Failed to open a MP4 file on Mac? MP4 video is not compatible with QuickTime Player?
We all know that MP4 is the industry standard, the most popular video format and QuickTime Player is the default app to open and play MP4 files on Mac. But why the QuickTime Player can play some MP4 files, not others.
- Why MP4 videos can't be opened or played on Mac?
- QuickTime Player video support
- Change extension from .MP4 to .M4V - a quick fix
- Find out video codec on Mac - optional
- Get the free video player & converter
- View video codec in VLC player - optional
- Convert videos using VLC media player on Mac
- Convert MP4 to M4V or other format
- Other MP4 & video conversion alternatives
Why MP4 videos can’t be opened or played on Mac?
MP4 is just a file format or container. It is like a box that contains your video, audio, and metadata. If the QuickTime Player won’t play a MP4 video, most likely the video is compressed using an incompatible codec. In such case, you can either use a more powerful media player with the codec support or transcode the video to a compatible codec, such as H.264. We recommend MP4 with h.264 or h.265 codec for great compatibility with various devices and even online browsers.
QuickTime Player video support
QuickTime Player can play various video formats like:
- QuickTime Movie (.mov)
- MPEG-4 (.mp4, .m4v)
In a wide range of codecs such as
- MPEG-4 (Part 2)
- Apple ProRes
- Apple Pixlet
- Component Video
- DVC Pro
- Motion JPEG
- Photo JPEG
- Sorenson Video 2
- Sorenson Video 3
Change extension from .MP4 to .M4V – a quick fix
It may not always work. Just give it a try see if any luck when you found a MP4 video can’t be opened in QuickTime Player on Mac. Duplicate the original video file in Finder, then rename it and change its extension from .MP4 to .M4V.
You’ll be asked whether you are sure to change the extension from .mp4 to .m4v, if you make this change, your document may open in a different application. Click Use .m4v to confirm. Go to play the video in m4v format using the player you prefer see if any luck.
Find out video codec on Mac – optional
Want to know which codec the MP4 file is encoded with? Here’s the quick way to find out the video code on Mac. Find the video clip in Finder. Right-click (or press and hold Control key while you click) on the MP4 video file. Then choose Get Info option from the contextual menu. The file information dialog opens. Go to the More info section, you can see codecs of both audio and video used in the file.
Note that this method may not work since the video in problem is not in a compatible format with the default media player on your Mac.
Get the free video player & converter
VLC media player is a free option you may consider. You should be able to download this free media player for Mac, then play most videos right away. What’s more, it even allows users the ability to transcode their videos to be compatible with a wide variety of devices and players.
Go to play the MP4 video in VLC Player first to make sure this media player can decode the video file in problem. You may find VLC is more powerful and user-friendly than QuickTime. In fact, people prefer VLC to QuickTime. If you still like to play the mp4 file in QuickTime, follow below instructions to convert it with VLC on your Mac.
View video codec in VLC player – optional
Many media players have embedded such a codec inspector so you can directly check video codec while playing a video file. Go to Window > Media Information to view the codec and other technical specifications.
Convert videos using VLC media player on Mac
Here’s the quick steps to convert videos using VLC media player on Mac.
Launch VLC player on Mac. Click File > Convert / Stream …. from the top menu bar to open a new dialog as below.
Click Open media button to find and open the video you like to convert in the VLC converter. Choose a profile from the drop-down menu and customize the format, video codec, audio codec, and subtitles. You can choose Video – H.264 + MP3 (MP4) as the profile, then click Customize button to choose the compatible codec for both video and audio as follows.
- Video codec: you can choose H.264 or other compatible codec
- Audio codec: MPEG 4 Audio (AAC) or other compatible codec
At the bottom of this Convert & Stream window, you can choose either to stream or convert the source video. Choose Save as File, click Browse to choose an output location. Finally hit the Save button to transcode your video. The Convert & Stream window disappears and you will be taken back to the main VLC media player window with the selected video added to the Playlist. Your video will be converted instantly and you can see the process bar at the bottom.
When finished, open the output folder to find the converted MP4 video file and play it with QuickTime Player on your Mac.
Convert MP4 to M4V or other format
Except VLC player, there are many professional video convertors you can find and use on the web to convert an .mp4 to .m4v or other format on Mac.
UniConverter, as its name says, is a great tool for converting videos. It can do a whole lot of other things like downloading videos from the Internet, compress large videos, edit videos, record screen, merge videos and many more.
Run UniConverter, click Converter from its Home interface. Then click Add button to select and import the MP4 file from your Mac to the converter.
Click the Configuration icon. In the new dialog you will have the options to choose output video format, video resolution, audio format, audio quality, etc.
We choose Video > MOV or M4V, then select a resolution the same as source or a different one if need. Finally hit the Convert button to convert the MP4 to MOV or M4V format. The video will be saved to the Converted folder by default. You can find and open it from the File Location at the bottom.
Other MP4 & video conversion alternatives
- SPlayer for Mac: a simple, powerful and intelligent media player for Mac with smart translation.
- UniConverter for Mac: Your all-in-one video toolkit for Mac. UniConverter is not only a video converter but also, video editor, screen recorder, video downloader, DVD creator, DVD ripper and more.
- Permute: the easiest to use media converter for Mac. It can convert video, audio and images files into different formats, edit your media files. No configuration required, drag and drop interface.