then if iTunes happens to stream faster than realtime, as I guess it might, you would have a really fast, nearly future-proof solution.

  10. Is there a way i can copy a song from an ipod of my friend back to my ipod? I know it is a kindda illegal but i hate it when I cannot do anything i like for something i bought anyway. Thanks for your time.

  11. That wouldn’t help, though, because the AirTunes stream has already been decompressed from the AAC format, and so is much bigger. If you want to recompress it to a small file, you get degraded audio quality. It’s no different than burning to a CD, re-ripping and re-compressing.

  12. Wouldn’t the problem with that be the same issue with just capturing the stream locally using audiohijack or a similar program – as in, you’re decoding then re-encoding a compressed file, which means loss of quality? I could be wrong, but I thought Airtunes sent decoded data?

  13. Apple and other companies have gone way overboard on this concept of “copy protection.” I do not go around swapping illegal music files, but it is jsut so hard to deal with DRM.
    Plus, now itunes has video downloads. How would I get it on a handheld video player? As far as I know, there is no way to unprotect these. But if you do anything, don’t get caught and sued.

  14. Okay, its the middle of December. Now could you start the reverse engeneering? Hey, if you would out up a donate button, I would donate! Because I am one that values being able to download songs from iTMS and convert them to uprotected MP3’s (all on my Mac)!

  15. Mike above mentioned that he was able to restore the SM functionality by altering the way the returned XML was decoded. Mike, can you post as many details as you feel comfortable with about what you fixed, so the rest of us don’t have to go re-breaking the wheel?

  16. OK, I got my AirTunes optical hack to work. (iTunes6 pure digital to MP3 without a CD rip / burn interstep)

    First, let me explain my motivation. I have a Linux based car MP3 player (empeg) and I want to be able to play the tracks I buy from iTunes on it. I also want to have a backup should my laptop crash or get stolen. I don’t much mind decompressing and recompressing the music because I feel the bitrates and quality are sufficiently high for my tastes, but that is a tradeoff to this method. (as Jim correctly points out above, so this is not an unDRM, but a “sidestep”) I also don’t want to use an alternative program like audiohijack. For example, if I hit a bad key while recording, I don’t want the possibility of having a “ding!” mixed over my music. The AirTunes will only ever cary the music so I’m safe from this.

    Simply put, I play an iTunes6 encoded file to my AirTunes device. I take optical (ToSLink) out of that into an optical input on a $30 eBay optical soundcard in a Linux machine. I use the alsa “arecord” command and lame to pop out an mp3 file. (arecord -D hw:0,2 -f cd -q | lame -b 192 – foobar.mp3) Inconvenient at the moment because you have to time the start / stop and name the files but I’m going to write a client/server wrapper for it to deal with that. (maybe an AppleScript button in iTunes that fires off the whole process, times and names everything properly)

    I’ll try to write this up in more detail on my site.

  17. I hope the request for donations to be sent to you which I made a couple of weeks ago at has helped out — I sent a few dollars your way myself. 🙂

    As long as I’m begging for iTunes 6 help without any right to be expecting anything from you, I might as well go all out! 🙂 So…

    If and when you get around to iTunes 6 issues at all, I’m figuring that getting SharpMusique and FairKeys working would be your top priorities — and I should be able to easily adapt the work you do there to get JHymn working again. But what I’d really, really love to see… I’d love it if you could figure out once more how keys are encoded on your own computer, and on iPods.

    What I’m hoping for is a situation where there can be as many as three working methods for key retrieval, so if and when Apple breaks one or two, there are one or two fallbacks. I know that’s a tall order — and hell, I don’t know if solving those issues even interests you anymore — but if you can see fit to help us all out there, the huddled masses posting at, yearning for their music to be DRM free, would be most happy. 🙂

  18. I am a newby but a fast learner. If you live in Orange County CA chances are you hate the reception of the fm off the shelf modulator.Even Belkin,
    I put that “pig”on the end of my car antenna and it sounded like trying to get 91X in Newport Beach, CA. (100 miles+or-)
    The real deal is to just hard wire your ipod jack in the back where the cd plugs in. However if you have a higher line vehicle they are fiberoptic and about 600.00 if you know someone.
    I tried all, I MEAN All the others, and DLO has been the best, Kensington a tie. Bottom line just build, or order your own ->”just google” Fm Modulator ($35-65),stuff it in the trunk or back seat and away you go. The FCC may not approve but why can the other radio stations infringe on my tunes?
    I just got a new media phone, but because my Itune files that I bought are protected, my rights as a consumer are stripped. If I want the same ‘rockin’ library with me and my 512mb phone, I am expected to just buy it again. Or I can go with Verizon and be Monopolized by a company who for all I know does not allow you to play your purchased music on another device either. And by the way early terminate on 3 phones and contracts. $$$
    Welcome to Sunny California home of the Drive-by’s and Great weather!
    DO NOT MISS DEL MAR REGGAE FEST (unless you don’t want to party with S.D.S.U) WOW!!
    Please, oh keeper of the oracle, save us from the big companies that we are being pilferaged? from. m4p then m5p. Maybe it is time to cut bait, and get the music else where. I wonder what an Itune Boycott would feel like on a certain day??

  19. OK, The only way I can find around the itunes M4P locked file is to:
    Open Itunes, on the left corner the burner button, select what you want BURN.
    After Burn, re-insert disk in drive. Then this is the cruddy part, the files you burn don’t have all the info on it, artist album all the good stuff.
    Then while going back in forth from purchased music to c/d drive. I would tag the c/d drive copy, click about or properties can’t remember.
    Then below you paste your info.(you copied from the original) So I cut and pasted.Too much time.
    Now if there were a program that would copy itunes burn and label at the same time genre and all that would be nice.
    It aint over yet, you then have to convert your burn to ACC file just Right click on the song. Then you have to drag the file into a folder(you create) on your desktop (easy to find) Then you open the file right click and convert to mp3. And now it is in my phone unlocked!! Alot of work and time…for what should already be mine.
    I used SWITCH (NCH.COM) freeeware off (
    If any one can think of a less complicated way hit me with an e-mail Please:

  20. Found an easier way to convert itunes 6 to an open format.
    1. burn your song list from Itunes in Itunes (if that is where they are)
    2. Re-insert fresh burn and upload into a converter ->
    I used “switch”.
    3. Import from drive. At that time you will have tracks 01,02,03, ect… no information
    4. Open Itunes where your list was created, and that you named, mine is purchased music.
    5.Leave itunes opensplit the screen itunes/converter (copy&paste) Back-n-forth
    6. I CLOSE iTUNES AT THIS POINT. (do not close your converter I think you will lose all your labeling).
    7. you will be asked to send this to a file, create the file and select format.
    8. push rip and they will import to file created & you now have convertible format that was once locked.

  21. I’ve got SharpMusique working under iTunes 6, thanks to some patches from comments elsewhere on the site.

    E-Mail cyt0plas [at] G [as in google] Mail .com

  22. Hi all – this will be very obvious to some of you, but took me a minute to figure out so maybe it will help someone:

    Set your iTunes options to import CDs as MP3 format – set the quality to your liking, etc.

    Then use a CD-RW, burn your M4P’s to it as an audio CD

    Reinsert it, select the CD in iTunes, and import it.

    You can then search your iTunes folder for all files with extension .mp3 and there you have them – tagged unprotected MP3s. You can give these out to everyone and they won’t have to pay the artist! OK just kidding about the last part. I do it to play them on my non-iPod MP3 player in my car.

  23. If you ask me, Apple should be putting Jon on their payroll to bring and Itunes interface to Linux. Just thoughts. You will NEVER have trouble finding a job, believe that.

  24. Seanie,

    I was very surprised reading your reaction.
    I was very disapointed when I upgraded my Itunes to version 6 and the JHymn was not able tot decode anymore and to create a CDDA.
    (euh, I was, but I had to use my optical Digital output, to record all with my DAT recorder and recorded it back to my computer via the digital optical input, than encoded it to mp3…. pfff) Some what the same works it now, but some easier, faster and perhaps cheaper.

    So, maybe I did not read the instructions manuals as well, but the only thing I wanted was to burn my music tot CDDA.
    Seanie explained on a simple way how. Sounds stupid… maybe, but before it seems I was not that far to figure out how Itunes worked, and converting to mp3 for playing a lot of numbers on a mp3 DVD player or car radio, well it works fine too.

    Good suggestion Seanie!

  25. Has anyone given anymore thought to the idea of burning from Itunes to a virtual CD? I read somewhere that people had tried it and Itunes had given an error code.

    I know this is not ideal as the burning and re importing method does mean that music suffers a generational loss.
    The advantage to this would be not being limited to approximately 15 songs at once. Still doesn’t make retaining metadata any easier though.

    It just seems to me that fnatastic as Jon’s work is the whole future of fair use of Digital content via Itunes which depite its DRM limitations is a fantastic interface, at the moment rests in the hands of one man. In fairness to him he does have a life beyond a debugging screen. Not to mention the potential legal implications of his activities in some countries.
    If we want fair use of the music which we have after all paid for and whilst DRM stands and I beleive ultimately it will fall, we need as many methods of removing it as we can find.

    I did sent him a few dollars though and I think we all should.

  26. I’m stuck with iTunes 6 but would like to play my new purchaes on my linux box and palmpilot without having to reencode. Is it still possible to grap the keys from ipods?

  27. guys,

    i was one of the unfortunate ones who upgraded to itunes6. i think that even if jon works on cracking the code all the time there will always be another version. and there will always be a little gap depending if apple forces us to upgrade. it was one of the main reason i waited so long to get an ipod. having said that there will always be a way to break codes. it is a question of how difficult the record labels make it. i think DRMs standard will change, to what i don’t know. but in the mean time i had given up waiting and switched to something else, such as a paid site that i can download from without DRM. there are out there. in my opinion these DRM restrictions will eventually drive people back to illegal download. i have a sono player at home and can’t play any of my song in my living room, how fair is that? well, i did remember clicking “agree” to the registration screen when i signed on to itunes. so we all “know” about the restrictions. just that we don’t like it. hats off to people like jon to put some of the power back to consumers. but for now, i think we should leave the poor guy alone and seek alternatives. especially for the pc users… jon does have a life, and he is in the states, i wouldn’t want anything to happen to him.

    as for vitrual cd burning… i have done it with a program called daemon tools on the pc. its a free program. works well and its pretty fast. it does have a limitation of the number of song you can burn on a cd. now, i don’t know if the newer versions of itunes gave the error code, but it worked for me. if you don’t mind losing a little sound quality its fine. there are mac equivalent of that prgm, but they cost money.

    just my 2 cents

  28. Thanks to Simon for the info on coverting Itunes 6 format to open format. I new to the world of audio via the net; I bought my daughter an Ipod and bought very many songs through Itunes. I then went and bought myself an MP3 player (iriver 5gb) and found that all the songs that I purchaed would not play on my mp3… I called Apple management and registered my compalint, if a person purchaes a song that person should have the rights to all forms of personal use… I know that they say that are trying to defeat illegal sharing and protect profits but really… you can buy the same songs in open format in many other sites… I think it more a matter of Apple emulating Microsoft…

  29. Daprince. Yeah I was the one who thought of the burning to a virtual cd drive. I posted it on the hymn website. Amazing how information travels. Away, I did hear about someone actually trying it, but I haven’t been able to do it myself because formating a virtual drive to look like a cd is complicated. Though it would be nice if I could figure out how to do it. As to bad riping quality, just rip the tracks with a better program like Roxio. Many people don’t know it but iTunes’ Mp3 encoder is terrible.

    Good luck cracking iTunes 6

  30. Konge hvis du får til dette bra =) Håper det ikke går så hardt ut over deg via søksmål og slikt da… hehe

  31. Hopefully Jon has found some time to beat the iTunes 6.x fairkeys. Even if he doesn’t have time I do want to thank him for his great input in the re-engineering world! Word up Jon!

  32. Hm, I think it sounds like they are keeping you pre occupied with this new work so you will not have time to mis use your intelligence for our benefit. We have a right to DRM free content!

  33. If you don’t like DRM, then don’t buy your music from US-based firms. It’s not Apple’s fault that they have to kowtow to the RIAA. Try:

    Cheaper, better quality than iTMS, nonDRM’d music. Perfectly legal (according to Russian law, which is where the business is out of). Yes, the artistists more than likely see no money from this transaction; but neither does the RIAA. A 90/10 split from an iTunes purchase between the Industry/RIAA and the artist sends a lot of money the RIAA’s way to further it’s evil ways.

    I own stock in apple, and want them to do well, but I’m also a consumer and an individual. While I don’t mind having music files tagged with my Apple ID, it’s a PITA to have to clear the FairPlay DRM just to play my music on my SwimP3.

    So no more iTMS for me. Back in the USSR, where freedom exists. Ironic, aint’ it?

  34. Ok, I have a little different problem then most, but still related. I hae a machine at work that is behind a firewall and can no longer access teh iTunes Music store to get proper autorization to play my purchased music that is on my iPod. In teh past when I connected my iPod to my dsktop it was able to play the purchased songs even though they where DRM protected… then came iTunes 6. Now when i try to play a song I’ve purchased since upgrading it wants to authorize my computrer for that song. Again, I’m behind a firewall with the proper port blocked so I can’t do that.

    Is there a way to take my autorization from a machine at my home and make my desktop at work now play these songs?

    Thaks for the help… I hope.


  35. John,

    I just wanted to say Jhymn was bas a(& as loll as it lasted. I hope that one day Itunes will die a horrible death but somthing cool like it will be left for all of us who refuse to buy and IPod. It is Zen all the way oh ya baby!

    Lt. Death

  36. hi where,
    in itunes 6 on windows Xp where is the folder containing the licence files.

    I don’t have drms folder in “C:Documents and SettingsusernameApplication Data”

    did they move it else where?

  37. You guys should use Limewire it is free and you just drag the songs out and it is mp3 format and when you download, use the biggest file because they are better quality and you can download and movies and pictures and music and documents that you want to and it dosen’t cost anything the whole time.

  38. Jon,

    I don’t know if you can hack it; that is Apples iTunes, but I hope you can. The protection they have on their ACC Audio Files is absolutely disgusting.

    From the Conservative Side of America


  39. Unfortunatly, I was too late to take advantage of your work on itunes 5.. I didn’t realize until after I had sunk a load of money into itunes that when I tried to play my songs over on a linux machine… no love.. Now I’m pissed. I’ve spent many hours now converting what I can to mp3 and burning and reimporting albums… Apple messed up on this one.. I was thinking of buying a mac too. Now I’m good.. They can screw. But thanks for all the work you’ve done for us, even if apple foiled it all up before I realized I was being screwed.

  40. I’m wondering if anyone has come up with a more effecient way to break the itunes 6 protection yet. I’ve looked at the idea of burning and reimporting cds, but at 500+ songs that’s a real pain. Any help at this point would be great. Thanks.

  41. Maybe Jon’s move to San Diego was all part of Apple’s grand plan to keep him from cracking their future stuff? Everything involved in Jon’s move could have been planned and staged by Apple!



  42. I hope things are going well for you, Jon. We appreciate all that you have done in helping us free music that we paid for. The music industry will never understand that DRM is pointless. All it does it prevent legit buyers from using the songs in the same fashion that they would if they bought the songs with a CD. And the Pirates will always defeat DRM, they can buy CD’s, burn to CD and re-rip it without the DRM, and even use sound-recording programs.

    The last thing I want is for you to get into trouble. But if there is anyway you can help in the fight against DRM, a lot of people would appreciate it. Thanks, and have a great day!!

  43. Here’s an idea. Why not start a proper fundraising campaign to see if we can buy some of the man’s time?

    The first thing that came to mind was DropCash but there may be other ways to do this. I am cleaning up a lot of my older DRM’ed files and I would like to make a clean sweep of it all: with iTunes 6 (yes, I download the freebie tracks regularly) I can’t do that.

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