Ultimate Guide to Compressing MP4 File Size

February 07, 2024Ashley Mae

MP4 videos, especially in high resolutions like 4K, can quickly eat up precious storage space on your device. In that case, you may want to compress MP4 and shrink the file size. Moreover, compressed files are easier to back up, transfer, and share. While the primary reason for compression is reducing file size, there are other benefits.

This article delves into video compression, equipping you with the necessary knowledge and tools to reduce MP4 file size without sacrificing quality.

Compress MP4

Part 1. Different Strategies to Compress MP4

Before diving into specific methods, let's peek under the hood of MP4 compression. MP4 videos are compressed using codecs, like H.264, that essentially throw away redundant information, achieving smaller file sizes while retaining visual fidelity. However, the trade-off is never perfect. The more aggressive the compression, the lower the quality. So, how do we strike a balance between file size and quality?

Key Factors to Consider When Compress MP4

Resolution: Reducing resolution from 4K to 1080p or even 720p can significantly shrink the file size without a noticeable quality drop for most viewing contexts.

Bitrate: Bitrate determines how much data is encoded per second, directly impacting quality and size. Lowering the bitrate reduces file size but can introduce pixelation and artifacts.

Frame Rate: Videos capture frames per second (fps). Reducing fps from 60 to 30 may not be noticeable, but further drops can make motion appear choppy.

Codec: Newer codecs like H.265 offer better compression at the same quality compared to older versions like H.264.

Don't forget to consider the purpose of your video. For easily sharing on social media, a smaller file size might be more important than pristine quality. However, for professional presentations or personal archiving, you might prioritize higher quality over file size. Tailor your compression accordingly.

Common Compression Methods to Reduce MP4 File Size

Lossy Compression: The efficient technique discards some data during the compression process, resulting in smaller file sizes but potentially introducing visible quality loss. The amount of quality loss depends on the compression level chosen. Popular codecs like H.264 and H.265 fall under this category.

Lossless Compression: This meticulous method retains all the original data, leading to larger files but ensuring pixel-perfect quality. Codecs like FFmpeg and LZO are examples. Some video compression tools allow you to optimize the audio track, remove unnecessary metadata, or trim unwanted sections, further reducing the overall size and improving the viewing experience.

Part 2. How to Reduce MP4 File Size on Your Desktop

There are many video compressor tools available to tackle your MP4 compression needs, including desktop software, online compressors, and mobile apps. This part will guide you to compress MP4 file size with five effective methods.

Best Way to Compress MP4 Without Losing Quality

Aiseesoft Video Converter Ultimate is a powerful software that lets you convert, compress, and edit your videos with ease. It has an individual Video Compressor for you to shrink your video file size while preserving the original quality. Its advanced encoding technology ensures minimal quality loss while significantly reducing MP4 file size. This MP4 compressor also allows you to cut unnecessary footage to make your video smaller. Besides MP4 files, it supports many other formats like AVI, MOV, MKV, WMV, FLV, and more.

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  • Compress MP4 videos without sacrificing the source quality.
  • Offer various settings for your MP4 compression needs.
  • Adjust the video resolution, bitrate, frame rate, etc., to compress MP4.
  • Save time by compressing multiple MP4 videos at once.
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Step 1.
Download and install this MP4 video compressor on your computer. Open it, click the More Tools tab, and choose Video Compressor.
Choose Video Compressor Mac VCU
Step 2.
In the pop-up Video Compressor window, click the big plus icon to add your MP4 video. Control the compression level and shrink your video to a desired file size. It also allows you to customize the output resolution, bitrate, and format.
Compress MP4 File Size VCU
Step 3.
Click Preview to check the compressed video before saving it to ensure you are happy with the compression result. Don't over-compress. Aim for the smallest size you can tolerate while still maintaining acceptable quality. Hit the Compress button to confirm the compression. Once finished, you can see the compressed file in the opened destination folder.

If you need more settings like video codec, resolution, bitrate, and more to manually compress MP4 files, add your video under the Converter feature and then customize them from Output Format.

Edit Output Profile Settings

As mentioned above, this MP4 compressor goes beyond basic conversion and compression. Analyze each scene and identify sections that don't significantly contribute to the narrative or key message. Clip away the non-essentials for a leaner video.

Cut MP4 to Remove Unnecessary Parts

Reduce MP4 File Size on a Mac Using iMovie

iMovie, the pre-installed video editing app on your Mac, can be a handy tool for compressing MP4 files without needing additional software. Before compressing, find out your MP4's current file size. That helps gauge the potential reduction and decide if compression is necessary.

Step 1.
Open iMovie on your Mac and click Create New > Movie. Click Import Media to add your MP4 video and drag it to the iMovie timeline.
iMovie Import Media
Step 2.
If your video has unnecessary segments, you can trim them out without affecting quality. Click the video clip in the timeline, select the unwanted section, and then click Delete to remove it.
iMovie Cut MP4 Video
Step 3.
Go to the File menu, click Share, and then choose File. Or you can directly click the Share button in the top right corner and select the Export File option.
iMovie Share Export File
Step 4.
In the File window, choose the desired output format. Pick your preferred resolution, quality, and compression way. Lower resolution from 4K to 1080p or even 720p can significantly shrink the file. Select a lower-quality setting like Medium or Low for smaller files. Moreover, you can choose the Faster compression for a balance between size and quality.
Compress MP4 File Size on Mac iMovie
Step 5.
Click the Next button to choose a folder to save the compressed video. Once the export finishes, compare the size of the original and compressed versions to see the reduction achieved. You can try different settings and export variations to find the balance between file size and quality for your needs.

Shrink MP4 Video Size Using HandBrake

HandBrake is a popular open-source video transcoder known for its versatility and control over compression settings. It's a powerful video compressor for shrinking your MP4s while maintaining good quality, especially for larger video files. You can use it to compress MP4 on Windows, macOS, and Linux devices.

Step 1.
Get the latest HandBrake version from the official website and install it on your computer. Open it, click Open Source, and browse to your MP4 video. Besides MP4, it also supports MKV, AVI, WebM, and many other formats.
HandBrake Open Source
Step 2.
Select a preconfigured setting based on your needs. Choose H.264 (x264) for most compatibility or H.265 (x265) for better compression at larger file sizes. Adjust RF to control quality and size (lower numbers mean smaller size but lower quality). Start with RF 22 and adjust based on results. Customize the bitrate, resolution, frame rate, codecs, and more to control the compression.
HandBrake Reduce MP4 File Size
Step 3.
Preview the compressed video and adjust settings if needed. Browse for a destination folder and filename for your compressed video. Click Start to begin the MP4 compression process.
HandBrake Compress MP4 Start Encode

Reduce MP4 File Size Online with VEED

VEED's MP4 Compressor is a great online tool for shrinking your MP4 files quickly and easily without needing to download any software. It can preserve full quality with lossless options or trade size for quality with lossy options. Besides MP4, it lets you compress videos in MOV, MKV, AVI, WMV, FLV, and more. This online MP4 compressor offers various pre-defined settings for you to quickly reduce the file size of your video.

Step 1.
Go to VEED.IO's MP4 Compressor and click the Compress your video button to upload the MP4 file you want to compress.
VEED MP4 Compressor Online
Step 2.
Customize your compression settings. Choose a pre-defined option like Low, Medium, or High from Quality. Select your desired resolution to compress your MP4 video. Click Advanced to get more options to make the MP4 compression. You can adjust factors like compression mode, CRF, Framerate Limit, and Resolution.
Compress MP4 Online Free VEED.io
Step 3.
Click Compress Video to start the process. Click Download file to save the compressed version to your device. Preview for quality control. Ensure you are happy with the compressed video before downloading. As you can see, VEED also provides you with additional editing tools, you can use them to trim or rotate your video, adjust audio settings, and more.
Download Compressed Video VEED

Make MP4 Files Smaller Online Using Streamable

Streamable is a cloud-based online video editing platform that lets you create, edit, and share videos directly from your web browser. For online video compression, it offers a specially designed MP4 compressor. You can choose between preserving original quality (lossless) or reducing file size for faster sharing (lossy). It lets you shrink your MP4s without requiring downloads or installations.

Step 1.
Navigate to Streamable's online compressor page and click the Upload video button. In the popup window, browse and add the MP4 video you want to reduce its file size.
Streamable Video Compressor Online
Step 2.
This free online MP4 compressor will automatically optimize your video for sharing and streaming. You can preview the compression result and do further editing.
Compress MP4 Video Online Streamable
Step 3.
If you are happy with the compressed video, click More and choose Download Links from its dropdown. Then, you can select the HD or SD option to save it.
Download Compressed Video Streamable

Part 3. FAQs of How to Compress MP4

What is the most efficient way to compress an MP4 video file?

The most efficient way to compress an MP4 video depends on several factors, including compression quality, output file size, compressing speed, advanced settings, ease of use, and more. Some MP4 compressors even offer lossless video compression.
The best way to find the most efficient compression for your MP4 video is to experiment with different settings and see what works best for your needs. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and the best balance between quality and size will depend on your specific priorities and the video itself.

How about the loss of quality for compressing MP4 files?

When compressing an MP4 file, the amount of quality loss depends on the chosen method and settings. The trade-off between quality and size is subjective. It depends on your priorities, target audience, and viewing platform.

What are the occasions for compression MP4 videos?

There are many occasions where compressing MP4 videos can be beneficial. Generally, you may want to compress MP4 for sharing and uploading, saving storage space, device compatibility, and editing and processing.


This post offers five effective solutions to compress your MP4 videos. Weigh the benefits of reduced MP4 file size against the potential downsides of quality loss and time investment to make the best choice for your situation.

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