How to Convert MP4 to MP3 on Mac with High Quality: 5 Ways

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Peter William
August 02, 2023 Preview 57.1K Preview 0
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Lots of video files are stored in MP4 format attributing to:

  • Contain video with rich visual elements: graphics, text, and animation layers...
  • Transmit on a narrower bandwidth, not requiring that high on media bandwidth and Internet connection situation.
  • Being highly compatible with various programs and devices.

But you may sometimes just want to focus all your time on the audio of these MP4 video resources. Then how? Convert MP4 to MP3 on Mac, of course, do this in a way delivering the original audio quality. You will be offered 5 ways to complete the mission.

Method #1 Convert MP4 to MP3 on Mac with the Best Quality

To preserve the original quality of the MP4 resource, you may have to harness the power of a professional tool, let’s say, a Video Converter for Mac.

Cisdem Video Converter is an ideal assistant to convert MP4 to MP3 on Mac, with original audio, and video quality retained. It can also allow users to perform the conversion between different media file formats and handle 4k videos with optimized GPU acceleration.

Vital features of Cisdem MP4 to MP3 converter Mac:

  • Clear interface, only taking seconds to master
  • Convert 1080p/4k/5k/8k videos to any format
  • Turn MP4 into MP3, FLAC, ALAC, OGG, AIFF, WMV, MOV, etc.
  • Also convert MP3 to MP4
  • Support roughly 200+ device optimization profiles
  • Adjust the output MP3 audio quality, codec, sample rate, bitrate, etc.
  • Customize videos with built-in filters and effects
  • Batch convert all videos in no more than 5 minutes
  • Download videos/songs from all the popular websites
  • Rip commercial or homemade DVDs to videos for backing up

Free Download macOS 10.12 or later Free Download Windows 11/10/8/7

How to convert MP4 to MP3 on Mac with Cisdem:

Step 1. Upload MP4 files into the program

Install and run Cisdem Video Converter, it will take you to the convert tab by default.

Add MP4 files into the interface by drag and drop. You can add single or multiple files for bulk conversion.

upload mp4 files

Step 2. Choose MP3 as the output format

Click on the format icon on the right, the output library will pop up. Choose "General Audio" menu > "MP3 Audio". Alternatively, select the format from "Convert all tasks to" on the bottom.

choose mp3 format

There is a gear icon for opening the "Advanced Settings" dialog. You can adjust your MP3 audio parameters there.

setting

Step 3. Start the conversion

Click the conversion icon button to convert MP4 to MP3 on Mac. The conversion process will be very fast. Find the MP3 file in the output folder and play it - the audio file should be as clear as the original.

Free Download macOS 10.12 or later Free Download Windows 11/10/8/7

Tip: Edit MP4 videos

When you convert among video files, you can edit MP4 videos (apply the effect, add watermark, subtitles, etc.) before exporting them in any video format that your device supports.

edit files

Method #2 Convert MP4 to MP3 Mac with QuickTime + iTunes or Apple Music

If you are a Mac user, you can absolutely make full use of Mac’s built-in tools – QuickTime Player and iTunes or Apple Music. When used together, they can change from an MP4 file to MP3.

Yet, you have to encode and compress the file twice, resulting in decreased audio quality and increased file size. In my test, this method converted a 3-minute MP4 music video to 3MB, compared to 2.4MB with Cisdem Video Converter.

Let’s take a look at this MP4 to MP3 trick.

  1. Open MP4 in QuickTime and export it as audio. The conversion will change the .mp4 extension to .m4a.
    Note: M4A means MPEG 4 audio, a file name extension to represent audio files, also the Apple lossless audio coding format developed by Apple Inc, which is obviously supported by iTunes and deemed as the most iTunes-friendly audio format.export m4a from quicktime
  2. Import M4A into iTunes (for macOS Mojave and earlier) or the Music app (for macOS Catalina and later) by drag and drop.
  3. Adjust the importing setting as follows: app "Preferences" > "General" (iTunes) or “Files” (Music) > "Import Settings", and select "MP3 Encoder".mp4 to mp3 on mac itunes setting
  4. Highlight the M4A audio.
  5. Go to "File" > "Convert" > "Create MP3 Version" to convert MP4 to MP3 in iTunes. The MP3 file will be saved on your Mac.create mp3 from mp4 on mac with itunes
  6. Right-click the MP3 file in iTunes and choose "Show in Finder" to locate it.

Method #3 Convert MP4 to MP3 on Mac via VLC

VLC is a pinup media player capable of playing almost all file formats on Mac and Windows. You might not know that it supports the transcoding function as well, but only in very few output formats, like MP3, OGG, WebM, FLAC, etc.

Despite the plain, sleek interface and gun-gray icon, it still owns multifarious customization options and a tweaked toolbar, which enhances the conversion process. The biggest regret is that VLC's Mac version does not support the simultaneous conversion of multiple video files to audio.

Check out how to convert MP4 to MP3 on Mac in VLC.

  1. Click "File" on the top toolbar, from the drop-down box, choose the "Convert/Stream" option.
  2. Click on "Open media" > browse an MP4 file from location > click the "Open" button. Or you can drop MP4 media to the fixed area straight.
  3. Choose "Audio-MP3" as an output profile. Around it is a customize button, you can tweak the audio codec.convert mp4 to mp3 mac vlc
  4. Click the "Save as File" button > Click on the "Brower" button, and finally save your file as xxx.mp3.

Method #4 Convert MP4 to MP3 Free Online

Of course, if you don’t need to turn MP4 into MP3 very often, you can use the online free MP4 to MP3 converter for Mac. We pick 2 user-friendly converters for your choice: Zamzar.com and Online-audio-converter.com.

Zamzar.com

Zamzar is a multi-purpose file conversion site that supports a significant number of formats. Apart from converting media files, it also allows you to convert files between documents, images, e-Books, CAD, and archived files.

The free version, however, is limited to converting MP4 files under 50MB and up to five MP4 files at a time.

size limitbatch download limit

See the steps to convert MP4 file to MP3.

  1. Navigate to the Zamzar website.
  2. Add an MP4 file to the page.
  3. Choose to convert to MP3.
  4. Begin the uploading/conversion process.
  5. Once the MP3 file is available, click the download link.mp4 to mp3 on mac online - zamzar

Online-audio-converter.com

Online Audio Converter supports a range of formats for converting video to audio and audio to audio, providing 100+ input formats and 8 output formats.

As a free online converter, it also has limitations. The upload of an MP4 file to the website is too slow and may fail if the MP4 is larger. It is happening to me that the upload fails after waiting for 3 minutes with a 322MB MP4 video.

Below are how to convert MP4 to MP3 Mac with online-audio-converter.com.

  1. Head toward Online Audio Converter in your web browser.
  2. Drop the native MP4 video or click the “Open Files” button to choose one that you desire to convert.
  3. Select MP3 from audio formats.
  4. Set the quality level from Economy to Best. And if you need, edit track info.
  5. Click on “Convert” to change MP4 file to MP3 online.
  6. Download file.free mp4 to mp3 converter - online audio converter

The defects of 99% online video converters:

  • No batch processing option
  • Lack of editing features
  • Limited upload size
  • Inundated with ads
  • Not secure enough, might give away your privacy
  • Require a rapid Internet connection, otherwise, the conversion will take a long time

Method #5 Convert MP4 to MP3 on Mac through FFmpeg

FFmpeg (full name "Fast Forward MPEG") is a collection of libraries and tools, making it possible to transcode video to audio files. It supports all basic media codecs, such as H.264, H.265, AAC, Apple ProRes, Avid DNxHD, and so on.

  1. Download and install FFmpeg software project to your Mac.
  2. Open Terminal (command prompt).
  3. Type the command.
    Convert single MP4 to MP3: ffmpeg –i test.mp4 test.mp3.change single mp4 into mp3 mac ffmpegBulk create MP3 files from MP4: for i in *.mp4; do ffmpeg -i "$i" "${i%.*}.mp3"; done.bulk convert mp4 files to mp3 ffmpeg Extract MP3 audio without re-encoding: ffmpeg -i test.mp4 -vn -c:a copy -ac 2 test.mp3.copy audio from mp4 to mp3 ffmpeg
  4. Execute your command and wait for the output MP3.

FAQs

Can I manually and directly change the extension from .mp4 to .mp3?

It is not recommended. An MP4 file encapsulates audio and video information, whereas an MP3 file only contains audio information. Changing the file extension won't affect the actual content. Instead, it causes the media player to mistake it for an MP3 file. Doing so has the following consequences:

  • The audio file still maintains the size of the MP4 video
  • The file can’t be opened, as the audio codec in MP4 is not compatible with MP3
  • Video content missing

I used 4 popular audio players on the Mac to play the file after changing the extension, and the result is not ideal.

QuickTime Playing fine, but the duration is wrong
iTunes/Apple Music Can’t import to the app
VLC Still playing as a video
Cisdem Video Player Still playing as a video

Can QuickTime Player directly convert MP4 files to MP3?

QuickTime X, available on Mac OS X Snow Leopard or above, lets you export videos to 4k/1080p/720p/480 video and audio only. But the output audio format will be an M4A file.

QuickTime 7 Pro can merely transcode MP4 to AIFF, AU, and WAVE audio formats.

Obviously, neither the new version nor the old version of QuickTime supports converting MP4 to MP3 on Mac.

Can Handbrake convert audio files?

Handbrake is a cross-platform, GPL-licensed, and free transcoder for digital video. It provides advanced users with numerous parameter settings to alter the video quality, file size, and adjust frame rate accordingly.

But unluckily, Handbrake doesn’t allow audio conversion. This also means you have no chance to extract audio from video, rip DVD audio, or convert MP4 to MP3 on Mac by using Handbrake.

Is MP3 the same as M4A?

Quite often when converting MP4 to an audio format we will think of MP3, but for Mac users, M4A is also an audio format you are familiar with, as when you download songs from iTunes or Apple Music it will be in M4A format.

While M4A and MP3 are both lossy audio formats, they are not the same. M4A is supposed to have a better quality than MP3. But in terms of compatibility, MP3 is more popular. If you only need to convert MP4 to an audio format for playing on Mac, then M4A is also a good choice.

Conclusion

Many users may first turn to the free solutions when running into such an MP4 to MP3 issue on Mac. However, if you are looking for an easy and high-quality conversion, I do recommend the Cisdem MP4 to MP3 Converter for Mac, which saves time and effort without sacrificing the file quality.

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Peter William
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Peter has always had great enthusiasm for writing, programming and web development. He likes writing about software and technology, his works are featured on some tech blogs or forums like Tom's Hardware, CNET, etc.

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