Methods to Convert MOV to MP4 on a Mac

Most people today consider MOV files to be an outdated and restricted format and prefer MP4 format video files instead. If you have a collection of MOV files, it is relatively easy to convert them to MP4 files quickly and easily on macOS. We've covered this below using a variety of methods. So read on to learn how to do it.

Which devices use MOV files?

Apple devices use the MOV format by default. So, when you record a video on your iPhone or iPad and transfer it to your computer, it is in MOV format. This is fine if you want to play it on macOS as QuickTime supports MOV natively, but you will have trouble playing it on another platform, e.g. B. on a Windows PC (without codecs) or on a Smart TV.

You can change this default setting in your iPhone's settings and record videos in MP4 format instead. Just go to Settings> Camera> Formats> Most Compatible. However, in case you have already recorded MOV files, you may not be able to play them on other devices.

If you have a Mac, you can easily convert these MOV files to MP4 files using these different methods.


1. How to convert MOV to MP4 files with iMovie

The first app that can help you convert your MOV files to MP4 files is Apple's proprietary movie editing software – iMovie. iMovie should be installed on your Mac at purchase. If not, you can download it for free from the Mac App Store. iMovie currently supports macOS Big Sur and above, so make sure your system is compatible.

Related: How to Convert Video to Audio for Free: Online Tools

After you've installed and launched iMovie, just follow the steps below to convert the files:

  1. From the menu in the top left, select file > New movie.

  2. click on the Import media Button. This will open the media browser from which you can import media into iMovie.

  3. Find and click the file you want to convert, then click Import selected in the lower right corner.

  4. After the file is imported, click on it and a yellow box should appear around it. Now click file in the top menu and select share > file.

  5. Adjust the export settings as needed (we recommend a resolution of 1080p for most applications). Click on Next, and then choose a file name and location to save the converted file. You should see the export progress as a small circle in the top right corner of iMovie. Once the export is complete, you will see a desktop notification and your video has been converted to an MP4 file.

The iMovie method of converting a MOV to MP4 file is quite simple. However, converting only one file at a time has its limitations. If you want to convert multiple files together and save time, we recommend that you try the HandBrake method described below.

2. How to convert MOV to MP4 files with HandBrake

HandBrake is a free, open source tool that allows you to convert your file formats to high quality. The app basically acts as a video encoder and has many predefined presets that you can use for file conversion. You can download it for free from the HandBrake website.

Once installed, launch HandBrake and follow the steps below to convert your MOV files to MP4:

  1. At the top of the HandBrake window, select Open source.

  2. Choose the file you want to convert.

  3. Once the file opens in HandBrake, select the file format you want to convert it to Preset Menu. Similarly, choose the location of the exported file from the Save as an option at the bottom of the window.

  4. If you want to batch convert files, select the Add to queue Opportunity. Once the file has been added to the queue, just open another file and add another file to the queue using the steps above.

  5. After you've imported all of your files into HandBrake, click on the begin Button to start coding.

  6. The progress bar for the coding is displayed at the bottom of the window. Once the conversions are done, you will be able to view and use your newly encoded MP4 files.

The HandBrake method is beneficial for batch MOV to MP4 conversions on your Mac as it allows you to import multiple files, add them to a queue, and convert them together. This can save quite a bit of time compared to individual file conversions with iMovie.

3. How to convert MOV to MP4 files with Terminal

If you want an alternative to the traditional UI-based method, you can use Terminal instead to convert MOV to MP4 files on your Mac. This method is better for those who are used to command line input.

Related: How to Convert MOV to MP4 Online

This conversion method involves using the ffmpeg shell program available through HomeBrew in the terminal. HomeBrew is an open source software package manager that can be installed on your Mac using Terminal.

Follow the steps below to install HomeBrew and use ffmpeg to convert MOV to MP4 files using Terminal on your Mac:

  1. Open Terminal on your Mac. You can do this from finder > Applications > Utilities.

  2. Enter the following codes to install HomeBrew: / bin / bash -c "$ (curl -fsSL"

  3. The process may take a few minutes, depending on your internet connection. Enter your Mac user password to authenticate and press Enter to install HomeBrew.

  4. Then enter the following command to install the ffmpeg shell program: brew install ffmpeg

  5. After the add-on is installed, use the following command to convert files and replace the file paths as needed: ffmpeg -i (Path to input file) -c: v copy -c: a copy (Path to output file).mp4

  6. Make sure to replace the file addresses with the address for the input or output file.

  7. That's it. The video should be converted quickly and available for use.

It is easiest to convert video files at the source

If you are having trouble playing MOV files on a device, you can easily convert MOV files to MP4 files using the Mac methods discussed above. However, the simplest solution would be to record to MP4 right at the source. Since the video file format can be changed on most devices, try changing the recording settings on your device to MP4. This saves you the time and hassle of dealing with multiple file conversions.

How to Convert MOV to MP4: 9 Easy Ways

Use these browser and desktop apps to convert your MOV files to MP4s.

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About the author

Shujaa Imran
(29 articles published)

Shujaa Imran is a die-hard Apple user and loves helping others with their macOS and iOS issues. Apart from that, he is also a cadet pilot who wants to become a professional pilot one day.

By Shujaa Imran

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