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How to convert a MP4 file to a MOV file on Mac and Windows [5 tools]

Rob Parsons Updated on Jun 29, 2022 10:50 AM

You have a few .mp4 video files and want to convert to .mov format in Mac or Windows? Looking for a free MP4 converter to perform the task? No problem; There are a lot of free video converter software applications or online tools can help.

MP4 is a container format that can contain H.264 or MPEG-4 compressed video and/or AAC or AC3 audio. While almost every modern player and device works with MP4, sometimes, for different reasons you may want to convert MP4 file to MOV format on Mac—a QuickTime file format that Apple products has a native support of, the most likely of which is that you want to convert .mp4 to .mov file for use in QuickTime or get ProRes file for ease of editing in Final Cut Pro X or iMovie.

Whatever the reason, converting the MP4 videos is pretty much quick and simple with right tool. Below is a ranked list of the best MP4 to MOV converters for Mac and Windows and online services available:

  • Apple QuickTime Player
  • Video Converter
  • CloudConvert.com
  • Zamzar.com
  • online-convert.com

Best video converter software for converting MP4

Tip: If you're unable to play MP4 in QuickTime on Mac computer, you have three options to get it to work: search the Internet to download a universal media player (VLC, PotPlayer, etc), convert the file, or install codec package.

Option 1: Convert MP4 to MOV in QuickTime Player

First and foremost, we have to mention Apple's QuickTime Player. It's often used as the tool for playing movie files on computer — but it's a great, free MP4 converter tool too. QuickTime includes an useful "Export As" feature that helps you convert media files to MOV format - and it's a quick and easy process.

If you've never converted a MP4 to a MOV file with QuickTime on Mac, you can follow these steps:

  • Launch QuickTime Player app on your Mac.
  • Select the MP4 file you want to convert, click Open.
  • Choose File > Export As.
  • Choose an option from the Export menu.
  • Give a name to your exported file and choose a location.
  • Click Save.

QuickTime Player will begin exporting your MP4 movie into MOV format on Mac. See more details about Export menu here: Export movies to other file formats and resolutions using QuickTime Player on Mac.

convert mp4 to mov for QuickTime

Tip: QuickTime Player (version 10.0 and later) is capable of using Apple ProRes and H.264 to convert legacy media files that use certain older or third-party compression formats before playing them in OS X Mavericks through macOS Mojave. See more here.

If QuickTime Player doesn't convert from MP4 to MOV on macOS machine, or you prefer not use Apple's app, don't fear, as we have other excellent alternatives. Go on reading.

Option 2: Use a dedicated MP4 video converter

Video Converter for Mac is another great program that lets you convert videos files in .mp4 to .mov format in Mac, and converts movies to any other conceivable formats easily. No extra codecs package to installed, no complicated operation to be involved. It's available on both Mac and Windows.

Download Now!

for Windows | for MacOS

The software also integrates with a slew of convenient features and controls—Its device-specific presets gives you ability to convert the video for playback on the device with the most appropriate video settings, the built-in video editing filters enables you to perform editing on the video to get a more good-looking result file, and more. Converting MP4 to MOV on Windows 10, 8, 7 is also available with its PC version — Video Converter for Windows.

Although specific to the .mp4 to .mov conversion for Mac (MacBook, iMac, etc) and PC's, the instructions in this article can be used to convert a wide variety of other video formats you might come across including AVI, WMV, M4V, MKV, FLAC, WebM, MPG, etc.

Related: how to convert a MP4 to WMV format on Mac

Step 1: Load your MP4 files onto the video converter

In the upper left corner of the program window, click the "Add File" button and find the MP4 video file(s) that you intend to convert into MOV file from your local hard drive, choose them and click Open.

Once the movies imported, they will appear on the list to the left pane of the window like the picture shown below. You can view the file via the small preview window and take screenshots if you want.

Furthermore, you can check the "Merge into one file" option located at the bottom right corner, in case you're aiming for one seamless video spliced together by multiple small video clips.

Step 2: Click "Profile" menu to pick MOV as output format

Next, head to the field on the lower left-hand side labeled "Profile". This is where you'll choose what format the resulting files will be in. In our example, we need to convert MP4 to a MOV for Mac.

Depending on quality of your original MP4 (mpeg-4 or H.264/AVC) files, you either go to "General Video" and select MOV - QuickTime Video (*.mov), or go to "HD Video" and choose HD MOV Video (*.mov) as output file if you really care about having the highest-quality output file.

Whether you want to tweak an existing conversion setting of the video or create an entirely new "user-define" new settings, you are free to click the button labeled "Settings" next to "Profile" to enter Profile Settings window. From where there are a list of different advanced settings available for you to fine tune: frame rate, bitrate, codec, resolution, audio sample rate, the number of audio channels, etc.

In this example of converting files from MP4 to QuickTime .mov format for Mac, generally, you get a set of appropriate parameters for MP4 that will result in a video that plays well on your Mac/ multimedia device. But sometimes you still have to adjust a couple of settings.

For example, if the original MP4 is 1080p or 720p and you want to get an excellent MOV file with minimum loss of quality after conversion, I suggest using the H.264 codec rather than MPEG4 codec. while using the MPEG4 codec in Video Settings section to encode MP4 file will cause the conversion process to go faster, H.264 codec will make your video to be of the highest quality possible.

Additional standout feature of the MP4 to MOV converter for Mac includes the ability for you to choose preset options your video is intended for from the list on the left pane. At this point you can keep things simple, whether it's an device from Apple, Android, Windows, or something else.

The application also comes with useful video filters on the top menu, which allows you to cut the video into parts, trim unwanted extras, remove black bars on sides, add effects and image/text information and more. It is advisable to experiment with a short video file before you're familiar with all these filters.

Step 3: Start converting MP4 to MOV file on Mac

In "Destination" field under "Profile", specify an output folder you can get to the business of conversion.

Now press the big orange "Convert" button in the lower right corner and wait for your files to be converted into QuickTime MOV file, then you're off!

The software will have a progress bar across the video process list in its window. Conversion time is determined by the file size, the quality of the video, and your computer power. Don't panic if things are taking a while.

Universal Video Demo

Option 3: Free convert MP4 to MOV online with CloudConvert.com

CloudConvert.com has long been one of the best free, online video conversion services out there. It has a very simple and clean interface and supports more than 200 formats for conversion. Advanced users can even use its powerful API as an OEM tool.

CloudConvert converts MP4 video files to MOV format on the fly. This means that you just upload your source files onto remote server, choose the format you want to convert to, and you're ready to go. You don't need to download and install any software on your computer to make it happen in real time.

  • Visit the CloudConvert website on your web browser of choice.
  • Click the "Select File", select MP4 files you want to convert and click Open.
  • Select MOV from the drop-down list of output options.
  • Click Convert.

Option 4: Zamzar

Zamzar is another reliable file converter in the list and is great for converting MP4 to MOV online and free. It's perfect for anyone who wants to convert files from one format to another as it converts most types of files and easy to use. Like CloudConvert, entire conversion with Zamzar is completed online without downloads.

How to convert a .mp4 file to a .mov file online via Mac computer:

  • Open Zamzar.com in your web browser on Mac.
  • Choose "Add Files" and browse for a MP4 video on your computer.
  • Select MOV from the "Convert to" drop-down menu.
  • Click "Convert Now" to proceed.
  • Once done, click Download to save the converted MOV file to your computer.

MP4 to MOV Mac free

Option 5: online-convert.com

Last but not least we come to online-convert.com. It's a web-based file converter service that supports conversions from quite a lot of different source formats to many targets. For the purpose of this article, you can simply take it as a MP4 converter for Mac to convert files into QuickTime MOV format free. The service also allows you to tweak video settings to get the best results possible.

The interface of online-conert.com may take a bit time to get used to, though. It feels clunky and confusing for beginners.

  • Go to online-convert.com
  • Select "Convert to MOV" from Video converter section, then click Go.
  • Click "Choose Files" to upload your MP4 file.
  • Click "Start Conversion".
  • Download converted MOV file and save onto computer.

Summary: Best free, Mac MP4 to MOV converter software

It may take a while for you to test and choose which is the best program suiting your needs. If you're frequently converting MP4 to QuickTime MOV on Mac or Windows, you'd go with Video Converter mentioned in Option 2. It comes with all of the features one would expect for making a video or audio conversion on your Mac or Windows machine, and offers additional options to enhance the output results. Its simplicity and efficiency make it an indispensable part of a multimedia toolkit.

If you just need a free tool to convert from/ to MP4 video files occasionally, 3 online file converters should be your choice. If you just want to get your file into MOV file, you'd stay in conversion using Apple's QuickTime Player.

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