How to Play MP4 on Mac: A Beginner’s Guide

Welcome to the world of Mac, a place where you can explore new possibilities in digital forms. As a proud owner of a Mac, you might be struggling with a common problem – playing MP4 videos on your device. This problem has been around for a while now, and it can be quite frustrating when you are unable to watch your favorite videos. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! In this article, we’ll guide you through the steps to play MP4 videos on your Mac device.

Steps to Play MP4 on Mac

Step 1: Open QuickTime Player

The first step to playing an MP4 video is to launch the QuickTime Player on your Mac. You can do this by clicking on the QuickTime Player icon in the dock or by using Spotlight search – Command + Spacebar – and typing in QuickTime Player.

Step 2: Click on File

Once the QuickTime Player is open, click on the “File” option located in the top menu bar. A drop-down menu will appear, and you need to select the “Open File” option from it.

Step 3: Select the MP4 File

After selecting the “Open File” option, the Finder window will appear. Browse through your files and folders, select the MP4 file you want to play, and click “Open.”

Step 4: Wait for File to Load

After you have selected the MP4 file, the QuickTime Player will start to load the video. Depending on the size of the file and your computer’s speed, it may take a few moments to load.

Step 5: Press Play

Once the video has loaded, press the “Play” button located in the bottom left corner of the QuickTime Player window to start playing the video.

Step 6: Adjust the Volume

To adjust the volume of the video, use the slider located to the right of the “Play” button. You can move the slider left or right to decrease or increase the volume, respectively.

Step 7: Full-Screen Mode

If you want to watch the video in full-screen mode, click on the full-screen button located in the bottom right corner of the QuickTime Player window. You can exit full-screen mode by pressing the “Escape” key on your keyboard.

Step 8: Pause and Rewind

To pause the video, click on the “Pause” button located next to the “Play” button. If you want to rewind the video, use the slider located below the video window to move backwards in the video.

Step 9: Skip Forward

If you want to skip forward in the video, use the slider located below the video window to move ahead in the video.

Step 10: Convert MP4 to MOV

If you are still having trouble playing the MP4 video, consider converting it to the MOV format. You can do this by using a video converter tool such as Adobe Media Encoder, HandBrake or Movavi. These tools will help you convert the MP4 video to a compatible format that can be played on your Mac device.

Step 11: Update Your Mac Software

If none of the above steps work, try updating your Mac software. Sometimes, outdated software can interfere with the playback of certain video formats.

Step 12: Seek Professional Help

If you have tried all the above steps and still can’t play the MP4 video on your Mac device, it’s time to seek professional help. Take your device to an authorized service center or consult a Mac expert who can help you resolve the issue.


By following the above steps, you should be able to play MP4 videos on your Mac device. However, if you are still facing difficulties, it’s important to understand why this problem is occurring and how to troubleshoot it. In most cases, this problem occurs due to incompatible video codecs. A codec is a software that compresses and decompresses digital video and audio signals. Some video codecs are not compatible with Mac devices, which can cause playback issues.

Additionally, outdated software and hardware can also cause this problem. If you are running outdated software or have an old device, it may not be able to handle certain video formats. In such cases, updating the software or upgrading your device may help resolve the issue.

Tips and Tricks

1. Use VLC Player

VLC Player is a free and open-source media player that can play almost any video format. It’s a great alternative to QuickTime Player and is compatible with Mac devices.

2. Check Video Quality

Ensure that the video quality is suitable for your device. Playing high-definition videos on an old device can cause playback issues.

3. Check Internet Connection

If you are streaming the video online, make sure your internet connection is stable. Poor internet connectivity can cause video buffering and playback issues.

4. Use an External Hard Drive

If you have a large collection of videos, consider storing them on an external hard drive. This will free up space on your Mac device and help improve the device’s performance.

5. Use a Video Coding Tool

If you frequently encounter video playback issues, consider using a video coding tool such as HandBrake. These tools can help you convert videos to a compatible format and reduce file size, ensuring smooth playback.

6. Use a Professional Video Editing Software

If you are a professional video editor, consider using a professional video editing software such as Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro. These tools are designed to handle high-resolution videos and offer advanced features and customizations.

7. Enable GPU Acceleration

If your Mac device has a dedicated graphics card, consider enabling GPU acceleration. This can improve video playback performance and reduce playback issues.

8. Check System Requirements

Ensure that your Mac device meets the system requirements for playing HD videos. Old devices may not be able to handle the processing power required for HD videos.

9. Use a Video Repair Tool

If your video has playback issues, consider using a video repair tool such as Stellar Repair for Video. These tools can repair corrupt video files and ensure smooth playback.

10. Contact Support

If all else fails, contact Apple support or the support team of the application you are using. They can help you troubleshoot the issue and resolve it.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Playing MP4 on Mac


1. High-Quality Video: One of the main advantages of playing MP4 on Mac is the high-quality video playback you get. The format is known for its exceptional video quality, making your viewing experience more enjoyable.

2. Wide Compatibility: Another advantage is that MP4 files are incredibly versatile and compatible with many different devices and media players. They can be played on both Mac and Windows, as well as smartphones and tablets.

3. Small File Size: MP4 files are known for their small file size, making it easy to share and transfer the files. This also means you can store large numbers of MP4 files on your Mac without taking up too much space.

4. Easy Editing: Thanks to the widely available software that can edit MP4 files, you can easily edit your videos and customize them to your liking. The user-friendly software means you don’t need to be a professional to make basic edits to your footage.

5. Web Compatibility: MP4 files are widely used on the internet, which means that they can be easily uploaded to different video-sharing websites and social media platforms without any compatibility issues.

6. Intuitive Navigation: Mac computers come with a built-in media player that makes navigating and playing MP4 files an intuitive process.

7. Minimal Complexity: Playing MP4 files on Mac typically requires minimal steps and setup, making it an easy and convenient option for anyone.

8. Multiple Audio Tracks: MP4 files allow for multiple audio tracks and subtitles, making them ideal for watching movies and TV shows in different languages and with different audio preferences.

9. Great Compression: MP4 files have excellent compression rates, meaning you can store higher-quality video footage with minimal impact on your device’s storage capacity.

10. DRM Support: Some MP4 files come with digital rights management (DRM) support. This means that they can be legally and safely distributed to different devices and platforms without fear of copyright infringement.


1. Limited Storage: While MP4 files are known for their small size, this can also be a disadvantage for users who need to store large amounts of video footage. This is especially true for users who work with high-definition video footage.

2. Incompatible Codecs: Some media players and devices may not be compatible with certain MP4 codecs. This can result in playback issues or the inability to play the file entirely.

3. Uneditable DRM: MP4 files that are protected by DRM cannot be edited or customized, which can be a hindrance for those who want to personalize their footage.

4. Compatibility Limits: While MP4 is a widely used format, it may not be compatible with some older devices and media players, limiting playback options for some users.

5. Network Bandwidth: Streaming MP4 files online can use a lot of bandwidth, which can be a problem for users with limited data plans or slow internet speeds.

6. Compression Loss: MP4 files typically use a lossy compression method, which can result in some loss of quality when compared to the original footage.

7. Editing Complexities: While MP4 files can be edited using software, these processes can be complex and time-consuming, especially for those with limited experience editing video footage.

8. Quality Limitations: While MP4 is a widely used format for video playback, it may not always be the best option for maintaining high-quality footage when compared to other formats.

9. Audio Limitations: While some MP4 files allow for multiple audio tracks, not all files do. This can be a disadvantage for users who want to watch a movie or TV show with different language options.

10. Limited Metadata: MP4 files have limited metadata options, which can make it difficult to properly organize and search for video files on your Mac.


1. What is an MP4 file?

An MP4 file is a digital multimedia container format that’s primarily used to store and stream audio and video content.

2. Can QuickTime play MP4 files on a Mac?

Yes, QuickTime supports MP4 playback on a Mac.

3. How do I play an MP4 file on my Mac?

You can play an MP4 file on your Mac using the native QuickTime player, or any other media player that supports MP4 playback.

4. What should I do if QuickTime can’t play my MP4 file?

If QuickTime can’t play your MP4 file, you can try installing a third-party media player like VLC or converting the MP4 file to a compatible format using a file conversion tool.

5. Can I convert an MP4 file to a different format on my Mac?

Yes, there are many file conversion tools available for Mac that can convert MP4 files to other formats like AVI, WMV, etc.

6. Does iTunes support MP4 playback?

Yes, iTunes can play MP4 files on a Mac.

7. Can I edit an MP4 file on my Mac?

Yes, you can edit MP4 files on your Mac using a video editing software like iMovie, Final Cut Pro, etc.

8. How do I transfer MP4 files from my Mac to an iPhone or iPad?

You can transfer MP4 files from your Mac to an iPhone or iPad using iTunes or iCloud.

9. Can I play MP4 files on my Apple TV?

Yes, Apple TV supports MP4 playback.

10. Can I play MP4 files on my Mac’s web browser?

Yes, most web browsers like Safari, Chrome, and Firefox support MP4 playback on a Mac.

11. Can I watch MP4 files in full screen on my Mac?

Yes, most media players allow you to watch MP4 files in full-screen mode on your Mac.

12. Are there any free media players that support MP4 playback on a Mac?

Yes, there are many free media players like VLC and KMPlayer that support MP4 playback on a Mac.

13. Can I play high-quality MP4 files on a low-spec Mac?

It depends on the specifications of your Mac and the quality of the MP4 file. If your Mac has a low processor or RAM, playing high-quality MP4 files may cause lag or stuttering.

How to Play MP4 files on Mac – A Guide for Beginners

MP4 files have become the go-to format for videos across different platforms, but many Mac users still find it challenging to play them on their devices. This is because by default, Mac supports only a limited number of video formats. However, even if you are a beginner, there are easy ways to tackle this problem. In this guide, we will take you through some of the ways you can play MP4 files on your Mac.


Overall, there are a number of ways to play MP4 files on Mac and it mostly depends on your preferences and needs. You can use the default QuickTime Player that comes with Mac, or you can opt for third-party software that provides even more features and capabilities. If you are a beginner and looking for a simple solution, QuickTime should suffice, but if you are more experienced and want more advanced features, then go for other options like VLC or Elmedia Player. Whatever your choice, you can now enjoy your MP4 files on your Mac without any stress or hassle.

Thank you for reading this guide. We hope it has provided you with valuable insights on how to play MP4 files on Mac. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. We always appreciate your feedback!

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