AAC M4A Low Quality Pixelated Artwork with sync via Telegram

Hello guys

I'm facing an issue that I don't know the cause of and don't know how to fix it.
Any artwork I put on my M4A files is very low quality and pixelated (once I view the cover on my phone), I've tried both iTunes and MP3tag and both come out the same, maybe I'm using the wrong tags or something?

I'm looking forward to your replies!

What does the picture look like in these programs? Is it OK?
What does MP3tag show in the tag panel in respect to size and dimensions?

Some extra questions since this appears once the files are on your phone. How did these get transferred to your phone - some sort of syncing software, or a direct file browser transfer to a uSD card or internal memory? And what phone/player app are you using?

I use m4a in lossless ALAC format, and have both IOS and Android devices. The image quality of the artwork is not an issue on any of them, and I "only" use 600x600 as my standard.

Thanks for the fast replies guys.

On PC it looks fine, so it's alright in iTunes and MP3Tag.

The tag panel just says "MP4 (MP4)", I don't know what you mean exactly by respect to size and dimensions.

Hey MotleyG, I got them on my phone just by sending it on Telegram and also playing them on there, I don't face this issue with mp3 files. I do want to mention that I did face this issue with MP3 once, I had used a different tag that caused this.

Where does the tag panel show MP4? No, don't answer that.
The tag panel may have a section which shows the embedded cover, the size in KB and the dimensions (width & height)

So it's a player problem?
Then it would be a question for the support of your player, I guess.

I'm not sure what this means, is there any chance this is adding some kind of compression to the audio or images? Something has to change it between your PC and phone if you are seeing a difference in quality.

A screenshot from the phone would help. And you haven't shared what device and player app you are using.

Yeah, it's at the bottom left for me.
I don't have a specific image that I want to put on my file but I've tried multiple images as a test, the current image I'm using (as a test) is 2560x2560 185kb

Basically, I sent the audio to my Telegram account on my PC and viewed it on my phone. Telegram doesn't do any compression.

Regarding your question, I'm using an iPhone XS Max and using the built in Telegram player.

I'll try to get you a screenshot, I'm suspecting that this has to do with the type of tags used, I don't know much about AAC tags but like I said, this happened to me once with MP3 when I used a different tag and it caused the artwork to appear in low quality on my phone.

So if the picure looks OK in MP3tag then there is not a lot that can be done about the tags
So I doubt that this is

The way to get the music ot the phone player looks dubious to me.
So I would check out different ways.

Unlikely. The tag format for m4a is the only format. But the image files can vary. If you have access to an image editor, look to make sure these are flattened, and do not have anything like progressive if they are jpg. Also jpg and png are supported, other formats are questionable at best.

Yeah, man. I'll try to find another way of viewing the cover on my phone to make sure whether the app is causing this or something else. Thanks.

This looks suspicious as well. An image that size is overkill for a phone and is likely being downscaled to fit. But the file size of just 185kb means there is no quality left to work with. With these dimensions this file size should be in the Mb range.

I tried multiple different covers and it's the same thing, I'm sending a screenshot right now.

I could put this cover on an MP3 and go through the same process and all would be fine.

There is no way a cover with that much colour variation at 2560x2560!is only 185kb. There is a ton of compression going on there.

This is a different image bro, 640x640. It wouldn't turn out this way if I put it on an MP3.

I don’t know what else to tell you. Have you tried the native Apple Music player to see if it looks any better? At least try to find out if it is the app or the transfer?

Transferred the file through iTunes to Apple Music and the cover was HQ, the issue must be Telegram. Thanks

Good to know you were able to narrow this down. Perhaps send this info to Telegram to see if they can improve this.

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