How to convert video to audio: A step-by-step guide

how-to-convert-video-to-audio

I’m a music lover. I listen to almost all my favorite songs on my phone through the Apple Music app. But what I can’t find there, I find on YouTube. 

But listening on YouTube leaves a lot to be desired, like the fact that it requires a paid subscription to play in the background and runs annoying ads when I least expect it.

So, naturally, I’ve tried a few different video to audio file converters along the way.

But converting video to audio isn’t just for music fans. As a creator, you can convert a video to audio to get a more portable MP3 file format, extract sound effects, dub over narration in a different language, or repurpose the content into podcast episodes.

Whatever your reason, this tutorial will walk you through how to turn a video into an audio file on any device.

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Can you convert video to audio?

Yes, you can easily convert videos to audio files from a single clip or an entire video. All you need is a dedicated video editing tool or an online video converter. 

Online video-to-audio converters let you upload your video, choose your preferred audio format, and then extract and download your audio file. While online converters are easy to use and process quickly, many have file size limits and don’t guarantee data security.

With a dedicated video editor like Descript, you can convert your video files to audio quickly and securely, with clear, quality audio

Let’s look at the different ways to convert videos to audio files on any device.

How to convert video to audio on desktop

Whether you’re using a Windows or Mac computer, you can extract audio from any video for free using media converters in a few simple steps. 

How to convert video to audio with Descript (Mac and Windows)

Descript is a powerful video and audio editing software that works on Windows and Mac computers. With this app, you can easily convert a video to any format, including MP3 and GIF, in a few quick steps. 

Here’s how.

Step 1: Upload a video.

Open Descript and select New (+) > Video project to upload your video to the editor.

Image of a user uploading a video project to Descript dashboard

Note: Descript doesn’t support MKV, WEBM, WMV, FLV, AVI, OGV, MXF, or MTS video formats.

Drag and drop your video or select Add file to insert the file.

User showing another option for uploading video file to Descript

Step 2: Convert your video to audio.

Select Publish in the top right corner of your screen.

Descript dashboard with Publish button highlighted

Step 3: Export, save, or publish your audio.

Next, select Export > Audio. Then, adjust the audio file settings, like the file format, sample rate, or audio bitrate. Descript can only output audio files in MP3, M4A, and lossless WAV formats.

Selecting the option to export audio in Descript to convert video to an audio file

Step 4: Play back or share your audio.

Click Export to save your audio file to your preferred folder/location.

Descript dashboard with Export button highlighted

From here, you can play the audio or share it on YouTube or podcast hosting platforms.

How to convert video to audio with Audacity (Windows)

Audacity is a free audio recording and editing software that you can use to produce music or podcasts or capture, edit, and analyze a wide range of sounds. The app is only available for desktop computers or laptops running Windows Vista, 7, 8.1, 10, 11, macOS, or Linux.

To get started, download Audacity for Windows, then follow the steps below to convert your video to an audio file. 

Step 1: Upload your video.

Open Audacity and select File > Open, then select your video file to open it. 

Selecting a video file to convert in Audacity

Step 2: Choose an audio output format.

Select File > Export Audio

Exporting audio from a video file in Audacity

In the Export Audio dialog box, choose an audio format from the drop-down menu next to the Format field. Audacity offers several audio formats, including MP3, WAV M4A, FLAC, OGG, AIFF, and more. 

Choosing an audio file format in Audacity

The file type you choose will depend on your needs. For example, MP3 is a lossy compression audio format that results in small file sizes, but there’s a tradeoff between the file's size and the encoded file's quality. MP3 format is ideal for online streaming and storing files on mobile devices. 

You can also select the following Audio options: 

  • Sample rate: The number of samples of audio per second. The default sample rate is 44100 Hz, but you can choose a different one from the drop-down menu.
  • Bit Rate Mode: The amount of video and audio data transferred per second.
  • Encoding: The process of translating audio signals from analog to digital. Audacity offers different encoding options, such as Signed 16-bit PCM, 32-bit float, GSM 6.10, and more. 

Step 3: Convert your video to audio.

Click the Export button to convert the video to audio.

Converting an audio file in Audacity

Step 4: Play back the audio file.

Your audio file will be saved to your chosen location. You can open and play the file or use it in a project or another program.

How to convert video to audio with VLC media player (Windows)

VLC is an open-source video to audio file conversion program that runs on all platforms, including Windows and mobile device operating systems. You can also use VLC to play files, discs, and most codecs, like MPEG-2, MPEG-4, MKV, MP3, and more.  

Here’s how to use VLC to convert video to audio.

Step 1: Install VLC media player.

Download VLC media player for Windows from the VideoLAN website, then select Media > Convert/Save.

Image of VLC media player on Windows

Step 2: Select your video file.

In the File Selection section, click Add to open the video file you want to convert.

Choosing a video file to convert in the VLC media player

Step 3: Convert your video to audio.

Click Convert/Save > Convert.

Starting the conversion process in a VLC media player

Step 4: Save your audio file.

Under Settings, navigate to Profile, then select Browse. Pick a location to save your audio file, then click Start to set off the conversion process.

Saving your audio file in a VLC media player on Windows

Navigate to the destination folder to find and play your audio file, or use it in any of your projects.

How to convert video to audio with QuickTime (Mac)

You can turn video into audio on a Mac using QuickTime Player with a few clicks. 

Here’s how.

Step 1: Upload a video to QuickTime Player.

Open QuickTime Player and select File > Open File.

Opening up QuickTime Player on a Mac 

Locate the video file you want to convert to audio, then click to open it.

Step 2: Convert your video to audio.

Select File > Export As > Audio Only.

Step 3. Save your audio file.

Name your audio file and select a folder to save it.

Saving the audio file from QuickTime

Step 4: Play back your audio file.

Your audio file will save as an M4A file. This is a type of audio file format for song downloads often found in Apple’s iTunes Store. M4A files are encoded with the Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) or lossy Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) Codec. You can play the file in QuickTime Player or Apple Music.

Note: QuickTime Player also lets you extract video and keep the audio file. Select Edit > Remove Video in QuickTime Player, then save the audio file to your preferred folder.

How to convert video to audio on mobile

To extract audio from a video on an Android or iOS (iPhone/iPad) device, you’ll need to download and install a third-party app from Google Play Store or Apple App Store. Most video-to-audio conversion apps are free, though supported by ads.

Let’s look at device-specific steps for converting video to audio on an iOS or Android device.

How to make a video an audio file on iPhone

Follow these steps to convert video to audio on an iPhone.

Step 1. Download a video to audio converter app.

Install MP3 Converter app.

Step 2. Upload your video file.

Import a video file from your camera roll, iCloud, or other location.

Step 3: Convert the video to audio.

Tap Convert.

Image of MP3 Converter tool on mobile screen
Source: MP3 Converter

Choose an audio format, then tap Convert again to start the conversion process. 

Screenshot showing MP3 Converter with Convert button highlighted
Source: MP3 Converter

Step 4: Save your audio file. 

Once the audio file is ready, you can edit it further to your liking, then play it back or save to your device.

Saving an audio file to your phone with MP3 Converter
Source: MP3 Converter

Convert video to audio on Android

Like iOS devices, Android phones and tablets lack native video to audio conversion tools. Instead, you’ll need to download a dedicated app to convert your file.

Step 1: Install a video to audio converter app.

Download a Video to Audio app from Google Play Store.

Step 2: Upload your video file.

Select your video to open it.

Image of X9 Converter app home screen

Step 3: Convert the video to audio.

Click the Convert to MP3 button.

Image of X9 Converter screen with Convert to MP3 button highlighted

Step 4: Save, play, or share the audio file.

Once the conversion process is complete, save the audio file to your device. Depending on the app you use, you can edit the audio file or set it as your ringtone or alarm. 

Image of user saving newly converted audio to phone

The best way to convert your videos to audio files

The simplest way to convert videos to audio files without compromising quality is to use Descript. 

Whether you need audio for Reels, TikTok, or YouTube videos, or you just want to enjoy your favorite tunes, Descript can help you turn videos into audio files quickly.

Descript’s audio extraction feature makes it easy to pull audio from an MP4, MOV, or M4V video file, then edit, download, or publish it in your chosen file format (MP3, WAV, or M4A) to your device. You can also generate a transcript of your audio file to create subtitles for your project.

And with Descript’s Studio Sound — an AI-powered tool that isolates speaker voices from background noise — you can get better-sounding voice tracks from your audio files.

How to convert video to audio FAQs

How can I convert video to MP3 for free?

You can convert a video to an MP3 audio file for free on your desktop or laptop, or mobile device. There are online video to MP3 converter tools, but they often come with file size limits and don’t have strong data protection and security policies. Descript is a better option for free video to audio conversion. You can use it for free and also access its AI features to enhance your projects.  

Can you turn an MP4 into an audio file?

Yes, you can turn an MP4 into an audio file with a dedicated conversion tool like Descript, which delivers high-quality audio output. 

How can I separate audio from a video for free?

You can extract audio from a video or screen recording for free in Descript. Alternatively, you can use media players like QuickTime or VLC media player on a Mac or Windows computer or free online media converters.

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