Windows reportedly got the native support of MKV file format through the new built-in codec in the video app 3 years ago. While Mac seems to have no update plan for the open-source container format. This makes it hard to play MKV on Mac with its QuickTime player or iTunes, unless you download a MKV codec pack to ensure proper playback, especially when Quicktime component Perian has been discontinued for 6 years, failed to work with OS X Lion or later versions.
Calm down. Free MKV video player for Mac is your way out. Before reviewing the apps for playing MKV files on Mac, there is a word or two about the best MKV player for Mac, which shall:
- Support an extensive list of video/audio formats without any codecs installed.
- Cope with 4K/HD videos without bugs, time lags or slowdowns.
- Adjust parameter settings in a flash, such as manage subtitles, choose the track, etc.
- Come with intuitive Mac-style interface to play MKV at your fingertips.
- Be free of pops up, ads, malware or spyware.
Top 5 Free MKV Players for Mac 2021
Since most posts focus the features while underestimate the user feedback and media sites review while compiling the best MKV media player for Mac list, here we do a new compilation and include the 2021 best free MKV player for Mac software, with their pros, cons, ratings and reviews all listed below.
User Rate: ★★★★★ | License: Free
When it comes to free MKV player for Mac in 2021, 5KPlayer is the one you can never miss. Despite of a newly emerged app, the lightweight app has ranked no.1 with the most Mac downloads on the tech sites CNET, receiving a chunk of thumbs up from customers worldwide for its ease of use and tremendous DVD/video/audio playback ability. Specifically, you can play Matroska videos all at your fingertips with perfect HD experience.
Except for supporting DVD, MP4, MOV, AVI, WMV, MKV, H.264, MPEG4, FLV, M2TS, AVCHD, 3GP, WebM, etc, the free MKV video player for Mac also adds the latest HEVC/H.265, VP9, etc into its supported list. That means it will be hassle-free to even play 4K MKV videos in HEVC on your Mac QuickTime. Extra features such as downloading MKV movies and mirroring are icing on the cake.
- Minimalistic interface.
- Support UHD videos up to 4K/5K/8K.
- Support HEVC.
- Support online video download.
- No problems found
User Rate: ★★★★★ | License: Free
VLC is a world-famous cross-platform free media player running on Windows and Mac. It accepts a wide range of formats, ranging from HD Matroska, QuickTime file format, MP4, OGG, AAC, to DVD, Blu ray, without having to install any extra codecs or filters. You can preview the MKV file you are downloading and experience a stable MKV video playback on your Mac, even it is damaged, incomplete, or unfinished. It also features abilities to add subtitles to MKV files, organize and operate the video/audio/subtitle tracks of MKV easily, loop or deinterlace MKV videos, etc. However, In our test of playing MKV files in VLC, we experience some problems like VLC stuttering or grey screen. You can click here to troubleshoot VLC won't play MKV error.
Besides serving as the best free MKV player for Mac, VLC is the first to support playing encrypted DVDs on Mac by using the libdvdcss library and is available to create screencasts, record the desktop and even convert MKV into various formats.
- No additional codecs required.
- Free, open-source and cross-platform.
- Support Blu-ray playback.
- Lack advanced music player features.
- MKV playback sometimes won't work.
3. Elmedia Player
User Rate: ★★★★ | License: Paid
Elmedia Player is not as famous as VLC but it remains my personal preference for the best free MKV player for Mac for the extensive support of nearly any video format imaginable, including FLV, SWF, WMV, AVI, MOV, MP4, MP3, MKV, MPG, etc, without extra codecs required.
Elmedia is much more than just a MKV video player for Mac that offers a friendly and pleasant Matroska video playback experience on Mac, it is a full-fledged media server app that can set your MKV video on the loop, manage the subtitles, convert Flash projectors to SWF and even make screenshots from the MKV video as PNG, TIFF or GIF, watch YouTube videos without ads, adjust playback speed, visualizes different events, tweak the brightness, contrast, saturation, etc.
- Convenient video settings.
- Play online videos without ads.
- Build-in web browser.
- Doesn't support RTSP stream.
4. Mac Blu Ray Player
User Rate: ★★★★ | License: Free
Mac Blu-ray Player is put atop the list of 2021 best free MKV file player for Mac simply because it can play virtually any video file you throw at it, even for the oddball video formats, ranging from AVI, DVD, Blu-ray, Video CD, MOV, FLV, MPEG, AAC, MP4, MP3, to RMVB, AC3. You can watch videos of high definition up to 4K. That means you have no troubles playing MKV videos at 2610p, 1080p, 720p, etc.
With high compatibility with Mac version and proprietary hardware acceleration technology, it promises you an instant playback of MKV files even on the latest Mac OS, without burdening the RAM or CPU usage.
- Play all file types, whether physical or digital.
- High CPU usage required.
5. MPlayer X
User Rate: ★★★ | License: Free
MPlayer X delivers the perfect balance between simplicity and performance when it comes to play MKV on Mac, thanks to its Mac-style minimalistic interface. It's the best choice on Mac to play HD MKV videos, along with advanced subtitles in ASS format, supporting an impressive amount of imaginable file types and other uncommon formats like ASF, WebM, etc, without extra plug-ins or codec packs.
However, MPlayer X is reportedly bundled with virus and adware that harm your computer and consume a lot of CPU resources.
- Pleasant Mac style view.
- Smart multi-touch control.
- High CPU usage.
- Frequent system crash.
- No proper playlist feature.
User Rate: ★★★★ | License: Free & Paid
Available in App Store, this MKV video player offers you with two options: free or paid for pro features. If you choose free version, you can free play MKV video files on macOS (macOS 10.10 or later). If you purchase MKPlayer with $4.99, the TV playback feature is unlocked. More pro features gets accessible after you finish in-app purchase at $6.99, including Safari Extension (easily open videos found on websites), MKV multi-track audio and multilingual subtitles playback and video adjustment feature (brightness, contrast, saturation...).
- Play MKV video with multi-track audio and multi-track subtitles supported.
- AirPlay feature to stream MKV videos from macOS to TV for bigger screen playback.
- Conveniently configure video adjustment parameters
- Pro features need to be paid.
- MKV video playback is not smooth (kind of jittered) sometimes and the audio would fade out every few seconds.
- Unable to move backward or forward in the file being played.
Hope the afore-mentioned MKV video player freeware would help smoothly playback MKV multi-track videos without image or sound issue. You're welcomed to share your recommendations with us if you've ever used any better MKV player.