MP4 vs MOV: Difference and Comparison

MP4 and MOV are the two most used digital multimedia container formats. These two are normally used to store audio and video files.

They both make the video much lighter in its size by using a lossy video compressing approach to hold the video.

Both are well-known video formats; almost every internet user knows their worth and usage as multimedia containers. Still, when it comes to choosing between them,

it confuses users as they both have very subtle yet substantial differences.

Key Takeaways

  1. MP4 and MOV are popular digital video file formats for storing and sharing multimedia content.
  2. MP4 is widely used due to its compatibility with various devices and platforms, while MOV is mostly used in Apple devices and software.
  3. MP4 has better compression and is suitable for online streaming, while MOV is preferred for high-quality video editing and post-production work.

MP4 vs MOV

MP4 is a compressed video format that uses the advanced codec for efficient video compression; it is more widely used and has better compatibility with modern devices. Apple devices primarily use MOV and are compatible with QuickTime media player.

MP4 vs MOV

On the one hand, MOV is used in Apple’s quick time programs, MPEG-4 Part 14 or MP4, which is based on Apple’s QuickTime MOV’s format is used in various devices, including Apple.

MP4 is encoded with the same codec as that of MOV. Although both work effectively, MOV is proprietary to Apple file format for QuickTime and MP4 is a file format of international standard.

MP4 is a derivative of MOV. Apple released MOV in 1998, whereas the International Organization for Standardisation developed and released MP4’s first format version 1 in 2001 and the second in 2003.

MOV is mostly used in MAC environments. Although both MOV and MP4 files will play on MAC, converting MOV files into MP4 or others to play on other devices is mandatory.

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MOV files show better results on MAC since they are specially designed for QuickTime.

Comparison Table

Parameters Of ComparisonMP4MOV
Compatibility Compatible with a wide range of devices as it has Universal FormatCompatible mostly with Apple devices
Character of filesFiles are compressed and smaller in sizeFiles are higher in quality and larger in size
UsabilityMostly used in OS and media playersMostly used in Apple devices
SuitabilityThey are suitable for making entertaining videos for Youtube or other social media platforms.They are suitable for making high-quality videos in a professional environment.
Disadvantage Not- so friendly with Apple devicesNot-so compressible

What is MP4?

The first version of the MP4 file format was developed in 2001and. Its second version came in 2003. Both versions were developed and released by the International Organization for Standardisation. It has a .mp4 extension.

It uses MPEG-4 presentation, which means the presentation is merged using the MPEG-4 BIF index.

This digital multimedia container format stores audio and video but can also store other data like images and subtitles.

Being a modern container format, it allows streaming over the internet. The best quality MP4 videos are that they are of universal format and can be enjoyed on any device.

It can be played on Windows XP, Linux, Android, iOS, and other newer Windows devices.


What is MOV?

MOV is a tailor-made video format for Macs and Apple devices. It was developed in 1998 by Apple Inc. Like MP4, MOV is an ISO standard format with a .mov extension.

MOV uses a ‘track’ system on its contents, making MOV videos.

Undoubtedly, it is the most reliable file format for Apple devices as it is an Apple QuickTime Movie file. It also uses the MPEG-4 codec for compression. A MOV file can contain audio, video, time code, text tracks, and other media.

To play MOV on other devices, one can convert MOV files to more standard media file formats by using media applications like VLC media player.


Main Differences Between MP4 and MOV

  1. MP4 is compatible with almost every device, operating system, and media player other than iOS devices and MAC. MOV is preferred for Apple devices but is best for a professional environment.
  2. Both the digital multimedia containers are of lossy format, but the quality of MOV videos is somewhere better than that of MP4. Where MP4 compresses the videos to make them smaller, MOV keels the quality high with a larger file size.
  3. MP4 is commonly used for creating videos for entertainment and casual purposes, but MOV prefers professional usage. Although the video quality of MOV is better, MP4 is a better choice for streaming and editing videos.
  4. Although encoded with the same codec, MPEG-4, both are similar; MP4 is more flexible than MOV. MP4 has more tagging options, whereas the proprietary issues for MOV are an obstacle constraining its scope of application. 
  5. If one is working on Mac, MOV is safer and more efficient because MOV is tailor-made for Apple devices and is supposed to deliver high quality, whether used for playback or editing in a professional environment. If one is working on Windows, Ubuntu or Linux, then MP4 will be a wise option because of its wider support from various players.
Difference Between MP4 and MOV
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Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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23 thoughts on “MP4 vs MOV: Difference and Comparison”

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