Are you looking for a way to open and play MKV files on your Mac? You probably have a file on your MacBook that ends in “.MKV” and it simply won’t open (this is normal).
There are numerous free ways to solve for this that range from plugins, to video players and even MKV converters.
Related: How to play AVI files on Mac (Quickly & Easily)
In this post, I’ll explain in full detail how to quickly and easily open and play MKV files on your Mac. We’ll cover every single way you can open and play any MKV file on your Mac and the pros and cons of each method.
- Do you plan on opening and playing more MKV files in the future? Then use a video Player for Mac that has the proper codecs. (free, open source, and safe).
- Quicktime, the default video player on Mac, can only play MKV files if you have the Perian plugin. Simply download perian (free) and open the .dmg file and Quicktime will be able to play MKV files now.
- If you are you only opening and playing an MKV one time, then use a MKV to MOV Converter. There’s no lengthy process or software to download to your computer.
There are also 21+ powerful video players for Mac that can play MKV files
- Key Takeaways
- Can you play MKV files on Mac
- How to play MKV Files on Mac
- Which video player apps can play MKV on Mac?
- The best video players that can open MKV Files on Mac
Can you play MKV files on Mac
Yes, you can play MKV files on Mac by using a MKV plug-in called Perian on QuickTime. You can also open MKV files with VLC player (video player) or by using a MKV to MOV video converter.
Although macOS isn’t design to natively play, MKV files, that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible. Plug-ins, video, players, and converters allow you to play MKV files on Mac without an issue.
How to open an MKV file on Mac
Mac Doesn’t natively have a way to open an MKV without adding a quicktime plugin, codec, or video player. To open and MKV file on Mac, you’ll need to first ensure you either have a plugin like Perian that has the right codec for Quicktime (Perian) or a video player (VLC) that allows you to open a MKV.
Alternatively, you can use a MKV to .MOV file converter, which will make your File a .mov extension which can be opened & played with your default macbook video player.
It’s likely you have a download a movie or a video file type on your Mac with the multimedia container format “MKV”. Don’t worry, because you’ll still be able to watch it with full quality.
How to play MKV Files on Mac
Are you a Mac user and facing difficulties in playing an MKV file on your computer? Do you want to watch those high-definition movie files without any problems.
Below, you’ll find all the best ways to play an MKV file on a Mac device, even if you recently upgraded or are still running older versions of macOS, you can still use the solutions on this list with success.
Option 1. Use Quicktime with Perian Plugin
What is the best way to play MKV files on Mac using QuickTime? The Perian Plugin.
Playing a MKV file on your Mac is easy when you use the QuickTime with Perian Plugin because it will allow MKV files to be opened permanently and without effort after you install it.
This plugin adds support for other codecs as well and not just MKV. For example, DivX, DivX 3.11 alpha, XviD, MS-MPEG4 V3, 3ivX, MS-MPGE4 v2, MP- MEPEG4 v1, Truemotion VP6, Sorenson H.263 FLV and other formats.
To get started with this option on your Mac OS X system, all you need to do is download the Perian package and install it in the QuickTime library of your user or the top-level library if you want every user to access it.
Once this has been done, restart all programs running QuickTime (iTunes QuickTime player and browser) and voila, you can now play any MKV file with ease!
Option 2. Download VLC Player to open a MKV file
VLC media player is a versatile video player that supports a variety of video formats and is an excellent option for playing MKV files on Mac devices.
To get started, download and install the VLC media player for Mac. Then, follow these steps:
- Open VLC media player on your Mac.
- Under the ‘File’ tab, select ‘Open File’. A dialog box will appear.
- Click on the hard drive or folder icon to access the directory where your MKV files are stored.
- Choose the MKV file you wish to play and click the ‘OK’ button.
- The movie or downloaded MKV file should now automatically play in VLC media player once you press the ‘Play’ button.
With VLC media player for Mac, you can manage your playlist and make adjustments such as adjusting volume and contrast with ease. It is reputable, fast software that doesn’t take up much space on your Mac.
Related: How to use VLC to Record your Screen
If you’re searching for a reliable and user-friendly solution for playing MKV files on Mac, this option is well worth considering.
Option 3. Use a MKV to MOV video converter
If you prefer not to use a media player or the Perian plugin to play MKV files on your Mac and would rather use the default Mac player, you have another option – A MKV to AVI converter.
You can use an MKV to AVI video converter to convert your digital video files from the MKV format to the AVI format.
These web-based apps use a computer program that can change the container format of your digital video without changing the actual video format, or they may recompress the video through a process called transcoding.
To use this option, simply drag and drop your video into the upload box on the video converter tool, and then download the file in a format compatible with QuickTime or MOV.
Option 4. Use a video player with MKV compatibility
If you don’t want to use the Perian plugin or a video converter, you can also use a media player that is compatible with MKV files.
There are several options available, such as VLC Media Player, Movist, 5k Player, and Elmedia Player, which all support MKV and provide an easy way to play them on Mac. To use them, simply download and install the player of your choice.
Then, open the player, find the “open” option in the menu bar, select “Open File,” and choose the MKV file you want to play. The file should start playing automatically in the media player if it supports MKV.
Related: Is a MacBook Air Good for Video Editing
Which video player apps can play MKV on Mac?
If you’re looking to quickly and easily open and play MKV files on your Mac computer, there are several video player apps available.
Some of the most popular ones include VLC Player, Plex, MPlayer X, Movist Pro, Elmedia Player, 5KPlayer, and XBMC. All of these apps have been designed to be able to playback MKV files without any difficulty.
Related: How to Download a Youtube Video with VLC (Windows & Mac)
Not only that but each one offers its own unique features which can enhance playback or give you more control over the video content.
For example, some of the options can enable hardware acceleration for smoother video or provide subtitles for those who need them.
So if you want a simple way to open and play MKV files on your Mac quickly and easily then the following video players are worth using:
The best video players that can open MKV Files on Mac
Below, are some of the best video players for Mac that can specifically open and play MKV files with ease. Not only are these MKV Video players useful, but they also player other files such as AVI, MOV, and more.
For a Full review on the best video players for Mac in general, see our guide on the 21 Best Video Players for Mac (Free & Paid) 4k, HDR
VLC is a free, open-source, and cross-platform multimedia player that can play various audio and video formats, including MKV files on Mac. It is easy to use, highly customizable, and well known as the best video player for mac.
Even if you wanted to just play audio files, VLC can also do this as it supports nearly every MKV file you want to open on Mac. It also supports streaming players which means you can even get VLC on Roku.
Plex is a media server and player that organizes your personal media collection and streams it to all of your devices.
In addition to playing MKV files on Mac, it also supports a wide range of popular video formats and provides a clean, easy-to-use interface for browsing and playing your media.
Whats interesting is you can use Plex to get new movies & TV show as well as play downloaded movies that are in MKV formats that you’ve downloaded.
Jellyfin is a free and open-source media player that allows you to stream and organize your personal media collection. It supports a wide range of video and audio formats, including the popular MKV format.
When using Jellyfin, you can play MKV files by simply adding them to your Jellyfin library and then streaming them to your device. See our full comparison on Jellyfin vs Plex vs Emby and how they compare since each of these work on Mac OS.
Jellyfin uses FFmpeg, an open-source multimedia framework, to decode and play MKV files. This means that it can handle a wide range of video and audio codecs, including those used in MKV files, and provide a seamless playback experience.
In addition to playing MKV files, Jellyfin also provides other features such as library management, metadata retrieval, and customization options for your media collection.
With Jellyfin, you can centralize your media collection and enjoy all your favorite movies, TV shows, and other media content from one place.
MPlayer X is a free, open-source multimedia player for Mac that supports a wide range of video and audio formats, including MKV files. It has some similarities to VLC media player in that has a wide range of compatible video formats it accepts.
MPlayer X also provides many updates over the years, so it’s also a reliable player.
Movist Pro is a commercial media player for Mac that supports a wide range of video and audio formats, including MKV files. It also has support for multiple audio tracks, subtitle support, and support for different video aspect ratios.
Elmedia Player is a commercial media player for Mac that supports a wide range of video and audio formats, including MKV file formats. It has good UI and has advanced features such as support for different video aspect ratios.
5KPlayer is a free, multimedia player for Mac that supports a wide range of video and audio formats, including MKV files. It provides basic playback features such as playback speed control, volume control, and full-screen mode.
XBMC (now known as Kodi) is a free, open-source multimedia player and entertainment center for Mac that supports a wide range of video and audio formats, including MKV files.
It provides an easy to navigate interface for browsing and playing your media – and has advanced features such as support for different video aspect ratios, playback speed control (1.5x, 2x+), and support for different audio channels.
Side note: Audio channels are an important part of playing MKV files on Mac computers. Audio channels refer to the number of audio tracks that are available in a video file. For example, if a video file contains two audio tracks, then it has two audio channels.
Why would you want to play an MKV file on Mac?
MKV files are a well known multimedia container format – they store high-quality video and audio content to be played on various devices.
They are often used for downloading movies or videos from the internet, so if you have an MKV file on your Mac, you may want to play it back. The default media player on MAc is quicktime; which doesn’t play MKV without the right codec/ plugin.
Related: How to make VLC the Default Player on Mac and Windows
Fortunately, there are several ways to open and play MKV files on Mac quickly and easily. You can use QuickTime with the Perian plugin, download VLC Player, use a MKV to MOV video converter, or use a video player with MKV compatibility.
Can you play MKV files on mac with quicktime?
Why doesn’t Mac Play MKV files natively?
Mac computers do not natively play MKV files, which can be a bit confusing. The simple answer is that Mac focuses on another format more commonly used, such as MOV. These file formats and their codecs are not supported by QuickTime Player for Mac.
Since the MOV format is supported natively by QuickTime and other built-in Mac programs, Apple has opted to make this their default format of choice for movies and other video media.
Ultimately, this means that if you have an MKV file on your Mac computer and it’s not playing, you need to find a program or application to help you open and play it. Fortunately, there are several options available that can easily allow you to open and play your MKV files without any issues as we’ve discussed in this post.
Is MKV a high-quality format?
MKV (Matroska Video) is not a video compression format, but rather a container format that can hold a variety of video and audio codecs. As a result, the quality of an MKV file depends on the codecs used to compress the video and audio content, not on the container itself.
In general, high-quality video codecs like H.264, H.265, or VP9 can produce high-quality MKV files. However, if the original video source was low quality or the video was poorly compressed, the resulting MKV file will also be of low quality.
It’s worth noting that MKV files can be relatively large compared to other container formats, as the MKV format supports a wide range of codecs and features. However, this added versatility and support for high-quality codecs makes MKV a popular choice for many users.
Can you convert MKV to MP4 on a Mac?
If you’re looking to open and play MKV files on Mac, you may be wondering if you can convert the file into an MP4 format. The answer is yes – there are various softwares available that can help you easily and quickly convert MKV to MP4 on a Mac.
However, keep in mind that most of these converters are web-based, so they may also contain ads which could detract from the user experience.
With the right converter however, it’s easy to take a single file (or a batch of files) and turn your MKV files into an MP4 container. This way, you can enjoy your videos on your Mac or windows without a hassle.
Can you convert MKV to AVI on a Mac?
You can you convert MKV to AVI on a Mac with a converter. Even though there are many web-based converters out there designed to convert MKV files to AVI on a Mac, they often come with lots of spam (not always, but frequently).
That’s not ideal if you’re looking for a fast and easy way to open and play MKV files. The Perian plugin on quicktime is ideal if you have multiple files that are mkv.
Fortunately, there are applications specifically designed for converting MKV files to AVI on Macs.
These apps have the ability to quickly and easily convert your MKV files into an easier-to-play file format like AVI, giving you the best possible result.
So if you want an hassle-free way of opening and playing your MKV files on your Mac, these applications are worth looking into.
Is MKV better than MOV?
If you’re on Mac, MKV is better in terms of compatibility. There are some general differences between MKV and MOV:
- Compatibility: MOV is a proprietary format developed by Apple and is primarily used on Apple devices, while MKV is an open-source format that is compatible with a wider range of devices and operating systems.
- Features: MKV has more advanced features compared to MOV, such as support for multiple audio tracks, subtitle tracks, and chapter points. MOV is limited to only a single audio and video track.
- File Size: MKV files can be larger in size compared to MOV files due to the additional features and codecs supported by the MKV format.
Ultimately, the choice between MKV and MOV depends on your specific needs and preferences. If video compatibility on Mac OS and ease of use are important to you, you may prefer MOV. If advanced features and support for a wider range of codecs are important, you may prefer MKV.
MKV files are not natively supported on Mac, but you can still open and play them by using a Quicktime plugin or third party, open sourced, free software with the proper AVI codecs. Quicktime + Perian Plugin is the best way to open and play MKV files on your mac. Alternatively, VLC Player or a MKV to MOV converter can be used to play MKV files.