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How to Play MKV Files on Mac: Best Methods in 2021

It’s not easy to play MKV files on Mac. The default system player - QuickTime - is incompatible with the format. It’s up to other apps, then. Many players can open MKV without hassle, but converters and plugins exist as an alternative. We will review some potential solutions to open MKV on Mac.

Top choice
Elmedia Player Free
4.8 Rank based on 131+ users, Reviews(131)
Elmedia - Best MKV Player for Mac

MKV on Mac with Elmedia

MKV and many other codecs are playable in this MKV player for Mac. Running natively on the latest versions of macOS, Elmedia Player lets you customize sound, video and subtitles. You can also stream local files, save playlists, create and edit bookmarks, and make screenshots. It’s a well-rounded app that will satisfy anyone.

Play MKV on Mac with Elmedia Player

How to Open MKV Files on Mac

Playing MKV files on Mac won’t be difficult. 2 simple steps is all it takes:

1. Download the Elmedia Player app for free.

Elmedia MKV Player for Mac installation

2. Play your videos

There are a few ways you can play your videos:

  • Simply drag your chosen file into the open Elmedia Player window or onto the dock logo.
  • Open Finder on your Mac and right-click on your MKV file; select "Open With". Then, choose Elmedia Player.
  • From the Elmedia Player app, click "File" on the top left corner in the menu bar, then click “Open” and choose your file from there.
Open MKV files on Mac with Elmedia

3. Enjoy!

How to Watch MKV on Mac: Alternative Conversion Resources

There’s another way you can go about opening MKV files on Mac - it’s through the use of a conversion tool. By converting your MKV file to a compatible format like MP4 or MOV, you'll be able to play it on the native QuickTime Player, or any comparable program of your choice. Although this conversion process takes longer and can result in video quality loss, it’s still a decent option.

UniConverter by Wondershare

One of the best conversion programs we’ve found for Mac is an app called UniConverter by Wondershare. It’s a comprehensive app with support for many different file formats like AVI, MTS, MKV, FLV, DVD, MOV, MPEG, MPEG-4, VOB, and more.

Here’s how you can use this MKV converter Mac software:

  1. Download UniConverter for Mac.
  2. Select the file you want to convert and click on “Add Files”.
  3. Choose your desired conversion format.
  4. Click on “Convert” to start converting your file.
  5. Once file conversion is complete, you can play your video on QuickTime Player.
convert MKV to MP4 on Mac

Handbrake Will Help You Play MKV on Mac

Here’s another option to convert MKV. We haven’t mentioned this before; here’s something to note: an offline converter is always faster than a web service. That’s one of the benefits you get when using Handbrake.

It’s a FOSS transcoder with many uses. Not only can it solve the compatibility issue with MKV on Mac, but it’s also commonly used to make DVD rips. The installation process is brief and simple.

Using this MKV converter Mac app is even less complicated:

  1. You must select the initial file for conversion. Click the "Open Source" button - it can be found in the top left corner.
  2. There are several presets, but you can also manually tweak things like video duration, dimensions and output format.
  3. If you choose the right format, it will be playable without any additional software.
Handbrake - Play MKV on Mac

Online Video Converter

Perhaps you don’t want to download any additional software to your Mac. Or maybe you’re the kind of person who likes to limit his Mac app selection to bare essentials. In either case, we recommend using an online converting tool like https://convert-video-online.com/. This resource lets you watch MKV files on Mac and benefit from the main features of conversion software without taking up additional storage on your Mac.

The steps are relatively similar to downloadable tools and really simple:

  1. Click "Open" and choose the file you want to convert.
  2. When choosing the output format, select “MOV” for video.
  3. Click "Convert".
  4. Once complete, download and play your newly converted file.
Steps to convert MKV to MP4

QuickTime with the Perian Plug-In

How to play .mkv? Are there any other options besides the ones we’ve mentioned so far? There’s one more to be found on the internet. And that’s a plugin called Perian; it can be added to the QuickTime Player. Basically, this plug-in acts like a patch that lets QuickTime run several additional file formats, including MKV. Today it’s outdated and no longer supported.

Did QuickTime Formerly Support MKV?

Perian used to be a plug-in for older versions of QuickTime that enabled compatibility for many different unsupported formats. MKV was one of these file types. Despite the fact that some websites propose it as a solution, the plug-in has been discontinued, and it is no longer updated to work with the newest versions of QuickTime.

What is MKV?

Matroska Video is a universal container format for video, audio codecs, subtitles and metadata. It’s open-source, and the documentation is available for free public use.

MKV File Format

Conclusion

An MKV file format is nothing more than a multimedia container. MKV files can incorporate different video, audio and subtitles into one file. While this makes MKV a versatile and adaptable file format, the problem is that not many video players come with support for MKV files right out of the box. So the only way to play MKV on Mac would be to either download a player with MKV support, download an additional MKV codec for the player you already use, or convert the MKV file into a compatible one.

FAQ

Below, we have a list of the most frequently asked questions about the MKV format. If there’s a question you have that’s not on the list, feel free to leave it in the comments. We’re always updating our FAQs and we’ll try to answer your questions as soon as possible.

The default video player for macOS is the QuickTime Player. And, unfortunately, it doesn’t support MKV playback by default. It used to be an option until Perian support was discontinued. Now it isn’t.

The best option to play MKV files on Mac is either to use a video player app like Elmedia MKV Player for Mac, or convert it with a program like UniConverter by Wondershare.

Playing MKV files on Mac with VLC Player is easy. Just open the VLC Player app and choose “File”, then “Open File”. Once you’ve found the video you’re looking for, hit “Open”.

Another way to open MKV file on Mac is by locating and right-clicking it, before choosing “Open With”. From there you can find the VLC option and choose it to play the file.

Yes, it can - but only with the right tools. And the best tool we recommend to play MKV files on your Macbook is Elmedia. It’s an incredible application that will surely replace any existing video players you’re using now.

And the best part is that it works not only on Macbooks like the Air and Pro, but also on Mac Pro, iMac, iMac Pro - both portable and desktop Macs. So you can use the same amazing media center across all your favorite Mac devices.

There are many macOS apps that contend to be the best MKV player. One of the best MKV players for Mac is Elmedia Player, but they all have their upsides - compatibility, features and options. Choose the one that’s best for you.

Elmedia Player Free

Requirements: OS X 10.12+ , 103.67MB free space
Version 8.1(2848) (28 Jul, 2021) Release notes