Standard built-in Mac players can’t play MKV files since they don’t support this format and its codecs. However, MKV format is often used to play high-quality HD 1080p videos, so it becomes a proper challenge for Mac users to play MKV files. YouTube, for instance, allows you to download some HD videos only in MKV, so if you want to be able to watch them on Mac, keep reading this guide.
This is why we’re sharing this guide with the best 7 ways to play an MKV file on your Mac.
Play MKV on Mac with QuickTime Plugin
Playing MKV files directly with QuickTime isn't possible, but there's a solution. You can use Perian, a QuickTime plugin to play MKV files on your Mac for free. Once set up, Perian works automatically in QuickTime. However, note that Perian only supports QuickTime 7.6.6, and loading MKV files may take longer than expected. QuickTime needs to locate every single frame in the movie to play it, which can be difficult for file types like MKV. If you don't have the patience for a longer loading time, this option may not be for you.
Play MKV on Mac with EaseUS RecExperts
EaseUS RecExperts is not just a screen and audio recorder, but it also functions as a third-party video and audio player. It supports common formats like MP4, MP3, MKV, AAC, and more, making it an excellent choice for high-quality MKV playback. In addition, you can make basic changes to your MKV files, such as trimming, adjusting playback speed, and deleting files, all for free.
Play MKV on Mac with Elmedia Player
If you're looking for a reliable way to play MKV files on your Mac, Elmedia Player is a great option. It's designed for both advanced users and beginners and offers all the necessary features. You can use it to play FLV, SWF, AVI, MOV, MP4, MP3, MKV, or any other file type. It's an all-in-one player that can handle any file on your Mac.
Play MKV on Mac with VLC Media Player
Another good option to play MKV files on your Mac is VLC Media Player. It's well-known for its high level of security, making it a safe choice for users. Additionally, VLC supports almost all file formats, including MKV and MP4. The app is also highly customisable, with an editor tool for personalised extensions, and it works on all platforms.
Play MKV on Mac with Handbrake
Another way to play an MKV on Mac is to convert it to Mac-compatible formats. One such format is MP4, so you'll need to use a file converter. One of them is Handbrake, which is an open-source tool commonly used for ripping DVD videos. With just one click, you can use Handbrake to convert your MKV videos to MP4 format. Once converted, you can easily play the MP4 file on your Mac using QuickTime.
Play MKV on Mac with 5K Player
5KPlayer offers a wide range of free features such as viewing, customisation, streaming, downloading without requiring any activation or purchase. The ability to play MKV and other file types with HD playback are also included. While it may not support UHD, the added streaming and downloading functionality make up for any missing features depending on your expectations for an MKV player for Mac.
Play MKV on Mac with Movist
Movist is a simple yet reliable media player that doesn't offer any extravagant features like streaming or video filters. However, it can efficiently play any FFmpeg codec, which is perfect for playing MKV files. It's affordable and provides a decent amount of settings suitable for daily viewing or listening. For instance, it has an audio equalizer and subtitle synchronisation.
Download Videos in Mac-Compatible Formats with 4K Video Downloader
If you download video content on your Mac with 4K Video Downloader, choose the MP4 format in the Smart Mode settings before the download to play the file correctly, with no need to convert it.
Here’s how you can do it; let’s take a YouTube video download as an example.
1. Launch 4K Video Downloader.
2. Copy the video link from the browser.
3. Press the 'Paste Url' button in the 4K Video Downloader application. The video will be downloaded in MP4 or MKV by default on your Mac.
To download it in MP4, open Smart Mode prior to downloading, and choose MP4.
Then it remains only to wait until the downloading is completed and play the downloaded video.
How to Play an MKV File on Mac: FAQ
What Is an MKV File?
Matroska Video, commonly known as MKV, is not actually a specific type of video or audio file. Rather, it is a container format that can store multiple files such as video, audio, and subtitle tracks. Each of these tracks can be encoded using a different codec, and MKV doesn't compress the data. MKV also supports features such as descriptions, ratings, cover art, and chapter points. The ideal MKV player for Mac is one that can handle all of these features seamlessly. MKV is frequently used for high-definition online videos and in various professional applications.
What to do if I can’t play MKV on Mac properly?
In the case of an MKV file that has minor errors or disruption, consider using a converter to change the file format. This may help improve the file's performance.
Can I convert MKV to MP4 on Mac?
You can. Various methods and software options exist, many of which are available for free or offer a free trial. We have also mentioned one in our list.
Is MKV better than MP4?
MKV files can hold an infinite amount of subtitle tracks and have larger file sizes compared to MP4. However, MP4 is widely supported by all platforms and media players, including those on Mac. Both formats support high-quality videos, so the choice between them depends on personal convenience rather than the superiority of one over the other.
VLC is not playing the MKV file. What to do?
If you're experiencing difficulty playing MKV files on VLC, there are several solutions available. You can try using a different media player to open the file, adjust the Preferences in VLC settings, or utilise MKV file repair software to fix the video.