I want to convert .mov to .mp4! I saved the video from iMovie but it is in .mov format! How do I convert it to .mp4?

I'm using a MacBook and I want to share it to my phone, but my phone can't open .mov format video.


6 Answers 6


I personally find using ffmpeg shell program (available through Brew using brew install ffmpeg) the most convenient way to do the conversions.

It includes tons of options for nearly any single thing you could possibly do with a movie.

In your case though, for a conversion, you can simply type:

ffmpeg -i /path/to/input/file /path/to/output.mp4

The .mp4 extension in the output path serves as a cue for the program to do the proper conversion -- no more options are necessary.

  • 22
    Most of the time you can speed up the process by copying video and audio data instead of transcoding. Like this: ffmpeg -i /path/to/input/file -c:v copy -c:a copy /path/to/output.mp4 (mov is very similar to mp4 and most of the time contains h264 video and aac audio, which is equally supported in mp4). – Commented Apr 2, 2020 at 11:21
  • That's amazing @ernestoche and should be the answer
    – justinhj
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 21:24
  • 13
    ffmpeg -i /path/to/input/file /path/to/output.mp4 takes more than a minute to convert a 100 MB video, but the mp4 file size is almost 10 times smaller. The command with the -c:v copy -c:a copy option converts instantly, however there is no change in file size.
    – Somu
    Commented Feb 2, 2021 at 8:16
  • 3
    If you are converting mov to mp4 so that it can be displayed inside a html video tag, you can not use @ernestoche 's method, browsers just refuse to play that codec.
    – ospider
    Commented Aug 18, 2021 at 2:12
  • just needs "hours" to download... Commented Jul 6, 2023 at 11:19

You can also use VLC to convert .mov into several formats:

  1. Install and open VLC
  2. Go to "File" > "Convert / Stream..."

enter image description here

  1. Load the video (for example drag the .mov file into box)

enter image description here

  1. Choose the format you want
  2. Click on "Save as File" button, sit back and relax
  • 6
    The file will be exported as .m4v and not .mp4
    – dialex
    Commented Apr 28, 2021 at 13:29
  • @dialex "The primary difference is that M4V files may optionally be protected by DRM copy protection." source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M4V
    – Mehrad
    Commented Apr 28, 2021 at 15:31
  • @dialex rename the file after export. Commented Aug 2, 2022 at 20:32
  • In my case the file exported from VLC was slightly smaller than the one I got through Handbrake. I used default settings for both. However, I find Handbrake a bit more convenient to use. Commented Aug 2, 2022 at 20:34
  • when i open the file, which made vlc with Quick Time player - it has no audio. (vlc plays it just fine)
    – klm123
    Commented Sep 18, 2023 at 9:21


You can use Handbrake to convert .mov to .mp4 files.

HandBrake is a tool for converting video from nearly any format to a selection of modern, widely supported codecs.

Reasons you’ll love HandBrake:

  • Convert video from nearly any format
  • Free and Open Source
  • Multi-Platform (Windows, Mac and Linux)

enter image description here

  • 1
    For those that prefer using Homebrew for installation, it is possible to do it using "brew install --cask handbrake" from the command line. Commented Apr 13, 2023 at 7:31

Apple's gotcha had ya covered. ...Sadly, things have changed with the advent of macOS 10.13 High Sierra :\

Once upon a time You can you could use QuickTime Player to export .mov files and have them converted to .m4v files that will play on your other Apple products. M4V is a video container format developed by Apple from the MP4 standard - M4V is very similar to the MP4 format. The main difference is that M4V supports DRM copy protection - such as for copyrighted material viewed with Apple TV.

enter image description here

There's also a "Share" option in the player when you open a .mov file in QuickTime Player:

enter image description here

...and I am not sure if this converts the file, but you can use it to send your video to your mobile device with, for example, the Messages app.

See this article for more information on the difference between MP4 and M4V.

Lastly, per this tutorial, you can just Export the file from iMovie:

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • 4
    Quicktime no longer has these options in High Sierra. Not sure why Apple removed them.
    – mzaur
    Commented Oct 31, 2017 at 0:09

So I tried converting .mov to .mp4 with both methods.. ffmpeg and handbrake

input .mov file size: 8.6 MB



brew install ffmpeg
ffmpeg -i input.mov output.mp4

Output .mp4 size: 1.2 MB


download from https://handbrake.fr/
converted using GUI with default settings.
Output .mp4 size: 622 KB

Looks like handbrake exports with smaller size with no noticeable video quality difference. Also, ffmpeg installs tons of dependencies and installation took several minutes.
tldr: I'd go with handbrake.


Which iPhone models who you own? The iPhone can only play H.264 or MPEG-4 video. The most simple way is downloading Handbrake, which not only assists you to convert MOV to iPhone suppported H.264 or MPEG-4 video, but also offers advanced profile parameters adjusting function to assist you to get better output video and audio quality.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .