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How to Play MKV on Mac - MacBook Pro/Air, iMac, Mac mini

By Candice Liu to video, converter|Last updated on Nov 18, 2019

Can you play MKV files on Mac? I just bought a new MacBook, but I found that the MKV files on my computer do not seem to be played. Any ideas? - from Apple Support Communities.

Many Mac users have stuck on the same issue like the user above. Since MKV is not a friendly format, there are some other common errors when opening MKV on Mac, such as Quicktime plays it no sound, can not open MKV file sometimes, VLC media player bogged down with issues like, stuttering, no audio, loading file all the time...

play MKV HD on Mac OS

No matter what kind of situation you are encountering, the following 4 methods are applicable to solve almost all these MKV errors:

  1. Method 1: Play MKV Files on Mac Using QuickTime
  2. Method 2: Open MKV Files on Mac Using VLC Media Player
  3. Method 3: Play MKV on Mac Using MacX Video Converter
  4. Method 4: Open MKV on Mac Using Mac MKV Player
  5. Tip: Fix VLC Won't Play MKV(HD) File on macOS

Method 1: Using QuickTime Plugin Perian

Mac Quicktime MKV plugin - Perian has a solution to the problem MKV files not playing on Macbook, iMac or Mac mini. With Perian, you can play MKV video movie in HD, SD on any Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later, El Capitan, Yosemite, needless of MKV player for Mac. And below are the detailed steps to play MKV on your Mac using QuickTime:

  1. 1. Double-click the MKV file in the Finder.
  2. 2. Click on the File option and Open it
  3. 3. Select the MKV file and click Open.
  4. 4. If a file is an older media format, QuickTime Player may convert it before playing.
Open MKV on Mac via QuickTime Perian

The formats that can be played on Mac: QuickTime Movie (.mov), MPEG-4 (.mp4, .m4v), MPEG-2 (OSX 10.0-10.6 are exclusive), MPEG-1, 3GPP, 3GPP2, AVCHD (OSX 10.0-10.7 are exclusive), AVI ((Motion JPEG only), DV.

Method 2: Using VLC Media Player

VLC Media Player is is a free cross-platform multimedia player that can play most multimedia files, DVDs, etc. It can be downloaded to Windows PC or Mac computer. Here's how you can play MKV on Mac using VLC Media Player

  1. 1. Go to official App Store on your computer.
  2. 2. Download and install VLC Media Player.
  3. 3. Find the MKV file you want to play.
  4. 4. Load it to VLC Media Player to play it.
You can adjust the video’s sound by selecting the Enable box and then using the sliders to achieve it. You can also select the audio equalizer button on the bottom of the screen. If you want to sync the video and audio, just click on the Synchronization tab. VLC player also supports adding subtitles. While you’re in the Synchronization tab you’ll see it.

Method 3: Using MacX Video Converter

MacX Video Converter Pro helps to convert MKV to MP4, M4V, MOV, AVI, and other video formats that are supported by QuickTime and VLC, or other media players. With the MKV video converter, you can play MKV on Mac freely, solve VLC, Quicktime MKV playing issues, and even add MKV to iTunes, Final Cut Pro, iMovie etc. You don't need to sacrifice any video audio quality during the conversion process thanks to the advanced High Quality Engine. Meanwhile, the Level-3 Hardware Acceleration and Auto Copy technologies deliver a super-fast MKV video converting speed.

The MKV video converting software also enables you to download MKV video free from Dailymotion, Vevo, 300+ sites, which means you can watch MKV on Mac with no formats limits or internet connection limits.

How to Convert MKV Video Movie File for Playback on Mac:

  1. 1. Free download the MKV video converter on Mac and run it on your computer.
  2. 2. Click "Add File" icon to navigate the local folder and find the MKV video or movie.
  3. 3. Select output format from the pop up window, like MP4, AVI, MOV as your needs.
  4. 4. Click "RUN" button to start MKV video file conversion process. After the task is finished, you can play converted MKV on Mac with original video quality, or add the MKV video to iTunes movie library with no format limits.
play MKV HD on macOS

If you wanna convert MKV to MP4:

Just select "MP4" as output file format. To play MKV on Mac with QuickTime, import MKV to iMovie, convert MKV to AVI, M4V, MOV, 3GP, other supported formats.

If you have problem playing MKV because of its big size:

You can also compress the MKV video using featurs like crop, trim and parameter adjustment. To trim and crop unnecessary parts, click the Edit button. To adjust the resolutions, bit rates, codecs, other settings to shrink MKV videos, click the gear buttton beside the video icon. Then click "Browse" button to select a destination folder to save output converted MKV file.

As MKV is often large in size, converting MKV to other formats for playback on Mac may take quite a long time. The MKV video converter has two advanced features built-in that is able to speed up HD/4K MKV video processing by times faster. Do remember to check the two features on the right lower part of the interface.
* Level-3 Hardware Acceleration - apply GPU acceleration of Intel, Nvidia and AMD to decode and encode MKV H.265/H.264. This feature speed up MKV HEVC conversion to solve MKV HEVC files not playing on Mac error.
* Auto Copy: when you select converting MKV to MOV/MP4 for QuickTime, this feature will move the video/audio files from MKV container to another container without re-encoding. This tech not only ensures a super-fast processing speed but also keeps 1:1 original quality of HD MKV files.

Method 4: Using MKV Player for Mac

What plays MKV files on Mac computer perfectly? Not QuickTime, not VLC, what I'm going to recommend here is a newbie, 5KPlayer, a fantastic MKV video player for Mac that I came across accidentally on forum.

It plays MKV video in 720p, 1080p, or 4K UHD on macOS Sierra, Mac El Capitan, Yosemite, OS X 10 without freezing or buffering. It takes no time to fully load MKV file. The player for MKV also plays AVI, FLV, MOV, MTS, MP4, MP3 music, AAC, to name just a few.

Another feature that impresses me is that it is able to airplay MKV video movie from Mac to Mac, from Mac to Apple TV. This means that you can watch MKV on Mac even on airplay supported TV with no limits.

Free MKV media player for Mac

How to Fix: VLC Won't Play MKV File on macOS

Will VLC play MKV files on Mac? Yes, but not smoothly, common issues are MKV files audio not working on VLC, some MKV files not loading, open successfully, Skipping, Chopping, VLC does not support the audio or video format, etc. If you still prefer to using VLC media player, the following tips of VLC player not playing MKV may help you out, if it still fails to work, try other players.

Set all preferences before back to default, close the player, execute the reset and re-open VLC player. If that doesn't help, the most straightforward solution to let VLC play MKV files on Mac smoothly is simple, convert MKV in 720P, or HD files to VLC formats with MKV video converter. VLC player reads several formats on Mac OS X, including MP4, QuickTime format, 3GP, VOB, TS, AVI, FLV, ASF, Ogg, WAV, , MPS, etc.

Bonus Tip

* Apple official applications on Mac such as QuickTime Player works with many kinds of audio and video formats, like AVI, FLV, DivX, and many more.
* Perian is not perfect, though. It only works with QT 10 or lower for it stops being updated. You may still have some problems when playing MKV on Mac. Some users are crying that they downloaded Perian, and MKV are played on QT but with no sound. And it has to read the MKV file before playing, you can not fast forward file that has not been fully loaded.
* It's better to use MKV video converter to convert the file first and watch MKV on Mac freely, or jump to method 3, resort to a MKV player for Mac.
* Big Sur (macOS 10.15) is killing off 32-bit apps. Many legacy versions of Mac apps like GarageBand, and Perian are unsupported. So to play MKV with success on your new mac operating system, make sure it is new and upgrade for the 64-bit computer.

Still have any problem on how to play MKV videos on macOS, just email us >>
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