A couple of years ago, Apple introduced MOV as the go-to format for videographers or anyone using QuickTime. Today, most people consider MOV files an outdated format, and it’s more convenient to use MP4 files.
Unfortunately, you might still have an extensive collection of old MOV files taking up space on your Mac. You can convert them into an MP4 file format with a little bit of patience by following these step-by-step instructions.
How to convert MOV files using iMovie (MacOS)
Whether you’re running the latest version of MacOS Catalina (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.
Step 2: Click the large Import Media button.
Step 3: This will open the media browser. Click on the file you want to import, then click Import Selected in the bottom-right corner.
Step 4: Now that the file has been imported click on it, and a yellow border will appear around it. Then, click the File menu in the app toolbar and select Share from the resulting drop-down, then click File.
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.
If any of this doesn’t work, check out Apple’s guide on fixing iMovie for some quick tips on sorting it out.
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. Although we wouldn’t label this a security threat (nor do we think anything would come of it), it’s still worth mentioning — you may want to consider what type of videos you’ll be converting here.
Another quality conversion option is OnlineConvert.
Step 1: From the CloudConvert homepage, click Select File at the top of the page. Pick the MOV file you’re going to convert, then select Open from the screen’s bottom corner.
Step 2: On the next page, scroll until you see MP4 as one conversion option.
Step 3: After choosing MP4, click the Convert button to the right. The conversion takes time, but the Download button will appear when the process is done. The file will go to your Downloads folder, and from there, you can watch your MP4 video on any compatible device or platform.