How do I Convert MOV to M4V?

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

MOV (.mov) is the Apple® QuickTime® digital file format. It is capable of containing a variety of contents, as well as supporting Internet streaming video. M4V (.m4v) is an Apple® file format used for Apple® devices such as iPhone®, iPod Touch®, and Apple TV®. To convert MOV to M4V, a converter of some type is needed.

Converter software is needed to change a video file from one format to another.
Converter software is needed to change a video file from one format to another.

When converting MOV to M4V, it is important to know something about the file formats. The MOV format was designed for use on computers and may contain not only audio and video, but also text, sprites, and images, each stored on a separate track. It is extensible by developers to contain other media as well. This is done through the creation of additional QuickTime® components. Another key feature of MOV is that it is interactive closed-caption capable.

Videos in the M4V format can be played on mobile devices.
Videos in the M4V format can be played on mobile devices.

M4V is a type of MPEG-4 file. MPEG-4 is based on the Apple® QuickTime® file format and was developed by the Moving Pictures Experts Group (MPEG) and, after initial approval in October 1998, made an international standard in 2000. It contains H.264 video, a video codec that is part of MPEG-4 (MPEG-4, Part 10), and AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) audio, both of which are known for their small file sizes. M4V does produce larger files sizes than MOV, however, and it does not have interactive closed-caption capability.

To convert MOV to M4V, a variety of paths may be taken. First, a file can be converted in more recent iTunes® versions. To convert a file, select it in the window, go the to "Advanced" menu, and choose an option like "Create iPod Version," although the exact wording my differ, depending on the version of iTunes® being used. Resyncing your iPod® after the conversion will make the M4V files available to play on it. You may also be able to convert files in up-to-date versions of QuickTime® Pro. From the "Export" panel, choose "Movie to iPod." The software applications iMovie® and Final Cut Pro® also have this ability.

It is also possible to convert MOV to M4V using paid or free software that is not made by Apple®. A wide range of software is available online to convert files to make them playable on the iPod®. Some are even capable of batch conversion, and may offer a choice of video cropping. Certain titles may also offer soft subtitle support.

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is passionate about reading, writing, and research, and has a penchant for correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to contributing articles to EasyTechJunkie about art, literature, and music, Mary Elizabeth is a teacher, composer, and author. She has a B.A. from the University of Chicago’s writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont, and she has written books, study guides, and teacher materials on language and literature, as well as music composition content for Sibelius Software.

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Discussion Comments


@Illych - I have an iPod touch and I've never bothered to use it for videos for the same reason. My mom has an iPad though and she seems to watch a lot of videos on it. Big difference in screen size though, obviously.


What's it like watching videos on an iPhone or iPod touch? I'd imagine the screen would be too small to watch for anything longer than like five minutes.


Or, even simpler, try a rename of the .mov file to m4v. Often works!

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