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Best Solution to Fix MP4 Not Compatible with QuickTime

QuickTime Player is the default media player application that comes pre-installed on Mac. While it comes bundled with macOS, in,2016, it was announced Apple would no longer provide security updates to the Windows version. Over the years, it has been updated with many features that can handle most major video and audio file formats, and even compacted with editing and screen recording utilities. But still, there is an ongoing issue in which sometimes QuickTime Player can't open MP4. So in this article, we will introduce in detail the reasons why MP4 cannot be played on Mac and you may use the offered solutions to fix it!

Part 1: Why QuickTime Player Can't Open MP4 Files?

We know that MP4 files are a natively supported format by QuickTime Player, but why still can't play MP4 files? Let's figure out what exactly causes the playback issue.

1. The media player is outdated

QuickTime Player may not be able to open MP4 files if the software is outdated or too old. MP4 videos compressed with recent codecs will not be supported.

2. The file codecs aren't compatibility

MP4 is a compressed file format, so it may contain some different video and audio codecs. Since the macOS 10.13 update, there are more codecs unsupported by Mac. MP4 is still a supported format, but it can only support MP4 encoded with H.264, MPEG-4, and H.265/HEVC. Furthermore, that MP4 file may be beyond the encoding and decoding capabilities of QuickTime.

3. The file is corrupted or damaged

Most likely the MP4 file you are trying to play is corrupted or damaged. For example, if you remove the USB memory while transferring it from the USB to the Mac, the file may be damaged.

Part 2: How to Fix QuickTime Can't Play MP4 Files.

Convert MP4 to QuickTime-Friendly Format

Most frequently, the MP4 video file lacks the necessary codecs. Since QuickTime only supports MP4 encoding using H.264, MPEG-4, and H.265/HEVC. The best solution is to convert MP4 to QuickTime-friendly format with HitPaw Video Converter, a powerful all-in-one converter tool. With support for multiple video editing features: merge, rotate, crop with precision, add watermarks, and speed adjustment. Also can convert 8K/4K/1080p HD videos and DVDs to MP4, MOV, MP3, GIF, and over 1000 digital formats. It solves all your concerns about format restrictions.

Watch the following video to learn more details:

Main Features of HitPaw Video Converter

  • Converts 8K/4K/HDR videos and DVD to MP4, MOV, MP3, GIF and over 1000 digital formats.
  • Download videos, audio, and subtitles from 10000+ websites with fast speed and high quality.
  • Batch convert videos up to 5000 files.
  • Enrich video story with diverse editing features, such as cut&rotate&merge, filter&effects, add watermark, video stabilization, speed adjustment, and more.

How to use HitPaw Video Converter?

Following this simple guide to convert your MP4 file to QuickTime-friendly format.

  • Step 1: Download and install the software on your Mac. Launch the application and select the “Add Files” to upload your MP4 file.

    open and import your mp4 file
  • Step 2: Select an output format for your video by clicking the inverted triangle icon.

    choose an output format for your files
  • Step 3: Then click the “Convert” or “Convert All” to start conversion. You can also enable lossless acceleration to have the fastest speed.

    start conversion
  • Step 4: After a few seconds, you can find the video in “Converted” list. Then you can click the video-preview-image or click the right mouse button to play the video directly with HitPaw Video Converter.

    open and play converted video file
  • Step 5: You can find your converted file in the designated output folder, and then play in QuickTime Player

Open MP4 files on Mac using Online Video Converter

If you do not want to installing new software on your Mac or just need a one-off file conversion, you can choose an online video converter. If you don't mind the fact that these online tools will have a lot of advertisement pop-ups and the output video quality is rather mediocre, then here we use Video Convert Online as an example to show you procedure.

  • Step 1: First, find and open the official website of Video Convert Online.

  • Step 2: Click "Open file" button to select and upload an MP4 file to convert.

  • Step 3: For "Video Resolution", you can just choose Apple's MOV file format or click on "Apple", and modify the output video settings according to your needs. Then click the “Convert” button.

  • Step 4: After the conversion is completed, just save the converted file by clicking "Download".

  • Step 5: All set! Your video file is ready to play in QuickTime Player.

    using video convert online to convert files

Update QuickTime Media Player

You can update QuickTime Player on Mac following the steps:
Open QuickTime app on Mac>Go to the Help option then select Update Existing Software (*software version will upgrade macOS and all default applications)>follow the popup window if there is a new version>final accept the agreement to install.

Use a Media Player alternative

One solution is to try other players. You can give it a try with other popular media players, such as VLC Media Player, KMPlayer, PlayerXtreme Player, etc. They are capable with of a wide array of supported formats and codecs, which can also help you solve the playback issue.

Repair the corrupted or damaged MP4 file

Finally, if you found that corrupted MP4 is the main reason why QuickTime can't play MP4, you should handle this issue with a repair tool, here we introduce a powerful repair tool which is Wondershare Repairit. It is created to solve corrupted file issues for Windows and Mac computer users. As an MP4 video repair tool, it can help you repair corrupted or damaged MP4 video files quickly, no matter what the reason is.

Part 3: FAQs about QuickTime and MP4 file

Q1. What is an MP4 file?

A1. MP4 is an abbreviated recording of MPEG-4 Part 14. MP4 is a compressed format, used to store video and audio data or other data such as subtitles and images.

Q2. How to update QuickTime player on Mac?

A2. Open your QuickTime player apps > click on Update Existing Software > follow the popup window if there is a new version.


Since MP4 playback errors in QuickTime Player can be solved by converting or transcoding formats in most cases, the HitPaw Video Converter is an ideal particle tool to work for you. In addition, you can take it as a versatile assist in your digital works. It can download, edit, compress videos, record screens, rip DVDs, and more features. Finally, hope you have found the best solution for your needs from this post.

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