Software & Apps File Types 231 231 people found this article helpful What Is an MP4 File? How to open, edit, & convert MP4 files by Tim Fisher General Manager, VP, Lifewire.com Tim Fisher has 30+ years' professional technology support experience. He writes troubleshooting content and is the General Manager of Lifewire. our editorial process Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Tim Fisher Updated on September 18, 2020 reviewed by Ryan Perian Lifewire Tech Review Board Member Ryan Perian is a certified IT specialist who holds numerous IT certifications and has 12+ years' experience working in the IT industry support and management positions. our review board Article reviewed on Feb 09, 2020 Ryan Perian File Types Design Cryptocurrency MS Office Windows Linux Google Drive Apps File Types Backup & Utilities View More Tweet Share Email What to Know An MP4 file is an MPEG-4 Video file.Play one with your favorite media player or try the free VLC.Convert to other video types like MOV, AVI, etc. with a tool like Freemake Video Converter. This article explains what an MP4 video file is, how to play and edit one, and convert one to other video formats that might work a little better on your device. What is an MP4 File? A file with the MP4 file extension is an abbreviation for an MPEG-4 Video file, which is a compressed file format that can contain not only video but also audio and subtitles. MP4 files are usually seen when you download a video from the internet or use a DVD ripping program to save a DVD to your computer. Files like this that only have audio are sometimes saved with the .M4A extension. Lifewire / Tim Liedtke How to Open an MP4 File The easiest way to play MP4 files is to double-click the MP4 and let your computer decide which default application should open it. Since most people already have Windows Media Player or QuickTime installed, the MP4 should open automatically. However, if no program opens the MP4 file then you probably don't have a program installed that can view and/or edit MP4 files. We recommend installing one of the programs mentioned above, or the free VLC player, which is a fantastic MP4 file player that supports not only this video format but many others, including audio files. MPlayer is another free MP4 player. If you find that your favorite video player doesn't open MP4 files, you may need to install a MPEG-4 codec. A MPEG-4 codec is a small piece of software that allows your computer to recognize MP4 files and have them play properly in whatever player you use. X Codec Pack is a completely free collection of popular codecs that works in Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7. After installation, you'll be able to play MP4, as well as almost all other popular video formats, in your favorite player. Just watch out for the ads on that X Codec Pack site—they can look deceivingly like download links! MP4 files are supported by default on many mobile devices, like Apple's iPad, iPod touch, and iPhone, as well as Android devices. This means you don't need to install an app just to play MP4 videos you receive over text or email or open in web pages. A number of programs also allow editing of MP4 files for free, like VSDC Free Video Editor and Lightworks. More examples of MP4 editors include MAGIX Movie Edit Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro, and Pinnacle Studio. If you find that an application on your PC does try to open the MP4 file but it's the wrong application, or if you'd rather have another installed program open MP4 files, you can change the default program for a specific file extension in Windows. How to Convert an MP4 File One of the easier to use programs for MP4 conversions is Freemake Video Converter. It supports saving MP4 files to formats like MKV, FLV, AVI, 3GP, and others, including converting the MP4 directly to a DVD disc, ISO file, or MP3 (for audio only). Another option is to use Zamzar to convert MP4 to WEBM, MPG, AC3, OGG, FLAC, MOV, and other formats. Unlike an MP4 file converting program, these are websites, which means even though you don't have to install any sort of program to use them, you do have to upload the MP4 to the site and then download the converted file before you can use it. Zamzar also supports MP4 to GIF conversions to convert a video file to an animated image. If the video exists online, a different converter like Imgur's Video to GIF or the ezgif.com website might be a better option. Here's How to Save YouTube Videos to MP4 Using the Free VLC Program Remember that because these converters work online, in your browser, it might take a while for the video to upload since most videos are fairly large in size. Also, after the video is converted, you have to download it again to get it back on your computer, which in itself might not be a quick process either. If none of these options seem to be working for you, there are other free video converter programs and online services that may work out better, some of which also support free MP4 editing, like clipping and cropping.