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How to play MKV file on Mac

Olga Weis Olga Weis Jan 10, 2023

QuickTime is the default player for Mac that can handle most file formats. However, there are compatibility issues with certain codecs and file formats, and MKV is on the list. So, in order to play MKV files on Mac, you need to look for other workarounds. In this article, we have shown you several options to choose from, namely using a third-party video player for Mac or converting the file to a supported format.

Solution 1. Use Media Players to Play MKV on Mac

Installing additional codecs and plugins used to be a great alternative method to make QuickTime Player play MKV files. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work with the release of QuickTime X. Luckily, there are quite a few tools that can easily open such files directly. For your convenience, below we have compiled the best MKV players for Mac along with their features, pros and cons, and step-by-step instructions.

Elmedia Player

Elmedia: universal video player
4.5 Rank based on 11950 + users Reviews(11950)
Requirements: macOS 10.12+
Version: v8.15(3307), Released 22 Mar, 2023 Release notes
Category: Video

The first player that we’d like to recommend is Elmedia Player. It is a versatile and powerful MKV file player Mac users can get. Elmedia supports a variety of formats, from MP4 to FLAC and SWF, so you won’t have any problems with compatibility. Besides, it is equipped with useful features like built-in subtitle search, different video/audio playback options and flexible settings.

Elmedia Player is compatible with the latest macOS, Ventura, and Apple M1 and M2 series. Among other things, the player is capable of streaming local files to Smart TV, Apple TV, AirPlay, DLNA and Chromecast devices, as well as supports surround sound with AC3/DTS hardware passthrough to ensure the best sound quality.

How to play MKV file on Mac with Elmedia Player

icon pros Pros:

  • Сompatible with most formats
  • Flexible audio and video settings
  • Streaming options
  • Playlist and bookmark features.

icon cons Cons:

  • Only available for macOS.

Supported OS: macOS

Price: free to use, PRO upgrade priced at $19.95

How to play MKV files on Mac with Elmedia Player

Download Elmedia from the official website or the AppStore and install it on your Mac.

 Downloading Elmedia Player will take you a few minutes.

Launch the app and open the MKV file using one of the following ways:

  • Drag the file to the Elmedia Player window.
  • Right-click the file and select “Open With”.
  • From the menu bar, choose “File” > “Open”.
 Playing MKV video in Elmedia Player is very simple and there are several options
Enjoy watching MKV videos.

Movist Pro

Movist Pro is another excellent app that can help you seamlessly handle MP4 on Mac. The app was originally developed based on QuickTime is an easy-to-use and powerful media player that can easily play MKV on Mac.

It offers a number of options to cuztomize playback to your liking. For example, you can set the preferred video quality, use filters and an equalizer. Among other things, Movist lets you view subtitles in several languages at the same time, and also provides the ability to watch videos directly from the browser with the Safari extension.

Movist is an easy-to-use and powerful MKV movie player

icon pros Pros:

  • Support for hardware accelerated decoding of the H.265/HEVC codec
  • Features auto-filling playlists
  • Can play media on network servers
  • HDR tone mapping for non-HDR monitors.

icon cons Cons:

  • Free only for 7 days
  • AirPlay is not added yet.

Supported OS: macOS

Price: free, PRO version costs $4.99

How to play MKV on Mac with Movist PRO

  1. Go to the official website or the App Store and download Movist Pro.
  2. Install and open the app.
  3. Navigate to the menu bar and select “Open Movie File”. Find the video you want to play.
  4. Alternatively, you can right-click on the desired file and then select “Open With”.


MKPlayer is another Mac player with a standard set of features and video adjustment options. It is capable of playing media container files like MKV with multiple audio tracks and subtitles. MKPlayer allows its users to select any audio and subtitle file and change them during playback. In addition, the app comes with a responsive control panel and includes AirPlay support. However, it is limited to AirPlay-compatible formats.

MKV file player for Mac with a standard set of features

icon pros Pros:

  • AirPlay support
  • Сonfigurable video settings
  • Supports Safari extension
  • Comes with an optimized control panel.

icon cons Cons:

  • Some Pro features are limited to macOS High Sierra and Mojave.

Supported OS: macOS

Price: free, PRO version costs $6.99

Play MKV on Mac using MKPlayer

  1. Download MKPlayer from the App Store.
  2. Open an MKV file from the menu bar or simply drag and drop it onto the Dock icon.

VLC Media Player

Another decent option when it comes to playing MKV on Mac. VLC (formerly VideoLan Client) can play almost all video and audio formats on all platforms. It is compatible with macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS and Android. The player is free and open source, meaning everyone can contribute to it. Besides, there are a number of additional features such as video editor, and subtitle synchronization. Using VLC, you can easily customize every aspect of video playback.

However, sometimes you may experience issues and glitches when playing videos. In this case, it is better to look for VLC alternative for Mac.

Free MKV Player for Mac with a wide range of functions

icon pros Pros:

  • Wide format support
  • Cross-platform
  • Comes with VLC skin editor to customize the interface.

icon cons Cons:

  • Interface is quite outdated
  • Reported issues during video playback.

Supported OS: macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android

Price: free and open-source

How to open MKV file on Mac with VLC

  1. Go to the official website and download VLC.
  2. To install the application, click "Authenticate" in the warning message that will appear on your screen.
  3. Find the file and right-click on it. Next, select “Open With” > VLC Player.
Solution 2: Converting Your MKV File Into a Format Compatible with macOS

Apart from these two methods we have already covered, there is another one that you can confidently use to play MKV on Mac. These are converters. By changing the MKV video to another popular format like MP4, you will be able to open it in any player on Mac.

Stellar Video Converter

Stellar Video Converter allows you to convert audio and video files to various popular formats. With it, you can convert MKV videos to MP4, MOV and other formats supported by your player and play them in QuickTime. The app supports batch conversion and includes editing features.

Video converter for macOS with many conversion combinations

icon pros Pros:

  • Preserves the quality of the original MKV file
  • Many conversion combinations.

icon cons Cons:

  • The free download lets you convert and save the one-third of the video.

How to use Stellar Video Converter to play MKV videos

  1. Download and install Stellar Video Converter on your Mac.
  2. Launch the app and select “Add File”.
  3. Find the MKV file you want to convert and select it.
  4. Choose the output format and click “Convert”.
  5. In the dialog box, specify the location for your files and click “Save”.


HandBrake is an open source cross-platform application for converting videos. If you are wondering how to play MKV files on Mac, you can simply convert them to any other format with HandBrake and then play in QuickTime.

It’s an open source cross-platform application for converting videos

icon pros Pros:

  • Free to use and open source
  • Allows you to configure many basic and advanced settings
  • Can process DVD and BluRay sources.

icon cons Cons:

  • It is reported that there are some bugs. Not recommended to convert long videos.

How to use HandBrake to open MKV videos on Mac

  1. Download the app from the official website.
  2. Open the app and go to “Source” > “Open File”. Select the MKV file.
  3. Find the MKV file you want to convert and select it.
  4. Once done, you can open the video in your media player.

Frequently Used Workarounds in the Past

You may come across this method on the Internet more than once, however, it’s always forgotten to note that it is among the outdated ones. We are talking about using plugins for QuickTime to make it open not only MKV files but also other QuickTime non-compatible formats. One of the popular plugins is called Perian.

It used to be a great solution until its support and updates were stopped by the developer. Nowadays, it is available for QuickTime version 7, but even if you somehow manage to download and install this version of the player on your Mac, you will face the “QuickTime player not working” issue, as this version of the video player was compiled for 32-bit OS.

What Is an MKV File?

MKV (stands for Matroska Video) is a multimedia container format created in 2002. A file with the .mkv extension can include audio, video, and subtitle tracks in the same file, even if those elements use a different codec. An MKV file can also store images and file metadata.

This file type is commonly used for high definition videos. However, not all media players and programs can play MKV correctly. To open it, users need to install additional applications or codecs.

Matroska Video files are container files that support unlimited picture, audio, and subtitle tracks


There are many ways to open MKV on Mac, so you can definitely choose the one that suits your requirements. If you often work with this format, we recommend using a third-party media player. With that in mind, you can also learn about the AVI player for Mac. Alternatively, you can convert the MKV file to any other popular format using a converter, or install a plugin to make QuickTime open that type of file. No matter which method you choose, each one will help you play MKV on Mac flawlessly.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Unfortunately, QuickTime is not compatible with MKV files. But still, there are ways to help you play MKV on Mac: you can use the plugin and upgrade your QuickTime or just convert the desired file to a format supported by your player. Alternatively, you can look for a QuickTime alternative for Mac.

There are many media players that can open MKV. You can try any of the apps described in our article and choose the best one.

There is no exact answer to which is better. Each MKV player for Mac has its own pros and cons, and the choice depends on the needs of the user. However, we would recommend Elmedia Player as the most worthy and reliable.

Surely. There are multiple converters, both online and downloadable. In this article, we have covered some of the converters you can rely on.
Elmedia: universal video player
Requirements: OS X 10.12++ , 89.23MB free space
Version 8.15(3307) (22 Mar, 2023) Release notes
Category: Video

How to Play MKV File on Mac using Elmedia Player