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How to convert mp4 to mp3 on mac

how to convert mp4 to mp3 on mac

As a Mac user, I’ve often encountered the need to convert an MP4 video file to an MP3 audio format. As someone with a keen interest in music and podcasts, this simple file transition makes a big difference. In this detailed how-to guide, I’ll share my personal experience and the methods I’ve used to successfully convert MP4 to MP3 on a Mac, ensuring you have an easy-to-follow guide for your audio conversion needs. We’ll cover multiple tools and processes to get your files converted with ease.


Common Scenarios:

Need for Audio Files 🎵

  • When wanting to extract just the audio from a music video or lecture to listen on the go.
  • Creating an audio library without the need for storage-heavy video files.

Multimedia Projects 🎬

  • Utilizing background audio from a video for a presentation or multimedia project.
  • Creating a soundtrack for a project using the audio from an MP4 file.

Compatibility Issues 🔄

  • When faced with devices or software that don’t support MP4 files, but need MP3 format for compatibility.
  • Ensuring that audio files can be played on a wide range of devices and players.

Step-by-Step Guide. How To Convert Mp4 To Mp3 On Mac:

Method 1: iTunes Conversion 🍎

  • Open iTunes (renamed as Music in macOS Catalina and later) on your Mac.
  • Go to Preferences within iTunes/Music and select the General tab, then click on the Import Settings button.
  • Choose MP3 Encoder from the Import Using menu and select your desired audio quality.
  • Add your MP4 file to the iTunes library, then right-click on the file and select Create MP3 Version.
  • The MP3 file will appear in your library, ready to be used.

Note: iTunes/Music only converts non-protected MP4 files. Protected content won’t convert using this method.

Conclusion: Using iTunes for conversion is a convenient and built-in option for macOS users.

Method 2: VLC Media Player 🎶

  • Download and install VLC Media Player from the official website.
  • Open VLC and navigate to File > Convert / Stream.
  • Click Open Media and select your MP4 file.
  • Choose Audio – MP3 in the Choose Profile section.
  • Click Save as File, name your file, select the destination, and initiate the conversion.

Note: VLC is versatile and supports a wide array of media formats for conversion.

Conclusion: VLC is a free and powerful alternative for media conversion needs.

Method 3: Online Converters 💻

  • Visit a reliable online converter such as CloudConvert by accessing the website CloudConvert.
  • Select the option to convert files.
  • Upload your MP4 file and select MP3 as the target format.
  • Adjust settings if necessary and click on the Start Conversion button.
  • Once converted, download your MP3 file.

Note: While online converters are convenient, be cautious of privacy and data security.

Conclusion: Online solutions are quick and easy, requiring no software installation.

Method 4: QuickTime and Audio Recording 🎤

  • Open the QuickTime Player on your Mac.
  • With QuickTime active, navigate to File > New Audio Recording.
  • In QuickTime, also open your MP4 file and prepare to play it.
  • Hit the record button in the audio recording window and play your MP4 file.
  • Stop the recording once your MP4 file has finished playing, then save the recorded audio as an MP3 file.

Note: This method captures the audio in real-time, so it’s time-consuming for lengthy files.

Conclusion: QuickTime’s native tools allow for straightforward audio capture without additional software.

Method 5: Audacity ⚙

  • Download and install Audacity from the Audacity website.
  • Open Audacity, and use File > Import > Audio to import your MP4 file.
  • Select the audio track and use the File > Export > Export as MP3 option.
  • Choose your MP3 settings and metadata, then save your file.

Note: Audacity may require the LAME MP3 encoder to export MP3 files.

Conclusion: Audacity is an excellent choice for those who require additional audio editing capabilities.


Precautions and Tips:

Quality Matters 🔍

  • Always select the highest quality settings for the best audio if your storage allows.
  • Some online converters allow customization of bitrate and other settings; use them to ensure optimal audio quality.
  • Be aware that converting to a lower bitrate MP3 can result in loss of audio fidelity.

Safety First 🔒

  • When using online converters, ensure the site is reputable to avoid malware risks.
  • Be mindful of privacy concerns with online converters—don’t upload sensitive or private content.
  • Keep your antivirus software updated when downloading and installing new applications for conversions.

Additional Resources

Converting MP4 files to MP3 format can come with a learning curve, especially regarding the software or services used to do so. It is certainly helpful to learn more about the available tools and applications. Websites such as Macworld provide a wealth of information for Mac users looking to enhance their multimedia experience.

Understanding the technical aspects of audio files, like bitrate and codec variations, is also beneficial for those wishing to maintain high audio quality. Resources like the Wikipedia MP3 page offer ample information on MP3 technology and its history.

For those interested in audio editing, along with conversion, exploring the capabilities of software like Audacity can lead to an enriched audio creation process. Audacity’s user manual is an excellent guide for beginners and advanced users alike.


Through my personal exploration and use of the above methods, I’ve found that converting MP4 to MP3 on a Mac can be achieved efficiently with the right tools. Whether you prefer a built-in macOS application like iTunes, versatile software like VLC, or handy online services, there are numerous ways to achieve your audio conversion goals. Remember to consider the quality and safety tips outlined here to ensure a successful and secure conversion process.


Yes, you can use QuickTime Player on MacOS to export the audio track of an MP4 file, which then can be saved as an MP3.

Open the MP4 video in QuickTime Player, go to File > Export As, and choose the Audio Only option to export the MP3 file.

You can use VLC Media Player, a free and open-source application, to convert MP4 files to MP3 format on Mac. Visit videolan.org to download the software.

iTunes (now called Music app) allows you to convert your music files to a variety of formats, including MP3, by creating an MP3 version of your files.

Yes, by using the Audacity open-source audio editor or other third-party software, you can batch process and convert multiple files at once.

Absolutely, there are numerous online services like CloudConvert or Zamzar that offer free conversions straight from your browser.

When converting, choose a higher bitrate for the MP3 output (ideally 320 kbps) to maintain high audio quality.

The conversion speed may vary depending on the software used and file size, but generally, it’s a quick process on modern Macs.

It’s typically saved in the default music or downloads folder, or you can choose a specific location before starting the conversion process.

Yes, you can use a basic audio editor like GarageBand on Mac, or download more advanced software, to edit your MP3 files.