Fix Videos That Won't Play on Mac Easily

Did videos suddenly stop playing on your Mac computer? This issue can be fixed. Here are 5 solutions provided to help you fix not playing videos on Mac.

Feb 19,2020 • Filed to: Photo/Video/Audio Solutions • Proven solutions

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Video files are no doubt one of the most used file types of all. Video files store events, memories, entertainment clips and knowledge thereby playing a huge role in our day-to-day activities.

It is, indeed, a devastating experience for video files to suddenly stop playing without a reasonable cause. If that's the case with you right now, you’re not alone. You've come to the right place. Moving on…

Part 1. Four Solutions to YouTube Videos That Won’t Play on Mac

Are you are currently battling with viewing a downloaded YouTube video or trying to stream it online to no avail? Without wasting much time, here are the 4 working solutions for videos that won’t play on Mac.

Solution 1. Check Your Internet Connection

Streaming videos online requires a strong Internet connection. Apart from loading the video, your browser constantly communicates with the servers of the streaming service. So, while the website, e.g. YouTube might open over a slow internet connection speed, it may not load your videos till the browser/server times out. If you can’t help your internet speed at the moment, then another option is to watch the video in a lower quality. Anything from 360 to 480p should do for a slower network connection.

While YouTube automatically determines the video quality to feed you based on your internet connection speed, device screen size and the quality of the original video being requested, you can manually change the video quality from YouTube’s settings. Simply use the guide below.

  1. Once YouTube is loaded, click on the settings/gear icon at the bottom right corner of the video space.
  2. Expand the “Quality” option.
  3. Select your desired video quality.
Video quality can result in the lagging playback. Check how you can fix YouTube videos lagging issue.

Solution 2. Check if JavaScript is Enabled

JavaScript has become inseparable from modern webpages. Majority of the cool stuff you see on active webpages are powered by JavaScript. Many services utilize JavaScript in building their services for the purpose of providing the ultimate user experience –YouTube is not an exception.

YouTube uses JavaScript extensively to load up and "seek" your videos –that’s how your videos load without your browser apparently opening any further links. Other functionalities that depend on JavaScript on YouTube includes: Loading up comments, suggesting new videos, minimizing the current video being played (if you decide to take another action) and populating the webpage with data. That’s pretty much everything you’ll find on YouTube… So you see? Simply disabling JavaScript in your browser or particularly for YouTube.com can change the whole course of YouTube.

Please follow the steps below to enable JavaScript in your browser.

Note: The steps have been simplified by the use of images but you can simply change your browser to another with JavaScript support.

For Safari web browser:

Please follow the steps below to enable JavaScript on your Safari Browser.

Step 1. Click on the “Safari” option at the top left corner of the browser to open the menu. Next select preferences.

preferences on safari

Step 2. Click on the padlock icon (Security) in-between Passwords and Privacy.

security tab on safari

Step 3. From the list of settings displayed, select the “Enable JavaScript” option.

If it’s checked then JavaScript is enabled, otherwise, JavaScript was disabled. Simply click on it to enable JavaScript.

enable javascript on safari

Step 4. Close the settings window and reload YouTube.

The red dot with the x in it at the top left corner of any window will close that particular window. Click on it.

close window

For the Chrome web browser:

Please follow these simple steps to enable JavaScript on your Chrome browser on Mac.

Step 1. Open the browser app and click on Chrome > Preferences or type chrome://settings/content into the address bar –like you’re visiting a normal website.

enable javascript on chrome

Step 2. Inside the JavaScript panel below the images panel, you’ll find “Allow all sites to run JavaScript (recommended)”. Click on it.

Note: To enable JavaScript selectively, click on the “Manage Exceptions…” button.

Have a look at more solutions to YouTube videos not playing on Chrome.

For Firefox browser:

Here are the steps to enable JavaScript on Firefox for Mac

Step 1. Open Firefox’s preferences panel, next, click on “Content”

Step 2. Confirm that the box beside the “Enable JavaScript” is checked.

All good. Now refresh YouTube or any other service you’re trying to stream videos from and see if it fixes your video error. If JavaScript was already enabled or your issues persists, please move on to the next steps.

Solution 3. Fix Adobe Flash Player

Most video streaming services nowadays, including YouTube, depend on browsers instead of external flash players. While YouTube no longer needs a flash player, this solution can be particularly helpful if you’re trying to stream videos from a service that does use Adobe Flash to handle their videos.

The following steps will guide you on how to uninstall and reinstall Adobe Flash on your Mac device.

Note: The steps below are for Flash version 29 on macOS High Sierra. There might be minor differences if your specifications don’t match these.

Use Adobe Flash Player Install Manager:

Step 1. Search for Adobe Flash Player on Spotlight or go to Applications > Utilities on your Mac and find “Adobe Flash Player Install Manager” and click on it to launch.

adobe install manager on mac

Step 2. In the window titled “Adobe Flash Player Install Manager”, simply click on “Uninstall”. You’ll be warned that the program will be removed from your computer.

uninstall adobe flash

Step 3. Enter your Device’s username and password, then select “Install Helper”.

After that, you’re done. Click “Done” in the next window alerting you of a successful action.

Next, reinstall Adobe Flash Player by simply visiting this link: https://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/otherversions/

After installing the software, return to the video and try playing it.

Sometimes the outdated Adobe Flash Player can cause many video playing problems. Learn how to update flash player on Mac.
- 2 minutes to read it.

Solution 4. Clear your cache and cookies / Disable third-party extensions for YouTube

Before using the steps provided below to clear your browser data (cache or cookies for the particular service you’re using for streaming), try disabling third party extension associated with the streaming service (YouTube for example) on your browser.

Extensions gain access and permission to control or affect websites or certain webpages. Though the idea behind extensions is to enhance your browsing experience by providing features that aren’t originally built into your browser, who knows what could happen if one of them suddenly begins to malfunction?

To find extensions on your Safari browser, open preferences again and navigate to the Extensions tab and then, disable all extensions from the list. Restart your browser and revisit the video to see if it works. If your video still doesn’t work, simply revisit “Preferences” > “Extensions” and re-enable the poor innocent extensions. However, if the procedure fixed your error, you can carry out a little activity to single out the particular extension that went rogue by enabling the extensions from the list one after another while you refresh the page to see if you can reproduce the issue.

manage extensions on browser

Now, please follow these steps to clear your browser data on Safari (if the solution with extensions didn’t work for you)

Step 1. Click on the “Safari” option at the top left corner of the browser to open the menu. Next select preferences.

preferences on safari

Step 2. Go to the privacy tab (in-between Security and Notifications)

privacy tab on safari

Now, it’s advisable that you only clear the data of the particular service, as clearing data for a website clears all form data (usernames, passwords, addresses, zip codes, credit card details etc.)

Step 3. Click the “Details” button below “Remove all website data…” to display all websites with cache stored on safari.

clear browser data

Simply select the particular service you’re having issue with (youtube.com for example). To select multiple sites, hold down the command key on your keyboard while you make your selection.

select sites

Step 4. Click “Remove” and then “Done”.

By doing this, your browser clears cache and cookies from the particular website. This helps if your browser persistently fetched a cached version of the video page. Revisit the video’s page and everything should work as new.


Part 2. Ultimate Solution to Fix Unplayable Local Videos on Mac

To fix not playing videos on Mac computer, you need to resort to a video repair tool, that's Wondershare Video Repair. Using Wondershare Video Repair is arguably the quickest and easiest way to fix your video file. It is very efficient when it comes to detecting and fixing your video issues–it does all the work for you. The software is capable of fixing errors that prevent MOV, MP4, M2TS, MKV, MTS, 3GP, AVI and FLV video files from playing. The software has a very simple, easy-to-use interface at the surface but loaded with powerful algorithms deep down for efficient video recovery.

1. Video Tutorial: Fix Videos That Won't Play on Mac

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2. Stepwise Guide: Repair Not Playing Videos on Mac

In just 3 steps, you’ll have your corrupt video file repaired. Now, launch Wondershare Video Repair and start the video fixing process.

Step 1: Add Corrupted Video

Navigate to the location of your corrupt video file on your device. Done that? Next, you drag and drop the corrupt file on the “Add videos and start repairing” section. You can click the “Add” button located on the bottom-left area of the software’s interface to select your videos, alternatively.

add corrupted video

Step 2: Repair Video

Do you see the blue “Repair” button located at the bottom-right of the software? Okay. Click on it when the repair process is complete. A window, asking you to preview and save the video you repaired will pop up. Click on the “OK” button to save your video to a folder.

repair the video

Step 3: Preview the Repaired Video

At the edge of the software, to the right, you’ll find a little, black “play” button. Click on it to preview your video. It isn’t compulsory to perform this operation, but it is advised to do so as it enables you to confirm if the repair process was successful or not before saving it. However, with Wondershare’s tool, you need not worry at all. Your video file, after it’s fixed, will probably work fine.

preview repaired video

The software’s Advanced Repair is used when your video wasn’t repaired by the quick mode. In the preview window, look to the bottom-right of the interface and you’ll see “Preview failed? Try Advanced Repair”. Click on this option.

Advanced Repair feature

Step 4: Add Sample Video

A smaller window will pop up; you’ll be required to add a sample video file. Click the folder below the “Adding Sample Video to Repair” label, then choose the sample video. If you don’t know what this is, a sample video is a working video file recorded with the same device and in the same format as the damaged video.

The Advanced Repair mode takes the technical information of the uploaded sample video. It uses this info to repair the corrupt video Interesting, isn’t it?

add sample video

Click on the “Repair” button at the bottom of the window, it will close reopen the previous window. You should note that the video you repaired in Quick Repair mode wouldn’t be saved if you initiate the Advanced Repair. You can save the video by clicking “Yes” on the window that shows up. Click “No” if you simply want to proceed without saving.

Step 5: Save Video

Click on the “Save” button found at the upper-right section of the interface and another dialogue box will pop up. You’ll see this message on it: “Select a folder to save the repaired files. Please do not save files to the path where you lost them”

save video path

It’s advised you rename the “new folder” to make your next search easier. This could be useful if you have a bunch of files in your drive. Wouldn’t it? Next, you simply wait a few seconds and the repaired video will be saved to the selected drive.

repaired video saved

Wondershare video repair tool is pretty simple to use and understand, isn’t it? It’s indeed the easiest way to fix your corrupt video files.

Windows solution: Windows computer users can follow the same steps or directly go to this guide - Fix Broken Video Files on Computer.


Part 3. How to Prevent Mac Videos from Getting Corrupted?

Corrupted files are almost inevitable these days. The number of download sources increases as the days go by –with only a few credible sources. While you may sometimes carelessly download or receive a corrupted video or targeted virus from a source, there are also other factors responsible for corrupting videos on Mac. These factors may originate from you or your Operating System.

Here are a few things to be mindful of if you want to prevent your downloaded videos from eventually getting corrupted.

1. Prevent Mac Computer Video Problems

Your computer's operating system is the most important parts of your device. You should always avoid activities that could bring about harm to your Operating System. Patches, fixes and updates are frequently released from vendors of the major operating systems. Here are some tips for you.

  • Frequently update your Operating System version
  • Download only verified apps from official websites or stores to avoid malware
  • Uninstall and delete suspicious/warned against apps from your device
  • Get a good anti-virus software to perform periodic scans on your device.
Be careful when you uninstall apps and remove data. Once you find some important files deleted, try the solution to recover deleted photos and videos now.

2. Prevent Videos from Not Playing On Online Streaming Services on Mac

Online streaming services like YouTube not working on Mac can be caused by a number of factors, some of these are:

  • Disabled JavaScript in browsers
  • Poor internet connection speed
  • Persistent loading of cache by browsers
  • Persistent site settings stored in cookies
  • Misbehaving extensions
  • Older browser versions

To prevent YouTube not working or loading on your Mac device, you should perform the following troubleshooting actions:

  • Enable JavaScript on your browsers
  • Watch YouTube on high-speed internet connections
  • Clear browser/website’s cookies and cache
  • Avoid over-populating your browser with unnecessary/suspicious YouTube plug-ins
  • Frequently update your browsers
  • Reset browser app’s data
  • Frequently update your browsers

Final Thoughts

We all view important videos/clips every day–hey, entertainment is important too. Whatever the case, a video that won’t play as at the time it’s needed isn’t cool at all. Top solutions to videos not playing on Mac were introduced in this post including the steps for using the ultimate Wondershare Video Repair tool.

Eleanor Reed

staff Editor

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