Top 5 Best MKV Player Apps for macOS Devices

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Top choice
Elmedia 4.8 Rank based on 463+ users, Reviews(367)

If you consume media on your Mac in any decent capacity, you’ve probably run into MKV files before. MKV is a free multimedia container format that’s very common in today’s digital world. It holds an unlimited number of video, audio and subtitle files all in one file - which makes it very smooth and convenient to use. Unfortunately, you may have come to realize that your Mac’s default media player, QuickTime Player, doesn’t support .mkv files by default. They only work by installing additional plug-ins and even that comes with its own set of security and accessibility issues.

Instead, the simpler option is to opt for an alternative media player that has MKV playback capabilities built-in and ready to run from the get-go.

Here’s a list we put together for you, of the best video players for Mac. The best part is they’re all compatible with macOS Catalina as well:

Best Mac MKV players for new macOS

Elmedia logo
1. Elmedia Player
Requirements: OS X 10.9+. 59.68MB free space. Version 7.14(2226). (10 Aug, 2020). 4.8 Rank based on 463+ users, Reviews(367)
Category: MultimediaApplication

When it comes to an all-around video player for Mac, our top choice is Elmedia Player. It natively supports all kinds of file formats, from FLV, SWF, AVI, MOV, MP4, MP3, and of course MKV. This popular MKV player for Mac gives you the best HD quality viewing experience without any lagging or unsynchronized audio thanks to its robust hardware accelerated decoding.

Elmedia Video Player

With Elmedia Player PRO, you can do even more. Get your most personalized viewing experience by using features like Air-Play streaming, wireless connectivity of Chromecast to your smart TV’s and DLNA-enabled devices. Also you get additional subtitle support, an advanced video and audio fine-tuning options, screenshot capturing and tons more.

Elmedia Player Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • Note-worthy range of supported file formats
  • Fully customizable video and audio playback personalization and controls
  • Robust subtitle support
  • Versatile wireless streaming capabilities across multiple devices
  • AirPlay-enabled
  • Watch videos from YouTube, Dailymotion, and Vimeo directly in your player window - completely ad free

Cons:

  • Limited support for older devices
  • Some features accessible only on PRO version

2. VLC Media Player

Watch MKV with VLC

VLC player is another solid option to play MKV on Mac. VLC is known as the video player for Mac that plays all formats. It supports almost all file formats with ease, and MKV is one of them. One of it’s most favourite features are its high security measures used to keep viruses and spyware at bay, granting much comfort to its users. Besides that, it offers a host of other outstanding features like a high speed built-in video and audio converter, ability to create custom playlists on the fly, customize your own skis and interface design, and just an all-around reliable video player for Mac.

VLC Media Player Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • Highly customizable with editor tool for personalized extensions and skins
  • No spyware or user tracking
  • Supports most video, audio and image file formats
  • Completely free with no ads

Cons:

  • Unreliable playback for Blu-Ray and DVDs
  • Interface feels outdated and not as intuitive as other updated apps
  • Inconsistent performance with music

3. 5KPlayer

Run MKV on Mac with 5KPlayer

5KPlayer is another popular free MKV video player for Mac. It provides a very user-friendly experience, especially when it comes to file format compatibility. You get an endless number of options to customize your viewing experience. Whether that’s connecting via AirPlay, downloading HD video straight from the web, or high quality audio extraction, you get it all with 5KPlayer.

5KPlayer Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • Simple to use video to MP3 audio converter
  • High quality and lag-free AirPlay connectivity for screen mirroring and screen recording capabilities
  • Support for latest macOS version and other popular devices

Cons:

  • New users my need time to get used to configuration

4. MKPlayer

MKPlayer to open MKV on Mac

MKPlayer is another relatively common alternative MKV player for Macs. Although it shares similar features with other third-party MKV format players, it has its own distinct user experience. It’s simple to install from the App store and get started right away. You have all the standard playback customization options, convenient video adjustment settings, a responsive mini player for multi-tasking on your Mac, and more. Overall, a decent Mac MKV player.

MKPlayer Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • Reliable performance of MKV files
  • Responsive control panel for mini player settings

Cons:

  • Advanced features like Safari extension, advanced video adjustments and multilingual subtitle selection limited to macOS High Sierra and Mojave (unlocked for $9.99)

5. IINA Player

IINA for playing MKV on Mac

If you’re looking for a ‘set it and forget it’ kind of Mac MKV player, then IINA has to be your video player of choice. It’s intuitive, out-of-the-box interface is a breeze to use, not to mention it’s incredible aesthetic appeal. It can easily handle any sort of MKV file you throw at it, all with relative ease and consistent performance. It’s perfect for Mac users because it integrates the macOS design language and beautifully weaves in native Mac features like Force Touch, Touch Bar, and Trackpad gestures, to create a wonderful user experience. Overall, a very reliable free MKV player.

IINA Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • Consistent and reliable performance with MKV files
  • Browser plug-in for Firefox and Chrome
  • Up-to-date UI and clean interface that’s simple to navigate

Cons:

  • Not as energy efficient as other video players, which is a concern if battery life is important to you

Things to consider when choosing an MKV video player


A good MKV player ought to be:

  1. Able to support high-quality videos like 4K and 8K.
  2. Compatible with macOS Catalina.
  3. Without annoying ads or malware.
  4. Easy to manage, with the right interface and intuitive modern design.
  5. Lightweight and use less system resources.
  6. Able to play videos without delays or braking.

Table to find the best Mac MKV player in 2020

Use this tool to compare and contrast the best way for you to play MKV on Mac. These media players all have something to offer, so find the best one for you here!

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Top features
VideoDuke
Elmedia
VLC
5KPlayer
MKPlayer
IINA Player
Plays MKV on Mac and other popular video formats
Plays MKV on Mac and other popular video formats
yes (AVI, FLV, SWF, MP4, WMV, MOV, DAT, M4V, MPG, DivX, MKV, etc.)  
yes (MKV, MP4, VOB, WMV, MPG AVI, etc.)  
yes (MKV, M2TS, MP4, AVI, WMV, FLV, etc.)  
yes (MKV, MP4, VOB, WMV, MPG AVI, etc. )  
yes ( AVI, MP4, FLV, SWF, WMV, MKV, M4V etc.)  
Supports several popular audio formats
Supports several popular audio formats
yes (MP3, WMA, AC2, MKA, OGG, FLAC, AAC, etc.)  
yes (AAC, AC-3, FLAC, MP3, ALAC, etc.)  
yes (MP3, AAC, AC3, WMA, FLAC, ALAC, etc.)  
yes (AAC, AC-3, FLAC, MP3, ALAC, etc.)  
yes (AAC,FLAC, MP3, WAV, WMA, etc.)  
Enables local file streaming to other devices (TV, Streaming deivce, etc.)
Enables local file streaming to other devices (TV, Streaming deivce, etc.)
yes (PRO)  
yes  
yes  
yes  
no  
Integrated Video Tuner
Integrated Video Tuner
yes (PRO)  
yes  
yes  
no  
no  
Video format conversion support
Video format conversion support
no  
yes  
no  
no  
no  
Enables Video enhancement: flip, rotate, mirror, etc.
Enables Video enhancement: flip, rotate, mirror, etc.
yes  
yes  
yes  
no  
yes  
Featured Audio Equalizer
Featured Audio Equalizer
yes  
yes  
no  
no  
yes  
Audio/Video Delay adjustment
Audio/Video Delay adjustment
yes  
yes  
yes  
yes  
yes  
Supports Subtitle Feature
Supports Subtitle Feature
yes  
yes  
yes  
no  
yes  
Enables subtitle synchronization
Enables subtitle synchronization
yes  
yes  
no  
no  
yes  
Online subtitle search feature
Online subtitle search feature
yes  
add-on  
no  
yes  
yes  
Allows Picture-in-Picture
Allows Picture-in-Picture
yes  
yes  
yes  
yes  
yes  
Chapter feature
Chapter feature
yes  
yes  
yes  
yes  
yes  
User experience enhanced with hardware acceleration
User experience enhanced with hardware acceleration
yes  
yes  
yes  
no  
yes  
Allows screen recording
Allows screen recording
no  
yes  
no  
yes (Safari)  
no  
Available browser extension that can play media directly from a website
Available browser extension that can play media directly from a website
no  
yes  
no  
yes  
yes  
Free option
Free option
yes
yes
yes
yes
yes

Best Video Player for MacBook

So you’re looking for a video player for your Macbook? There are so many options but which one should you go with? What are things you need to keep in mind when looking for the perfect video player for you? Well, the first thing to keep in mind is performance and battery usage. Streaming and watching videos can last hours and if you’re not careful, it can quickly drain your battery before you even know it. So when looking for a video player, you should look for one that is lightweight (processing power) and energy-efficient. This way, you can enjoy hours of video content without worrying about it slowing down your MacBook or draining your battery. We recommend you go with Elmedia Player, as it meets these important criteria.

What are MKV Files?

MKV files are multimedia container formats that can hold video, audio, picture and subtitle tracks, all in one file. It can hold an unlimited number of these media in a single file irrespective of the type of encoding needed for each. So that means you could have an MKV file that contains both H.264 video and AAC or MP3 for audio.

The great thing about MKV format is it was designed to be future-proof and that way it’s files wouldn’t become outdated. A few ways this was achieved include:

  1. Accelerated seeking
  2. Online streaming compatibility
  3. Subtitle support
  4. Metadata support
  5. Corruption recovery - allowing corrupted files to be recovered and playable

Advantages and disadvantages of MKV format to consider


Just like any other video format, MKV format has both pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Supports all video and audio codec combinations including H.265 (MKV HEVC movies).
  • Highly flexible as it contains a large number of videos, audios, subtitles, pictures, 3D objects and other files.
  • It’s nonproprietary (open source and totally free).
  • Two compression options: Lossy and Lossless.
  • Amazing video and audio streaming dynamics.
  • Uses both LAN and standard Internet protocol for streaming.
  • Can play corrupted files.
  • Has reliable error restoration mechanisms.
  • Offers accessible, comprehensive and clear documentation.
  • Allows you to add metadata without rewriting the whole file. You can also include your own self-documentation.
  • Enables fast seeking using chapter markers.
  • It’s supported by the Library of Congress, FADGI and PREFORMA (preservation formats) project.

Cons:

  • Has larger file size than most other formats can offer.
  • Additional file editing tools may be required.
  • Not all players can open MKV files.

Most of the listed cons are relative. For instance, the last one can be avoided when you use Elmedia Player because it’s a multi-feature MKV player.

Categories of Matroska files

Matroska Multimedia Container is a free open source format that contains four types of files: MKV (Matroska video), MKA (Matroska audio), MKS (subtitles) and MK3D (stereoscopic/3D video). These four categories are the best choice for whenever you want to play MKV files on your Mac device. Here is an overview of the four Matroska file categories.

MKV files

MKV extension is commonly used for HD movies and TV shows. It is great for playing videos, audios (in movies) and videos with subtitles. The best players to open the MKV extension with include Elmedia Player, Windows Media Player, 5KPlayer (containing MKV codec) and VLC (although sound and subtitles may be unavailable).

MKA files

These are mostly used as audio files and normally contain various audio compression formats such as MP2, MP3, AAC, AC3, DTS among others. This extension can have either music albums or display karaoke subtitles. With MKA extension, you can easily divide audio files into tracks or chapters, change tracks and merge MKA with MKV format.

MKS files

With MKS extension, you can easily import various subtitle formats, including VobSub (.sub), SubRip (.srt), Sub Station Alpha (.ssa/ .ass) and Core Media Player XML universal subtitle format (.usf). Any open source MKV player can launch an MKS file by simply double-clicking on it.

MK3D files

MK3D extension is commonly found in home theaters because it’s a special 3D option of MKV multimedia. It provides 3D video support in two isolated video tracks – one track for each eye, but at times it can be one track with data for both eyes in numerous formats.

Frequently Asked Questions

Third-party video players for Mac are great because they allow you to play your favourite MKV format videos without the need for additional codecs or plugins. In the article above, we listed five of the best MKV players we think you should consider checking out. You can download them easily by clicking on the download link.

To play MKV files on Mac, you need to download a third-party video player that can play MKV files without additional codecs or plugins. You can choose any of the seven best MKV players we have discussed in the above article. Click on the download link and continue enjoying your videos.

Unfortunately, QuickTime doesn’t support MKV format. In fact, the component for QuickTime that allowed playing MKV files on Mac no longer exists. Therefore, the easiest way to play MKV is to download a 3rd party video player like Elmedia, which can easily run MKV files without the need to install extra codecs and plugins. Otherwise, the only other option available is to convert MKV files to MOV, the most Mac-friendly format.

To play MKV files in VLC Player, you simply open VLC and select File > Open file... and then locate the MKV video and click Open. You can also right click on the MKV file, click Open within the context menu and choose “VLC Player”.

Since QuickTime, the default video player on Mac, doesn’t support MKV format, you need to download a third-party player to open your MKV files. Even watching an MKV video requires a third-party player. It’s advisable to use a player like Elmedia because it doesn’t require additional plugins and codecs. Here are the simple steps to follow when downloading Elmedia Player.

  • Download, install and open free Elmedia Player on your Mac device.
  • Open your MKV video. You can simply drag the video onto the open app or onto the icon in the Dock. Another option is to right click on the video file in the Finder and choose “Open with” option and then select Elmedia Player.
  • Click the Play button and enjoy your video.

Yes, it is very easy to play MKV files on Mac, provided you have a third-party player like Elmedia Player. All players covered in the above article are multifunctional and highly reliable. You simply click on the download button and install the app.

There’s good news and bad news. The bad news is Apple’s native player doesn’t support MKV file playback. The good news, however, is that you can download free, open-source third-party video players that can play MKV on iPhone. Apps like VLC for iOS can play anything from MP4 to MKV. Other options are Infuse 6, Playable Pro, Flex, and more.

Elmedia Player
Requirements: OS X 10.9+ , 59.68MB free space
Version 7.14(2226) (10 Aug, 2020) Release notes
Category: MultimediaApplication
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