An estimated 8 million people use MT4, while 2 million use MT5. If this were a popularity contest, MT4 would be a clear winner.
But this is a practicality contest, too.
MT5 was initially rolled out as a successor to MT4. MetaQuotes Software, the platform’s maker, announced several years ago that they’d no longer support MT4.
However, it’s still available and looks set to remain so indefinitely.
You’re probably wondering why the overwhelming majority are sticking with the predecessor – especially given that both versions of MetaTrader are free.
1. MT5 Offers More Than Forex And CFDs.
Your access to financial markets is much better with MT5 than with MT4:
- MT4 supports forex assets and contracts for differences (CFDs).
- MT5 supports forex trading, CFDs, stocks, futures, bonds, commodities, and options.
(Related: Best Forex Trading Platforms in Australia).
This is because MT4 was created to simplify forex trading, whereas MT5 was intended as a multi-asset trading platform specifically designed to provide greater market access from a single interface.
If your investing strategy involves investing across multiple markets, you’ll find using a centralised trading platform like MT5 more efficient than splitting your attention between platforms for forex and equities.
2. MT4 Is Less Intimidating.
Fanatical supporters rally behind MT4 due to its relative user-friendliness.
Ironically, MT5’s interface is somewhat cleaner, but it appears more intimidating because of its higher volume of technical indicators, timeframe, graphs and other complex features (which I’ll get to shortly).
As far as the user interface (UI) is concerned, both platforms look almost identical. And yes, by modern web standards, both look horrendously outdated.
Above: This Reddit user nicely captures everyone’s feelings about MT4 and MT5’s interface.
If your trading strategy focuses on trading forex and CFDs, you don’t need to overcomplicate matters with MT5, as MT4 is more than enough to satisfy most beginner and intermediate traders.
3. MT5 Offers More Data.
Lovers of granular technical analysis will appreciate MT5’s near-bottomless inventory of technical indicators, graphical objects, time frames, and even an economic calendar.
If you have the technical skills to perform rich, deep analysis, MT5 has the tools to match.
|Forex, Futures, Stocks, Bonds, Options
|Pending Order Types
|Order Fill Policy
|Fill or Kill
|Fill or Kill, Immediate or Cancel, Return
|Fund transfer between accounts
On the surface, MT5 wins:
- MT4 offers 30 built-in indicators.
- MT5 offers 38 built-in indicators.
Other than the Fibonacci and Elliot tools, there’s not anything overtly missing in MT4.
Each platform gives you over 2,000 downloadable custom indicators from the free Code Base, plus over 700 paid technical indicators. The difference in built-in indicators matters less than most traders think. You can always access more in MT4 – mostly free of charge.
By graphical objects, I’m mainly referring to the available charting tools. Examples include:
- Horizontal and vertical lines.
- Trends and linear regression channel.
- Fibonacci levels.
- Text marks.
While each trading platform allows you to select, move, modify and delete each to create a bespoke viewing experience, the available number is different:
- MT4 has 31 graphical objects.
- MT5 has 44 graphical objects.
(Related: Best CFD Trading Platforms In Australia).
MT5 Offers Twice As Many Timeframes.
A timeframe relates to the period of a price movement. If the timeframe is five minutes, you’ll see a plot of price changes in 5-minute increments.
The timeframe you choose will depend on your trading strategy and when you want to receive signals to open and close transactions.
- MT4 offers nine timeframes: minute (M1, M5, M15, M30), hourly (H1, H4), daily (D1), weekly (W1), and monthly (MN).
- MT5 offers 21 timeframes: (M1, M2, M3, M4, M5, M6, M10, M12, M15, M20, M30), hourly (H1, H2, H3, H4, H6, H8, H12), daily (D1), weekly (W1), and monthly (MN).
Most of the additional timeframes that MT5 offers are classed as low timeframes (below 15 minutes), so they are more frequently used by scalpers.
Who Is A Scalper?
Traders who trade forex and other financial instruments on lower time frames are often referred to as scalpers, and they attempt to earn on very short time frames of price movement.
MT5 Offers Depth Of Market Functionality.
In MT4 4, Depth of Market (DOM) is hardly useful. In MT 5, DOM is a real trading tool.
DOM, also known as the order book, shows how many open buy and sell orders exist at different prices.
It’s used to predict the direction of an asset’s price and indicates the current level of interest across the marketplace.
If I’m teaching you to suck eggs, you’re welcome to skip right ahead, but if not:
- A high level of market depth is indicative of a liquid market (many buyers and sellers).
- A low level suggests the market is less liquid and consequently more volatile.
(Related: Best Share Trading Platforms In Australia).
MT5 Includes An Economic Calendar.
The built-in economic calendar in MT5 helps you keep track of important fiscal events that can potentially affect economies and trigger price movements.
No such economic calendar feature exists in MT4.
Serious medium- to long-term forex traders need to stay abreast of external factors such as:
- Government budget announcements.
- Company earnings reports.
- Scheduled changes in interest rates.
- Inflation reports.
- Conferences, speeches, and events.
Having this information at your fingertips within MT5 removes the need for setting another trading account with a third-party economic calendar and entering your asset information manually.
Your calendar automatically pulls through details of your existing portfolio of assets and any others you wish to keep track of.
4. MT5 Is Faster Than MT4.
MT5 is faster than MT4, which is even more impressive considering that it has so many more variables and permutations of backend data to work with.
If you can respond quickly to a sudden price change, a few minutes could be the difference of thousands of pips.
MT5 is faster due to its programming language, MQL5. I’ll touch on that more in a bit, but in the updated trading platform, the code is much easier to modify and faster to use.
Having too many indicators on a graph increases the resource demand and the time it takes to load, but this is much less of an issue in MT5.
The MQL5 execution speed is similar to С++ applications, meaning MQL5 programs work up to 20 times faster than MQL4 ones.
5. More Order Fill Policy & Order Types.
Certain functionalities are available in MetaTrader 5 that aren’t available in MetaTrader 4, but do they matter to you?
With MT4, you have just one order-fill policy available at your disposal:
- Fill or Kill.
With MT5, you can use the following:
- Fill or Kill, Immediate or Cancel (IoC), Return.
With IoCs and returns, MetaTrader 5 allows traders to execute partial fills (partial trades) if forex market makers are unable to complete the sale in full.
With MetaTrader 4, partial fills aren’t available, meaning the order would be cancelled.
Both trading platforms allow you to submit the following pending order types:
- Buy stop.
- Sell stop.
- Buy limit.
- Sell limit.
But only MetaTrader 5 allows the following pending order types that combine two key price points:
- Buy stop limit can be used when a trader wants to buy an asset, but only if the market moves in a certain direction.
- Sell stop limit can be used when a trader wants to sell an asset, but only if the market moves in a certain direction.
These two offer much greater control over your strategic buying and selling decisions when you’re away from your desk.
(Related: How To Buy Apple [APPL] Stocks).
6. MT5 Offers Hedging & Netting.
Both trading platforms allow hedging, which is the strategy of trading against unfavourable and volatile price movements.
But only MT5 has the provision for netting.
Given that only one position can be opened in any direction, many traders believe it’s restrictive, but there are some great benefits of netting.
One of the main benefits of netting is the ability to consolidate multiple transactions into a single net amount, leading to lower commissions and fees on trades
7. What About Programming Languages?
One of the biggest drawbacks that become apparent when comparing MT4 vs MT5 is the lack of compatibility.
You can’t run programs written for MetaTrader 4 on MetaTrader 5, and vice versa.
That’s frustrating for users planning on upgrading later as their understanding develops, and those who enjoy using both platforms.
Technophobes, look away now. Geek talk incoming.
- MetaTrader 4 uses a programming language called MQL4.
- MetaTrader 5 uses a programming language called MQL5.
These programming languages enable traders to create their own technical indicators and investment strategies.
What’s the main difference?
In MQL4, the number of indicator buffers can’t exceed eight. In MQL5, there are no limits on indicator buffers – except that each one requires the sacrifice of memory for its location in the terminal.
Abuse this privilege at your peril.
What about backtesting?
Backtesting is the application of a predictive investment model to historical data to determine how accurate it is.
Why does this matter?
MT5 uses a multithreaded strategy tester instead of MetaTrader 4’s single-thread strategy tester. This allows MT5 to run multiple backtest strategies simultaneously.
Trading robots and expert advisors.
With the rise of artificial intelligence, the last few years have seen the early adoption of trading robots and expert advisors (EAs).
Despite the advancements made in the programming language of MQL5, both MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 allow for the programming of robots and EAs.
- Robots use algorithmic trading to take action (opening and closing trades) in response to varying market data.
- External advisers (or robo-advisers) provide automated, algorithmic investment advice and prompts with minimal human input.
Where MT5 stands out is the built-in community feature where developers share their EAs and robots.
You can access a separate browser-based version of the community forum for MetaTrader 4, but it’s not as convenient as having this in one central place.
Traders are able to seek advice from each other in the community forums.
Minor Considerations When Comparing MT4 vs MT5.
Here are a few other things worth mentioning that impact the overall user experience of both trading platforms.
You can execute a fund transfer directly between different accounts in MT5, but MT4 doesn’t have that functionality or a deposit or withdrawal function.
In that respect, MT5 can be considered a digital wallet of sorts. Both platforms provide:
- Instant execution, execution by market, and execution on request.
- Alert functionality when an asset’s price reaches a specified value.
- Demo trading, which allows you to practise with a demo account before you start trading with a real account.
- Copy trading, which allows you to copy the trades of successful investors.
(Related: How To Buy Tesla [TSLA] Stocks).
Frequently Asked Questions About MT4 vs MT5.
Here is what beginner traders typically can’t figure out when deciding between MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5.
What is the Supreme Edition plugin integration?
This plugin provided by Admirals equips users of both MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 with over 60 additional features, such as a forex trading simulator, real-time news, sentiment analytics, and a trading terminal to manage all your accounts in one place.
Will forex traders get MetaTrader 6?
There’s no indication that MetaQuotes Software will release a successor to MetaTrader 5, nor is there any credible rumour about MetaTrader 6 being in development.
With that in mind, you can proceed with confidence that MT5 will be around for some time, so there’s no need to worry about being forced to upgrade and learn a new system from scratch.
What is the MT4 and MT5 ban?
In September 2022, the Apple App Store banned MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 due to alleged non-compliance with guidelines.
It’s available on Apple and Android devices and other PC operating systems.
What operating systems can MT4 and MT5 be used on?
You can use desktop versions of the popular trading platforms on Windows, macOS, and Linux. The mobile version of each platform can be found on Android and iOS.
As for Internet browsers, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Microsoft Edge, Opera, and Internet Explorer can all be used.
Can I use my MT4 account in the MT5 trading platform?
You can only use your MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 accounts independently. Unfortunately, MT5 has no backward compatibility, so you need to open separate accounts to use both.
Final Word On MT4 And MT5 Trading Platforms.
MetaTrader 5 is superior – there’s no doubt about that. So why are only one in five investors using MT5?
Usage can be largely attributed to institutional adoption. Over 80% of brokers offer MetaTrader 4, and just 20% offer MT5.
(Some offer both.)
This is most likely due to brokers trying to attract and retain casual investors. After all, beginner traders are more likely to find MT5 overwhelming.
But in comparing MT4 and MT5, I find it most necessary to invoke a quote from Leonardo da Vinci:
With all the extra functionality and resources available in MT5, you can quickly find yourself stuck in analysis paralysis.
That’s not to say MetaTrader 4 is an amateur product.
In fact, many professional investors are accustomed to using MetaTrader 4 and deem any upgrade superfluous to their individual trading needs.
The main difference between MT4 and MT5 is the former’s simplicity. Will you really take full advantage of MT5’s extra features?