How to Play an MKV File on Mac?

MKV, also known as Matroska, is one of the prominent video formats that allows you to watch videos or movies in high definition (HD). It is mainly used for playing high-quality HD 720p or Full HD 1080p videos and movies. But unfortunately, Mac users are not able to play MKV videos since the QuickTime Player doesn’t support MKV file format and its codecs.

mkv on mac

Wondering about how to play an MKV file on Mac? Continue reading the guide and try various methods listed below to address the issue.

Part 1: Can You Play MKV FIles on VLC?

The easiest way to play your favorite HD videos is to look out for the player for MKV and the leading option you can consider is none other than VLC. This veteran media player is capable of playing almost all kinds of video formats and codecs. For this case, VLC is known to be consistent and a reliable option to go for.

Additionally, this media player is also compatible with different kinds of devices such as macOS, Android, Windows, and iOS. To play MKV files on VLC, you first have to download the application on your Mac. Keep in mind that there’s no need to get any plugins to install the VLC player.

Here’s the step-by-step guide to carry out the process.

  • First of all, navigate to the VLC website to download the most recent package. Click on the “Download VLC” button and begin the downloading process.
download vlc
  • Once it gets downloaded, double-click the VLC package from the Download folder to install the app on your Mac.
choose vlc package
  • After that, drag down the icon towards your application folder and you’ll be able to find a message on your screen.
drab vlc into application folder
  • Tap on the “Authenticate” button from the pop-up message to begin the installation process.
  • Now, add your username and password and hit the “Modify Settings” tab.
  • Once the MKV player on Mac is installed completely, you’ll be able to play the MKV videos on your Mac. Right-click the video and then hit the “Open With” option. Go ahead and choose the VLC icon to play the video.

VLC boasts a simple and user-friendly interface.

It offers native support to use MKV files.

The player supports a wide range of plug-ins.


There might be some trouble with the 4K playback.

Part 2: Playing MKV Files on Mac QuickTime Using Perian Plugin

The major reason why Mac doesn’t play MKV files is the fact that QuickTime player doesn’t support MKV files codecs. So, the best option to resolve the error is to get a QuickTime plug-in and enjoy your favorite videos on your device.

QuickTime is a built-in application and is one of the leading video players to watch videos or movies on Mac. However, it lacks certain plug-ins owing to which you’ll not be able to play MKV files on it.

One such plug-in is Perian. It is a powerful plugin option that enables QuickTime to play MKV videos on a Mac device. Here’s how you can install the Perian Plug-in.

  • Go to the official website and download the Plugin setup file.
  • Once the file gets downloaded, click on the “Downloaded” button from the tray and view the Downloads.
  • Select Perian.dmg to begin the setup process.
  • As soon as you start the installation process, a message might pop on the screen saying “Perian can’t be opened because it downloaded from an unidentified developer.” Fret not as this message can be removed by disabling the GateKeeper temporarily. For this, you need to follow the below-mentioned steps.
  • Go to the Apple menu and launch the Spotlight Application.
  • Select “System Preferences” and click “Security & Privacy.”
choose system preferences
  • Locate the option that says “Allow apps downloaded from” and tick the checkbox saying “Anywhere.”
select anywhere
  • After that, your Mac will ask you to type your password. Enter the Admin Password and hit on the “Modify Settings.”
  • Once you have disabled GateKeeper, you’ll be able to launch the installer. Click on the Perian.prefPane to initiate the installation process.
install perian
  • A warning message prompts on the screen. Click the Ok button to disregard it.
  • Close the current window once you are done with the plug-in installation procedure.

It is an open-source plug-in.

No add-on player for MKV is needed to install the plug-in.

It can easily convert MKV files to MP4 file format.


The plug-in might slow down the video loading process.

Part 3: Playing MKV on Mac Using Handbrake

If owing to any reason, the above-mentioned methods don’t work or if you found them time-consuming, there’s yet another option you can opt for. Convert MKV files into the video format supported by the Mac and enjoy your desired movies and videos.

For this, Handbrake to rip DVD videos or to convert your MKV file format to MP4, which is compatible with your Mac device. It is an open-source, multithreaded video transcoder that allows you to perform two-pass conversions.

Follow the instructions mentioned below to download Handbrake on Mac.

  • Navigate to the official website and click the Download link for you to get the installation package.
download handbrake
  • Go to the Download folder and click on the pack to get the installation done.
  • As soon as you are done with the installation, tap on the “Handbrake” icon on the desktop.
  • Now, select the MKV file you want to convert. Go to the upper left corner of the window and locate the “Open Source” option. Click on it to move further.
open source
  • Choose the preset and adjust its duration. Here, you can carry out some edits, such as filters, audios, videos, and output of the file.
adjust presets
  • Tap on the “Start” button to initiate the conversion process.
  • Once the process is completed, the end result will be saved in a specific location. Open the converted file and play the video on your Mac device.

It can convert more than one file at once.

The tool allows you to control audio, dimensions, and several other aspects of the video.

It offers a wide range of presets.


This open-source tool can make conversions into MP4 format only.

Part 4: Playing MKV on Mac Using Wondershare Recoverit Program

Still, thinking about how to play an MKV file on Mac? If you have tried all the methods listed above but are unable to play the video, it means that the file got corrupted or damaged. In such a scenario, you need a third-party tool that can retrieve the file content, irrespective of the level of damage. That’s where Wondershare Recoverit comes in.

It is a powerful and high-tech video recovery software for Mac that can restore and repair videos from all devices in a few simple clicks. Here’s the step-by-step procedure to use the application on your Mac device. Download the Mac version of Recoverit below:

Step 1: Upload the MKV file

  • Download and install the Wondershare Recoverit. Launch the program on your device and take your cursor to the left dashboard. There, you need to locate the Corrupted Video Repair option. Click on it and move further.
corrupted video repair
  • Tap on the “Add” button to upload the corrupted MKV files. Remember, you can add multiple files at once.
add videos

Step 2: Initiate Repair

  • Now, click on the “Repair” button and initiate the repairing process.
  • Keep in mind that the tool might take a few minutes to produce the end result. Until then, you can check the progress on the screen. A pop-up will appear on the screen once the repairing process is finished.
file repairing completed

Step 3: Preview the file

  • Once the tool is done with the repairing process, you will find the “Preview” button beside the video. Click on it to check if the end result meets your requirements. Tap the Save button to store the file
preview and save the repaired video

Step 4: Advance Repair

  • Sometimes the level of damage is high and the basic repair cannot retrieve the data fully. In such a case, you can go for the Advance Repair option.
  • Add the sample video file of the same format and from the same device as the original one.
add sample video to repair
  • Click on the Repair button to commence the process. The tool will notify you once it completes the repairing process.

Step 5: Preview and Save

  • Now, the users can hit the Preview button to check the final MKV video and click Save to store the file in the designated folder.
preview and save the repaired files

The tool boasts a 95% recovery rate.

It allows batch processing and can recover multiple file formats at once.

The application supports all popular file formats.


It doesn't support some rare used video formats.

Final Thoughts

So, that’s all about the guide on how to play an MKV file on Mac. We hope you have found the research beneficial and informative. In general, all high-definition videos are available with the MKV file extension. Hence, you should either install the plug-in or convert them into other compatible formats to play on the Mac.

However, sometimes video file gets corrupted, making them unable to play on the Mac device, In such a case, you can consider using the Wondershare Recoverit tool to retrieve the content. It is 100% reliable and can recover videos, images, audio, and files from almost all lost scenarios.

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