How To Convert MOV Files to MP4 on Mac/PC
How To Convert MOV Files to MP4 on Mac/PC

MOV files are saved in the QuickTime File Format (QTFF) with the .mov extension. A MOV video consists of video, audio, timecode, and subtitle tracks, which can be used to store media data using different codes.

Now more media players, video editing software, devices, and video platforms support MOV. But playback errors still often happen to MOV files for different reasons. If you come across this issue, convert MOV to MP4 for better compatibility. Here are the best methods for you to convert MOV files to MP4 on Mac and PC in second.

What is a MOV file?

Photo: Animaker
Photo: Animaker

Developed by Apple, the MOV file extension represents QuickTime video format natively used in the QuickTime framework of Mac. Also, supported in the Windows platform, this multimedia container has the ability to store multiple tracks, each of them containing a particular type of data (audio, video, subtitles). The key features like separation of the media data from the media offsets, abstract data references, and track edit lists make it a great fit for video editing applications. Also, the MOV video container is popular for distributing films and videos through the internet.

How to open MOV files

  1. Know the location of the MOV file you want to open.
  2. Launch Creator NXT. File> Open>
  3. Select the file(s) and select open.
  4. Edit the file with Creators many audio and video editing tools.
  5. Before you close Creator, be sure to save your file. File> Save As. And name it as desired.

What Is an MP4 File?

MP4 files were created under the ISO/IEC 14496-12:2001 standard by the ISO/IEC and Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG). Because of this, MP4 is an international standard for audio-visual coding.

Initially created in 2001, MPEG-4 Part 12 was based on the QuickTime File Format (.MOV). The current version—MPEG-4 Part 14—was released in 2003. MP4 is considered a digital multimedia container format—essentially a file containing a bunch of data that’s been compressed, The standard specifies how the data is stored within the container itself, but not how that data is encoded.

With the high degree of compression used in MP4 videos, this allows the files to be much smaller in size than other video formats. Reducing the file size doesn’t immediately impact the quality of the file, either. Almost all of the original quality is retained. This makes MP4 a portable and web-friendly video format.

While MP4 files can play audio, they shouldn’t be confused with M4A and MP3, as these are file formats that only contain audio.

How Do I Open an MP4 File?

Because MP4 is a standardized file format for video, almost all video players support MP4. To open a file, all you have to do is double-click your video, and it will open with your operating system’s default video viewer. Android and iPhone natively support playback of MP4 as well—just tap the file, and you’ll be watching your video in no time.

Windows and macOS users can play MP4 files without having to install any third-party software. Windows uses Windows Media Player by default; in macOS, they’re played using QuickTime.

If, however, you prefer a different video player than either of those, changing the association of a file is a simple process on either Windows or macOS. And you most likely won’t even have to do that. When you install a new video playback app, the chances are high that the new app will claim the association with MP4 files during installation, unless specified otherwise.

Method 1: How to convert MOV files using iMovie (MacOS)

Whether you’re running the latest version of MacOS Big Sur (here’s how to download it) or something a little older, you should have no problem converting MOV files to MP4 using the built-in iMovie tool.

Step 1: Launch iMovie, the proprietary video-editing software that came with your Mac (download it for free from the App Store). If the app isn’t already housed in your dock, click the Finder icon, select Applications in the left-hand pane, and select iMovie from the resulting list. Once open, click the File menu in the application toolbar and select New Movie from the drop-down menu.

Photo: Digital Trends
Photo: Digital Trends

Step 2: Click the large Import Media button. This will open the media browser.

Photo: Digital Trends
Photo: Digital Trends

Step 3: Click on the file you want to import, then click Import Selected in the bottom-right corner.

Photo: Digital Trends
Photo: Digital Trends

Step 4: Now that the file has been imported, click on it, and a yellow border will appear around it. Then, click File in the app toolbar, and select Share from the resulting drop-down menu. Then click File.

Photo: Digital Trends
Photo: Digital Trends

Step 5: Adjust the export settings if you want, then click Next.

Step 6: Finally, choose a name for the file and where you want to save it, then click Save. You can see the export progress as a small circle in the top-right corner of iMovie. When the export has finished, you’ll see a desktop notification. Your MOV file has now been converted to an MP4 file.

Method 2: How to convert MOV files using CloudConvert (web-based)

If you’re using a device other than a Mac — such as a Windows-based PC — you can still easily convert MOV files to MP4 using an online application. For example, we’ll use CloudConvert, a freemium online service designed to handle a wide range of file formats with little to no hassle. It’s been our go-to choice for years, but given you have to upload your video files to a remote server, keep in mind that the company that converts your video may have access to it. And when using online conversion methods, we think it’s worth noting that you should always practice some level of restraint with converting potentially inappropriate or private videos. That said, CloudConvert appears to be a great online file conversion option with no serious complaints against it that we know of.

We also recommend OnlineConvert as another excellent conversion tool.

Step 1: From the CloudConvert homepage, click the Select File button. Pick the MOV file you’re going to convert, then select Open from the File Explorer screen’s bottom corner.

Photo: Digital Trends
Photo: Digital Trends

Step 2: On the next page, click on the Down Arrow icon next to the phrase Convert To. Then, choose MP4 from the menu that appears.

Step 3: Click the Convert button to the right. Once the conversion is complete, CloudConvert may auto-play your newly converted video file for you so you can see if the conversion is how you want it to look. If the video looks fine to you, you can download the file by clicking on the green Download button.

Photo: Digital Trends
Photo: Digital Trends

The file will go to your Downloads folder, and from there, you can watch your MP4 video on any compatible device or platform.

Method 3: Convert using VLC

You can use VLC if you already have it installed on your computer.

Steps on how to convert your MOV video to MP4 using VLC Media Player

1. Install and open VLC on your Mac, then click the File menu and select Converter / Stream from the drop-down menu. If you’re using VLC on Windows, click the Media menu and select Convert / Save from the resulting drop-down list.

Photo: animaker
Photo: animaker

2. Now click the Open media button to import the MOV video file.

Photo: animaker
Photo: animaker

3. In the Choose Profile section, the target format should already be set to Video – H.264 + MP3 (MP4) by default.

Photo: animaker
Photo: animaker

4. Finally, click the Save as File button to choose a name and where you want to save the converted MP4 file, then hit Save to start converting.

Photo: animaker
Photo: animaker

Is there any other way to convert? What tool do you use? Please let us know in the comment section.

Method 4: How to Convert MOV to MP4 Using VideoProc Converter

VideoProc Converter is a robust video converter with full solutions to converting, transcoding, and compressing 370+ video and audio formats, incl. MOV, MP4, MKV, AVI, WEBM, HEVC, H.264, VP9, AV1, MPEG-4, MP3, AAC, and 100+ preset MP4 profiles for output. In addition, you are enabled to merge, cut, crop, rotate, add subtitles and effects, stabilize, or denoise your videos before the conversion in its editing toolkit.

Thanks to the unique full GPU acceleration tech, VideoProc Converter provides up to 47x real-time faster conversion performances than the leading competition, even when handling 4K 60/120fps MOV files. If you want a fast conversion and lossless output, try VideoProc Converter with the following steps.

Step 1.

Download the video converter for free from its official website and install it on your computer. It runs smoothly on all recent Windows and macOS.

Step 2.

Launch VideoProc Converter. Select the Video option and drag your file into the software.

Step 3.

Choose MP4 H.264 in the Video option at the bottom. For more MP4 profiles, click Target Format, search MP4, then you can see MP4 encoded with HEVC, MPEG-4, and more.

Step 4.

Move to the output settings on the right side of the interface. Choose an output folder to save your video and Enable Hardware Acceleration. Click RUN to start converting MOV to MP4.

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