What Is an M4V File?

Screenshot of several M4V files in Windows 10 that open with iTunes

Developed by Apple and nearly identical to the MP4 format, a file with the M4V file extension is an MPEG-4 Video file, or sometimes called an iTunes Video file.

You'll most often find these types of files used for movies, TV shows, and music videos downloaded through the iTunes Store.

Apple may protect M4V files with DRM copyright protection to prevent unauthorized distribution of the video. Those files, then, can only be used on a computer that has been authorized to play it.

Music downloaded through iTunes is available in the M4A format, while copy-protected ones come as M4P files.

How to Open an M4V File

You can only play protected M4V files if the computer is authorized to do so. This is done through iTunes by logging in to the same account that purchased the video. See Apple's instructions on how to authorize your computer in iTunes if you need help with this.

These DRM protected M4V files can also be played directly on the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch that purchased the video.

M4V files that are not protected with such restrictions can be opened in VLC, MPC-HC, Miro, QuickTime, MPlayer, Windows Media Player, and probably many other media players. Google Drive supports the format as well.

Since the M4V and MP4 formats are so alike, you may be able to just change the file extension from .M4V to .MP4 and still open it in a media player.

Changing a file extension like this doesn't actually convert the file to a new format — for that, you'd need a file converter (explained below). However, in this case, renaming the extension from .M4V to .MP4 makes an MP4 opener recognize that the file is something it can open (an MP4 file), and since the two are similar, it will probably work without any problems.

How to Convert an M4V File

You can convert an M4V file to MP4, AVI, and other formats using a free file converter such as Any Video Converter. Another M4V file converter is Freemake Video Converter, which supports converting M4V to formats like MP3, MOV, MKV, and FLV, as well as the ability to convert an M4V directly to a DVD or to an ISO file.

Another M4V converter option, if you'd rather not download one to your computer, is FileZigZag. It's a free online file converter that converts M4Vs to not only other video formats but also audio formats like M4A, AAC, FLAC, and WMA. A similar M4V free file converter that works like FileZigZag is called Zamzar.

As mentioned above, you may be able to simply change the .M4V file extension to .MP4 to change the M4V file to MP4 without going through a conversion process.