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How to Play AVI Video File on Mac OS X

Want to stream video from the collection in AVI on Mac or transfer to a portable Apple iOS device? The AVI format, short for Audio video interleave, was first developed by Microsoft in the early 1990s. The AVI file format is heavily used on PCs, but can't be used on a Mac computer. Even as for Apple's QuickTime media player, unfortunately, the free version of QuickTime is not compatible with all types of AVI video files on Mac. If you want the freedom to play AVI files on Mac, you must enable the Mac's OS X operating system so it can recognize AVI video files.

To be able to watch AVI on Mac, here are some methods for your reference.

Method 1: Convert AVI to QuickTime compatible formats

Converting AVI to Mac QuickTime file format makes AVI video files playable on all of the native Mac video programs. To play AVI for Mac, here we will use a tool called Video Converter for Mac, which enables you to drag-and-drop and convert AVI into any of QuickTime friendly formats like MOV, MP4 and M4V quickly and easily. After that, you can not only watch AVI on Mac smoothly, but also transfer the files into iTunes and sync with your iPhone, ATV or iPad for playback on the go.

As you open the program and add files into the interface, you will see the screenshot below:

Basic Steps:

1. Add your source .avi files onto the program via "Add File" button in the upper left corner of the screen. Note, as MKV is not acceptable on QuickTime player in Mac by default, here you can also import MKV files. Check out: How to play a 1080p MKV movie on Mac computer.

2. Select output format from "Profile" drop-down menu. Highlighted in No.2

3. Press the "Convert" button in the bottom right corner of the interface to start conversion.

Supported devices and OS:
Devices: iMac, Mac Mini, Mac Pro, MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and PC with Mac OS X
Operating System: Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard or above.

Method 2: Utilize Perian –a QT component package to handle AVI on Mac issue

If you already use QuickTime as your video player, you can still play .avi on a Mac. Perian is a handy free program that allows your Mac to play almost any movie format including AVI files. Installing this add-on software will let the Mac's QuickTime player play AVI movie files on Mac as easily as it does the native QuickTime video format. In fact it claims to play all the following movie formats: AVI, DIVX, FLV, MKV, GVI, VP6, and VFW, MS-MPEG4 v1 & v2, DivX, 3ivx, H.264, Sorenson H.263, FLV/Sorenson Spark, FSV1, VP6, H263i, VP3, HuffYUV, FFVHuff, MPEG1 & MPEG2 Video, Fraps, Snow, NuppelVideo, Techsmith Screen Capture and DosBox Capture.

You can download it for free from (Update! Perian no longer works in OS X Mavericks or above, you can use another alternative — VLC media player, a swiss army knife that comes with large number of codecs on board and plays almost anything you throw at it).


While there are other apps or addons that will let you play AVI on Mac OSX, we had the best experience with two methods mentioned above. If you're looking for what is probably the easiest way to stream AVI video on Mac, Video Converter for Mac or Perian is definitely the way to go.

That's it! Hopefully this has provided much insight on how you should go about playing AVI file on a Mac.

More Related to Conversion

The default QuickTime X player (64-bit) in Macs with Mavericks or above operating system only play AVI container files containing MJPEG video along with any supported form of compressed audio like linear PCM. Any other types of AVI files will need to be converted prior to working on Mac with the three latest versions of Mac OS X (Maverics, Yosemite, EL Capitan).

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