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6 best free Mac video converters to handle nearly any file format

6 best free Mac video converters to handle nearly any file format

The vast selection of free 3rd party applications available for Mac OS X always surprises people when they’re new to the platform. Among that abundance of software is a collection of free Mac video converters which can cover nearly any situation you could find yourself in.

So you’re sitting there with a video file you can’t use because it’s stuck in a format not recognizable by the editing program you’re using. Bummer, right? Don’t go looking for an expensive piece of software you may only use a handful of times. Instead, take a look at these 6 Mac video conversion tools which are completely free and surprisingly full-featured.

1. HandBrake

HandbrakeOriginally only a DVD ripping tool, Handbrake evolved into more of a universal video converter with its most recent release. Now it can handle pretty much anything you throw at it and then spit it back out in a new format. It’s well-polished, solid, reliable, and just an overall pleasure to use. Yes, I’m groveling so go and check it out.

Version 0.9.3 compatible with Mac OS X 10.5

2. ffmpegX

ffmpegXThe great thing about ffmpegX is that it’s based on a large collection of Unix tools which give it excellent power and flexibility, plus it’s wrapped in a simple drag and drop interface. The variety of formats it supports is quite extensive and the level of customization it offers is almost too much. That is, if there was such a thing.

Version 0.0.9y compatible with Mac OS X 10.2

3. MPEG Streamclip

MPEG StreamclipDrag your video clip into the window and export to your chosen format — that’s all there is to it with MPEG Streamclip. If you require some extra control over the final product, there are a ton of options for that too. Is it a pretty program? No. Is it functional? Oh yeah.

Version 1.9.2 compatible with Mac OS X 10.2

4. Prism Video Converter

Prism Video ConverterIf you’re a beginner who’s easily confused by all the crazy settings that flood some other Mac video converters, Prism might be a relief for you. No, it doesn’t offer quite as much format support as competing software does, but sometimes simplicity overrules feature set.

Version 1.28 compatible with Mac OS X 10.2

5. iSquint

iSquintSadly, development on iSquint has been discontinued, at least in its current form. The good news is you can still get your hands on this helpful utility and it continues to work great at converting videos for iTunes. Eventually a new version will be released under a new name (it’s in open source development at the moment), but in the meantime you can enjoy all of its current benefits.

Version 1.5.2 compatible with Mac OS X 10.3

6. FLV2iTunes

FLV2iTunesEven though FLV2iTunes is quite a bit different than the other programs in this list, I still feel like it deserves a place here. Its name suggests it only supports .FLV files, but that is not the case. It can take a number of video formats and convert them into an iTunes-friendly codec. Not only that, it can import your video directly into iTunes itself after it’s done converting.

Version 0.9.11 compatible with Mac OS X 10.5 (older version supports 10.4)

41 Comments Have Been Posted (Leave Your Response)

Hey I just wanted to give you a heads up that iSquint is now Video Monkey. It’s available at

Great list. I love isquint. It’s amazing how quick it works and how simple an intuitive the interface is.

The MPEG Streamclip can not play/convert m2p files without the quicktime mpeg2 codec. So technically, not free?

Handbrake is F***ing brillaint. I love it!

Good softwares!

But I already used iFunia, it is also excellent

What is the best way to transfer droid video files ti itunes on a mac

Thanks. I love Handbrake. And I also want to share a converter with you: Tune4mac DVD Converter Pro.

Free? Wish I saw this soon, as I already bought Imtoo Video Converter, which works great but would have preferred free.

Thank you. I am looking to see how it works and if it do.

I tried using Handbrake to convert a file to be compatible with Final Cut Pro, but can’t work out why the video is now playing at a low speed. I can’t get the video to play without distortion..

Prism video converter isn’t free. they offer a trial but after that, to continue using it you have to buy the converter. I currently use Handbrake and i love how easy it is to use and just how great it is!

Thanks for this information.
I was finding it.

Ive got old [35yo] VHS tapes that are family treasures . I want to transfer to a more stable format .I have an apple mac laptop . Im totaly old skool and quite ignorant – Any of you techno’s out there have advise for an oldie on what to use

Try to open the download file FLV2iTunes 0.9.10 but I got this /Users/wolfgangbartos/Desktop/Schermafbeelding 2012-09-19 om 13.31.47.png

So I can only buy from the Mac App Store


I have used most of this softwares but the one that I like and recommend is iSquint

I really like AVS Video Editor Simple interface and it has a ton of options…

MPEG Streamclip
No longer works with Mountain Lion after upgrade,
on my iMac.

Problem with Handbrake – will only transfer to MP4 and mkv files ?
or am I missing something ?

I mainly use HandBrake. It is really very easy to use. But, I truly like rest of your suggestions. Would love to use them. Thanks Ant for recommending these tools.

Nice post. Tested with these tools, not satisfied due to low converted picture quality, sad. What high requirements you can expect from these free item? I am searching professional one and willing to pay some bucks for better use. Later I found the perfect one, Kvisoft video converter for Mac. It’s easy to use, and support large range of input and output video format. Most important, picture quality is superior.

I usually convert my files to AVI for personal use. My weapons of choice are:

* Handbrake + VisualHub (heir of iSquint), or
* Handbrake + FFmpegX, and
* MKVTools to extract subtitles.

These team-ups can convert almost anything, my only complaint is that FFmpegX won’t style subtitles outside of Arial size 1, but anyway, it’s a gift horse.

Thank you, this is a great list.

I prefer Handbrake, it works well. I had to convert an AVI file to an MPEG and all worked out well.

“Now it can handle pretty much anything you throw at it and then spit it back out in a new format.” – very doubt about it as I tried to convert m4v format and Handbrake only shows mp4 option in output.
When tried old good ffmpeg it showed dozens of options, and it should be the one on top of your list here

Great list.

I used AppGeeker Video Converter for a while, converts pretty much of videos to pretty much any type of file. Never had problem with it.

Glad to test those software listed above.

very useful. Thax.

ffmpegx is a horribly thought out program meant for only “advanced” users/programmers. My computer is now full of files I cannot delete, drag to my trash, nor remove from my actual home screen.
And just try to find anything online telling you how to uninstall. Only for the programmer apparently. You will see (for me it is too late because I just trusted the above review instead of researching) nothing but highly technical instructions that would require a tremendous amount of experience/learning to understand/implement and a whole lot of folks complaining that this program just clogged up their systems with a whole lot of crap that they are having the hardest time removing. Not viruses. Just a whole lot of tentacles that are pretty difficult to find ways to remove.
Do NOT download this program unless you are very proficient in binary and are very familiar with the ins and outs of programming. SO LAME.

Monybany Minyang Dau
October 9th, 2013, 10:28 AM

I am having difficulties playing my videos in mc. These file was recorded in pc window 7. what can or should i do?

i tried handbrake because i saw what everyone was saying about it and i can’t even open it……..when i try to open the program it says “HandBrake” can’t be opened because it is from an unidentified developer” anyone have any idea why it says that and how i can fix it? thanks

solrac, you can right clic and then choose to open and confirm.

You are missing WaveInsight Free Video Converter for Mac

Your post is such a refreshing one to read.

It is also excellent.

it is so helpful, but you are missing Total Video Converter Pro!

I like handbrake. But it can’t deal with copy protected files. So TunesKit iTunes DRM Media Converter is also an excellent app to remove DRM protection from iTunes purchased and rental movies.

Handbrake is good, though it takes much time
We`re working on another alternative – WALTR and it`s much faster

You can use Avdshare Video Converter to Convert Cannon MVI on Mac or Windows

Does anyone know of a video converter that not only CLIP MP4 or M4V (that’ not a a typo!) files; but that also allows extractions to be taken from the video during the process? (I have some very lengthy files that I really like to break down into perhaps half hour to an hour separations).

I,m looking for a free converter for Imac so I can dvd’s from photos
and play them on any dvd player. TY

Can it converts mts video files..

You are missing Acethinker Video Converter, It’s a free web-based application to convert videos, compatible with both Mac and Windows.

You may try use Avdshare Video Converter to Convert MPEG-2 to iTunes .

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