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How to play wmv on mac

how to play wmv on mac

As a Mac user, encountering a WMV (Windows Media Video) file can leave you scratching your head, especially if you’re not familiar with the file format and how macOS handles it natively. In this article, I’ll share my personal experiences and guide you on how to play WMV files on your Mac, using various methods that I’ve tested and found reliable. Whether you’ve received a work project, downloaded media content, or stumbled upon an old video file, there are several ways to ensure your WMV files play smoothly on your Mac.


Common Scenarios:

Dealing with Work Projects 💼

  • Received a WMV file from a colleague using a Windows PC.
  • Need to review business presentations or video materials in WMV format.
  • Compatibility issues when sharing multimedia content between operating systems.

Downloading Media Content 🎞

  • WMV files downloaded from the internet that won’t open on default Mac players.
  • Purchased or acquired video courses and tutorials that are in WMV format.
  • Encountered digital libraries or archives with WMV files.

Stumbling Upon Old Archives ⏲

  • Uncovered old personal WMV videos taken on previous Windows devices.
  • Rediscovering past work or school projects saved in WMV format.
  • Looking to convert and preserve WMV videos for future compatibility.

Step-by-Step Guide. How To Play Wmv On Mac:

Method 1: Using VLC Media Player 🎧

  • Download and install the VLC Media Player for Mac from the official VLC website.
  • Open VLC Media Player and select ‘File’ then ‘Open File…’ to browse for your WMV file.
  • Select the WMV file you want to play and click ‘Open’ to start playback.

Note: VLC is a free and open-source player that supports a wide range of multimedia formats, including WMV, with no additional codecs required.

Conclusion: VLC Media Player is a versatile tool that serves as a one-stop shop for playing various video formats on Mac, making it an ideal choice for handling WMV files.

Method 2: Installing Flip4Mac Plugin 🔧

  • Visit the Telestream Flip4Mac website and download the Flip4Mac WMV Components for QuickTime.
  • Install the Flip4Mac plugin following the provided installation instructions.
  • Once installed, QuickTime Player should be able to open and play WMV files directly.

Note: While Flip4Mac provides seamless integration with QuickTime, the free version has limitations, and some features are available only in the paid version.

Conclusion: Flip4Mac is a great solution if you prefer using QuickTime Player and want to enhance its compatibility with WMV files.

Method 3: Using Online Video Converters 💻

  • Open your web browser and navigate to an online video converter like Zamzar.
  • Upload your WMV file to the converter.
  • Choose an output format compatible with macOS, such as MP4.
  • Start the conversion process and download the converted file once it’s ready.

Note: Online converters are convenient but may have limitations on file size and can pose security risks with sensitive content.

Conclusion: Online video converters are quick and easy options for occasional conversions without the need to install additional software.

Method 4: Converting with HandBrake 💾

  • Download and install HandBrake from the official HandBrake website.
  • Open HandBrake and select the ‘Source’ button to choose your WMV file.
  • Configure the output settings, selecting a Mac-compatible format like MP4.
  • Start the conversion and wait for your file to be processed.

Note: HandBrake is a powerful tool, but it may take some time to familiarize yourself with its settings and options.

Conclusion: HandBrake is an excellent choice for those who need to convert WMV files to a Mac-compatible format frequently, offering advanced settings for video conversions.

Method 5: Using Elmedia Player 🎵

  • Download and install Elmedia Player from the official Elmedia Player website.
  • Launch Elmedia Player and add your WMV file to the app’s library.
  • Select the file from the library and press ‘Play’.

Note: Elmedia Player is a powerful multimedia player for Mac that supports a wide range of formats, but advanced features may require a purchase.

Conclusion: Elmedia Player is another robust alternative for playing WMV files, offering an intuitive interface and additional playback options.


Precautions and Tips:

Ensure Compatibility ⚙

  • Always check if the multimedia player you’re considering supports WMV format.
  • Update your macOS to the latest version to ensure the best software compatibility.
  • Download software from official websites or trusted sources to avoid potential security risks.

Further Insights

The challenge of playing WMV files on Mac is a common scenario, primarily due to the proprietary nature of the WMV format developed by Microsoft for Windows platforms. Nonetheless, the digital landscape offers a plethora of tools designed to bridge this compatibility gap.

It’s crucial to have a strategy for dealing with various multimedia formats, especially in professional environments or when working on cross-platform projects. Software like VLC and Elmedia Player not only offer WMV playback but also a vast array of features that can enhance your viewing experience, including subtitle synchronization, audio track adjustment, and streaming capabilities.

For those who prefer not to install additional software, online converters provide a convenient solution. However, it’s essential to be mindful of privacy and security – particularly when dealing with confidential or sensitive materials.

While macOS does not natively support WMV playback, these solutions ensure that users are not left at a disadvantage. By selecting the right tool for your needs, you can enjoy seamless playback of WMV files on your Mac.

For further assistance and troubleshooting tips, Apple’s Support website is a valuable resource for Mac users. Meanwhile, video professionals may find the detailed guides available on Creative COW helpful for mastering various video formats and conversion tools.


In conclusion, while WMV files aren’t natively supported on macOS, several methods are available to play these files on your Mac. Whether it’s through third-party media players like VLC and Elmedia Player, using plugins like Flip4Mac, or converting WMV files to more compatible formats – there’s an option to suit every preference and need. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons of each method and choose the one that best fits your requirements. With the right tools and a bit of knowledge, playing WMV on Mac can be an effortless process.


No, Macs do not natively support WMV files. You’ll need a third-party media player like VLC or convert the file to a compatible format.

The best way is by using the VLC Media Player. It’s a free and versatile player that supports WMV files. Download it from Videolan.org.

No, web browsers on Mac do not typically support WMV playback. You will need to use a media player or convert the file.

You can use a conversion program like HandBrake to convert WMV files to MP4 or other Mac-compatible formats.

Yes, you can use cloud-based services like Google Drive to stream WMV files on your Mac without installing additional software.

Yes, VLC Media Player is a free and popular solution for playing WMV files on Mac. Another option is the Friendly for WMV player.

No, QuickTime does not support WMV files by default. You’ll need to install a plugin like Flip4Mac or use another media player.

Yes, Flip4Mac can be used to play WMV files on Mac within QuickTime, though it may not support newer versions of macOS.

No, currently there are no reliable browser extensions to play WMV files directly on a Mac’s browser.

Try to update your media player or re-encode the WMV file as it may be corrupted. Also, ensure your player supports the codec used in the WMV.