How to Edit MP4 Files on a Mac and Other Cool Tips and Tricks

The MPEG-4 Part 14, or MP4, made its debut in 2001. Since then, it’s become one of the most popular multimedia formats around.

It owes part of its popularity to its versatility. This file format can be used for video, images, audio, and even text. It also offers high-quality video and audio, even with smaller file sizes.

You probably have some MP4 files. Maybe they’re some audio tracks you’d like to edit. Maybe they’re videos you want to splice together or edit to create a movie.

Now you want to know how to edit MP4 files on a Mac. Use these tips and tricks to get started.

How to Edit MP4 Files Depends on Software

The first thing you’ll need to do is select some software to edit MP4 files. If you’re a Mac user, you’re lucky. You have a couple of options built right in on your computer.

Your first choice of software is Apple’s own iMovie. This program comes preinstalled on every new Mac, and it’s completely free to use.

You can also choose Apple’s Final Cut Pro, which is a more powerful piece of software. Unfortunately, it’s not free. You can download it for a free trial.

Both of these programs support editing MP4 files, although you may run into some issues with the format. You may need to convert your MP4 file to another format before you can use it in either of these programs.

Editing MP4 files in iMovie is much simpler than Final Cut Pro. Final Cut Pro offers more powerful post-production tools, but most users will find iMovie is the better choice for simple edits.

Third-Party Software

Apple’s video editing software isn’t the only option you have when it comes to editing MP4 files. Like Final Cut Pro, most of these are paid options.

The first is Filmora from Wondershare. You can download a free trial of this program. It integrates with YouTube and other social media sites for instant uploads. It also provides file conversion, as well as editing tools.

If you’re looking for more power, then you can consider software like Adobe’s Premiere Pro. This is professional-grade software, so it’s quite expensive. If you only want to edit clips or convert files, there’s likely a better option.

Adobe does offer a pared-down “basics” version of the software, as well as a free trial.

Online Editing Tools

Another option you have is to edit MP4 file online. There are several of these services out there, and most of them are free to use. For some, you won’t even need to register an account.

You can upload the file you want to edit, then make the changes using the provided editing tools. When you’re finished, you can download your file.

Most of these tools work across tablets, smartphones, and computers as well. You can edit your file from any device, any time. They also make it easy to share the file.

Some will include a watermark on the file if you use the free version of the editor. You may be able to upgrade to a paid plan or pay a small fee to have it removed from your file.

Tips for Editing MP4 Files

Before you settle on your software, you may want to look at both what you want to do with your file and the options the app offers.

Most apps offer basic editing tools. These might include:

  • Cropping
  • Trimming
  • Cutting
  • Splitting
  • Combining

If you have three or four video segments you want to put together, then you’d likely need combining. If you want to cut up the file or trim part of the video, these tools would also be useful.

You may also be able to make some basic adjustments to audio in the file. You may have options to add a new soundtrack or mute the existing audio in the file.

More Advanced Editing Options

You may look for other options that can help you create more unique content. An example would be an option for looping content. This lets you play the video clip over and over again, making it longer.

You may also be able to change the speed of the video or make layers appear or disappear. If you’re trying to make a funny video, speeding things up or slowing them right down could increase the impact.

Some of the software options you have will include more advanced audio and visual effects. You may be able to add credits, introductions, or transitions, and motion effects.

With professional-grade software, you may also get access to automated tools. These may be capable of reformatting your video or making color adjustments on the file.

These tools may also provide access to stock audio or stock footage, which you can add to your MP4 file.

Look for These Basic Capabilities

Before you choose any software you should make sure that it will allow you to perform a few basic functions.

First, you should be able to save your files. If you can’t save or export the edited file, you don’t want to put much time into editing it. Some programs will charge you or ask you to sign up before you have access to these options.

Next, you should also have the option to convert your file. You may need to convert from one format to MP4 to edit, and then back again for distribution. If you need tips on converting from MOV to MP4, you can follow the guide at

Finally, you’ll want to check out sharing options. If you’re editing a movie for YouTube or Instagram, having sharing options embedded in the program is key.

Better MP4 Videos Are a Click Away

Now that you know about software for how to edit MP4 files on a Mac, you can get started. Each program works a little bit differently and has unique features. Pick the program you want, then discover an editing tutorial designed to walk you through each program.

Looking for more video and tech tips? We have plenty of helpful how-to guides. Discover how to do almost anything with the right technology and advice!