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How to Trim Video and MP3 on Mac

5 min read

It's like clothes. Media files you download or create on your computer are not always a perfect fit. Therefore, we cut them. What tools do you need to cut videos and songs on Mac? Well, a random online MP3 cutter will do the job. However, many users are reluctant to share their media files online for security reasons. What’s more, free web tools are often buggy and contain annoying ads — which makes the process slow and cumbersome. 

The best alternative is a reliable Mac app that works with versatile formats and doesn’t share or keep your personal files. In this article, we review the best MP3 cutters and ways to trim a video on Mac. 

Why do you need an MP3 cutter and video cutter 

Let me rephrase it: Why would you keep an app on your Mac if you only need to cut MP3 once? Maybe, you don’t. Or maybe, you should explore more ways to use such tools regularly. There might be many use cases in which you’ll need a quick audio trimmer or an app that can edit video. Content is ubiquitous, and there’s always a way to make it meet your needs. Here are only a few scenarios we encourage you to consider: 

1. Create a ringtone for your phone

Everyone gets bored with default ringtones (mostly, with those we hear first thing in the morning). A good audio cutter can help you create high-quality ringtones from your favorite songs. This isn’t going to save you from waking up early (but will make the whole situation more bearable, hopefully). 

If your Mac runs on older macOS and you have iTunes, there’s a native way to create and export ringtones. On macOS Catalina and newer, you can use GarageBand — Apple’s digital audio workstation app. However, this only seems to work with the songs you create yourself or purchase via the iTunes Store. If you want to have more options, use your favorite audio trimmer to cut a song and then move it to your mobile device.

Tip: Want to quickly export a few ringtones to mobile? Get AnyTrans, an app for bulk transferring content from Mac to iPhone and Android. 

2. Save space on Mac

Sometimes, you download a 3-hour live performance from YouTube, even though you only need “that one song.” Cutting video, in this case, will save you megabytes of disk space. We recommend running a content audit once in a while to detect and cut large media files on your Mac. 

3. Record your own music

A Mac can be a great music recording studio for beginners. But since expertise comes through trial and error, you’ll end up with megabytes of redundant audio. A good MP3 trimmer will help cut out the clutter. 

4. Extract specific parts from movies/video clips

How many times did you try to describe a familiar movie scene to a friend? Instead of doing it with words, you could quickly trim a video and send it to your friend. Saves time and helps you avoid vague metaphors. 

Tip: To download a video before cutting it, use trusted apps like Downie or Elmedia Player. Both can also extract audio from MP3 — in case you need to save a song from YouTube. You can read a detailed review of the best media downloaders here. 

download video Elmedia Player

5. Edit content to share it on social media

Content creators and marketers love media cutters — for a good reason. There are hundreds of ways to promote stuff on social media using quick tutorials, video clips, demos, etc. Being able to quickly adjust the length of your media files is vital. 

Best ways to trim MP3 on Mac 

Apple doesn’t offer a dedicated audio trimmer, but it has two native apps that can trim MP3 on Mac — QuickTime Player and GarageBand. In the following section, we explain how to use both of them for the job. If none of these apps cuts it (pardon the pun), we’ll also guide you through the way to trim MP3 online. 

How to use QuickTime Player as an MP3 cutter 

QuickTime Player is a native media player developed by Apple. Whether you want to quickly record your screen or edit a video clip, QuickTime Player has the basic toolkit you’ll need. Even though it’s essentially a video player, the app can open and edit MP3 files, too. Here’s how the music cutter in QuickTime Player works: 

  1. Right-click on your audio file > Open with > QuickTime Player
  2. From the menu bar, select Edit > Trim 
  3. Adjust the length of your MP3 file by moving yellow sliders 
  4. Click on the Play button to listen to the trimmed version before you save it
  5. Once you’re ready, hit Trim to save the changes
  6. Save your MP3 to any location on Mac via the File menu. 

    use QuickTime Player

How to trim MP3 with GarageBand 

GarageBand is Apple’s native digital audio workstation with some basic audio recording capabilities. It enables you to record voices and musical instruments as well as edit and share your audio projects. The app also offers simple piano and guitar lessons taught by artists (that’s one of the main reasons people love GarageBand). 

Back to an audio cutter. GarageBand has the ability to trim audio files — both the ones you record and those you import into the app. Be ready to spend a few minutes to get used to the interface, though. It’s a bit overwhelming for a beginner. 

trim mp3 GarageBand

Here’s how you trim MP3 in GarageBand: 

  1. Select your track and click on the Scissors button in the control bar
  2. Drag the playhead to the spot where the track should be cut and press Command + T
  3. Once the track is split in two, click on the part you want to remove and hit Delete. 

That’s it. You can repeat this process multiple times to achieve the perfect length of your MP3. 

How to trim music with an online MP3 cutter

If you don’t mind taking your audio file to the web, you can use Audio Trimmer. It’s the easiest tool for trimming audio we’ve found. Note that it works with files up to 100MB (which is enough in most cases). For those worried about security, Audio Trimmer claims it deletes your files from servers within two hours after you upload them. Still, if your audio contains any sensitive data, we recommend avoiding online tools. 

Here’s how Audio Trimmer works: 

  1. Go to audiotrimmer.com
  2. Click on the plus button to add your file, then click Upload
  3. Adjust your MP3’s length by moving the green sliders 
  4. Set Output Format to MP3 
  5. Hit Crop > Download. 
    audio cutter

Best ways to trim video on Mac 

Most of the tools that cut videos work similarly to audio cutters — you move the sliders through the timeline, select the part you want to save, and hit Trim to remove the rest. Below, we describe how you can trim video online, with a basic QuickTime toolkit, or using an advanced video editor. Pick what works best for you. 

How to trim a video online 

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to trim video with a free online tool: 

  1. Go to online-video-cutter.com
  2. Click on the upload button to add your video
  3. Move the sliders to adjust the length 
  4. Customize the original size and quality of the video if needed
  5. Once you’re ready, hit Save > Download. 

    trim video online

How to trim video with QuickTime Player

QuickTime Player has a basic video trimming feature. So if you need a one-time solution, it will certainly do the job. Here’s how it works: 

  1. Right-click on your video > Open with > QuickTime Player
  2. From the menu bar, select Edit > Trim 
  3. Adjust the length of your video by moving the sliders 
  4. Once you’re ready, hit Trim to save the changes
  5. Save your video to any location on Mac via the File menu. 

    trim video QuickTime Player

How to trim video with Capto 

Just as audio trimmers, there are great dedicated Mac apps for cutting video. Of all solutions, we recommend Capto. Not only is it a secure way to trim video, it also covers tons of other video editing features. You can use it to quickly record your screen without desktop icons, annotate videos, add voiceover, and more. In other words, it helps you both create and edit video files on Mac. Here’s how to trim a video with Capto: 

  1. Open Capto > Video (your video recordings will automatically appear here), or import video via the menu 
  2. Click on the Edit button > Scissors 
  3. Move the red sliders to trim your video 
  4. Once you’re ready, hit Trim
  5. Save/Export your video via the app menu. 

    trim video Capto

Summing it up, you already own at least two MP3 cutters for Mac — they are natively built into your system. What your Mac truly misses is good solutions for downloading and editing media. If you want to expand your content creation toolkit, Setapp has all you need. It’s a curated membership that gives you access to 200+ apps, including the mentioned Capto, AnyTrans, Folx, Elmedia Player, and many more. Every app inside Setapp is free for 7 days, so give it a try! 

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