There are tons of video converter apps out there for the Mac, many of which are free, and some are paid but priced all too high. We’re cutting through the chafe and giving you three of the best video converter apps that are completely free. Each app also sits at a different complexity and skill levels, so if you’re just looking to perform a quick conversion without tinkering around you’ll be able to do that, while if you do want to fine-tune a video or hardcode in subtitles, you’ll be able to do that too. We’ll even give you an option that doesn’t require any downloads at all, because it’s built right into OS X.
You’ll never be left with a useless video file or unreadable movie format again, so the next time you download a movie in an unusual format or copy one from that old Windows PC and think it can’t be opened or is unwatchable on that iPad, think again and use one of these free apps to get it converted on your Mac.
Miro: The Easy Video Converter
Miro makes video conversion extremely simple, and for those who want ease of use it’s hard to beat. Miro accepts tons of popular video formats including FLV, AVI, MKV, MP4, WMV, XVID, and MOV, and it also supports batch processing of groups of video and movie files, even if they’re different formats. If you are just looking to make a movie compatible with the myriad of other devices out there, it’s a great simple choice.
Using Miro for conversion is drag & drop simple:
- Drag and drop videos into the Miro window
- Select a device to convert it to, then click the Convert button to be on your way
Miro takes the technical names and confusing aspects out of conversion as much as possible, instead referencing the intended viewing devices rather than movie format types and resolutions. You’ll find support for Apple TV, Universal, iPad, iPad 3 (HD), iPhone, iPhone 4 (HD), iPhone 5 (HD wide), iPod nano, iPod touch, Android devices from HTC, Motorola, Samsung, Sanyo, or any other device by video size, Kindle Fire, PSP Playstation Portable, MP4, Ogg Theora, and WebM HD & SD.
Handbrake: The Advanced Conversion Tool
Handbrake is a powerhouse swiss army knife for video conversion and supports just about any conceivable format as input and exports to the most useful formats of MP4 M4V, MKV, and MPG. Originating as a DVD ripper, it has been around for ages and has now evolved into an excellent all-around video converter tool with tons of features and advanced options. All the expected conversion features are there if you want to keep things simple, but advanced options lay right under the hood, where you can add subtitles to video, add new audio tracks, change the video codec type, set and customize frame rate, adjust chapters for DVD or BluRay conversions, apply filters to denies and decomb videos, and so much more.
Handbreak is a very powerful converter app, but at it’s most basic usage:
- Bring any file into Handbrake, or select a video source (file, DVD, Bluray, etc)
- Choose a “Device” as the output format from the left side list of: Universal, iPod, iPhone & iPod touch, iPad, Apple TV, Android, Android Tablet, OR pick “Normal” or “High Profile” for standard video conversions
- Fiddle with the complex settings if desired, otherwise just click “Start” to convert the video
Handbrake is really fast, but ultimately the speed of all of these converter utilities depends on the speed of your Mac, and the length of the video. If it seems like conversion is taking forever, consider quitting out of other apps (you can even use our nifty quit everything utility) to free up processing power and system resources to get the job done quicker.
QuickTime: Convert Video Without Downloading Anything
Did you know QuickTime, the video player bundled in OS X, can also function as an excellent easy to use video converter? We’ve shown you how to use it to turn videos into iPad compatible formats before, but it can do much more than that, and whether you’re trying to get a video ready for any iOS device or PC, it works just fine. Plus it’s already bundled with your Mac, so you don’t have to download anything else or fiddle with much to get it working.
Converting a video with QuickTime Player is as easy as re-saving a file:
- Open the video to convert into QuickTime Player
- Pull down the File menu and choose “Export”
- Choose the desired Format from the drop down menu and click “Export” to convert the video
It’s obviously convenient to have a conversion option sitting on all Macs, but QuickTime Player does have a few downsides. Mostly, it’s that QuickTime has limited codec support, and while you can choose different resolutions (480p, 720p, 1080p) and file formats (different iOS devices, Mac, or generic PC), don’t expect to open a WMV file or any obscure video formats with it. Also, there is no batch processing option like there is with Handbrake and Miro. But if you’re just looking to convert a .mov or .mkv, you’ll do just fine with it.