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How to Fix the MP4 File Won’t Play on Mac Issue?

How to Fix the MP4 File Won’t Play on Mac Issue?

Mac computers are powerful devices that offer great performance and functionality. But even in this advanced operating system, there are times when you encounter issues. 

And one such issue is when you want some type of media file on your Mac and it just won’t. This can be extremely frustrating, especially if it’s a file that you really need, like a video shoot, a movie, or your favorite TV show.

The common problem many Mac users experience is playing MP4 files. Mac’s native video format is MOV, so there could be a compatibility issue with MP4 files in certain situations. However, this doesn’t mean that there is no solution. In this article, we will discuss how you can fix the ‘MP4 file not playing on Mac’ issue.

Symptoms of the Issue

Before we dive into how exactly to fix MP4 on Mac, let’s first understand how to identify if you are facing this concern. Some common symptoms include:

  • Video player crashes
  • Video not playing at all
  • Error messages when trying to open the file
  • The video freezes or lags while playing

And if you are experiencing any of the above, then it’s likely that you have a Mac video file error. So, let’s move on to what are the first steps you can take to try and solve the issue.

Basic Checks

The first thing you should do is some basic checks to ensure that the issue isn’t due to something minor. Here are a few things you can try:

  • Check if the file is properly downloaded or transferred. Redownload it again to be sure.
  • See if there are any updates to the video player or operating system. Update your Mac video player accordingly.
  • Check if the file isn’t corrupted. Try opening it on a different device to see if it works.
  • Use Mac video player alternatives to find if the issue persists.

If none of these basic checks works, then there could be a deeper problem with the MP4 file itself which needs more attention.

Detailed Troubleshooting Steps

There are a few methods for MP4 video troubleshooting on Mac. We will go through each one below:

1. Install codecs for Mac

Codecs are software that encode and decode digital data, including video files. Occasionally, your Mac may not have the necessary codecs to play certain types of video files like MP4. In such cases, you will need to install the relevant codecs onto your system. This allows your Mac video software to recognize and play the file without any issues.

2. Repair MP4 on Mac using specialized software

If the issue persists even after installing codecs,  then you may need to use MP4 file repair software. These tools are specifically built to fix video and audio missing from MP4 files, as well as other common issues like audio-video sync problems.

3. Scan your Mac for viruses or malware

If you downloaded the MP4 file from an untrusted source, it could be infected with viruses or malware. These malicious programs are masked as video files and can cause playback errors or even harm your computer. 

From that, there is no hope to fix MP4 on Mac, so you’ll need to use a reliable antivirus software to scan your system and remove any potential threats.

Advanced Solutions

Nothing works? There are still a few advanced methods you can try to fix MP4 playback error on Mac:

1. Convert the MP4 file

Just download any best free video compressor and convert the file to another format like MOV or AVI. If it doesn’t allow you to upload the file, that means it’s either severely damaged or corrupted.

2. Check for hardware issues

In rare cases, hardware issues such as failing hard drives can cause video playback problems. Run Disk Utility on your Mac to check for and repair any disk issues.

3. Seek professional help

You can’t always resolve the issue yourself, especially if it’s such a complicated one. Try calling a Mac expert or taking it to an Apple Store for help (if you have one). A professional will have the necessary tools and expertise to diagnose and fix any underlying issues with your Mac.


Hopefully, one of these methods will help you fix the ‘MP4 file not playing on Mac’ issue. Remember to always backup important files and use reliable sources when downloading media files. If all else fails, seek professional help to ensure that your Mac is in top working condition. So, don’t let this issue discourage you and continue enjoying your favorite videos on Mac!

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