How do I separate the audio from a video file?

There are many reasons why someone may want to extract the audio track from a video file. Some of the most common uses include:

  • Creating MP3s or other audio files of songs, music videos, etc. This allows you to listen to just the audio without the video.
  • Isolating dialogue or speech from videos for transcription, language learning, or accessibility purposes.
  • Pulling out audio clips or sound effects from videos for remixing or sampling.
  • Reducing file size by removing unneeded video when only the audio is required.
  • Converting video files to audio-only formats like MP3, WAV, OGG for portability or playback on low-spec devices.
  • Archiving or backing up just the audio portion from recordings.
  • Editing the audio track separately from the video in audio editing software.

By extracting the audio, you gain more flexibility and options for how to use the audio content compared to keeping it bundled into a video file. This guide will walk through different methods for separating audio tracks from videos on various platforms.


To extract audio from a video file, you first need to have the original video file that contains the audio you want to extract. This original video file can be in any common format like MP4, MOV, AVI, MKV, etc. You’ll need to have this video file saved and accessible on your computer or device in order to extract the audio from it.

Some key prerequisites are:

  • Have the original video file that contains the desired audio track
  • The video file needs to be stored and accessible from your computer or device
  • Make sure the video is not copyright protected or encrypted, as that may prevent extracting the audio
  • Have software installed that can demux and extract audio streams from video containers (covered next)

As long as you have the original video file that includes the audio available, you can move forward with using software tools to extract just the audio portion you want.

Using VLC Media Player

VLC media player is a free, open-source, cross-platform multimedia player that can extract audio from video files [1]. VLC plays most multimedia files and supports many audio and video codecs without the need for additional codecs.

To extract audio from a video using VLC media player:

  1. Open VLC media player and click on “Media” in the top toolbar.
  2. Select “Convert/Save”. This will open the convert dialog box.
  3. Click “Add” and select the video file you want to extract the audio from.
  4. Under “Profile” select “Audio – MP3” as the output format.
  5. Click on the wrench icon to open the encoding settings and adjust bitrate, sample rate and channels as desired.
  6. Click “Start” to begin the audio extraction process.
  7. The extracted MP3 audio file will be saved in the designated output folder.

The advantage of using VLC is that it’s free, easy to use, and works on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android. The audio extraction feature makes it simple to convert video files into audio-only MP3 files.

Using FFmpeg

FFmpeg is a free and open-source command line tool that can extract audio from video files. It provides more options and customization than many GUI tools, but requires using the command line which can be more complex for beginners.

To extract audio from a video using FFmpeg, the basic command is:

ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -vn -acodec copy output.aac

Where input.mp4 is your input video file, and output.aac is the output audio file. The -vn flag tells FFmpeg to not include any video streams, and -acodec copy specifies to just copy the audio stream instead of re-encoding it.

You can also extract to other audio formats like MP3 by changing -acodec copy to -acodec libmp3lame. And for more advanced options, FFmpeg provides filters for trimming, splitting, mixing audio, and more.

Some key advantages of using FFmpeg are:

  • Works on many video formats like MP4, AVI, MKV, MOV, etc.
  • Can convert between many audio codecs
  • Filters allow advanced audio editing and effects
  • Completely free and open source

Overall, FFmpeg provides powerful command line tools for extracting high-quality audio from videos. But it does require learning the syntax and commands.

Using Online Converters

Many free online tools like, etc allow extracting audio from video files without requiring any software installation. These websites work by uploading your video, converting it on their servers, and providing a download link for the extracted audio file.

The advantages of online converters include:

  • Completely free to use
  • Very fast and convenient
  • Wide format support (MP4, AVI, MOV, etc)
  • No need to install any software

The limitations are:

  • File size limits for free usage
  • Lower output quality compared to desktop software
  • Privacy concerns since files are processed on external servers

Overall, online video to audio converters are a quick and easy option for basic audio extraction needs, although power users may prefer the advanced capabilities of desktop applications.

Using Audacity

Audacity is a free, open source digital audio editor and recorder that can extract audio from video files (Source). Here are the steps to extract audio from a video using Audacity:

  1. Download and install Audacity on your computer. It’s available for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.
  2. Open Audacity and go to File > Import > Audio. Select the video file that you want to extract the audio from.
  3. Audacity will import the audio from the video file into a new track. You can then edit the audio as needed within Audacity.
  4. When you are finished editing, go to File > Export Audio to export the audio track out into a separate audio file format such as .wav or .mp3.

The benefit of using Audacity is that it not only extracts the audio, but also allows you to edit, mix, and apply effects to the audio before exporting it. This makes it easy to customize and optimize the extracted audio.

On Mac

On Mac, you can use QuickTime Player to easily export just the audio track from a video file. Here’s how:[](

  1. Open the video file in QuickTime Player.
  2. Go to File > Export.
  3. Under Movie to MPEG-4, select Options.
  4. In the Audio tab, select Audio Only.
  5. Choose the audio quality and output format.
  6. Click OK and choose where to save the audio file.

This will export just the audio track from the video as a separate file without any loss of audio quality. QuickTime Player is installed by default on Mac, making this a very convenient way to separate audio on MacOS.

On Windows

On Windows 10, you can use the built-in Video Editor app to easily extract audio from video files. Open the Video Editor app and import the video you want to extract audio from. Once the video is imported, click on “Export” and select “Audio only” under the “Export as” drop down menu. This will export just the audio track from the video as an audio file such as MP3 [1]. The Video Editor app allows you to quickly and easily extract audio from videos without needing to install any additional software.

Alternatively, you can also use the popular open source audio editing software Audacity to extract audio from video on Windows [2]. Simply install Audacity, open the video file in Audacity, and export just the audio track. Audacity provides more advanced options and effects for processing the extracted audio.

On iPhone/iPad

On iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad, there are a few different apps you can use to easily extract the audio from a video file:

One option is the Extract Audio from Videos app. This app lets you convert and download audio in MP3 format from videos in just one tap. It supports many video formats and allows you to trim the audio clip if needed.

Another good app is Export Audio. You can select a video from your Photos app or Files app, set the start and end time, and export just the audio portion. The interface is very simple and easy to use.

For more advanced editing, iMyFone Filme is a great option. It lets you precisely trim audio clips, adjust volume, convert formats, and more. While not free, it provides robust tools for audio extraction.

So in summary, apps like Video to Audio Converter, Export Audio, and iMyFone Filme make it quick and easy to extract audio tracks from videos right on your iPhone or iPad.


There are several effective options for extracting the audio from a video file, depending on your platform and needs.

On desktop platforms like Windows and Mac, you can use software like VLC Media Player and FFmpeg to convert videos and save just the audio. Audacity is also a great free audio editing tool that can extract audio from videos.

For mobile devices like iPhones and iPads, apps like Documents by Readdle have built-in video-to-audio conversion features. You can also use online converters to extract audio from a video file on any device.

The best method depends on factors like video format, desired audio quality, need for editing capabilities, and platform or device used. With the various software, mobile and online tools covered here, you should be able to effectively separate and extract audio from video files as needed.

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