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How to Play MKV Files on MacOS in 2024

How to Play MKV Files on MacOS in 2024

If you’re a Mac user, you might have found yourself in a predicament when trying to play an MKV file. Unlike the more common video formats such as MP4 or MOV, MKV (Matroska Video) files are not natively supported by macOS, leading to the need for additional software or workarounds to watch these high-quality videos. Fortunately, several methods exist to play MKV files on a Mac, and as a media enthusiast who’s been through the struggle, I’ll share the most effective ways from personal experience. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore how to properly set up and use Elmedia Video Player for Mac, as well as other means, to ensure smooth playback of MKV files on your Mac in 2024.


Common Scenarios:

🎬 High-Quality Video Enthusiasts

  • Users seeking high-quality video playback often encounter MKV files due to their advantage in video quality and storage of multiple audio tracks and subtitles in a single file.
  • Playing these files natively on a Mac isn’t straightforward, requiring additional software or codecs for playback.

😔 Compatibility Issues

  • Macs come with QuickTime as the default media player, which doesn’t support MKV files.
  • Without proper codecs or applications, users experience error messages or inability to open the desired media files.

🔄 Cross-Device Sharing

  • When sharing videos between different devices, MKV files can create friction due to incompatibility on some systems, especially Mac.
  • Users look for reliable software solutions that offer cross-platform compatibility for a smoother experience.

Step-by-Step Guide. How To Play MKV On Mac:

Method 1: 🌟 Install Elmedia Video Player

  • Visit the Elmedia Video Player for Mac website and download the application.
  • Follow the installation instructions to integrate Elmedia Player into your system.
  • Open Elmedia Player and use the ‘File’ menu to open your MKV file or simply drag and drop the file into the player window.

Note: Elmedia Player provides a seamless experience and offers additional features such as playlists, subtitle support, and more.

Conclusion: Elmedia Player is a user-friendly and versatile tool for playing MKV files on Mac without any hassle.

Method 2: 🚀 Use VLC Media Player

  • Download VLC for Mac from the official Videolan website.
  • Complete the installation process and open VLC.
  • Drag and drop the MKV file into the VLC window, or open it via the ‘File’ menu.

Note: VLC is a potent free option that can play virtually any video file format, including MKV.

Conclusion: VLC Media Player is a popular alternative for playing MKV files on Mac, offering flexibility and a wide range of playback options.

Method 3: 🔄 Convert MKV to a Compatible Format

  • Use a video converter tool like HandBrake to convert the MKV file to a format compatible with Mac’s native players, such as MP4 or MOV.
  • Choose the appropriate output preset for your needs within HandBrake.
  • Start the conversion process and wait for it to complete.

Note: Converting files may result in quality loss or longer processing times, depending on the file size and conversion settings.

Conclusion: Conversion is a feasible last resort when software players are not preferred or available.

Method 4: 🌐 Stream MKV Files from the Web

  • Host your MKV files on a local server using software like Plex.
  • Set up Plex Media Server on your Mac and add your video files to the library.
  • Access your media through a web browser or Plex’s client apps.

Note: This method allows you to stream content to various devices and requires a stable home network.

Conclusion: Streaming with Plex is an elegant solution for those who have a vast library of MKV files and need access on multiple devices.

Method 5: 🔄 Use an Online Conversion Service

  • Utilize online services like CloudConvert to perform file conversion without installing software.
  • Upload your MKV file to the conversion website.
  • Select a compatible output format like MP4 and initiate the conversion.

Note: Using an online service is dependent on your internet connection and may involve privacy concerns for sensitive content.

Conclusion: Online conversion services are convenient for occasional conversions and when software alternatives are not an option.


Youtube video to watch


Precautions and Tips:

🚦 Safe Playback Practices

  • Always ensure that you download media players and codecs from official and trustworthy sources to avoid malware.
  • Keep your video playback software updated to the latest version for optimal performance and security.
  • Before converting files, check if there’s a lossless option to preserve the original quality of the video.

Enhanced MKV Experience on Mac

Mac users have plenty of options when it comes to enhancing their video playback experience with MKV files, and while Elmedia Video Player stands out for its robust feature set, it’s worthwhile to explore all available avenues. For instance, embracing the use of media player extensions and plugins can further expand compatibility and feature availability. Resources such as the Matroska organization offer additional insights into the MKV format, while forums and communities can provide user-generated troubleshooting tips.

For individuals interested in the technical aspects, understanding the MKV file structure and how it relates to the video compression standards like H.264 or H.265 can be beneficial. Educational resources such as FFmpeg not only provide tools for converting and managing video files but also offer a wealth of knowledge for those who want to delve deeper.


In conclusion, playing MKV files on Mac might pose challenges, but with players like Elmedia, VLC, or even workarounds such as conversion and streaming, you are never without options. It’s key to choose the solution that best fits your needs, whether it’s prioritizing quality, ease of use, or flexibility. Remember to stay informed and up to date with the latest software developments and compatibility updates to enjoy an uninterrupted and high-quality MKV playback experience on your Mac.


An MKV file is a Matroska Video file, a container that supports multiple codecs. It won’t play natively on a Mac because macOS lacks built-in support for the format.

No, QuickTime doesn't support MKV files by default. You'll need additional software or codecs to play MKV files on a Mac.

You can use VLC Media Player ( or IINA to smoothly play MKV files on a Mac.

No, web browsers on a Mac do not typically support direct MKV file playback. You'll need to use a dedicated media player.

Yes, you can convert MKV files to a more compatible format like MP4 using software like HandBrake for playback on your Mac.

Perian is discontinued and no longer a viable option. To enable MKV playback, consider using a modern player like VLC Media Player.

Yes, applications like VLC Media Player allow you to stream MKV files from your Mac to other devices over a network.

Installing codecs can help, but it’s often easier to use a player like VLC that already supports MKV files.

MKV files support embedded subtitles, which can be displayed by players like VLC Media Player that recognize the format.

Editing MKV files directly on a Mac can be challenging; you might need to convert them to a different format using HandBrake.