MOV files are usually larger than MP4, not all players will play them for you, and sometimes when you need to upload videos to the Internet, the platform would only accept a limited number of formats that don’t always include MOV. So, if your camera or phone is recording videos in MOV, but you need to convert them to MP4, this is the post for you
MOV vs MP4, what’s the difference?
First, let’s see how these file formats differ.
MOV is a file extension used with the QuickTime file format. It is a video container and was developed by Apple. MOV files are usually larger in size and have less compression, which provides higher video quality.
MP4 is also a file extension used to tag video files stored in this container file format. MP4 is a widely used format that does not require QuickTime to play. MP4 files usually have higher compression, smaller size and lower image quality.
How to convert MOV to MP4 without losing quality
If you are wondering how to change MOV to MP4 at the end of a file name, it is not as simple as renaming a file. You will actually need a converter to change the file type. But don’t worry, below is a step-by-step guide for you.
- Open Setapp and type “convert video” or “permute” in the search bar.
- Find Perm in the search results and click Install.
- Once the application is installed, click Open up and go through the initialization screens.
- Drag and drop the video file (or files) you want to convert into the app.
Adjust the conversion parameters, if necessary, and click the play icon below the file to perform the conversion.
Your file will be saved in the same location as the original MOV video.
So, if you want to save your QuickTime file as MP4, Permute converter is one of the best solutions we can recommend.
And if you’re wondering how to play your MP4 or MOV file, you can use your Mac’s built-in QuickTime Player or third-party tools like Elmedia Player:
Elmedia Player is an advanced video player that has a picture-in-picture mode and can help you adjust your video (and even the sound in it) in just a few clicks and view the customized version.
Can QuickTime convert MOV to MP4?
While QuickTime has an export tool like, MP4 is missing in the options:
As you can see, the player allows you to export your video in a different resolution or extract audio.
Still, don’t worry, you can use another tool on your Mac to convert MOV to MP4.
Convert to Mac using iMovie
You can convert your MOV to MP4 on a Mac using iMovie. This is Apple’s application for more advanced video editing.
If you look around the app, you may not be able to intuitively find a way to convert, because just like QuickTime, iMovie only has an export option:
But, as it turns out, when you export your MOV using this file export function to iMovie, the resulting file is actually MP4. (And yes, we tried this with QuickTime and the result was a MOV file).
All you need to do to convert your MOV to MP4 with iMovie is:
- import your video to iMovie
- click the Share icon in the upper right corner of the application window
- click Export the file
- select desired video settings and location of exported file (or keep default)
- start conversion
Note that by default iMovie may not save your converted MP4 in the same folder, so make sure you are OK with the location where the converted file will be saved before starting the conversion.
Convert MOV files to MP4 format online
If you are converting a small file and you don’t mind uploading it to an external server, an online converter might be the best solution for your needs.
We tried to convert our few seconds long video file using the online Convertio converter.
All we had to do was drag and drop the video to the converter page at convertio.co, select the format we want to convert our MOV to (which was MP4, of course) and click on the red Convert button.
Our video is quickly uploaded to Convertio and then converted to MP4 with a blue download button that allows us to save it to our Mac.
Just like conversion apps, this online mechanism also allows you to customize your conversion settings.
Alternatively, you can use another online MOV to MP4 converter cloudconvert.com. The tool is very similar to Convertio and allows you to convert your video to several formats, as well as adjust video settings as needed.
Keep in mind that with free online converters, you may encounter limits on the number of files you can convert per day and / or their maximum size.
The process may also take longer than the conversion on your device because you need to upload and download the converted file again in addition to the actual conversion process. The differences are negligible for small files, but with videos, files quickly become large, so keep that in mind.
As you can see, converting your MOV files to MP4 is a simple task and can be done with a number of easily accessible tools. You can use iMovie to export files, convert online, or use a universal file conversion tool such as Permute.
With online conversion, you get the advantage of resolving file format issues quickly and without any additional tools, but you waste time loading and reloading the converted video. You also transfer your media outside of your device, which may not always be your preferred method.
With tools like Permute, you can convert video, audio and images to multiple formats in batches. Files stay on your device and conversion is pretty fast (at least for smaller video file sizes we experimented with). For media playback, you can use the universal Elmedia Player, which also allows you to customize your video to your liking, e.g. its brightness, saturation, playback speed, and even sound equalization.
You can find the apps we mentioned in this post on Setapp, a set of tools for productivity, lifestyle and better efficiency. If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can explore hundreds of handy tools on Setapp with a free 7-day trial.
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