Convert MP4 to Mac-supported

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How to Play MP4 on Mac & Solve MP4 not Playing on Mac Error?

As the most widely-used video format, MP4 can be played on Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, etc. without as many problems as other file formats. Nevertheless, nothing is perfect but MP4 not playing on Mac is the commonest error that you may encounter while trying to play MP4 on Mac with the native media player – QuickTime Player.

Why Is MP4 not Playing on Mac?

Besides damaged or corrupted files, the MP4 files encoded with some codecs cannot be played by Mac media player. MP4 is a container format which could include numerous different video audio codecs based on the usage, and also determines how a MP4 player can play a MP4 file most. For instance, the default QuickTime Player plays MP4 videos encoded with MPEG-4 or H.264 video codec and AAC audio codec only. That’s why sometimes you come across the error message like "the movie could not be opened" when trying to open MP4 files on Mac computer.

Though QuickTime Player is not that satisfying to play MP4 files, you can still use it to play MP4 videos of any kind with the help of a video converter. Plus, there are also better choices alternative to QuickTime to let you watch MP4 videos movies on Mac without issues.

How to Play MP4 on Mac?

Though MP4 is an Apple standard pushed with QuickTime 6 that by natural is playable on Mac with QuickTime player, QuickTime only plays MP4 files on Mac that have been encoded to meet Joint Video Team (JVT) standards. So, if your Mac media player lacks the right codecs to recognize certain MP4 videos, you should convert unplayable MP4 videos to Mac-supported codecs or other formats like MOV, or simply switch to a more powerful MP4 player for Mac on the road to smooth MP4 playback.

Part 1. Play MP4 on Mac by Converting MP4 to Mac-supported Format

Is QuickTime still your first choice to watch MP4 files on Mac? Now that it has difficulties in playing MP4 videos encoded with certain codecs, you can try to convert MP4 to other format like MOV that can be opened on macOS. The job can be done with a MP4 to MOV converter, either on the Internet or offline.

Here, we take the most popular video converter Free Video Converter as an example to show you how to convert MP4 to Mac-compatible format MOV to play on Mac without hassle. WinX Video Converter is born to be a 4K video converter and compressor that converts between hundreds of media formats including HEVC, H.264, AV1 from online, cameras, drones, etc. As said, it can also compress large videos to smaller size for easier uploading, sharing and storage.

Convert MP4 to Mac
Convert MP4 to Mac

Step 1. Free download WinX Video Converter for Mac, install and launch it.

Step 2. By clicking on "+ Video" button, you can add a MP4 file you want to convert to this video converter.

Step 3. When the "Output Profile" window pops up, simply choose "HD Video > MOV HD Video" as the output, and then click on "OK".

Step 4. Click the "Browse" button to choose a destination folder to save your converted MP4 file.

Step 5. Hit the "RUN" button to start converting MP4 to MOV for smooth playback on Mac.

Part 2. How to Play MP4 on Mac with VLC Media Player

To be honest, there is no need to hang yourself to a specific tree. As better choices are prepared, you can directly use one of them to help play MP4 files on Mac easily, smoothly and in high quality. VLC media player, as the most popular and powerful MP4 player for Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, etc. can be the best QuickTime alternative to play MP4, MOV, MKV, AVI, WMV, etc. videos on Mac successfully.

Step 1. Free download VLC media player for Mac, install and launch it.

Step 2. Play MP4 on Mac with VLC through one of the following ways.

  1. Drag and drop your MP4 file to the main user interface of VLC, and then VLC will open it immediately.
  2. On the UI of VLC for Mac, click on "Open media" to browse your video files and then choose a MP4 video to open.
  3. On the top bar your Mac, click on "File" to choose "Open File" to add a MP4 video, click "Advanced Open File" to browse your videos, or click "Open Network" to stream MP4 videos.

Note: VLC is not perfect but there are many drawbacks. As for VLC MP4 video playback, errors you may also encounter include MP4 no audio, no video, 4K MP4 choppy, washed out colors, etc.

MP4 Player Mac VLC
Play MP4 on Mac with VLC

Part 3. How to Play MP4 on Mac with 5KPlayer

Compared to VLC media player, this one is less-known to people but it is indeed a more versatile MP4 file player for Mac with DLNA, AirPlay, and video URL stream functions built-in. Including comprehensive video audio codecs for MP4 like HEVC H.263/H.264/H.265, AAC, etc., 5KPlayer is surely a better choice if your QuickTime or VLC media player won’t play MP4 videos on Mac. No need to download extra codecs, convert MP4 video format or even install the outdated plugin, you can open MP4, any container and codec format on both Mac and Windows.

Step 1. Free download 5KPlayer for Mac, install and launch it.

Step 2. Play MP4 on Mac with it through one of the following ways.

  1. Drag and drop your MP4 file to the main UI of 5KPlayer to play.
  2. On the UI of 5KPlayer, simply click on "Video" button to choose a MP4 file to play.
  3. On the top bar your Mac, click on "File" to choose "Open file" to add a MP4 video to 5KPlayer.
MP4 Player Mac 5KPlayer
Play MP4 on Mac with 5KPlayer

Step 3. If you want to watch your MP4 video on smart TV from Mac, you can simply turn on 5KPlayer’s DLNA function and then click on the "dlna" icon on the top right corner to stream the MP4 video to your TV.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I play MP4 files on my Mac?

Yes. You can play most MP4 videos on Mac with QuickTime Player, and other MP4 files encoded with some codecs can also be played by QuickTime if you download the required codecs or simply convert MP4 to Mac-supported formats like MOV. If playing MP4 on Mac with QuickTime is not very satisfying, you can also turn to third-party Mac MP4 player like VLC and 5KPlayer.

2. Why won’t my MP4 files play on Mac?

Codec incompatibility is main reason to blame. As MP4 is a container format that could contain different video and audio codecs besides MPEG-4 or H.264 video codec and AAC audio codec, while QuickTime only plays MP4 on Mac encoded with MPEG-4 or H.264 video codec and AAC audio codec. What’s more, codec issue also affects the MP4 playback performance of other media players like VLC. That’s why MP4 won’t play on Mac occasionally, and that’s the reason you need to convert MP4 videos to a friendlier video format for your default media player to play.

3. What app opens MP4 on Mac?

There are numerous choices. Qualified MP4 player apps for Mac include QuickTime, VLC Media Player, 5KPlayer, GOM Player, Elmedia Player, MPlayer X, Cisdem Video Player for Mac, VOX, Movist Video Player, etc.


Donna Peng

Jack Watt is a sought-after editor at Digiarty. He is responsible for digital and multimedia world, delivering definitive video and audio related software reviews, enlightening guides, and incisive analysis. As a fan of Apple, Jack Watt also brings his experience to more readers and focuses on writing of the Apple ecosystem at large.

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