Converting Video for iPod with iTunes 6 (Mac & PC) | iLounge Article


Converting Video for iPod with iTunes 6 (Mac & PC)

When the video-capable fifth-generation iPod first shipped last year, Apple’s iTunes disappointed many users by lacking built-in tools to convert their existing videos to iPod-ready format. During those months, a handful of third-party solutions were required to encode video content for the iPod. We’ve covered several of them here for the Mac, but they’ve just become largely unnecessary for the casual user.

Why? Well, it’s not often that a small point revision to iTunes brings major new features, but iTunes 6.0.2 is an exception. It now handles video conversion to an iPod-compatible format, giving iPod owners access to the power of a key QuickTime Pro feature without the $29 cost.

As is typical for Apple, the added features are so subtly integrated that they may be difficult for some users to find. iLounge is here to help in this mini-tutorial.

Converting Video Clips with iTunes 6.0.2

iTunes 6.0.2 can make iPod-ready files from most QuickTime-compatible video formats, including MOV, MPEG, and MP4. The files are automatically converted to H.264-format video 320 pixels wide, and this setting cannot be customized within iTunes. To determine whether or not this is a satisfactory format choice for your usage habits, read our video formats tutorial here. Suffice to say that it’s perfectly good for iPod viewing, but on-TV or on-Mac/PC viewing is another story.

If you haven’t already, begin by adding your MOV, MPEG, or MP4 files to your iTunes Library either by using the “File → Add to Library…” menu item or by simply dragging them into your main iTunes Library window.

Then, highlight any videos you would like to convert. Multiple items can be selected at once by holding down “Shift” or “Control” (Mac: “Command”) while clicking on multiple items. Shift will select all files between two clicks, and Control/Command will select discrete individual items.

Then, right-click (Mac: Control-click) on one of the items you’ve selected, and select “Convert Selection for iPod.”

iTunes Right Click to Convert

Instantly, iTunes will begin work on your files. You can monitor its progress in two locations. First, the iTunes header will display the conversion progress through a single file:


iTunes Converting Status in Header

To see how far through your multiple-file selection iTunes has progressed, monitor the list made available under the “Converting Songs…” item that has appeared in your “Source” column:


iTunes Converting Status in Sidebar

When the conversion is complete, you will now have two files identically named, one of which is your original, and one of which is the new iPod-compatible version. How does one determine which file to delete? The new file may be either larger or smaller in size than the original, so don’t use this criteria. However, the “Kind” column for the new file will display “MPEG-4 video file,” and its “Date Added” will be more recent than the original. Remove the older file from your library.

What, technically, differentiates the files we’ve created? The easiest way to tell is to open them with QuickTime and view the video’s specifications:


Quicktime Pre-Conversion Info Window

Quicktime Post-Conversion Info Window

What’s left to do? Simply synchronize your iPod and enjoy your video clips! If you have any problems converting video files, Apple has posted a test file with instructions here. Need help converting files with higher-quality settings? Use our previous tutorial instead. DVD conversion is discussed separately here.

« test

First Looks: Carbon Fiber, Vibes, Kimonos, iKitty, TuneCommand and Much More »

Related Stories



Hi I tried converting some videos of mine to iPod format via iTunes to .m4v format but when I try to play the converted video in iTunes there is no sound only video.

If I convert my videos to iPod .m4v format in QT 7 Pro via its export feature though I get sound and video on my computer.

Did something go wrong. I’m using iTunes 6.0.2 with QT 7.0.3 on a PowerBook G4 with Mac OS X Panther (10.3.9)  and getting no sound in converted file but original file plays the sound.

If I convert my videos to .m4v though like I said in QT and then play them in iTunes they play perfectly.

Posted by iTunesfan in TX on January 17, 2006 at 1:49 PM (CST)


Will this convert .avi to .m4v format?

Posted by stuttsdc in TX on January 17, 2006 at 2:37 PM (CST)



Try updating your QuickTime to version 7.0.4… it may be required for the iTunes conversion feature. Use either Software Update or this webpage.

Posted by Jerrod H. in TX on January 17, 2006 at 4:33 PM (CST)


i have the same spund problem as itunesfan i dont have nay sound after conversion by quicktime pro version 7.0.4 and with itunes however this problem doesnt appear at the beginin but after i converted by about 15 min… i dont know y can anybody help me!!!

and thanks alot

Posted by Dialo in TX on January 17, 2006 at 5:23 PM (CST)


Thanks for nothing!  I’ve downloaded the new version of iTunes 6.0.2 and now iTunes won’t open!  I’ve been spending the past 4 hours trying to figure it out with no luck yet.

Posted by kalboys in TX on January 17, 2006 at 11:17 PM (CST)


What about WMV? iTunes won’t even import it, let alone convert it to an iPod-ready format.

Posted by Munkey in TX on January 18, 2006 at 11:51 AM (CST)


this isn’t that great until they can offer a quick solution to converting DVDs.

Posted by cellphonejunkie in TX on January 18, 2006 at 12:36 PM (CST)


Hi Jerrod, another great article. Just to add that I find the easiest way to differentiate between my original and my converted files is to command-click, “get-info” and check the “Date modified”. The latest one is invariably the conversion.

Posted by alfa1996 in TX on January 18, 2006 at 2:57 PM (CST)


is there a way yet to import dvds into itunes and then use this method to get them on to your ipod????  if so, please tell me, i have a lot of dvds i want on my ipod.

Posted by [email protected] in TX on January 18, 2006 at 5:09 PM (CST)


Why does iTunes Music Store only have limited cd’s for some very popular groups like Dave Matthews or The Beatles?  Where can I find sites that let me legally download music not found in the iTunes Music Store?

Posted by surfdog in TX on January 18, 2006 at 6:51 PM (CST)


I still can’t open open iTunes now after getting the new version.  In addition, I’m only getting answers from iTunes customer support that have nothing to do with the question I email to them.  I know this isn’t exactly the place but I’m desparate ... can anyone help me, please!?!?!?!?

Posted by kalboys in TX on January 18, 2006 at 10:33 PM (CST)


OK, for those of you asking why audio does not play when converting them to .m4v, here’s the answer:

Posted by bubuyog in TX on January 19, 2006 at 1:49 AM (CST)


Any suggestions for solving my problem the exact other way round: the result of the conversion contains only audio, but no video?? The video files I try to convert are already *.mp4 files created with Nero Recode. They only need to be converted because the resolution and bitrate is too high - despite of that, they already match the iPod requirements. When I choose “Convert selection for iPod”, some of the results only contain audio, others are converted correctly (although all of them were encoded with the exact same settings in Nero). I am waiting since the release of the new iTunes version that somebody in the forums out there has the same problem, but it seems as if I am the only one ... If you know any help, please let me know. Thanks a million.

Posted by zivilars in TX on January 19, 2006 at 5:55 PM (CST)


pity that since there is no longer an easy way to convert / extract audio from video, which had been present at this very place before.

Posted by rudolfraith in TX on January 21, 2006 at 6:03 PM (CST)


If you’re using a Mac and want to rip DVDs, look no further than Handbrake <> (an experimental Windows version is available). This application will read a DVD and find the discrete titles and chapters. You can resize and crop and export to H.264 and MPEG4. It’s the easiest way to select titles and chapters to rip.

I tried this new iTunes video feature and noticed that the bit rate for the audio was 384kbps. I had expected it to be 128kbps, which is the bit rate used in a video I bought from the ITMS. More testing required.

Posted by Japester in TX on January 22, 2006 at 9:56 PM (CST)


Apparently there is one solution to the no audio problem due to muxed audio formats.
This program is pretty cheap at $10.

Posted by Piecemakr in TX on January 23, 2006 at 2:03 AM (CST)


Just to let people know, podner is at version 1.3 at the moment. i bought it while ago, and it’s excelent, definitely worth the money.

Posted by axman6 in TX on January 23, 2006 at 6:14 AM (CST)


Is there a fix for the no audio with video problem for pc’s?  Podner seems to be for macs only.

Posted by 7800 in TX on January 23, 2006 at 7:53 PM (CST)


My movies were working fine, and then I had to reset my ipod by holding the Menu/Play buttons, now no video will play at all. What has happened?

Posted by Ipod4fun in TX on January 24, 2006 at 9:42 PM (CST)


The funny thing is, they added software to convert videos, but the new 1.1 firmware for some reason has serious problems playing anything but videos bought off of iTunes.

See below for how to roll back to 1.0 Firmware:

Posted by polaris019 in TX on January 25, 2006 at 7:35 PM (CST)

iLounge Weekly

Recent News

Recent Reviews

Recent Articles

Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter

iLounge is an independent resource for all things iPod, iPhone, iPad, and beyond.
iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, Apple TV, Mac, and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc.
iLounge is © 2001 - 2019 iLounge, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy