Here’s How to Recover Corrupted MP4 Video Files [2021 Update]

If your MP4 file is corrupted, don’t panic. In this article, we give a detailed guide on how to recover MP4 files and how to avoid damaging your videos in the future.

Can’t Play a Corrupted MP4 File? Here’s How to Fix It with MP4 Video Recovery Tool

MP4 is currently the most widely used video file format. Almost every smartphone, digital camera, drone, or DSLR records video in MP4 format by default.

But despite its many advantages, MP4 has one minor drawback. In some cases, the file can be damaged. As a result, you will not be able to play or edit the recorded video.

If this is your case and you have an unplayable MP4 video, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will show you how to fix corrupted MP4 files.

4 Easy Steps to Recover MP4 Files

While looking for a reliable solution, we stumbled upon Restore.Media – an online MP4 video recovery tool.

The tool works online, so you don’t need to download or install anything. You can also use it directly from your iPhone or Android smartphone.

As stated on their website, Restore.Media can fix corrupted MP4 files recorded on any camera or app.

The best part is that it has dedicated recovery algorithms that are optimized for many different camera models, which, in theory, should result in a higher recovery success rate.

To start repairing your video, you need to register a free account at Restore.Media and then follow these steps:

Step 1

After logging in, create a new task to repair corrupted MP4 files.

You will need to specify the camera model that was used to record the file.

The information about your recording device helps the tool to use the most suitable recovery algorithm.

If you don’t know anything about the device used to record the video file, don’t worry – you can choose the “Generic MP4 file” option.

In this case, the tool will automatically select a recovery algorithm after a quick scan of the file.

Step 2

You may also need to upload a sample video file.

This is a valid (playable) MP4 video file recorded with the same settings and the same camera as the corrupted file.

The recovery algorithm requires a sample file to extract metadata from it.

The information taken from the sample file will be used to fix the corrupted MP4 video.

If you do not have a sample file, you can record it or contact the Restore.Media engineers and they will find it in their database.

Again, make sure the sample file was recorded with the same camera and with the same settings as the corrupted MP4 file you want to recover. This is essential for best results.

The sample file can be small – 100-200 MB or a few seconds of video should be enough.

Step 3

Once everything is set up, the tool will start recovering your MP4 file. This may take some time, depending on the size of the file.

Step 4

When the file is repaired, you will see a preview and screenshots taken at the beginning, middle, and end of the recovered video.

Please note that the preview is in low resolution and quality, while screenshots are in the original resolution of the recovered video.

Use them to check if the file was restored correctly.

If everything looks good, you can download the recovered MP4 file in original resolution for a small fee.

Otherwise, you can try to repair the file with different settings or use a different sample file.

It is also possible to make a request to recover your MP4 video by one of the Restore.Media engineers.

Causes of Damage to MP4 Video Files

While there are tools that can repair MP4 files, it is still best to avoid any possible damage to your recordings.

In this chapter, we will explain the main problems that can lead to corrupted MP4 files.

Perhaps this will help you avoid similar problems in the future.

The MP4 file format is basically a container that includes video and audio streams encoded with various codecs, metadata, and indexes.

Some codecs are rare, while others like AVC / H.264 and HEVC / H.265 are very common, allowing video files to be played on almost any media player and device.

There are two common scenarios when an MP4 file can get corrupted:

1. First, it may be the result of an interruption in the recording process.

For example:

  • Loss of power due to sudden battery discharge
  • If you accidentally turned off the camera without stopping video recording
  • An incoming call can interrupt the recording process on your smartphone
  • Due to a firmware failure, your camera may be locked while recording video
  • Physical damage to the device (for example, a drone crash or accidentally dropping the camera while recording video)
  • A poor-quality memory card may not be able to handle the output of your camera

Cameras usually save metadata at the end of the MP4 file when you stop the recording process.

But when recording is interrupted, it is very likely that the camera will not save the metadata to the file.

As a result, such an MP4 file contains recorded video and audio streams, but cannot be played due to the lack of metadata.

2. The second most common problem is when a video file has been accidentally deleted.

You can try to recover it with a data recovery tool.

But the problem is that most of the common data recovery tools are not smart enough to find all the deleted pieces of video files and then merge them into a valid file.

MP4 files have a rather complex structure.

This is why general data recovery tools often fail when it comes to recovering video files.

You can get a recovered MP4 file that looks exactly like the original one, but unfortunately, you will not be able to play it.

In both cases, the MP4 video recovery tool like Restore.Media described earlier in this article can help you repair the file so that you can play the video and audio data it contains.

A Few Final Words

Regardless of which camera or device you use to record video, be sure to follow these simple rules to avoid corrupting your MP4 files:

  • Always charge the batteries before shooting important video
  • If you are going to record video for a long time, take extra batteries with you
  • Do not turn off the device until the recording session is complete
  • Use good flash memory cards fast enough to record video from your camera
  • Back up important MP4 video files before editing them
  • Update your camera’s firmware regularly

Finally, if, despite all your precautions, you still have a corrupted MP4 file – don’t panic.

There are good chances to repair it using an MP4 video recovery tool such as described at the beginning of this article.

I Interviewed 44 GoPro Experts...
And they all shared their tips for getting the most out of a GoPro. Want to see what I've got?
I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
We respect your privacy

Cristian Stanciu is a freelance video editor, owner, and post-production coordinator of Veedyou Media – a company offering video editing services to videographers, marketing agencies, video production studios, or brands all over the globe.