Best MP4 Player for Mac - Here are the Top 5 Apps to Check Out

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

Has this ever happened to you? You have some favorite TV shows or movies saved to a hard drive that you want to watch on your Mac, but when you go to run the file, it doesn’t play. Confused, you decide to Google "how do I open an mp4 file on a Mac", or "how to play mp4 on Mac". Come to realize that the file you’re trying to open, can’t be played on Mac’s default player, QuickTime Player. Why is that?

Well, you see, QuickTime Player can do a lot of things, but it’s also limited in other things. It doesn’t support a ton of file formats, which is why you may find yourself figuring out how to convert files instead of enjoying watching them.

That’s why we compiled a whole list for you, dedicated to the top 5 best MP4 players for Mac that will effortlessly and reliably play all your favorite movies and TV shows, instantly.

Best MP4 video players for Mac

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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

To kick things off, we start with number one. Playing MP4 on Mac has never been easier, thanks to Elmedia Player. This app supports a boatload of media file formats ranging from AVI, FLV, SWF, WMV, MOV, MP3, MKV, MP4, and more.

Elmedia Player for Mac

And with its incredible processing power and ability to watch HD content with ease, you can be assured that you’re never going to be dealing with any playback issues and slowdowns that you encounter on other common apps. And with Elmedia Player PRO, you get even more benefits. Wirelessly stream HD content to any Smart TV, Apple TV, or DLNA devices via Chromecast and AirPlay. The PRO version also lets you watch YouTube videos without being interrupted by ads, and with the intuitive playlist feature you can organize your personal media library. With additional features like robust subtitle support, screen capturing, and fine-tuning video and audio options, it’s not difficult to see why most Mac users consider this to be one of the best MP4 players in 2020.

Pros:

  1. Wide range of supported media file formats for highest versatility
  2. Watch and stream HD videos and audio
  3. Playlist and subtitle support
  4. Reliable player, with no stutters and issues

Cons:

  1. Only available for Mac, no Windows compatibility
  2. Optimized for latest macOS versions, so some inconsistency with older versions

2. VLC

When discussing MP4 players for Mac, you simply can’t go on without mentioning one of the most popular options out there - VLC Media Player. Being around for several years, it’s proven to be a top contender in this space with its long list of supported features. One of which is its incredible support of essentially any file format you can think of. It’s so simple to use but so robust you’d be surprised to realize that it’s one of the few completely free MP4 player apps available. One of the favorite features is the playlist option, which lets you personalize your downloaded media into organized playlists for easy viewing. There’s not much wrong to say about this player. While it may not be perfectly smooth or consistent 100% of the time, you can bet this is still one of the best ways to watch MP4 on Mac.

VLC

Pros:

  1. Supports virtually every file format you can think of
  2. Support for other operating systems like macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, and Linux
  3. Completely free platform

Cons:

  1. Can experience some audio issues Watching 4K videos can be choppy and glitch-filled because of decoding difficulties Interface feels outdated and uninspired

3. Cisdem Video Player

Next on the list is Cisdem Video Player, another popular MP4 for Mac application. This app is truly a great all-in-one package for users looking for a simple to use player to play MP4 on Mac. It requires less processing power and CPU than some of the other apps mentioned in this article, while still maintaining a high-level quality viewing experience. With support for over 50 file formats like MP4, WMV, AVI, MOV, M4V, MKV, FLV, and more, and ability to play up to 5K quality videos without any hiccups and buffering, you can see why this MP4 Mac player is a top choice for most.

Cisdem

Pros:

  1. Support for over 50 file formats
  2. Up to 5K video resolution without any problems
  3. Automatic subtitle support
  4. Completely free software, no spyware, ads, and user-tracking

Cons:

  1. Add-on purchase for converter feature
  2. Only available on Mac

4. JustPlay

If you’re looking for an MP4 player for Mac that doesn’t take up too much CPU and processing power, but still offers a full experience, this might be the app for you. JustPlay is a fully functioning MP4 player Mac app that packs a huge punch in a small package. You get the same support for a range of popular formats, resolution options without any additional software or codecs. It can run 8K quality videos without a bump. Automatically load subtitles and personalize settings to fit your most ideal viewing experience.

JustPlay

Pros:

  1. Touch bar support
  2. Full audio controls and features
  3. 8K video playback without any issues

Cons:

  1. No free option available; only paid
  2. Only playback support, no trim or export options
  3. Blu-ray playback is very limited

5. 5KPlayer

Last but not least, we have 5KPlayer. This MP4 video player for Mac is comprehensive, full of useful features that many love. AirPlay connectivity, video downloader, video and audio equalizer, and video to audio converter are some of the few highlights that this player has to offer. Besides the obvious features like supporting an array of file formats, 4K and 5K HD videos, and personal playlist and library features, it’s safe to say this is one of the best ways you can open MP4 files on Mac, without hassle and difficulties.

5KPlayer

Pros:

  1. 4K and 5K HD viewing
  2. Customizable and personalized media library
  3. Simple to use video to MP3 audio converter
  4. High quality and disruption-free AirPlay connectivity for screen mirroring and screen recording capabilities

Cons:

  1. New users may need time to get used to configuration
  2. User interface feels a bit outdated and cramped

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 AVI on Mac as well as other video formats
Open AVI 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.)  
Supports for many popular audio formats
Supports for many popular audio formats
yes (MP3, WMA, AC2, MKA, OGG, FLAC, AAC)  
yes (FlAC, AAC, MP3, WMA, etc.)  
yes (AAC, AC-3, FLAC, MP3, ALAC)  
yes (MP3, AAC, AC3, WMA, FLAC, ALAC)  
yes (MP3, OGG, ACC, WMA, AIFF)  
Allows local AVI streaming to TV
Allows local AVI streaming to TV
yes (PRO)  
no  
yes  
yes  
no  
Supports Playlist Creation
Supports Playlist Creation
yes  
yes  
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)  
Simple video enhancement features: rotate, mirror image, flip, etc.
Simple video enhancement features: rotate, mirror image, flip, etc.
yes  
yes  
yes  
yes  
no  
Included Audio Equalizer
Included Audio Equalizer
yes  
yes  
yes  
no  
no  
Allows playback adjustment for audio/video delay
Allows playback adjustment for audio/video delay
yes  
yes  
yes  
yes  
no  
Integrated subtitle support
Integrated subtitle support
yes  
yes  
yes  
yes  
yes  
Allows subtitle playback acceleration/deceleration (Subtitle sync)
Allows subtitle playback acceleration/deceleration (Subtitle sync)
yes  
yes  
yes  
yes  
no  
Allows searching for subtitles online
Allows searching for subtitles online
yes  
yes  
add-on  
no  
no  
Picture-in-picture capability
Picture-in-picture capability
yes  
yes  
yes  
yes  
no  
Allows hardware acceleration
Allows hardware acceleration
yes  
yes  
yes  
yes  
no  
Allows screen recording
Allows screen recording
no  
no  
yes  
no  
no  
Available browser extension that can play media directly from a website
Available browser extension that can play media directly from a website
no  
no  
yes  
no  
no  
Free Option
Free option
yes
no
yes
yes
yes

5 things to take into consideration when choosing the best MP4 player for Mac

  1. It should be able to handle formats well-beyond MP4, such as WMV, AVI, MOV, MP4, MP3, DAT, FLAC, FLV, SWF, MP3, M4V, MPG, and MKV.
  2. It has to offer compatibility with the latest Mac OS and support videos of the highest quality (4K and 8K).
  3. A simple and efficient user interface and easy access to all its features.
  4. Try to find a player that offers playlists support and creation features, as well as user-friendly controls for more convenient movie watching.
  5. You shouldn’t have any pop-ups or ads during playback.

What is MP4?

MP4 is a file extension that comes from the official format, MPEG-4 (Moving Picture Experts Group-4. It’s a multimedia container format that allows for storing video and audio files. Since its introduction in 2001, it’s quickly become the standard in online streaming and broadcasting because of how little processing power was needed to play the files within this format.

Today, MP4 is widely used in various industries, but one of the most common is in web design. Web designers use this file format as their go-to because it’s so versatile and lightweight that it can be used in various ways. For businesses, this format allows them to add clips to their site, advertise their products and services with the use of video, and promote special offers. It’s commonly found in videos that also allow user controls like play, pause, forward, and backward.

What is an MP4 File

Advantages:

  • Compatible with Internet video streaming, offering better sharing and reaching wider audiences for the content.
  • The higher degree of compression means less loss of quality and that leads to a more pleasurable and enjoyable experience for the end-user. The higher compression offered by MP4 also means users can store more content using the same amount of space.
  • Can handle extensive data types other than video and audio. Object descriptors, scene descriptors, and other object-oriented structures are some of the most-popular.
  • Streaming information is encoded separately.
  • MP4 files can be played on the majority of media players and sound card drivers. This makes MP4 highly reliable and versatile. Comparatively, other formats, such as MOV, cannot be used across as many platforms.
  • The image quality you get with MP4 video file format is always clear, sharp and precise.

Disadvantages:

  • The only real disadvantage MP4 has comes from the editing and movie-making point of view. MP4 files are not the easiest to edit or update. For example, importing MP4 files into a video editing program can sometimes cause them to crash, lose audio or play the video without any images. Audio can also sometimes get out of sync with the video or the video can be distorted. However, this is often related to codec issues. Some editors might not recognize and import the MP4 format at all.

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 iTunes 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.

What’s the best MP4 player for your MacBook?

If you’re looking for a way to play your MP4 file on Mac but don’t know which is the best option, then there are a few things to keep in mind. First off, you want an app that is reliable and easy to use. Whether you’re a new user or a seasoned Mac user, you want something that’s quick and easy and reliable. When you’re running 4K HD videos on your player, you don’t want any slowdowns, interruptions, and lags to ruin your viewing experience. So reliability is a priority. You also want a player that offers a full list of features that are useful to you. Some of those can be a video converter, playlist creation system, support for multiple file formats, and so on. The more feature-dense, the more options you have to enjoy to the fullest possible. Thankfully, we have listed the top 5 best MP4 video players for you that you can start using right away on any Mac device that you have.

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 https://www.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
Requirements: OS X 10.9+ , 59.68MB free space
Version 7.14(2226) (10 Aug, 2020) Release notes
Category: MultimediaApplication
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Elmedia Player - best choice to open MP4 files on Mac