How to Compress Mac Video Files

By Marshal M. Rosenthal

The Macintosh computer can play a number of video file formats, including Microsoft Windows Media Video, QuickTime video and MP4 video. Compressing a Mac video file allows a shorter transmission time if sent over the Internet, or a shorter copy time if moved to an external hard disc drive or flash drive. There are a number of ways to compress a video file on a Mac, none of which will cost you anything. The procedures are straightforward and can be done as easily by a computer novice as someone who has been using a Mac for years. Following are three different options.

Step 1

Right-click on the video file that is to be compressed with the mouse. Select "Compress xxx" (where "xxx" is the name of the video file) from the pop-up menu. Wait as the video file is compressed by the Mac's OS X operating system and deposited as a copy onto the desktop.

Step 2

Download and install a free compression program, such as the Stuffit Expander program (see the link in Resources). Double-click on the program inside of the "Applications" folder to launch it. Drag the video file that is to be compressed into the program's window once it appears on the desktop. Click on the "Compress" button at the top of the program window. Choose a name for the compressed video file in the "Name" column at the top of the window that appears. Select "Desktop" from the "Locations" drop-down menu at the middle of the window. Click the "Save" button at the bottom of the window.

Step 3

Double-click on the "QuickTime Player" program inside of the "Applications" folder that comes with the OS X operating system. Drag the video file that is to be compressed into the QuickTime Player's icon that is in the Dock to the left or at the bottom of the screen. Select "Save for Web" from the "File" drop-down menu. Select "Desktop" from the "Where" drop-down menu in the window that appears. Deselect all checkboxes on the window except for the "Computer" checkbox. Click the "Save" button at the bottom of the window.

Tips & Warnings

  • It is advisable to make a backup copy of a Mac video file before compressing it---just in case a disk error occurs that corrupts the file.