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Posted by Kaley Torres - Contact Author

Top 9 Video Players for Mac (MacBook/iMac/Mac mini)

Video players for Windows and Android are everywhere while little information is available about the best media player for Mac computer. If you'd like to have the best Mac video player for your video playback needs, like fluid playback of all video file formats, SRT file support, and more on a MacBook, iMac or Mac mini, you've come to the right place.

Can’t Play MOV, MP4, MKV, etc. Video on Mac? Convert It to Mac-supported

QuickTime, the default video player on Mac, can’t play MOV/MP4 encoded with some codecs nor doesn’t natively support some file formats like MKV neither. To solve the codec/format incompatibility issue, you need to convert videos to Mac-supported ones so as to play without hassles.

WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe is the best choice to convert MOV, MP4, MKV, AVI, etc. to fix any video not playing error on Mac.

Table of Contents:

Part 1. Top 9 Video Players for Mac Free Download

No.1: QuickTime Player for Mac

  • Price availability: Free
  • Supported macOS: Mac OS X Leopard to macOS Mojave
  • Supported media formats: OGG, Flash Video, DivX Media Format, ASF, MPEG, MP3, DV-DIF, WAV and AIFF etc.
  • Highlighted features: Video music playback, edit a movie, record Mac screen, capture screen of iPhone and iPad.

QuickTime Player, developed by Apple, is the default video player on Mac OS system and apparently a good free option for Mac users to play videos on Mac. QuickTime Player for Mac supports most common video audio and image formats, works great with HD videos, and enables you to record, edit and stream Internet videos and HD movie trailers. One exception is that QuickTime Player does not support MKV, AVI, and WMV natively, so that you have to switch to another Mac media player to play such files.

BTW, the macOS upgrade may lead to your QuickTime player crashing on Mac sometimes. Be sure to research pros and cons of your Mac OS upgrading move, check out if your computer is better enough to run QuickTime and prepare for issues in advance. On the other hand, starting with macOS Catalina, any 32-bit apps won't be supported on Mac. To be specific, QuickTime 7 is no longer available in Catalina.

Pros:

  • Play videos on Mac by default with diverse customization settings.
  • Record a movie, and capture screen of iPhone and iPad.
  • Edit videos: Trim, rearrange, rotate, and split a movie into multiple clips.
  • Export movies to other file formats and resolution.

Cons:

  • Can’t play MOV and MP4 files sometimes.
  • Choppy 4K video playback.
  • AV1 video is not supported.
  • Not support MKV, AVI, and WMV natively.
  • Unknown error happens now and then.
QuickTime Player
QuickTime Player

No.2: VLC for Mac

  • Price availability: Free
  • Supported macOS: Mac OS X 10.7.5 or later.
  • Supported media formats: MP3, WMV, WebM, MKV, MOV, H.264, MPEG-4/2, DVDs, Audio CDs, VCDs, etc.
  • Highlighted features: Open source, multimedia & DVD playback, video conversion, network streaming, record screen, Chromcast/DLNA media.

VLC for Mac is a FREE and open-source multimedia player compatible with Mac OS X 10.7.5 or later, written by non-profit organization VideoLAN. Technically, it supports videos in nearly all types of file formats, like MOV, MP4, QuickTime, AVI, MPEG, some WMV, DVD ISO file, etc. in 720p, 1080p, and even 4K, despite that sometimes VLC 4K HEVC choppy playback is an annoying thing.

Also, you can use this Mac video player to play DVDs, CDs, and VCDs. This is the first free video player for Mac and Linux that can playback CSS-encrypted DVDs, as well as incomplete and damaged videos. But many people don't like the layout and interface of VLC, which might be outdated and difficult to use.

Pros:

  • Support almost all container formats and codecs: MP4, MKV, MOV, AVI, ASF, H.264, MPEG-4, MP3, etc.
  • Various customizable settings like video speed up/slow down, add subtitles, video audio synchronization, etc.
  • AirPlay contents from Mac to Apple TV.
  • DLNA streaming movies from Mac to smart TV, Xbox, PS 4, etc.
  • Create playlists to play, convert MKV, AVI, WMV, MOV to MP4, and record videos.

Cons:

  • Choppy, crashing, mosaic, or frame dropping when playing 4K videos on Mac at 120fps.
  • Errors happen often, such as video no sound, black screen, green screen, audio video out of sync, HDR washed out colors, etc.
  • It is hard to recognize sub-codec of AV1 – av01.
VLC for Mac
VLC for Mac

No.3: 5KPlayer for Mac

  • Price availability: Free
  • Supported macOS: All versions of macOS.
  • Supported media formats: MP4, MOV, MKV, AVI, WMV, FLV, MTS/M2TS, H.265/264, VP8/9, WebM, DVD disc, ISO, Video_TS, 360°, etc.
  • Highlighted features: Play videos up to 4K/8K, music & DVD discs, live stream TV & radio, grab online contents, AirPlay iOS, DLNA media to smart TV.

5KPlayer is a free 4K video player for Mac. Thanks to the support for tons of video/audio codecs, it can play any movie/music videos smoothly and directly without need to installing third-party codec packs. It performs well in playing SD/720P 1080p HD/4K UHD media source in any format, including MKV, M2TS, TS, MOD, TOD, MP4, AVI, WMV, MOV, M4V, MPEG, H.264, FLV, etc. With built-in Hardware Acceleration support, playing 4K videos on Mac with 5KPlayer is as smooth as silk.

Besides a free media player for Mac, 5KPlayer can also be used a DLNA streamer, AirPlay server, video grabber, DVD player, Internet radio player, and IPTV M3U/M3U8 streamer on Mac OS, new 16-inch MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, 5K Retina iMac, etc.

Pros:

  • Support various file formats that are not natively compatible with Mac, such as MKV, AVI, WMV, etc.
  • Play MP4 videos on Mac, and play MOV (h.265, 10bit x264, H.264, AVCHD, AVC) files on Mac.
  • Various customizable settings like speed up/slow down, add subtitles, video audio synchronization, etc.
  • DLNA stream videos from Mac to smart TV and any other DLNA-compatible devices.
  • AirPlay iPhone/iPad screen to Mac.
  • Support NVIDIA CUDA®, AMD, Intel® QSV, & DXVA 2.0 Hardware-acceleration.
  • Create music playlists, and render DTS surround sound.

Cons:

  • Choppy performance when playing 4K videos at 60fps or 120fps.
  • RUN in the background and high in CPU usage when you don’t use it.
5KPlayer for Mac
5KPlayer for Mac

No.4: MPlayerX

  • Price availability: Free
  • Supported macOS: Mac OS X 10.7 or later.
  • Supported media formats: MPEG, AVI, ASF and WMV, QuickTime and OGG/OGM, SDP, PVA, GIF.
  • Highlighted features: Detect and convert subtitle file, play online videos directly, output DTS/AC3 stream, Apple Remote support.

Many Mac users take MPlayerX media player as a standard part of their toolbox simply because it works properly and almost all popular codecs are in it. No fuss or headache of codec installing or updating. Seriously, you will not be frustrated with such a practical video player on your Mac OS. MPlayerX is armed by FFmepg and MPlayer, so it plays contents these two support, like MP4, MOV, AVI, etc. videos with subtitles.

Besides, problem like disappearing of title bar in QuickTime never happens. When playing AVI files on Mac, this Mac video player performs greater without stuttering than QuickTime player that cannot recognize the file sometimes.

Pros:

  • Detect and convert the encoding method of the subtitle file automatically and seamlessly.
  • Seamlessly and directly plays videos in YouTube, Vimeo, and many others through the video URLs.
  • Output the raw DTS/AC3 stream to let you enjoy theater effects.
  • Support Apple Remote.

Cons:

  • Stop update since 2016.
  • Have difficulty in playing newer codecs like AV1, HEVC, VP9, etc.
  • Can’t create playlist.
MPlayerX
MPlayerX

No.5: DivX Player for Mac

  • Price availability: Freemium
  • Supported macOS: macOS Catalina and Big Sur.
  • Supported media formats: DivX, AVI, MKV and HEVC files in up to 4K quality.
  • Highlighted features: 4K support, smooth FF/RW feature, Chapter Points, multiple audio support, create playlists, AC3/DTS surround sound, Cloud Connect, DLNA/Chromecast support.

DivX player for Mac is a powerful movie video player for Mac especially for HD videos playback, such as all native DivX videos, MKV and HEVC up to 4K movies. QuickTime files are included as well. When playing movies on Mac, you can get surround sound as in the movies theater. Also, if you prefer bigger screen, you can cast videos, music and photos to any DLNA-compatible device like smart TV.

Besides, DivX Player is also a cloud-based service enabling you to play videos directly from Google Drive and Dropbox. It’s Hardware Acceleration supported to let people play 4K videos smoothly. However, this Mac video player seems to eat up too much space with its big installation file.

Pros:

  • Supports AVI, DivX, MKV, MP4, and more files up to 4K.
  • Easily navigate to favorite scenes and find different scenes.
  • Switch between soundtracks with multiple audio support.
  • Create, play and loop playlists, and automatically add files to playlists.
  • Directly play videos from Google Drive or Dropbox.
  • Cast videos, music and photos to any DLNA-compatible device.

Cons:

  • The installation file requires much space.
  • The free version is limited. You need to pay for other features.
  • There are unwanted installations.
DivX Player for Mac
DivX Player for Mac

No.6: Elmedia Player for Mac

  • Price availability: Freemium
  • Supported macOS: macOS 10.12+.
  • Supported media formats: AVI, FLV, SWF, MKV, WMV, MOV, MP3, DAT, FLAC, M4V, MPG, DivX and MP4.
  • Highlighted features: Video music playback, Chromecast, AirPlay & DLNA supports, Apple Silicon M1/M2 support, Picture-in-Picture mode, etc.

Like 5KPlayer, Elmedia Player is also a 4-in-1 media player for Mac combining media playback, online download, AirPlay, and DLNA streaming functions into one. As a media player, it can handle any conceivable media formats, such as AVI, MKV, MP4, MP4, etc., containing native and non-native Mac formats even on M1/M2 Macs to render outstanding HD performance. Elmedia Player for Mac is also a good music player with audio equalizer and audio visualization, and renders AC3/DTS surround sound.

It also comes with many customization settings, like sync audio with subtitles, adjust playback speed, create playlist to repeat and shuffle, etc., and enhance your videos. To do other tasks on Mac at the same time, you can turn on the Picture-in-Picture mode of this Mac video player to shrink the playback window.

Pros:

  • Various customizable settings: sync audio with subtitles, adjust playback speed, frame-by-frame playback, adjust volume, play/pause, etc.
  • Create, repeat and shuffle playlist.
  • Subtitle support: add subtitles, customize looks (size, font, background and text colors), search subtitles online.
  • Enhance videos: adjust brightness, saturation, contrast, hue, gamma, sharpness, and even noise reduction.
  • Make precise screenshots.
  • Picture-in-picture mode.
  • Deinterlace video.
  • Chromecast, DLNA & AirPlay support.

Cons:

  • Can’t stream AVI, FLV, MKV, 3GP.
  • 4K videos stream is not very fluent.
Elmedia Player for Mac
Elmedia Player for Macr

No.7: GOM Player for Mac

  • Price availability: Freemium
  • Supported macOS: Mac OS X 10.13(High Sierra) or higher.
  • Supported media formats: .mkv, .mp4, .avi, .m4v, .mov, .3gp, .ts, .mts, .m2ts, .wmv, .flv, .f4v, .asf, .webm, .rm, .rmvb, .qt, .dv, .mpg, .mpeg, .mxf, .vob, and .gif.
  • Highlighted features: MP4 video player, 4K UHD support, GOM Remote support to remote control videos.

If you have lots of MP4 videos to play on Mac, GOM Player is an excellent option. GOM Player is a Korean made video player supporting various common file formats including AVI, MP4, MKV, FLV, WMV, MOV, etc. It offers a very comfortable playback environment if you upgrade to the Pro version. Also, the ad-free Pro version allows for automatically searching and syncing subtitles for the movie being played, and 4K UHD movies without buffering.

However, as the Mac version was released recently, GOM Player is a versatile video player for Mac as for Windows. The Mac version can’t play damaged files or a file being downloaded, can’t play 360 degree videos, and so on.

Pros:

  • Play MP4 files very perfectly.
  • Support multiple subtitle formats.

Cons:

  • The Mac version is unstable.
  • Limited file formats support on Mac.
  • Provide codecs file download on Windows only.
  • Can only play damaged files or a file being downloaded on Windows.
  • Free version has limited features.
  • Can’t support 360 videos.
GOM Player for Mac
GOM Player for Mac

No.8: IINA

  • Price availability: Free
  • Supported macOS: Mac OS X 10.11 +.
  • Supported media formats: MP4, MKV, AVI, WMV, MOV, etc.
  • Highlighted features: Open-source & free, play local files, online streams and YouTube playlists, Chrome and Firefox supports.

Designed for macOS only, IINA is a free and open-source media player for Mac users to play native and non-native Mac file formats smoothly. Based on MPV player and written in Swift, it has every feature that MPV has like playing local files, online stream and YouTube playlists. Released under the GNU General Public License version 3, it is modern from its framework to the user interface. It supports new technologies like Force Touch, Touch Bar, Picture-in-Picture, and Dark mode.

Even, you can download the Chrome or Firefox browser extension. Also, the screenshots feature will come soon.

Pros:

  • Play local files, online streams, and YouTube playlists.
  • Support new technologies: Dark mode, PIP, Touch Bar.
  • Browser extension support: Chrome and Firefox.
  • Bonus features: Force Touch, Touch Bar, and Picture-in-Picture, Dark Mode, etc.

Cons:

  • Can’t play AV1 videos.
IINA
IINA

No.9: Cisdem Video Player for Mac

  • Price availability: Freemium
  • Supported macOS: macOS 10.10 or later.
  • Supported media formats: MP4, H.264/MP4 AVC, H.265/HEVC, AVI, MKV, MOV, WMV, MPG, M4V, TS, MTS, etc.
  • Highlighted features: Multimedia playback, play 1080p/4K/5K/8K videos, customizable playback, add subtitles, Hardware Acceleration support.

No need to install any media codec pack, Cisdem Video Player for Mac supports almost all video and audio formats, including MP4, H.264/MP4 AVC, H.265/HEVC, AVI, MKV, MOV, WMV, MPG, M4V, TS, MTS, M2TS, AVCHD, MP3, etc. up to 1080p, 4K, 5K and 8K. It gives you a fully immersive experience with splendid sound effects like in the theater when playing movies.

With various customizable playback settings, you can have full control of your videos, such as creating playlist to play, loop, shuffle or repeat, play/pause, step forward/backward, volume +/-/mute, rotate, full-screen, mini-screen, etc. BTW, if you upgrade this Mac video player to full version, you will get a format conversion feature.

Pros:

  • No need to install any media codecs or plugins.
  • Add subtitles.
  • Take screenshots.
  • Pro version has a conversion feature.
  • Hardware acceleration support.

Cons:

  • Limited subtitle format support: ass, and srt.
  • Can’t play av1 videos.
  • Occasional 4K video choppy playback.
Cisdem Video Player for Mac
Cisdem Video Player for Mac

In conclusion:

Mac has the problem of being lack of support for many third-party programs, including video players. One way of reducing your concerns of video format compatibility will be to get the best free video player for Mac installed on your computer or convert your video to Mac supported file formats. The 9 Mac media players hand-picked by us will ease the way to play any video files on Mac computer, so you can pick any one you like.

Part 2. How to Play Videos on Mac with Mac Video Player?

Step 1. Free download a Mac video player, install and launch it. Here, we take 5KPlayer to show you how to.

Step 2. After launching 5KPlayer, just play videos by using one of the following ways.

  1. Drag and drop your video files to 5KPlayer to play directly.
  2. Click on "Video" button on the main UI of 5KPlayer to add a video file on your Mac to play.
  3. Find your video on computer and right click on the file to choose "Play with" and then choose 5KPlayer to play.
  4. Set 5KPlayer as the default media player for Mac, and double-click your video to play quickly.

Note: MOV, MP4, MKV, AVI, etc. is a container format that may contain different video and audio codecs which your Mac media player can't recognize. To solve the video not playing error caused by incompatible codecs, simply convert a video first and then play with your Mac video player.

Play Videos on Mac

Part 3. How to Solve Videos not Playing on Mac Error?

As matter of fact, macOS only supports certain file formats including AVI, AVR, DV, M-JPEG, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, AAC, OpenDML, 3GPP, 3GPP2, AMC, H.264, HEVC, iTunes (.m4v), QuickTime (.mov, .qt), and audio formats including AAC, AIFF, WAVE, uLaw, AC3, MPEG-3, MPEG-4 (.mp4, .m4a), .snd, .au, .caf, Adaptive multi-rate (.amr). That’s why your default Mac media player QuickTime can’t play some files. Trying a different Mac video player is a way, and converting videos to Mac-compatible formats like MOV and MP4 is also suggested. If needed, you can try WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe.

WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe is a 4K video converter that can convert any format for any media player, device, or platform. You can convert MOV to MP4, AVI, WMV, MKV, etc. for storage, sharing and uploading, and also compress 4K large videos to smaller sizes.

Step 1. Free download the video converter, install and launch it on your computer.

Step 2. Click on the "+ Video" button on the main UI to add your video file to the video converter. Besides, you can also add more than one video at a time for batch conversion.

Step 3. When the "Output Profile" window pops up, choose an output format. Here, we suggest you to choose MP4 or MOV as the best one.

Step 4. Now, click on the "Browse" button to pick the destination folder to save your converted file, and hit "RUN" to start converting your video for playback on Mac.

Convert Video for Mac

Part 4. Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the best video player for Mac?

Nearly all good Mac video players are capable of playing multimedia files including MP4, MKV, AVI, MOV, FLV, WMV, etc. However, speaking of playing high resolution or rare videos, it is picky. Accordingly, 5KPlayer is thought of the best free video player for Mac to play not only 4K 60fps videos, DVDs, HDR files, but also encrypted DVDs.

2. Does Mac have a built in video player?

Yes. QuickTime Player is the default media player for Mac computers. You can find QuickTime Player by going to the Applications folder located on the dock of the Mac you are using.

3. Is VLC best for Mac?

Yes. VLC media player for Mac works very well. As of now, VLC runs natively on newest M1 Mac computer without big errors. It can play almost all file formats up to 4K on all Mac computers.

4. Why can't I play videos on my Mac?

Mac only supports video formats inlcuding AVI, AVR, DV, M-JPEG, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, AAC, OpenDML, 3GPP, 3GPP2, AMC, H.264, HEVC, iTunes (.m4v), QuickTime (.mov, .qt), and audio formats including AAC, AIFF, WAVE, uLaw, AC3, MPEG-3, MPEG-4 (.mp4, .m4a), .snd, .au, .caf, Adaptive multi-rate (.amr). Therefore, if your file like MKV video is not supported by Mac, you can't play videos on Mac.

5. How to play videos on Mac?

Usually, you have two ways. The easiest and most direct way is to download a good Mac video player to play video files on Mac. And the other way is to convert videos to Mac-compatible ones to play successfully.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

author - Kaley Torres

Kaley Torres twitter icon

Kaley Torres is a self-motivated, creative editor with eight years of marketing and SEO experience, specializing in writing on DVD, video, audio, images, new digital contents etc. With a partiality DVD collection, Kaley also enjoys digitizing DVD and is keen to share her DVD video conversion solutions as well as video sharing tips on social media.

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