How to Play an MKV on Mac

Here are the best MKV players:

  • Elmedia MKV Player
  • Macgo Blu-Ray Player
  • VLC
  • MplayerX

Edited by Nataly Bogorad

July 10, 2019

The Best MKV Players for Mac

Whether you are at work or at home, you may come across the need to play an MKV file on your computer. If you aren’t yet aware, an MKV file is a Matroska Video File. MKV files are video containers that are often the carrier for high-definition online video. You may have encountered an MKV file when using DivX Plus, as MKV was chosen as the default video container format for that software.

While it’s easy to expect that you can simply click on an MKV file to play a video, you may be in for a rude awakening. Specifically, you may discover that you cannot watch or view your video. This is annoying in any situation, but it can be especially stressful if you need to watch this video in order to meet a deadline.

Because of this, you will want to take advantage of distinct pieces of software that can open MKV files on your MacBook Air (or other Mac device) and easily play those videos.

But which to choose?

If you are looking for an MKV player for Mac, you’re in luck. Below, you will find our list of some of the best MKV players that you can use on your Mac device.

You can also check out Movavi Video Suite – a software package that includes a video editor, converter, screen recorder, and more.

How to Play an MKV on Mac: Our Top MKV Players

Ultimately, the following list of software is not ranked in order of preference. Rather, it is simply a collection of software that we have found useful when opening and playing MKV files. By taking advantage of any (or all) of the software below, we are confident that you will be satisfied.

Elmedia MKV Player

Elmedia Player is a free video player for Mac. It touts itself as a “can-do-it-all” Mac video player that provides a wide range of features. One of those features is the ability to play videos in many different formats, including MKV files. Other supported file formats include AVI, FLV, MP4, MP3, and DAT.

In addition to this capability to play MKV files on your device, Elmedia MKV Player delivers an outstanding high definition experience. It does this by its unrivaled ability to unload your processor while delivering HD content with no delay or sync issues. By using Elmedia MKV Player, you can also stream your locally saved files to DLNA-certified and AirPlay devices (like Apple TV and Chromecast). While you can download this software for free, you can also take advantage of a pro version, which provides some additional features.

Macgo Blu-Ray Player

The Macgo Blue-Ray Player allows you to play a movie or video with stunning picture quality. Like the other pieces of software on this list, Macgo Blu-Ray Player lets you play MKV files, along with video formats like MP4, MOV, WMV, and others. The software has optimized 4K video playback without any stutters or lag.

In addition to the above, the Macgo Blu-Ray Player is powerful. According to Macgo, the Blu-Ray Player’s unique hardware acceleration technology allows it to reduce the workload of hardware while Blu-Ray playback is occurring. Hardware acceleration within this software can save 20 to 50 percent of your CPU, reduce your Mac’s RAM, and extend its battery life. You can try the Macgo Blu-Ray Player for free, but you will need to purchase a license to use it beyond the trial period.


VLC for Mac OS X appears simpler than the prior options, yet it provides a wealth of functionality. VLC is a free, open source piece of software that lets you play multimedia files like MKV files. Not only can you play MKV files, but you can also play DVDs, audio CDs, VCDs, and files that are part of various streaming protocols.

According to VLC, there have been over 100 million downloads of the software. In order to run VLC on your Mac, your device needs to be running Mac OS X 10.7.5 or later. That said, if you have an older device, you may be able to take advantage of an older release of VLC. However, VLC does not offer any further support for these older releases.


MplayerX is a self-described “simple, powerful, and beautiful” media player. Using FFmpeg and Mplayer, the software allows you to play virtually any media format in the world (including MKV files) without extra plugins or codec packages. In addition to this functionality, MplayerX gives users a significant amount of control over playback. All they need to do is pinch, tap, or swipe to control playback. Rather than remembering any shortcuts, MplayerX lets you use simple gestures to control how your video is played.

In addition to the file format functionality, MplayerX detects and converts encoding methods of a subtitle file, meaning that it can automatically display subtitles to your video. To use MplayerX, your Mac needs to be running Mac OS X 10.7 or later.


Finally, Perian is another piece of software that allows you to view files in a wide range of formats – including MKV files. Perian is more of a bare-bones piece of software compared to the others listed above, but it can do a great job playing your MKV videos.

Having said that, there is one caveat with Perian. Perian recently announced that it is going to stop offering support for the software. Soon, the final version of Perian will be released to the public and the developers will be posting the source code to Google Code or GitHub. While you may want to double check to ensure that Perian is compatible with your device, it can be a lightweight, efficient piece of software for your MKV files.

Opening and Playing MKV Files

While you may have previously wondered how to play an MKV on a Mac, we hope to have convinced you that there is no need to worry. By using one of the pieces of software above, you can confidently open MKV files on a Mac. Whether you are watching an MKV for business or for pleasure, the software above can be just the solution to view these files.

We also invite you to check out Movavi Video Converter. Available for both Apple and Windows devices, Video Converter is an easy-to-use tool that allows you to convert an MKV file into a wide range of file types, including MOV, MP4, AVI and others. In addition to this feature, Video Converter lets you convert clips in just seconds, transfer homemade videos to any device or platform, and stabilize, rotate, and crop your videos. To learn more about how Video Converter can help you, click here.

Movavi Video Converter

The ideal way to get your media in the format you need!

  • Convert video, audio, DVDs, and image files
  • Enjoy lightning-fast conversion without quality loss
  • Improve quality, adjust sound, trim and join files before converting
  • Save video and audio clips for easy mobile access