Today, most people consider MOV files an outdated format, and it’s more convenient to use MP4 files.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 Big Sur (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. This will open the media browser.
Step 3: 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 File in the app toolbar, and select Share from the resulting drop-down menu. 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 you encounter difficulties at any point during this process, you can try various troubleshooting options, using Apple’s guide on fixing iMovie.
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. And when using online conversion methods, we think it’s worth noting that you should always practice some level of restraint with converting potentially inappropriate or private videos. That said, CloudConvert appears to be a great online file conversion option with no serious complaints against it that we know of.
We also recommend OnlineConvert as another excellent conversion tool.
Step 1: From the CloudConvert homepage, click the Select File button. Pick the MOV file you’re going to convert, then select Open from the File Explorer screen’s bottom corner.
Step 2: On the next page, click on the Down Arrow icon next to the phrase Convert To. Then, choose MP4 from the menu that appears.
Step 3: Click the Convert button to the right. Once the conversion is complete, CloudConvert may auto-play your newly converted video file for you so you can see if the conversion is how you want it to look. If the video looks fine to you, you can download the file by clicking on the green Download button.
The file will go to your Downloads folder, and from there, you can watch your MP4 video on any compatible device or platform.