How to Compress a MOV File to Fit in an Email

Techwalla may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
MOV files can be too large for emails.
Image Credit: Eternity in an Instant/The Image Bank/GettyImages

MOV files are created by Apple's QuickTime application. They may contain video, audio, timecode and text tracks and can be run on both Mac and Windows computers. A MOV file can be very large if it contains a long video clip or a very high-resolution clip and may surpass the maximum size allowed for attachments in many email services. The simplest solution for this problem is to compress the MOV file before attaching it to an email message. The recipient of the email can obtain the MOV file by uncompressing the attached file.


Compressing Video MOV Files on Windows

Compressed files are frequently referred to as zip files on Windows. Zip files are smaller versions of larger files than can be transferred more quickly and stored with less space, providing an ideal way to compress video for email. A zip file is like a container and may contain one folder or file or multiple folders and files.

The quickest way to turn a MOV file into a zip file on Windows is by locating the file, pressing and holding the right mouse button on the file and selecting Send to from the popup menu. As the destination, select Compressed (zipped) folder from the menu. A new file with a .zip extension and the same name as the MOV file will be created in the same folder. This zip file can be attached to an email message, as long as it's within the email service's size limit.


Compressing MOV Files on Mac

To compress a file into a zip file on a Mac computer, control-click or tap on the file with two fingers and select Compress from the shortcut menu. Compressing a single file will create a new zip file with the same name and a .zip extension. Compressing several items at the same time will place them all in a new file called

Uncompressing a Zip File

When a compressed zip file is sent as an email attachment, the recipient should save it to their computer and then uncompress it to obtain the original file. The uncompress operation is also referred to as unzipping a file. On Windows, you perform uncompress by right-clicking on the zip file and selecting Extract All from the popup menu. On a Mac, you uncompress a zip file by double-clicking on it.


Exporting a Video File with Lower Resolution

Most email systems have a size limit of 25 megabytes or less for email attachments. This is far smaller than the 400 megabytes of space that Apple says is needed to store one minute of film recorded at the 4K setting in a MOV file. It may be the case that compressing a large video file still doesn't make it small enough to use as an email attachment. An alternative to compressing with the zip utility is to edit a large MOV file with a video-editing app like iMovie and export the video file to a lower resolution that will result in a smaller file that can be attached to an email message.


Video-Sharing Alternatives to Email

There are many alternatives to email for sharing large MOV files. You can transfer them directly from the camera or phone where they were filmed to a Windows or Mac computer using a USB cable. Another alternative is to upload large video files to a cloud storage service like Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive or the iCloud Photo Library. You can then create a link to the video and share the link through email or text messaging. Users of Apple mobile devices can also use the AirDrop feature to share videos and other content with other nearby Apple devices.