What Is an M4V File?

How to open, edit, & convert M4V files

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 them.

M4V files in Windows 10 that open with iTunes

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

How to Play M4V Files

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. Learn 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.

If the file isn't protected with such restrictions, you can play M4Vs on a Windows PC or Linux computer with VLC or Miro. Some other ways Windows plays M4V files is with MPC-HC, MPlayer, QuickTime, Windows Media Player, and probably many other media players.

M4V open in Windows with VLC
VLC Playing an M4V in Windows.

Opening M4V files on a Mac is possible with some of those programs as well as Elmedia Player.

Google Drive supports the M4V format, too, and it works from any computer regardless of the operating system.

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 Zamzar.

As you read 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.

Still Can't Open the File?

If you can't open your file with the M4V openers or converters mentioned on this page, double-check the file extension. You might actually have a file with a different file extension, which could mean that it's in a completely different format.

It's easy to confuse other files for M4V files if their file extensions are similar. M4, for example, is used for Macro Processor Library files, so those files should be opened with a text editor.

M files and MivaScript files that use the MV file extension are similar. Just because they share some of the same file extension letters doesn't mean you can open them with an M4V-compatible program.