The MP4 audio file is capable of storing many different media types. In fact, the MP4 is a pretty complex file type. Here’s a guide to help you understand all about it.

What Is an MP4 Audio File?

An MP4 is the mpeg-4 multimedia file which is used to store video, audio and images. It also can be streamed on the web. The most important thing to note is that the MP4 is not to be confused in any way with the MP3 – it’s much different.

An MP4 stores file data for things like audio, video and even text. It then uses different codecs to manage the data within the file. Furthermore, MP4 uses metadata to store information about the containing file.

How to Open an MP4

As a standard, both Windows and Mac open the MP4 naturally. On Windows, if you double click an MP4 file, Windows Media Player should play the file. On a Mac, if you double click the MP4, Quicktime should play it. If you uninstalled these programs or want a standalone MP4 program, using a VLC player works great for MP4.

An MP4 icon on a 3D image.
Both Windows Media Player and Quicktime play MP4.

MP4 files are supported by numerous mobile devices as well. Things like iPads, iPhones and Android devices all open MP4. Also, they support the MP4 naturally and without the need to install any new software or applications.

How Do I Convert Files to MP4?

Depending on the audio file types you’re trying to convert, there’s going to be different programs that work better. If you’re trying to convert a MOV to an MP4, Uploading it to Windows Movie Maker might be all you need. However, the more you differentiate, the more you’ll need to consider third-party software.

There are different types of programs that convert files to MP4, some are browser-based and some are not. The browser-based systems make you upload and download directly from a browser. This takes a long time depending on your connection to the server. The alternative is downloading and installing a program. If you can find a program that fits your needs, it makes sense to download it over using a browser-based system.

A four-colored background of an MP4 icon.
Windows Movie Maker converts MP4.

When to Use an Alternative

If you’re the type of person who wants to do a lot of editing, MP4 isn’t for you. They’re just a very hard file to edit, which is rough for people such as movie-makers or vloggers. A good alternative for editing is the MOV video file. It not only edits without losing resolution quality but it also has a lot of different editing program options.

The MP4 is a versatile file type, capable of holding numerous different media categories. Knowing this, recognize when it’s best to use MP4 or switch to an alternative.

Casey Schmidt – Content Manager and Industry Expert | Canto

Casey is a content management and branding expert who enjoys taking complex subjects and making them easy to understand for readers.