Best 5 Ways to Compress a MOV File | Windows 10, Mac, Online

By Cecilia Hwung | Last Update:
"I've recorded a bunch of videos (including some on 4K), and I kept them all on a big HDD, but I've just realized... I can compress them! Each video is between 7 and 20 G. So do you know a way to compress .mov video files in 4K to save a lot of disk space and keep the best quality?"
- question from Reddit.

Are you struggling to compress a large MOV? We want to make a MOV file (also known as QuickTime video) smaller for various reasons, sometimes for freeing up the disk storage space, sometimes for fast sharing the video with friends via social media or emails, sometimes for a smoother playback experience, etc. In this post, we will show you 5 different ways to shrink a MOV file size. After reading, you may know how to compress a MOV file by 90% of it's original size without ruining the quality.

How to Compress MOV File: The Common Practices

Usually, we can shrink MOV file size by squeezing or removing the video, audio, subtitles, and other metadata information. Among them, downsizing the video and audio data is the most efficient compression method. To go about this, we can make use of professional MOV compression software, and apply them to customize the parameters of the codec, frame rate, and a few other properties. Below are the most commonly used settings for compressing MOV movies.

  1. Change the video codec to H.264, HEVC, AV1, VP9.
  2. Reduce the video frame rate to 30Fps or lower.
  3. Downscale the resolution to HD 1080P or SD 720P.
  4. Reduce the video bitrate to between 450Kbps to 6000Kpbs.
  5. Increase the GOP value to between 15 to 30.
  6. Decrease the audio bitrate to 320Kpbs.
  7. Remove the audio or convert the audio codec to AAC.

How to Compress a MOV File on Mac and Windows 10

It's no secret that the simplest way to compress a .mov file on Mac or Windows is using a reliable video compressor. However, just a search on google will throw in plenty of MOV compressors programs. And all advertise themselves as your best pick to reduce the size of MOV files. To minimize this confusion of yours, we tested dozens of tools and found out the best 3 MOV compressors are VideoProc, QuickTime Player, and iMovie.

Method 1. How to Compress MOV Video on Mac and Windows 10 in VideoProc

VideoProc is for green hands and pro users alike. It's drag-and-drop UI ensures that a beginner can compress a QuickTime video without diving deep into any compression techniques. The options to customize the video bitrate, frame rate, and other video properties are also available here, offering advanced users a precise manner to control the compression efficiency and everything else. Better yet, it supports level-3 GPU acceleration tech, allowing you to reduce the size of several hours of MOV movie in seconds on all recent Windows (10/8/7) and Mac computers while keeping 0.5% of CPU usage only. As an all-in-one solution for your digital life, you can also use VideoProc as a powerful video editor, media converter, screen recorder, and movie downloader.

  • Achieve 90% MOV video size reduction in seconds.
  • One-click to convert or compress MOV to WEBM, MP4, HEVC, and another 420+ formats.
  • Over 7 methods to compress MOV files: reduce the frame rate, bitrate, length, etc.
  • Apply the high-entropy codec (x265) algorithm: no visible quality loss after compression.
  • It can work flawlessly even on a less robust Windows 10/8/7 or Mac computer.

1. Convert MOV to HEVC/H.264.

After installing VideoProc on your computer, launch it up and hit Video. Drag and drop the existing MOV file from the local disc onto this application. Next, come over to the Target Format panel and select MOV H.264, MP4 HEVC or any other high compressed format.

2. Customize the MOV Properties.

Choose Codec option on the top of the window to access 7 (6+1) different options to reduce the MOV file size. By moving the cursor on the quality slider to the left, you're able to reduce the MOV file size by over 90% right off the bat. Alternatively, you can adjust the parameters of the shown up 6 properties to make MOV file smaller without quality loss.

Compress MOV with VideoProc
Compress MOV with VideoProc

3. Edit to Reduce MOV File Size.

In this versatile MOV video compressor program, you can trim, split, cut to shorten a video to reach the purpose of reducing the MOV file size. To find Crop and Cut tools on the main interface of VideoProc; You can press Toolbox to locate the Split and Trim tools.

Trim Length to Compress MOV File with VideoProc
Cut to Compress MOV File Size with VideoProc

4. Compress the MOV File.

Press Done to confirm the adjustments you apply to compress the MOV file. Press Use Quality Engine to reduce the MOV file size without ruining the picture quality.

Method 2. How to Reduce MOV File Size on Mac in QuickTime Player

Mac users? You're in luck as you can use the pre-build QuickTime Player to reduce MOV file size on Mac. Though I have to admit this media player has a very limited range of compression features. With it, you can't enter the exact bitrate value or frame rate value to shrink the MOV file size. From our test, QuickTime Player can work without errors only when being used to decrease MOV (MPEG-2/4 and H.264) files. Another thing worth your notice is compressing a .mov video via QuickTime player somewhat will result in horrible quality loss.

Step 1. Launch up QuickTime Player on your Mac.

Step 2. Press File on the top menu bar to find Import. Click this to feed the MOV file to QuickTime Player.

Step 3. Navigate to the menu bar and choose File again. Choose Export As from the drop-down menu of File.

Step 4. From the 5 options (4K, 1080P, 720P, 480P, and audio only), select the one that is lower than the original resolution.

Reduce MOV File Size with QuickTime
Reduce MOV File Size with QuickTime

Method 3. How Do I Reduce the File Size of a .MOV in iMovie

Mac users can also take advantage of iMovie to compress MOV file size. This easy video editor can reduce the MOV file to half to the original size or even smaller. However, it is not the perfect solution to condense the MOV file for two reasons. In a nod to beginners, iMovie simplified the quality control options a lot, offering you only rough options like Low, Faster, and Medium to downsize the MOV file. Besides, iMovie is a CPU-oriented program that might take around 90% of your CPU resource to compress MOV video to a smaller size.

Step 1. Open up iMovie. Press Project, click on the plus button on the top left of the window, and then you select Movie. Choose No Theme on the pop-up query box. Afterward, select Create.

Step 2. Drag and drop the file that comes with .mov as the extension name to iMovie.

Step 3. Press File on the top menu bar, choose Share and select Export File.

Step 4. Now you've come to the setting panel for your video. There're 4 options to shrink the MOV video file size.

Step 5. According to your demand, you can choose a resolution lower than the original MOV file; pick the desired quality level since the higher quality level equals a larger file size; set Faster as the compressed mode.

Compress MOV with iMovie
Compress MOV Video to Smaller Size with iMovie

Step 6. Choose Next. Enter the name for the output file and define an output file folder. Next, you press Save.

How to Compress MOV File Online

Suppose installing an additional program isn't for you, then using a browser-based application to compress a MOV file online might be a great way to go. They are easy to use and don't ask for installation, and won't take up your valuable disk space. But considering the watermark, pop-up ads, high reliance on the network, strict upload video size limits, and a few other common drawbacks of online tools, so far, we think only Freeconvert and PS2PDF might satisfy your need.

Method 1. How to Compress MOV File Online in Freeconvert

Freeconvert can compress MOV file less than 1GB to 60+ formats in relatively fast speed. Moreover, it allows you to adjust the bitrate, codec, and several other parameters, so you have different ways to compress mov file to smaller size online free.

Step 1. Open Freeconvert on your browser.

Step 2. Hit File and then you chose the MOV file you want to compress for importing to the app.

Step 3. Choose MOV, MP4, or another format as the result video file type.

Step 4. Choose the tool icon to navigate yourself to the Advanced Options page.

Step 5. Select H265 as the Video Codec. Afterward, you can compress the size of the MOV file by selecting:

  • Target a file size (Percentage) and then moving the size slider left.
  • Target a file size (MB) and then entering the desired output MOV file size.
  • Target a video quality/resolution/bitrate and then adjusting the corresponding value.
Compress MOV Video with Freeconvert
Create a New Sequence in Premiere

Step 6. Hit Apply Setting. Press Compress Now to compress MOV video file online.

Method 2. How to Compress MOV File Online in PS2PDF

PS2PDF Video Compressor offers a flexible way for people to compress MOV files online for free. The feature I love most about this online toolkit is it allows you to reduce the MOV file size by percentage. Surely, you can still adjust the resolution and constant rate factor to get a high quality compressed MOV file. Unfortunately, PS2PDF cannot compress large MOV files. From our test, it won't recognize a MOV file with a size larger than 250MB. Another disappointing thing is the support of MOV output is absent. The extension of the video file will change from .mov to .webm or .mp4 after the compression.

Step 1. Visit the official site of the PS2PDF compressor on your browser, press File.

Step 2. Choose Select From Disk, Select From Dropbox (Fast), or Select From Google Drive (Fast) to import the MOV to the online MOV video compressor from local disk, Dropbox, or Google Drive.

Add MOV File to the PS2PDF Online Compressor
Add MOV File to the PS2PDF Online Compressor

Step 3. Choose MP4 or WBEM as the output file container and select H.264 as the video codec.

Step 4. On the setting panel of Output Quality And File Size, you can make some adjustments for a better yield out.

  • Choose By Percentage as File Size, move the cursor on the quality slider to adjust the compression ratio.
  • Choose By Preset Quality, select the favored preset to shrink the MOV. A faster preset usually refers to a smaller outcome video size. You'll also need to assign a proper value for Content Rate Factor. Note: the smaller the content rate factor value, the slower the MOV compression speed.
Compress MOV with PS2PDF
Compress MOV with PS2PDF

Step 5. Press Compress Now to start to reduce the MOV file size online.


What Is a MOV File?

Wonder what is a MOV file or is QuickTime movie the same as MOV? Below information might shed up a light for you.

  1. Apple initially created MOV in 1998 as a container format to use in QuickTime player.
  2. A MOV file or the file with .mov as the extension is QuickTime(QT) file format.
  3. The data inside a MOV file might include video compressed in codecs like HEVC, MPEG-4, and H.264/AVC, audio codec compressed in codecs like AAC and MP3, and countless other media data.

Why Is My MOV File So Big?

MOV is a video container format which has nothing to do with the final file size. The thing that makes your MOV file large is the media data inside the capsule. A MOV can hold video data encoded by the advanced lossy codec like HEVC and H.264, the lossless codecs like Motion JPEG, and the low compression efficient codecs like Apple ProRes and Cinepak. Since the big file size is one of the key features of the latter two codecs, it's no surprise your MOV file is bulky.

About The Author

Cecilia Hwung is the marketing manager of Digiarty Software and the editor-in-chief of VideoProc team. She pursues common progress with her team and expects to share more creative content and useful information to readers. She has strong interest in copywriting and rich experience in video editing tips.

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