.MOV File Extension

Apple QuickTime Movie

Developer Apple
Popularity
3.5  |  721 Votes
Category Video Files
Format Binary

What is a MOV file?

A MOV file is one of the most common video file types, often storing a movie, TV show, short video clip, or home movie. It is saved in the QuickTime File Format (QTFF), a multimedia container format developed by Apple. Video editors commonly save video as MOV files due to their support for high-quality video.

More Information
Screenshot of a .mov file in Apple QuickTime Player 10.5
MOV file open in Apple QuickTime Player 10.5

Apple introduced the QTFF format in 1991 to support different media types and accommodate multimedia transfer between devices, operating systems, and applications. While it is primarily associated with the QuickTime media player and Mac platform, it has grown into one of the most common video file types, along with .MP4, .WMV, and .AVI.

The format supports multiple media tracks and is not limited to video and audio data. Other media supported by QTFF includes text (subtitles), images, 3D models, virtual reality panoramas, and timecode data. Media tracks may be encoded by various codecs but typically utilize the MPEG-4 codec.

NOTE: Multimedia files saved in the QTFF format may also use the .QT file extension.

Should I save video as a MOV file or MP4 file?

While the MP4 format is based on the QTFF format utilized by MOV files, there are noteworthy differences between MP4 and MOV files. One difference is that MOV files are typically higher in quality and file size than MP4 files. Another difference is that MOV files are not as widely supported as MP4 files.

Because of these differences, there are situations where each file type is better suited for your needs. For example, if you want to save a movie at a higher quality and storage space is not an issue, you should save the movie as a MOV file (as long as the video player supports MOV files). However, if you want to save a home movie, share it with others, and can accept a bit of degradation in quality, you should save it as an MP4 file.

How to open a MOV file

You can play MOV files with various multimedia players, such as Apple QuickTime Player (Mac), Microsoft Windows Media Player (Windows), and VLC media player (multiplatform).

You can also play MOV files in Android and iOS with VLC for Android, VLC for iOS, olimsoft OPlayer (iOS), and J2 Interactive MX Player (Android).

In addition to opening MOV files, various media players can convert MOV files to other formats. For example, VLC media player allows you to convert a MOV video to an .MP4 file or a MOV audio file to the .OGG format.

How to convert a MOV file

Several media players and video editors, including VideoLAN VLC media player and Eltima Elmedia Player, can convert MOV files to other formats.

For example, VLC media player can convert MOV files to the following formats:

  • .MP4 - MPEG-4 Video
  • .WEBM - WebM Video
  • .TS - Video Transport Stream
  • .ASF - Advanced Systems Format
  • .OGG - Ogg Vorbis Audio
  • .MP3 - MP3 Audio
  • .FLAC - Free Lossless Audio Codec
  • .WAV - WAVE Audio
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Programs that open or reference MOV files

Updated March 22, 2022

Verified by FileInfo.com

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