How do I Convert MOV to WAV?

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

MOV (.mov) is a digital file format that Apple developed, and it is used in the software application QuickTime®, as well as by many digital cameras. MOV’s container-like structure differentiates it from other media formats and makes it able to support Internet streaming video as well as hold a collection of disparate contents on distinct tracks. Contents that MOV can hold include audio and video, but also text, images, and sprites — independent graphic objects. WAV (.wav) is the Waveform Audio File Format from Microsoft® Windows®, and is used for digital audio. Thus, when you convert MOV to WAV, data that is not audio can be lost, but this type of conversion can be useful to adapt audio for particular playback devices, such as Windows® system sounds.

Woman doing a handstand with a computer
Woman doing a handstand with a computer

One way to convert MOV to WAV is within QuickTime®. This may require QuickTime® 7 and the Pro version. With an open file, using File > Export, you can then choose ‘Sound to Wave’ for the export. You can either click on ‘Save’ or explore some further options.

The more detailed options become visible by clicking on the ‘Options’ button or using the drop down ‘Default Settings’ menu. The ‘Options’ button tells you that the format of the audio will be switched to Linear PCM — there’s no choice about that — but you can control the sample size and choose between Little Endian, Floating Point, and Unsigned. You can also choose stereo or mono channels, the kHz rate, and the render quality.

It is also possible to play a preview to see the impact of your settings choices, and play the source file so that you can compare. This is especially important because within a MOV file, the sound may be in a variety of formats. These include AAC (Advanced Audio Coding), MPEG 4 (Moving Pictures Experts Group) — either High Efficiency AAC or Low Delay AAC, Apple Lossless, AMR NB (Adaptive Multi-Rate Narrowband), IMA (also known as IMA4 and IMA-ADPCM—Interactive Multimedia Association; Adaptive Differential Pulse-Code Modulation), Linear PCM (Pulse-Code Modulation), Qualcomm® PureVoice® and iLBC (Internet Low Bit Rate Codec).

If you do not have access to QuickTime®, you can find freeware and paid software to convert MOV to WAV easily through a search on the Internet. Most converters are operating system- and version-specific; that is, they will work on either Mac® computers or Windows® computers, not both and with some particular versions of the software, but not others. Many programs that convert MOV to WAV also convert other formats, so if you already have any type of converter, check to see if it will handle these file formats. The steps will be similar to those described for QuickTime®, except one usually starts by finding a file in a browser or dragging and dropping it on the interface, rather than opening it.

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


MOV is Quicktime video, WAV is windows audio. I always use Acethinker Video Converter to convert mov video to wav video, free and works perfect. It's a free web-based application to convert video/audio, and you don't have to install anything.


@David09 - The process is similar. Either use a program like iTunes, or find a dedicated shareware or freeware program on the Internet. I’ve seen a lot of these “converters” on the Internet that convert to and from a variety of file formats. These should cover most of your needs.


So what would I do if I wanted to convert wav to mp3 files after pulling them out of mov files?


I don’t have a dedicated program to convert mov files but I do have an export option from within my video editing program. I can drop the mov file onto the track, then when I go to export I can choose to export sound only and choose wav as the file format.

Of course, I can also convert mov to avi format or just about any other format, including Windows wmv files. I don’t usually convert mov to wmv files because these files have limited utility. That is, not every program can read them.


WAV files are much larger than average MP3 file sizes so keep this in mind if you're doing conversions of long MOV video files.

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