How to choose an MKV player for Mac 2021

Can’t play MKV on Mac? You are not alone. Unlike Windows, macOS does not play MKV videos originally, so you will need an MKV player. We will guide you through the first 7 MKV players that work great with MKV videos on Mac. Our list includes both paid and free MKV players with a comparison of features, advantages and disadvantages, and pricing options. Let’s dive into it.

How to choose the best MKV player for Mac

Unfortunately, Mac computers still do not have native support for MKV because this file format is the most robust of all. The MKV file can contain unlimited audio, image and subtitles, making it the best choice for high definition videos. But no worries, you can use it if you choose a good version of MKV video player for Mac. Here are the 7 best MKV players for Macs:

  • Elmedia Player

  • Movist Pro

  • VLC Player

  • Mac Blu Ray player

  • Perian

  • Plex

  • MPlayer X

Find the Mac version of the MKV player for Mac that meets your expectations, but don’t forget to take a closer look. What other formats does this Mac MKV player support? What about playback control? Are there any extra bells and whistles? You may be surprised that some Mac video players can even play YouTube videos online without ads! So make sure you know all the pros and cons.

Elmedia Player

Elmedia Player is our number one choice and the best player on a Mac — not only because it can play MKV, but also because it can play almost anything, from FLV to MOV, through FLAC to Blu-Ray. In fact, Elmedia makes you forget that you have to worry about file format compatibility, it just works.

Another benefit is that you can completely customize your viewing experience with Elmedia. It has superior playback control, audio equalizer, video-audio synchronization, video tuner and much more. For those who like to watch videos while doing something else on a Mac, there is a picture-in-picture mode. You can even take a screenshot or a series of screenshots from a video.

Finally, the most favorite feature is the ability to open YouTube videos in Elmedia and play without ads. We all know how annoying these ads can be, so if you don’t have a YouTube Premium account with ad-free viewing, simply play all the videos in Elmedia.

Price: Free for 7 days, then $ 9.99 per month with Setapp


  • Extensive file support
  • Play video online without ads
  • Picture in picture, playlists and bookmarks
  • Available with a subscription to Setapp


  • The best features are part of the Pro plan
  • There is no video download capability in newer versions

Movist Pro

Movist Pro is another MKV player for Macs with impressive hardware decoding acceleration and 4K support. While it can work with high-definition videos, Movist Pro is designed to consume fewer CPUs than similar Mac players. This means that it will not affect the performance of your computer, making it the best choice when choosing a good movie player.

Tip: For movies, we recommend combining Movist Pro with an app called Movie Explorer Pro. It can scan your Mac for MKV videos or any other videos in the format you want and organize them into movie catalogs. A great way to make your own watch list or personal movie collection!

The best thing is that you can adjust the sound and picture while watching. Movist Pro comes with lots of controls for resolution, screen size, volume, subtitles, playback speed and more. Want to jump for a specific second? It is one click away. Add videos to your playlist? There is no need to stop the current video to do so. Fix brightness or contrast? Do it in real time!

Price: Free for 7 days, then $ 9.99 per month with Setapp


  • Great performance with 4K video
  • Labels and playback control
  • Curing and mixing playlists
  • Works with internet video
  • Available with a subscription to Setapp


  • No AirPlay support
  • Cluttered user interface

VLC Player

If you especially need an MKV video editing tool, see VLC Player. It is a free open source media player for Windows and macOS. In addition to MKV, VLC also works with OGG, MP4, Blu-Ray, DVD and other mainstream formats. People love it for editing features – you can crop your videos, use overlays, and apply water effects – as well as the ability to open damaged or incomplete MKV videos.

If you are looking for a default media player, VLC is not the best choice as it has no playback control. Moreover, some users report that playback problems may occur, especially with MKV files. However, it makes sense to use VLC Player if you need to extract some data from a damaged file.

vlc player mkv mac

Compared to paid MKV players for Mac, VLC Player is also considered less secure. Because it is open source, malicious files can use bugs in the program to access your computer, so it is only important to download the application from the official website and update it regularly.

Price: Free


  • Works with damaged MKV files
  • Free and open source


  • Problems playing MKV files
  • Security issues
  • Bad user interface

Mac Blu Ray player

Mac Blu Ray Player is an application developed by Macgo, a software development company for Mac that creates media players and malware removal tools. In addition to Blu-Ray movie discs, Mac Blu Ray Player lets you play popular video formats, including MKV.

mac blu ray player

Since Mac Blu Ray Player is an expensive application designed to play Blu-Ray, it makes no sense to buy it if you only need to play MKV. If you do both — MKV and Blu-Rays — you could download Mac Blu Ray Player for a free trial and see if it’s worth it.

Price: about 70 USD (depends on store and location)


  • Best player for Blu-Rays
  • Works with 4K video


  • Expensive
  • There is no support for MKV in the free trial
  • Poor playback control


If you’ve tried to open an MKV Mac video with Apple’s original QuickTime player, you know it doesn’t work. Well, this is why we are writing this article. But what if you like QuickTime and don’t want to replace it? There is a free QuickTime component called Perian that can provide MKV support for the original player. Unfortunately, the Perian project was shut down a few years ago and has not been updated since. You can only use it with older versions of macOS and QuickTime.

Price: Free



  • It is no longer in development
  • Does not work with QuickTime 10 or later


Another way to watch MKV on a Mac is to install a Plex Media Server. Plex is a client-server media player that lets you access and manage extensive video collections on any device. Basically, it’s like a streaming service, except you offer your own video content instead of downloading it from a large platform like Netflix. Plex supports MKV, so if you are thinking of compiling your own video collection with MKV files – consider purchasing a Plex Pass.

plex media server

Price: starts at $ 4.99 per month


  • Great for movie lovers
  • Own content library and TV


  • An account is required to use
  • A network connection is required
  • High CPU power

MPlayer X

Are you a fan of the touch pad? Then you should give MPlayer X a chance. This media player has playback controls that are entirely based on Trackpad movements. Tap, squeeze and drag to change the volume or screen size – MPlayer X can help you build a productive and fun stream. And of course, MPlayer X supports MKV, along with some other not-so-popular file formats, such as WebM and ASF.

mplayer x

Tip: If you like customizing the touchpad, touchpad, or any other input device for greater productivity, we hope you have BetterTouchTool on your Mac. It is the best tool for advanced users.

Price: Free


  • Touchpad-based flow
  • Supports rare video formats


  • High CPU power
  • Danger of malware

How to open MKV file on Mac

There are two ways. One is to open a Mac MKV player, then drag and drop your video into the app window or go to the main menu> Open> File. Alternatively, right-click your MKV video> Open with, and then select a player. There are exceptions, of course. For example, a tool like Plex requires setting up a media server, which is a complicated process and you should check the instructions on their website. Once you find the perfect media player, set it as the default to automatically play all your videos on your Mac. This will save you a few clicks.

mkv file mac open

MKV video player Mac: Winner

We know what you mean. Which of these 7 MKV player tools for Mac should I get? All the options reviewed in this guide are pretty good, but the flow is different – so some will be better for you than others. Elmedia Player and Movist Pro are the strongest and most secure media players you can install on a Mac. What’s more, they’re both part of Setapp, a productivity suite for Mac and iPhone users that has all the apps you’ll ever need.

If you have special needs — for example, you want your player to work with Blu-Rays — then you should take a look at the Mac Blu Ray Player. And if you want streaming service and a media player, check out Plex.

Finally, if you don’t want to install a new MKV player for Mac, you have another option – convert MKV videos to MP4 and play them with QuickTime. Read the detailed guide here.

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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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