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How to compress an MOV file

MOV files are commonly found on macOS. If you record a screencast on macOS, it’s saved as an MOV file. The format isn’t exclusive to macOS and you can record or create MOV videos on Windows 10 too. Regardless, these files tend to be large, especially compared to MP4 files. To reduce the size of an MOV file, you need to compress it.

compress an MOV file

Compress MOV file

You can compress an MOV file by reducing its framerate, reducing the resolution, or by converting it to a different format e.g. MP4.

On macOS, you can reduce the resolution of an MOV file with QuickTime player. You cannot change the framerate or convert it to MP4 with Quicktime. For that, you need a different app.

You can also use iMovie but the process is exceptionally tedious.

1. Compress MOV file with Handbrake

Handbrake is a popular and powerful video conversion tool. It is available for Mac and Windows and is a good solution regardless which platform you use.

  1. Download and install Handbrake.
  2. Open Handbrake.
  3. Click Open source at the top left.
  4. Select the MOV file that you want to compress.
  5. In the Save as field, click Browse and select where you want to save the output file.
  6. Go to the Video tab.
  7. Select the framerate.
  8. Select the resolution.
  9. Select a video encoder.
  10. Click Start.
  11. When conversion is complete, you will have an MP4 file.

Note: Handbrake cannot output an MOV file.

2.Use a web app

There are plenty of online tools for compressing files and they can retain the MOV format. You don’t necessarily have to convert an MOV file to MP4 to compress it.

  1. Visit Clideo.
  2. Select the Compress tool.
  3. Click Choose file.
  4. Select the MOV file you want to compress and allow it to upload.
  5. Once uploaded, wait for the app to compress the file (this can take some time).
  6. Once complete, click the Download button and save the file.

Note: Clideo is a paid online tool. The compressed file will have a watermark on it and you have to pay to remove it. It operates on a subscription model so unless you plan on using it everyday, it’s not worth the money.


Good compression tools with a simple GUI are hard to find. It’s best to buy an app for the job if you think Handbrake isn’t right for you. There is also FFMPEG but it is a command-line tool. There are no good GUI apps for that are actively maintained. If you’re comfortable using the command-line, you can use FFMPEG on both macOS and Windows 10 to compress an MOV file.

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