5 Best Ways to Compress an MP4 File [Windows/Mac/Online]

Jenny Hung
Updated on July 05, 2024 Preview 40 Preview 0
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MP4 is the most ubiquitous and familiar video format, knowing how to compress MP4 files is crucial for solving video sharing/uploading issues and optimizing storage space. In this article, you will learn how to compress your MP4 file to a smaller size to fits your specific needs.

Key Takeaways:

1. Understand MP4 Compression

To reduce the size of a MP4 file, you need to re-encode the video by reducing the bitrate or resolution, or encoding with a more compressed codec such as H.265 or AV1 for MP4 container.

2. Choose the right method

Determine your purpose for compressing, whether it's for web streaming, email attachments, or simply to reduce storage space. If you need to reduce the MP4 file size significantly, use a compression software like Cisdem and HandBrake that offer various compression options. You can check out our compression results of an MP4 1080P H.264 movie file to find the best approach that suits your requirements.


Way 1: Compress MP4 Files With a Professional Video Compressor

Compressing an MP4 or any other video file can be tricky sometimes unless you have a degree in video & audio encoding - How much can the MP4 be compressed without sacrificing quality? What image quality will I get? That's why I strongly recommend using a dedicated MP4 compressor to get rid of these problems.

Cisdem Video Compressor is a professional yet easy-to-use software designed for compressing media files while retaining original quality, available for Windows 11/10/8/7. It allows you to compress MP4 files effortlessly by setting a compression percentage and displaying the estimated output size. Also, you can customize video parameters including codec, resolution and FPS (frame per second) to further optimize the compression.

Follow the steps below to compress MP4 files on PC:

Step 1. Download Cisdem Video Compressor and install it.

Free Download Windows 11/10/8/7

Step 2. Launch the software, and drag the MP4 file into the main interface.

Step 3. Set up compression methods. Use one or a combination of the following strategies.

Option 1: Compress MP4 by specifying a file size (percentage)

Move to the Percentage drop-down list on the left button to select a compression percent value from 90% to 20%, smaller value means smaller file size. The app will reduce the video bitrate based on the settings.

compression options of Cisdem Video Compressor

Option 2: Compress MP4 video by adjusting format parameters

Click the gearwheel icongear symbolto open a new window of optional settings. Go to the "Format" section and switch the video codec to H.265 or AV1. Choose a lower resolution and frame rate can also help reduce the size, but may impact the visual integrity. Click "OK" to save the changes.

compression optional settings

  • Tip: Cisdem uses variable bitrate (VBR) encoding method by default to ensure more efficient compression based on the complexity of the video scenes, so the estimated file size may not be accurate. You can switch to constant bitrate (CBR) if needed.

Step 4. Click the Preview button on the main window to see how the MP4 file would look like after compression.

preview mp4 compression effect

Step 5. If satisfied, choose an output location and click the "Start"start compression button button to begin compressing the MP4 file.

Test Results
 Initial Size Compression Method Outut Size Compress Duration
715 MB Target 20% 143 MB 15 minutes
Transcode to HEVC (h.265) 522 MB 24 minutes


  1. 90% MP4 file size reduction with high quality
  2. Accepts any type of MP4 file, including HEVC, 4K and 8K videos
  3. Cover all compression methods
  4. Batch compression
  5. Support converting MP4 to 8 other popular formats
  6. Also compress audio files without quality loss


  1. Not available for Mac yet

Free Download Windows 11/10/8/7

Way 2: Compress MP4 files With HandBrake

HandBrake is a popular video transcoder that lets you compress MP4 files by lowering video resolution, codec, constant quality value, frame rate and more factors. Since it cannot display the output file size before compress, you may need to do some experiment to find the best settings for you.

Steps to compress an MP4 file with HandBrake on Windows or Mac:

1. Download HandBrake from its official website.

2. Launch HandBrake and import an MP4 file.

3. Select compression options.

Option 1: Compress MP4 by selecting a preset.

Click the Preset list and select an output option that might suits your need. For example, assuming your MP4 file is up to 10 minutes long and you intend to compress it for email, choose "Email 25 MB 10 Minutes 288p" option.

HandBrake MP4 compression output preset

Option 2: Compress MP4 by customizing one or multiple parameters.

In the Dimensions tab, select a resolution limit lower than the source file.

HandBrake compression option resolution

Go to the “Video” tab and choose H.265 or AV1 from the Video Encoder list. You can also adjust the Constant Quality slider toward the left to reduce video quality and make the file even smaller. Hover your mouse pointer over it for a detailed explanation.

HandBrake MP4 compression options

If necessary, go to the Audio tab to lower the audio bitrate or remove the audio track. Not much effect on the file size though.

4. Click "Start Encode" or "Start" on the top to begin compressing the MP4 file.

 Test Results
 Initial Size Compression Method Outut Size Compress Duration
715 MB Resize from 1080p to 720p 285 MB 23 minutes
Transcode to H.265 343 MB 90 minutes



  1. Free, open-source and cross-platform
  2. Provide various compression options and output presets


  1. Slow process and high CPU usage
  2. Unable to compress media by setting a desired file size

Way 3: Compress MP4 in PowerPoint

Did you know that you can compress video using PowerPoint? It’s quick and convenient, compressing large MP4 file by reducing the resolution. Although it lacks customizable options, it’s worth a try if you already have the program installed on your PC or Mac.

1. Open Microsoft PowerPoint and create a new presentation.

2. Select Insert > Video > This Device to insert an MP4 video.

3. After the MP4 file has been inserted and appears on the slide, click the “File” tab, select “Info”.

4. Click Compress Media in the Media Size and Performance section, and select a compression method from the menu - 1080p, 720p or 480p.


5. Then a Compress Media window will pop up and begin the compression process. When it complete, you can check the compressed file size.

compress complete in powerpoint

6. To save the compressed MP4 file, go back to the slide, right click on the video and choose “Save Media as”.

save compressed MP4

Test Result
Initial Size Compression Method Output Size Compress Duration
715 MB Choose HD (720p) 373 MB 17 minutes


  1. Convenient
  2. Easy to use


  1. Single compression method
  2. Compromise video quality

Way 4: Compress MP4 File With Online Compressor

Online tools are easy to access but usually have upload size limits or even video length limits. After trying dozens of online MP4 compressors, Veed stands out for fewer restrictions and fast compression.

1. Visit https://www.veed.io/tools/video-compressor site, and click “Compress a video”.

2. Upload your MP4 file to the site, it may take some time.

3. Choose compression settings in the Compress Your Video panel. It’s recommended to set the quality level as Medium or lower.

compress MP4 online

4. Click Compress Video to start compressing the MP4 file online.

5. When complete, it will show you the compressed file size. If satisfied, click "Download file" to save it to your device. Otherwise, click "Adjust compression settings" to compress it again.

MP4 online compression complete

 Test Result
Initial Size Compression Method Output Size Upload + Compress Duration
715 MB Medium quality 207 MB 10 minutes 


  1. Free and web-based, no need to install any software
  2. Support compression options of quality and resolution
  3. Show estimated file size


  1. Up to 1 GB MP4 upload limit for free users
  2. Require fast and stable internet connection

Way 5: Compress MP4 with Native Applications

This method is recommended for people who prefer native programs and don't want to use any third-party tools. Note that these native programs only support compressing MP4 videos that are encoded with specific codecs, such as H.264 and MPEG-4.

#1. Microsoft Photos Legacy (Windows)

Video editing software usually allows you to compress MP4 files with its Export settings, as does Microsoft Photos Legacy, which comes preinstalled on Windows 10 and before. Users running on Windows 11 can get it from Microsoft Store for free.

  1. Open Photos Legacy on your PC, and click “Video Editor” at the top of the main window.
  2. Start a new video project, and then click “+Add” > “From this PC” ;to import an MP4 file to the project library.
  3. Drag the MP4 item from library to the bottom of the editor. You can trim and split the video if needed.
  4. Click the “Finish video” button at the top right corner, then choose a video quality option, such as 540p for the smallest file size.
  5. Click “Export”, enter a file name and select a save location, then start compressing the MP4 file.microsoft video edotor legacy
 Test Result
Initial Size Compression Method Output Size Compress Duration
715 MB Medium (720p) 516 MB 14 minutes 


  1. Free and native software
  2. Offer basic editing tools


  1. Single compression method -cannot transcode the MP4 file

#2. QuickTime Player (Mac)

QuickTime Player is the default video player that comes with all Mac computers, capable of exporting MP4 videos to different quality levels to reduce the MP4 file size.

  1. Start QuickTime Player and choose “File” from the menu bar.
  2. Click “Open File” and play the MP4 file.
  3. Go to “File” > “Export As”, select a lower resolution from the menu.compress MP4 using QuickTime
  4. In the export window, choose a folder to save the compressed file and click “Save” to begin the process.

Tip: If you select the 1080p or higher export resolution, it will let you select an output format in the export window. Choose “Smaller File Size (HEVC)” for higher compression.

QuickTime export smaller file size (HEVC)

 Test Result
Initial Size Compression Method Output Size Compress Duration
715 MB Export as 720p 590 MB 5 minutes 


  1. Mac's built-in app
  2. Fastest compression
  3. Can preserve alternative audio tracks in the MP4 file


  1. Export to MOV format only
  2. Lower compression level

Wrapping up

By employing the 5 methods outlined above, you can effectively compress your MP4 videos regardless of your technical skills.

Which tool to use depends on the specific MP4 file type, compression purpose and playback scenarios. According to my test results, a dedicated MP4 compressor like Cisdem should meet most needs and provide you more control over the output file size and quality.

Jenny Hung
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Jenny is a technology editor who has been blogging since she was a student. Since joining Cisdem, she focuses on writing articles about video software and how-to guides. She loves exploring new tools and techniques.

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