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

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Emily Zeng
April 22, 2024 Preview 58.8K Preview 0
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MP4 is a popular file format that can contain video, audio, text and other rich visual elements. MP3 file, on the other hand, contains audio only. And there are instances when you find yourself needing to convert MP4 to MP3:

  • Focus on the audio part of MP4 videos
  • Extract music or sound track for editing purpose
  • Significantly reduce the file size for efficient transfer and ensure audio playback on various devices, such as in your car or on a portable player.

So how to do it? As a Mac user, you can convert MP4 to MP3 on Mac in a way delivering the original audio quality. In this post, I will show you 5 ways to get the job done without any hassle.

 

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

To preserve the original audio 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 also allows 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 for 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 for over 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 multiple videos in a few minutes
  • Download videos/songs from all the popular websites, e.g. convert YouTube MP4 to MP3
  • Rip and convert DVDs to MP4, MP3 or other desired formats for backup

Click the button to free download Cisdem Video Converter, and follow the steps below to convert MP4 files to MP3.

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. Improt 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, or go to "File" > "Add File(s)" from the top menu bar. You can add multiple files for bulk conversion.

upload mp4 files

Step 2. Choose MP3 as the output format

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

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 start converting MP4 to MP3 on Mac. The conversion process usually takes only a few seconds. Click the checkmark checkmark icon icon to quickly 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 converting between video files, you can click the edit edit button button to edit MP4 videos (apply the effect, add watermark, subtitles, etc.) before exporting them to desired formats.

edit files

Method #2 Convert MP4 to MP3 with Mac's Built-in Apps

As a Mac user, you can absolutely make full use of the tools included in your Mac – the combination of QuickTime Player and iTunes (Apple Music for Catalina and above) as well as iMovie.

Using QuickTime + iTunes or Apple Music

This method will encode and compress the file twice, resulting in decreased audio quality and larger file size than direct conversion. In my test, it converted a 3-minute MP4 music video to 3MB MP3 file, 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, and it usually contains audio encoded using AAC or ALAC (Apple Lossless) compression developed by Apple. It's 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". From the "Setting" drop-down menu, you can adjust the audio bit rate. Click "OK" to save the changes.mp4 to mp3 on mac itunes setting
  4. Go back to the library and 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.

Using iMovie

iMovie is the video editing software that comes with your Mac. It can extract audio from an MP4 file and save to MP3. It's a handy option especially when you need to edit audio during your workflow. However, note that it doesn't allow batch processing and quality selection.

  1. Launch iMovie and import the MP4 file into the app. If you can't find iMovie on your Mac, download it from the App Store for free.
  2. Edit the clip if necessary. (Optional)
  3. Click the export button in the upper right corner, and select the "File" option.iMovie export to file
  4. In the File dialog, change the output format to "Audio Only", and select "MP3" from the File Format menu.iMovie convert MP4 to MP3

  5. Click "Next...", and select a folder to save the output file in the pop-up window.
  6. Click "Save" to begin the conversion process.

 

Method #3 Convert MP4 to MP3 on Mac via VLC

VLC is a pinup media player capable of playing almost all madia formats on Mac and Windows. You might not know that it supports the transcoding function as well, but only in a 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 drag the MP4 media directly to the drop area.
  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 number 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. Uploading an MP4 file to the website is quite slow and may fail if the MP4 is too large. It happens to me that the upload fails after waiting for 3 minutes with a 322MB MP4 video.

Below is 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 and conversion times
  • Inundated with ads
  • Not secure enough, might give away your privacy
  • Require a rapid Internet connection, or 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 the Terminal app.
  3. Type the command.
    Convert single MP4 to MP3: ffmpeg –i test.mp4 test.mp3.change single mp4 into mp3 mac ffmpegBulk create MP3 from MP4 files in an entire directory: 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, open-source, free transcoder for digital video. It provides advanced users with numerous parameter settings to alter the video quality, codec, file size, and adjust frame rate accordingly.

But unfortunately, 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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Emily Zeng
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Emily is a girl who loves to review various multimedia software. She enjoys exploring cutting edge technology and writing how-to guides. Hopefully her articles will help you solve your audio, video, DVD and Blu-ray issues.

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