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Best MP4 Player for Mac: Top 5 Players

Choose an MP4 player Mac app that can do everything you need. QuickTime can play MP4, but it’s just a stock app with limited functionality. For better experience, you need to get an app that can do more - for example, stream, open many different formats and load additional external audio tracks. Take a look at the best apps in the MP4 category.

Top choice
Elmedia Player Free
4.8 Rank based on 131+ users, Reviews(131)
Elmedia - Best MP4 Player for Mac

1. Elmedia Player

Elmedia is undisputedly the best Mac MP4 player. Easy streaming, advanced options for video and audio, playlist and bookmark management - it has everything you’ll ever need from a multimedia app. MPEG, MP4, MOV, MKV, M4V - this MP4 player for Mac can handle them and all their codecs, with audio and subtitle synchronization to boot.

Best MP4 Player for Mac

The Benefits of Elmedia PRO

In order to enjoy this video player for Mac fully, you need to upgrade it with the PRO package. This way, it becomes the ultimate MP4 player Mac application. Unlimited streaming time to DLNA, AirPlay 2 and Chromecast is just the beginning - with Elmedia PRO you can save downloaded subtitles and use the audio equalizer and the video tuner. And there’s more.

icon pros Pros

  • Supports a large variety of codecs and formats
  • Easy-to-use streaming feature
  • Features for video, audio, subtitles, bookmarks and playlists

icon cons Cons

  • Some functions locked behind PRO purchase
  • No version available for Windows

2. JustPlay

If you’re looking for a simple, reliable way of playing MP4 on Mac, JustPlay is the app for you. It opens many different formats - especially from the MPEG lineup. This applies even to high-res 4K videos. Video, audio and subtitle settings allow you to shape your experience to your liking. Save playlists and search for subtitles online. If you want to, switch to Picture-in-Picture and keep it running in the background.

Playing MP4 on Mac

icon pros Pros

  • Compact and easy to use
  • Versatile - opens anything
  • Customizable look and sound

icon cons Cons

  • Less advanced features
  • Only paid, no free version

3. Cisdem Video Player

This MP4 player for Mac offers a reasonable amount of useful features, and it’s easy to use. Load up subtitles on the go as you watch movies in the Cisdem player. Offering hotkeys for playback and volume, conversion to MP4, MP3, MKV and other formats, and HD playback, it’s a viable choice. On the other hand, the conversion features are locked behind a $9.99 payment.

Cisdem Mp4 Player for Mac

icon pros Pros

  • Easy to learn and use
  • Has conversion features

icon cons Cons

  • Requires a purchase
  • Very limited functionality

4. 5KPlayer

5KPlayer supports a wide range of formats like MP4, WMV, AVI, MKV, and more. This MP4 player for Mac comes with a list of incredibly useful features like video downloading and converting, screen recording capabilities, wireless streaming with AirPlay, and built-in online video streaming, along with many others. Some users report running into performance inconsistencies with this app but experience may vary. If you haven’t tried this MP4 video player for Mac before, you might want to consider it.

Mac MP4 Player

icon pros Pros

  • 8K Ultra HD videos supported
  • Flexible audio equalizer
  • Solid video to MP3 converter

icon cons Cons

  • Unreliable performance
  • Can run into glitches and bugs often
  • Can be quite CPU-heavy

5. VLC Media Player

A staple MP4 video player for Mac and other platforms. VLC includes dozens of codecs, which lets it play virtually any video or audio file, even DVD menus. Surprisingly, it’s free to use, despite the countless useful features - such as YouTube streaming, playlist creation, video color correction, audio sync, etc. The only downside is the interface, which may be a bit clunky.

Best free mp4 player

icon pros Pros

  • Completely free software
  • Can handle lots of complex tasks
  • Support for macOS, Windows, Android, iOS, and more

icon cons Cons

  • Updates are slow and not as consistent as more modern apps
  • Layout and system can be confusing to navigate
  • Overall design feels outdated

5 Key Factors to Remember Before You Pick Any MP4 Player for Mac

So after reviewing all the options, what should you keep in mind when looking for the best MP4 player for Mac?

  1. Support for multiple file formats
    The common video and audio formats to keep in mind are MP4, MKV, and MP3.
  2. HD video quality
    To enjoy your videos to the fullest, the MP4 player Mac app you choose should be capable of handling high-definition video without any lags or hiccups.
  3. User-interface and design
    Complex systems and processes aren’t fun to use. Find an app that can simplify your choices and make it a breeze to use.
  4. Playlist support
    Because this feature alone can make or break an enjoyable media player experience. This is a must-have feature to segment and organize all your video and audio files.
  5. Ad-blocking
    For your privacy and safety, an MP4 player for Mac that supports some kind of ad-free system is much more valuable - saving you from potential spyware, tracking, and malicious malware.

A comparison table of the best MP4 players for macOS

This chart provides you with an at-a-glance analysis of the best MP4 players for Mac, comparing general info as well as in-depth technical capabilities.

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Top features
VideoDuke
Elmedia
JustPlay
VLC
5KPlayer
Cisdem
Open MP4 on Mac as well as other video formats
Open MP4 on Mac as well as other video formats
yes (AVI, FLV, SWF, MP4, WMV, MOV, DAT, M4V, MPG, DivX, MKV.)  
yes (MP4, AVI, MOV, SWF, DAT, MKV, etc.)  
yes (MKV, MP4, VOB, WMV, MPG AVI, etc. )  
yes (MKV, M2TS, MP4, AVI, WMV, FLV, etc.)  
yes (MKV, AVI, FLV, AVCHD, WMV, etc.)  
Allows local MP4 streaming to TV
Allows local MP4 streaming to TV
yes (PRO)  
no  
yes  
yes  
no  
Includes a video tuner
Includes a video tuner
yes (PRO)  
yes  
yes  
yes  
no  
Allows video conversion from one format to another
Allows video conversion from one format to another
no  
no  
yes  
no  
yes (PRO)  
Included Audio Equalizer
Included Audio Equalizer
yes  
yes  
yes  
no  
no  
Integrated subtitle support
Integrated subtitle support
yes  
yes  
yes  
yes  
yes  
Allows screen recording
Allows screen recording
no  
no  
yes  
no  
no  
Free Option
Free option
yes
no
yes
yes
yes

What is MP4?

MP4 is essentially a container format that stores the data of a file, instead of the code. MP4 stands for MPEG-4 which comes from Apple’s QuickTime MOV format and can store more than audio. It can carry video, audio, subtitle, and other metadata within a single file. This makes MP4 a much more versatile file format as opposed to something like MP3. Over the years, MP4 has gained popularity due to its efficiency when compressed and portability when shared and streamed online.

MP4 file format advantages:

  • Useful for online streaming and sharing
  • Easy to transfer and move around due to significant compression of the file
  • Versatile with tons of metadata in a single file like object and scene descriptors
  • Virtually compatible with all kinds of devices and applications
  • High quality at low compressions

MP4 file format disadvantages:

  • Loss of quality after compressed
  • Format not ideal for editing
  • Due to ease of transfer and sharing, the MP4 format can be easily distributed illegally

The MP4 file extension

MP4 doesn’t have a specific file extension. Since the format and contents of the file varies, so does the file extensions:

The .mp4 and .m4a file extensions

The default file extension for MP4 is ".mp4". But there’s a bit of an issue here. Since .mp4 files theoretically could contain both video and audio within it, it makes it very difficult to determine which files are only video, or only audio, or both. That’s where the .m4a extension came in. It was used as a means to distinguish between video and audio files so .m4a was used strictly to label only audio tracks. It was very common and popular as Apple used this format for all the tracks sold on its App Store.

The .m4b file extension

Another slight variation of the MP4 file extension includes the .m4b file extension. This differs slightly from the .m4a extension by a notable point. Both are audio files but .m4b extension files contain more data within it that allow for audio tracks to be paused and played and resumed from where it was last stopped. You’ll find this format most commonly used in podcasts and audiobook files.

The .m4r extension

This extension is unique because it was created specially by Apple for the iPhone. Since the iPhone began to gain much popularity, Apple decided to dedicate this .m4r extension to its iPhone ringtones.

Frequently Asked Questions

Having already answered some of the most pressing questions like "Can you play MP4 on Mac?" or "Can Mac Play MP4?", we thought it’s a good idea to move forward with some of the most popular questions from users.

The most straightforward way to play MP4 on Mac is to just double-click on the file and let the Mac decide on the best app to open it. However, QuickTime can sometimes register errors when playing MP4 files. In such a situation, turning to a third-party app to play MP4 is the best choice. No matter if you go for a free MP4 player or you want the PRO version, there’s a wide range of MP4 players to choose from. Our top choice is Elmedia Player.

It’s not a fixed thing. Sometimes, QuickTime may be able to play MP4 files, it’s all about the codec that was used in the creation of the video. That’s why QuickTime will sometimes play an MP4 file and come up with the "fail to open" error in other situations. Being a complex video container, MP4 is quite tricky for QuickTime so that’s why choosing any of the MP4 players for Apple we presented above is a good idea.

If adding another software to play MP4 on MacBook seems like a tedious task for you, there’s another way of going around the issue of not being able to play MP4 files. What you need to do is convert the file to a more QuickTime-friendly one. You have plenty of options when it comes to converters, both online and as standalone apps. Converting MP4 to AVI can easily be done via Online UniConverter, for example. It comes with a friendly user interface and can handle multiple video and audio formats. After the conversion is complete, files can be saved to your Mac.

Steps to convert MP4 to AVI through Online UniConverter (previously known as Media.io):

Step 1: Access media.io

Step 2: Choose between the Drag & Drop or Hit to Add File options to upload the desired MP4 file.

Step 3: In the output format dropdown menu, choose AVI.

Step 4: Tap CONVERT and the file will be converted online. Once the conversion is finished, you can press the DOWNLOAD ALL button to get the converted files on Mac.

Encoded with the same codec MPEG-4, MP4 is similar to MOV. The choice between MOV and MP4 is quite simple then, provided you know what are you going to do with the file. Based on where you need to play the videos, you can choose between MOV and MP4. Alternatively, you can convert one into another for absolutely free. Ideally, if you are using a Mac, MOV is quite safe and efficient, being more compatible with QuickTime than MP4. However, in the case of non-Apple devices, MP4 proves to be a wiser option. The best MP4 player will be able to handle both formats.

Since they are using the same compression system, MPEG-4, MOV and MP4 are actually very similar. It even goes further than that since MP4 was developed using the framework from MOV. However, there are some differences between the two formats.

Generally, MP4 is better received than MOV thanks to its tagging options and wide-range of platforms it is compatible with. MOV and its proprietary design can give you a hard time when dealing with a larger selection of platforms. Therefore, MP4 is more flexible and versatile than MOV, however, in terms of quality there are no distinct differences.

There are times when you can open MP4 on Mac with QuickTime Player with ease, and other times you can’t. Here’s why. As mentioned earlier, MP4 doesn’t have one specific file extension. They have many different ones depending on the encoded files within it. So while QuickTime can support .mp4 and .m4v, it may run into issues when trying to run other extensions under the same MPEG-4 format. That’s why we suggest getting yourself a third-party app that can run all MP4 files without issues whatsoever.

Windows 10 default player, Windows Media Player, unfortunately, doesn’t natively support MP4 format. In order to play in that format, you’d need to download additional codecs. But if you don’t want to get into that, then the simpler option is to download a third-party video player. Apps like VLC Media Player and 5KPlayer are worthwhile options for Windows that lets you play MP4 files simply and securely every time.

Elmedia Player Free
Requirements: macOS 10.12+ , 103.67MB free space
Version 8.1(2848) (28 Jul, 2021) Release notes
Category: MultimediaApplication