How to Convert Video to MP4 on a Mac [5 BEST WAYS]

Convert your video to or from MP4 on a Mac:

  1. Download and launch Movavi Video Converter.
  2. Add your files to the program.
  3. Choose the output format to convert the video.

Edited by Ben Jacklin
11 609

MPEG-4 or MP4 video files can be viewed on any platform and multimedia device, including Apple products. To be sure that your movie will play back on your iPad, iPod Touch, or Sony PSP, you may need to change the initial format of your files, e.g., to convert video to MP4 on a Mac. However, you can use a video converter to change the format – for example, if the video file you want to transfer to your device is large and there’s not enough free space left.

Our picks for the list of video converters to MP4 for a Mac are:




macOS 10.7.5 or later, Windows, Linux

Here’s what Movavi’s team does to provide you with verified information:

  • When selecting products to include in our reviews, we research both demand and popularity.

  • All the products covered in this article have been tested by our team.

  • When testing, we compare key characteristics, including supported input and output formats, quality loss when converting, and other significant features.

  • We study user reviews from popular review platforms and make use of this information when writing our product reviews.

  • We collect feedback from our users and analyze their opinions of Movavi software as well as products from other companies.


List of the best MP4 converters for a Mac

If you need to know how to convert video on your Mac, this list of converter software will help point you in the right direction. You can use some of these MP4 converters for free on Mac computers. Each product is on the list because we believe it to perform well at its intended goals. How well these programs rank against each other will depend greatly on your own experience, goals, and preferences. Therefore, we ask you to keep in mind that the MP4 converters for a Mac presented below are listed in no particular order. We recommend that you try all of those that appeal to you and decide for yourself which suits your needs better.

Best for: fast conversion and simple editing

OS: macOS 10.13 or later, Windows

Movavi Video Converter is packed with features. You'll be able to convert to and from nearly any media format you can think of, including video, audio, and image formats. There are over 200 presets available to tailor your conversion to the device of your choice, or you can let the software try to auto-detect the device. This MPEG-4 converter for a Mac lets you convert a small sample of the video first, so you can see what the final results will look like before committing to the settings.

Check out the step-by-step guide and see how simple it is to convert files with Movavi Video Converter.

  1. Download and install Movavi Video Converter.
  2. Click Add Media and then Add video to upload your files to the program.
  3. Go to the Video tab and choose the file format.
  4. Hit the Convert button to start the conversion.

Use the link below to read the detailed instructions.

Read the instructions

Best for: converting videos to MP4 format on a Mac for playback on iPhones, iPads, PSP, and other devices

OS: macOS 10.5-10.12

MacX Free MP4 Video Converter is a free MP4 video converter for a Mac. If you’re looking for an MP4 converter for a Mac that lets you convert to multiple formats for different devices and video publishing platforms, this may be an option for you. In addition to video conversion capabilities, it also allows users to extract audio files and convert video files to MP3, as well.

How to convert an MP4 video with MacX Free MP4 Video Converter

  1. Download, install, and open MacX Free MP4 Video converter.

  2. Click + to load the video you want to format, or drag and drop the file into the converter.

  3. From the dropdown menu, select MP4 as your output format.

  4. Click Browse to choose the destination where you want to save your output video.

  5. Click Run to save your converted MP4 video.

3. VLC

Best for: multi-tasking (if you need a player, converter, and video editor)

OS: macOS 10.7.5 or later, Windows, Linux

You may have heard of VLC Media Player before, it's one of the most popular media players around due to its ability to open almost any file format you throw at it. The capability has made it a standard part of most Linux distributions and a favorite among both Mac and Windows users where the native media players are often lacking support for a few popular codecs.

What you might not have known though, is that VLC is also capable of converting to and from that wide array of formats that it supports, making it great for use as a Mac MPEG-4 converter. The reason you might not know that is that it isn't really designed as a video converter, so the process isn't as intuitive as you may like and the conversion process can be slower than a dedicated video converter would be.

How to change a video format on a Mac with VLC

  1. Open the VLC program.
  2. With the VLC program active, open its File menu on your Mac's menu bar.
  3. Click on the Convert / Stream option. You'll find it near the bottom of the menu. Alternatively, you can hit Shift-Command-S on your Mac keyboard to open the dialog.
  4. When the Convert / Stream dialog opens up, you can drag and drop the file you want to convert where it says "Drop media here." There is also a button in that section you can click on to open your media file manually.
  5. With your media file open in the Convert / Stream dialog, it's time to convert the file. From the Choose Profile section, pick the format and preset that you'd like to convert your file to. There are two options for MP4 files; one for video and one for audio.
  6. If you'd like more control, you can click on the Customize button next to the presets dropdown. From here you can choose different codecs and output formats.
  7. Click on the Save File option and select the location you'd like your converted file to be placed in. The file will then be converted into the new format and saved at that location.

Best for: ripping DVDs and converting to MP4

OS: macOS 10.13 and later, Windows, Linux

Just as VLC is primarily known as a media player, HandBrake was primarily known as a DVD ripping tool. It includes some nice DVD-specific features such as chapter selection and basic support for extracting subtitles. It can also function as a general Mac MP4 converter as well, and as DVDs become less popular, that aspect of the software is coming to the forefront.

One outstanding feature of HandBrake is the option to use a bit rate calculator that will estimate the size of your file before you convert it. This way, you can be sure your file will stay under these size limits you need while obtaining the maximum quality for those limits. The software can be a bit buggy, however, and the interface is outdated.

How to convert a video to MP4 on a Mac with HandBrake

  1. Open HandBrake.
  2. When the program opens, click on the Source menu option.
  3. Select the Open File option and choose the file you'd like to convert to an MP4.
  4. Click on Browse next to the Destination field near the top of the interface and choose where you'd like to save your new MP4 file.
  5. Make sure that Container Format in the Preset section underneath the Destination field is set to MP4.
  6. Change whichever options you may want to in the settings section on the lower part of the screen.
  7. Click the Start button to begin the conversion process.

Best for: converting video files one at a time or in batches online without downloading any software to your computer

OS: any, web-based

CloudConvert is a good option for people who want an MP4 converter for a Mac online. Because it’s a web app, it doesn’t require users to download software or find a compatible version for their system. The advanced settings in the app also allow users to control different aspects of their conversions and output files, such as resolution, aspect ratio, and codec.

How to convert an MP4 video with CloudConvert

  1. Go to CloudConvert.
  2. Click the Add Files button and select the file(s) you want to convert.
  3. Open the Convert to dropdown menu and select MP4.
  4. If you want to control other presets, click on the wrench icon and choose the settings you want.
  5. Click the red Convert button.

How to convert videos to and from MP4 on a Mac with Movavi Video Converter

With Movavi Video Converter for macOS, you can easily convert to MP4 on your Mac, optimizing resolution and file size. Thanks to support for all popular formats, you can use the program to convert MOV, MKV, FLV, M4V, MTS, VOB, WebM, WMV, and AVI to MP4, rip unprotected DVDs, or extract soundtracks. The software offers a lot of editing options as well. The guide below explains how to change a video format on a Mac in 5 simple steps.

Step 1. Download and install Movavi’s MP4 converter for a Mac

Download Movavi Video Converter, open the .dmg file, and install the software according to the instructions in the pop-up window. Then run the program.

Step 2. Open the files for conversion

Click the Add Media button, select Add Video, and add the files you want to convert. Note that the program enables you to convert multiple files in one go.

Step 3. Choose the output format

Go to the Video tab, click on the desired format category, and select the appropriate preset from the list. You can also find ready-made presets for mobile devices in the Devices tab. If you want to change the default parameters for resolution, audio bitrate, etc., you can click the Cogwheel button below the list of formats and make the necessary adjustments there.

Step 4. Trim your video (optional)

You can also trim your video if needed. To do this, click the Edit button and select Trim. Place the cut marker where you want your video to finish and click the Cut button. Now select the fragment you want to cut out and hit Delete. Then hit Save and Close.

Step 5. Convert the video to MP4 on your Mac

Now you can choose the destination folder by clicking the Save to button. Now click the Convert button to process the files and wait until the encoding is finished. The output folder will open automatically unless you've unchecked this option before you started.

How to choose an MP4 converter for a Mac

There are a lot of converters out there, so you might wonder how to decide which software to use. Below, you’ll find criteria that will likely be helpful in your quest to find the best MP4 converter for your Mac.


There are many different target devices out there that you may want to view your converted files on. Because each device has its own set of best settings for things like resolution and bitrate, creating an optimal conversion between file formats can require a bit of technical knowledge. It isn't realistic that everyone should have to go out and learn technical specifications for their target devices, so many of the programs on the market that do video conversions also come with presets to target the most popular devices. The best video converters to MP4 for a Mac are going to be the ones that have plenty of presets to account for these devices. You should look for software that has as many presets as possible, as this will provide you with the maximum utility. However, at the very least, you'll want presets for the devices you own and will be targeting with your conversions.


This is the opposite end of the spectrum from presets. Mac MP4 converters may be used to target a specific device, and the software used should certainly make that option as easy as possible for you. But there may be times when you want more specific control over how the output file is generated. There is a lot of flexibility in the MP4 codec, Mac power users will want to be able to extract as much of that flexibility as possible. For that reason, a good Mac MP4 video converter will also have the option to adjust all of the important settings manually if needed. This will allow the converter to be fast and convenient when it needs to be, but also powerful and flexible when that need arises.

Capture capability

Sometimes, when converting a video, you actually need more than just to change the video format. For example, when converting a DVD video, you might need the program to read extra data such as alternate audio tracks and subtitles. Some programs are only able to extract the video files for conversions. Others may offer the ability to take the core video and convert it to audio only. The best solutions out there will allow you the greatest flexibility to rip any aspect of the DVD that is possible for conversion.

Are free programs good enough?

A free MP4 converter for a Mac will probably get the job done, depending on your requirements and the quality of the program. Many free programs, however, have either limited feature sets or are more difficult to use than they need to be. Free programs are generally created in a very utilitarian fashion and are not as focused on ease-of-use as commercial programs like Movavi Video Converter are. There’s also Movavi Free Video Converter available, so you'll be able to get a good idea of what benefits you'll get from the paid software by downloading and playing with that. If your needs are very basic, or if it isn't something you'll be using very frequently, you may be fine using free versions and upgrading only when the restrictions or hassles necessitate it.

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What is MP4?

Although most famous for video, the MP4 standard is actually a media container that can contain any type of media. Audio only files with the .M4A extension are also commonly seen. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) developed the MP4 format using the QuickTime File Format from Apple as a base. The group added explicit support for MPEG features such as Initial Object Descriptors to the QuickTime File Format.

The MPEG format is perhaps most popular now for MP3 audio files, but has its start in the MPEG-1 video standard created back in 1993. MPEG stands for Moving Pictures Experts Group, the organization that developed the standard. MP4 is short for MPEG-4 Part 14, which is the actual specification that describes the standard.

File extension

.mp4, .m4a, .m4p, .m4b, .m4r, .m4v


Media container

Video-encoding formats

MPEG-4 or H.264

Audio-encoding formats


Developed by

International Organization for Standardization

Device and OS compatibility

All Windows-based devices, Mac OS X, Linux, iOS, Android, game consoles like Xbox and Playstation

Movavi Video Converter

The ideal way to get your media in the format you need!

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Frequently asked questions

▶️ How to change video format to MP4 on a Mac for free?

▶️ How do I play MP4 on a Mac?

▶️ Why can't QuickTime Player open MP4 files?

▶️ Does iMovie support MP4?

▶️ Which is the best video format for a Mac?

▶️ How do I convert MP4 to QuickTime?

▶️ Why can't I play MP4 files on my Mac?

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