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Quicktime logo
Basic data

developer Apple
Current  version 10.4 (OS X ≥ 10.6),
7.7 (Mac OS X ≤ 10.5),
7.7.9 (Windows)
( February 25, 2014 )
operating system macOS , Windows Vista or Windows 7
programming language C.
category Multimedia - Architecture
License proprietary
German speaking Yes
Quicktime website

QuickTime [ kwɪkˌtaɪm ] is a multimedia - software architecture of the US company Apple . It is available for the macOS operating system and essentially consists of three elements: the framework , the API and the file format . Basic applications based on this architecture are, for example, the QuickTime Player , the QuickTime Broadcaster or the QuickTime Streaming Server from the same company.

QuickTime is usually erroneously reduced to the QuickTime Player . However, it works as the underlying software architecture in numerous applications such as Adobe Premiere , Apple Logic , Optibase Media 100 , iTunes , Final Cut Pro or in the video editing programs of the US manufacturer Avid .

With Mac OS X Lion , the underlying framework, QTKit , was replaced in favor of AV Foundation and completely removed from the operating system as of macOS 10.15.

The development of the version for Windows was stopped in 2016.


The QuickTime architecture makes it possible to carry out a complete production process (capturing & import, synchronization, compositing & effects, compression & export, delivery and playback) from start to finish on a single media platform. In addition, QuickTime has an extensive repertoire of manipulation and interaction options with a variety of different media types ( audio , video , animation , text , graphics , 3D , VR , SMIL , hyperlinks , streams , skins , and much more, and up to version 6.5 also MIDI processing ). This enables QuickTime to run programs or open websites in the background.

QuickTime is also suitable as an environment for processing and playing MPEG-4 files and content, as this ISO standard has been integrated into QuickTime, but also parts of QuickTime (such as the file format ) in MPEG-4 -Standard were adopted. In addition, there are various techniques (SMIL, HTML, Java , JavaScript etc.) with which a QuickTime film can be equipped with ( interactive ) control.

QuickTime is suitable for distributing video and audio files via web pages because it has compression and streaming properties. For streaming there is the QuickTime Streaming Server and the free, open source version Darwin Streaming Server for Windows, Linux and Solaris. Both streaming servers support both QuickTime and MPEG-4 content.

In addition to the QuickTime video format, the QuickTime framework can handle various other media files such as. B. ( AVI , FLC , DV , MPEG , MP3 and much more) and can be expanded with any media types and files (e.g. WMV , WMA , Ogg etc.) thanks to its plug-in system . QuickTime can also be called QuickTime VR - panoramas represent. This is a technology developed by Apple that makes it possible to simulate and link a three-dimensional space.

There is currently no 64-bit version of QuickTime for Windows. The existing 32-bit version can be installed on 64-bit versions of Windows, but cannot be used there by 64-bit applications, since 64-bit programs work consistently with 64-bit and therefore do not have 32- Bit QuickTime DLL can call. Professional 64-bit programs such as B. 3ds Max , Softimage XSI and Maya , currently have to do without QuickTime import and export under 64 bit Windows. Up to v2.1.2 QuickTime ran under Windows 3.11 / NT 3.51. The last version that can run under Windows 98 / Me is 6.5.2, Windows 2000 is supported up to v7.1.6.

With QuickTime X, which Apple presented at WWDC 2009 and published with Mac OS X Snow Leopard on August 28, 2009, the player's interface has been greatly changed and adapted to the operating system. Support for more modern codecs has also been improved. A direct export to YouTube and MobileMe as well as a screen recording function have now been integrated . There is no longer a Pro version, but you can still install the current version of Quicktime 7 Pro.

Container format

The container format of the QuickTime multimedia architecture from Apple usually has the file extension .mov or .qt . Also in use - depending on the functions - are the endings .qtvr , .qti and .qtif . The storage takes place in both sequential and hierarchically organized data units, the so-called atoms . In addition to chronological information and track data, it can therefore also store structural and hierarchical information and relationships. Thanks to a special synchronization layer, it is also suitable for streaming.

In professional film and post-production , due to the properties mentioned above, it is the usual format for exchanging media data (video, audio, subtitles, time codes, chapter marks, etc.).

It also serves as the basis for the ISO -standardized MPEG-4 file format MP4 .


QuickTime 1.0 was released on June 25, 1990, initially for the Macintosh platform only. The new architecture formed the basis for further multimedia applications for Apple. With a size of 156 × 116 pixels, digital videos could be played without additional external hardware . The frame rate at that time was around 10 frames per second. This was considered a significant step forward, especially since many Apple users were still working with monochrome screens at the time.

Using QuickTime, multimedia and cross-platform video content could also be published on the CD-ROM , which was becoming more widespread at the time .

Up to the third version, QuickTime was also developed for IRIX ( SGI ) and Solaris ( Sun Microsystems ), but then discontinued. Since then, members of the open source community have made various attempts (QuickTime 4 Linux, OpenQuicktime, OpenQTJ etc.) to port the QuickTime framework to Linux as well.

In 1998, the International Organization for Standardization decided on the QuickTime format as part of its search for a flexible and open file format as the basis for the MPEG-4 file format .

iTunes up to version 10.4 uses QuickTime under Windows, so that its popularity increased. In macOS , QuickTime is part of the operating system.

Evolution of the QuickTime logo

Supported formats and codecs

Since QuickTime can be expanded almost at will, all file formats are supported. Only the necessary components have to be integrated into this framework. The following are supplied with this as standard:

Video codecs Video file formats Audio codecs Audio file formats Graphic formats
  • animation
  • Apple BMP
  • Apple Pixlet Video
  • Apple ProRes 422
  • Avid DNxHD
  • Avid DNxHR
  • 8-bit uncompressed 4: 2: 2
  • 10-bit uncompressed 4: 2: 2
  • Cinepak
  • Component video
  • DV , DVC
  • DV NTSC and PAL
  • DVCPRO HD 720p60
  • DVCPRO HD 1080i60
  • Graphics
  • H.261
  • H.262 (plug-in)
  • H.263
  • H.264 (= MP4 / AVC; MP4 / Part 10; ITU H.26L)
  • H.265 / HEVC (since macOS 10.13)
  • JPEG 2000
  • Microsoft OLE
  • Microsoft Video 1
  • Motion JPEG A and B
  • MPEG-4 ( Xvid )
  • Photo JPEG
  • Planar RGB
  • Sorenson video
  • Sorenson Video 2
  • Sorenson Video 3
  • TGA
  • TIFF
  • Video
  • WMV (plug-in)
  • AutoDesk FLC
  • ISO MPEG-1
  • ISO MPEG-2 (plug-in)
  • ISO MPEG-4
  • Kaydara FBX (plug-in)
  • Microsoft AVI
  • Microsoft WMV (plug-in)
  • Motion data AMC
  • On2 VP3 (plug-in)
  • Panasonic DVCPro
  • QuickTime Movie (MOV)
  • Shockwave Flash
  • Sony DVCAM
  • Sony VDU
  • Streambox ACT (plug-in)

QuickTime as a professional production platform

QuickTime serves as a system-wide platform for multimedia production under Mac OS X. This becomes particularly clear with the programs AVID Media Composer , Final Cut Pro , DVD Studio Pro and Apple Motion , all of which are based on QuickTime. Multimedia authoring systems and audio / video programs (Mac and Windows) also use QuickTime technology to some extent (such as Adobe Director , Adobe GoLive, Premiere, After Effects) or exclusively (such as Tribeworks iShell, LiveStage Pro).

QuickTime Pro

QuickTime Pro was a paid extension from Apple , which provides the QuickTime player with recording and advanced editing, output and playback functions. In the latest version, QuickTime X, there is only a free version with far fewer options for exportable file formats . The older QuickTime 7 and the Pro upgrade can still be used, but no longer compatible with macOS Catalina (2019, 10.15).

See also


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Transitioning QTKit Code to AV Foundation
  2. Ben Schwan: macOS 10.15: Dashboard gone, Aperture killed, Carbon and QuickTime dead. In: Heise online . 2nd May 2019 . Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  3. Safari browsing history - deleted but still there. In: sueddeutsche.de. February 10, 2017, accessed March 11, 2018 .
  4. Download the QuickTime Components of the Xiph.Org Foundation for the Ogg- Vorbis and Ogg- Theora formats
  5. QuickTime 4 Linux
  6. OpenQuicktime
  7. OpenQTJ
  8. http://www.zdnet.de/41557141/itunes-10-5-bringt-unterstuetzung-fuer-icloud-und-ios-5/
  9. Christoph Naegeli: XviD QuickTime Component ( Memento of the original from March 30, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / n.ethz.ch archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , 2008-0331-0530 (2007), ETH Zurich, pass.