MP4 file icon

MP4 File Extension

MPEG-4 Video Format
  • Developer
    Moving Picture Experts Group
  • Category
  • Popularity
    3.8 (49 votes)

What is MP4 file?

Files with the .MP4 extension contain audio and video streams encoded usually in the MPEG-4 format, but they are supported also by many other formats. It is a container – file, and it may also include metadata, subtitles or images, although it is rarely used for this purpose. It enables streaming within a network. Format is defined in the MPEG-4 Part 14 standard, based on the QuickTime format. It was originally standardised in 2001, and the current version was developed two years later. Information about content of different types of streams within the file is stored with a separate data stream.

The MP4 container is used by files with such extensions like:

  • .MP4 – the most universal,
  • .M4A – containing a pure audio stream, defined also by Apple for audio with AAC or ALAC codecs, unencrypted,
  • .M4P – an audio MP4 file encoded in the FairPlay DRM system, for instance – downloaded from z iTunes,
  • .M4V – rarely encountered, usually containing raw video stream.

Additional information

The 3GP format is based on MP4 and is often used in mobile phones. MP4 files usually can be played in phones and MP4 players, although the latter not always provide support for this format, despite its name. MP4 is traditionally used to store videos mixed with sound, in a mediocre quality.

Programs which support MP4 file extension

The list that follows enumerates programs compatible with MP4 files, divided into 4 categories based on operating system on which they are available. Files with MP4 extension, just like any other file formats, can be found on any operating system. The files in question may be transferred to other devices, be it mobile or stationary, yet not all systems may be capable of properly handling such files.

Updated: 12/29/2023

How to open file with MP4 extension?

Being unable to open files with MP4 extension can be have various origins. On the bright side, the most encountered issues pertaining to MPEG-4 Video Format files aren’t complex. In most cases they can be addressed swiftly and effectively without assistance from a specialist. We have prepared a listing of which will help you resolve your problems with MP4 files.

Step 1. Install Windows Media Player software

Install software to open MP4 file Problems with opening and working with MP4 files are most probably having to do with no proper software compatible with MP4 files being present on your machine. This issue can be addressed by downloading and installing Windows Media Player or different compatible program, such as Winamp, iTunes, QuickTime Player. The full list of programs grouped by operating systems can be found above. If you want to download Windows Media Player installer in the most secured manner, we suggest you visit Microsoft Corporation website and download from their official repositories.

Step 2. Verify the you have the latest version of Windows Media Player

Update software that support file extension MP4If the problems with opening MP4 files still occur even after installing Windows Media Player, it is possible that you have an outdated version of the software. Check the developer’s website whether a newer version of Windows Media Player is available. It may also happen that software creators by updating their applications add compatibility with other, newer file formats. The reason that Windows Media Player cannot handle files with MP4 may be that the software is outdated. The most recent version of Windows Media Player is backward compatible and can handle file formats supported by older versions of the software.

Step 3. Assign Windows Media Player to MP4 files

If the issue has not been solved in the previous step, you should associate MP4 files with latest version of Windows Media Player you have installed on your device. The process of associating file formats with default application may differ in details depending on platform, but the basic procedure is very similar.

Associate software with MP4 file on Windows

Selecting the first-choice application in Windows

  • Clicking the MP4 with right mouse button will bring a menu from which you should select the Open with option
  • Click Choose another app and then select More apps option
  • To finalize the process, select Look for another app on this PC entry and using the file explorer select the Windows Media Player installation folder. Confirm by checking Always use this app to open MP4 files box and clicking OK button.
Associate software with MP4 file on Mac

Selecting the first-choice application in Mac OS

  • Right-click the MP4 file and select Information
  • Proceed to the Open with section. If its closed, click the title to access available options
  • Select Windows Media Player and click Change for all...
  • Finally, a This change will be applied to all files with MP4 extension message should pop-up. Click Continue button in order to confirm your choice.

Step 4. Check the MP4 for errors

You closely followed the steps listed in points 1-3, but the problem is still present? You should check whether the file is a proper MP4 file. It is probable that the file is corrupted and thus cannot be accessed.

Check MP4 file for viruses
1. The MP4 may be infected with malware – make sure to scan it with an antivirus tool.

If the file is infected, the malware that resides in the MP4 file hinders attempts to open it. Immediately scan the file using an antivirus tool or scan the whole system to ensure the whole system is safe. If the MP4 file is indeed infected follow the instructions below.

2. Check whether the file is corrupted or damaged

Did you receive the MP4 file in question from a different person? Ask him/her to send it one more time. It is possible that the file has not been properly copied to a data storage and is incomplete and therefore cannot be opened. If the MP4 file has been downloaded from the internet only partially, try to redownload it.

3. Check if the user that you are logged as has administrative privileges.

Some files require elevated access rights to open them. Log in using an administrative account and see If this solves the problem.

4. Make sure that the system has sufficient resources to run Windows Media Player

If the system is under havy load, it may not be able to handle the program that you use to open files with MP4 extension. In this case close the other applications.

5. Check if you have the latest updates to the operating system and drivers

Up-to-date system and drivers not only makes your computer more secure, but also may solve problems with MPEG-4 Video Format file. It is possible that one of the available system or driver updates may solve the problems with MP4 files affecting older versions of given software.

Conversion of a MP4 file

File Conversions from MP4 extension to a different format
File conversions from other format to MP4 file
Do you want to help?

If you have additional information about the MP4 file, we will be grateful if you share it with our users. To do this, use the form here and send us your information on MP4 file.

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