Can't Play MP4 on VLC on Mac? Fixed!

Is it possible to play MP4 file in VLC media player? The answer is yes, but why the question below happened, and I believe that the question is not unique.

“Recently, I downloaded a livestream from twitch. When finished, I tried to open it in VLC. It opened but didn't play. By the way, I really don't want to use Quicktime as I always get frame drops with it. Any help?” User from

When we check out the official website of the media player then we will find out that it supports MP4 file formats. Then why? We explore it and list some solutions in this article for you to make references except that the MP4 file is corrupted. And we get to start it, we have listed VLC playable formats listed below for you to understand this topic in depth:

Container formats: 3GP, ASF, AVI, FLV, Matroska, QuickTime File Format, MP4, Ogg, OGM, WAV, MPEG-2, AIFF, Raw audio, Raw DV, MXF, VOB, RM, DVD-Video

Video formats: H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, H.265/MPEG HEVC, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 Part 2, Sorenson, Theora, VC-1, VP5, VP6, VP8, VP9, DNxHD, Prores and some WMV.

Part 1: Reasons and Solutions for VLC Cannot Play MP4 files

Part 2 : Step by step guide to Convert MP4 to VLC Supported Formats

Part 1: Reasons and Solutions for VLC Cannot Play MP4 files

Reason 1: Too old version for VLC

Solution: Check out whether you are using the latest version of VLC, if not, just update the latest version from VLC official website. As we all know, update means that the official have solved some bugs.


Reason 2: Wrong VLC "video output modes"

Solution: Go to Tools > Preferences on your computer in VLC and follow the steps below:

Tick the box for Enable video (if it's not ticked).

Tick the box for Window decorations (if it's not ticked).

Click on Output and select X11 video output (XCB) as your video output.

After all procedures then try to play your MP4 again.


Reason 3: VLC MP4 Hardware Decoding Limitation:

Too many subtitle tracks or rending effects increase the difficulty of hardware decoding.

Solution: Go to Tools-->Preferences on your computer in VLC and follow the steps below:

Then navigate to "Input / Codecs" --> "Video Codecs" --> "FFmpeg", choose Disable for "Hardware Decoding" option.

Restart VLC and play MP4 again.


Part 2 : Step by step guide to Convert MP4 to VLC Supported Formats.

Pavtube iMedia Converter for Mac is an all-in-one professional video converter to solve out "VLC not playing MP4" issue. It grants you to convert any video (MP4 included) to VLC supported formats in just few clicks. For example, it could transcode H.264 mp4, H.265 mp4, MPEG-4 mp4, divx mp4 and other unmentioned mp4 to VLC supported files. Meanwhile, converting VLC video files to MP4 is also just a piece of cake. By the way, it will be CPU comsuming if you are using VLC this kind of media player to play HD or UHD videos, the playback would be very choppy. To solve this problem, we suggest that you could downscale 4K to 1080p, or you could lower the kbps for your devices to playback smoothly on your Mac Book.

There is a thing you need to know, you need to download and install Libluray, Libaacs, or Libbdplus if you want to play DVD/BD on VLC. Instead, this smart assistant supports you to transcode BD/DVD/Video to virtually any video/audio formats without installing extra package. To sum up, it is not only a video converter but also a video player, video editor. More details are waiting for you to explore...

Step1: Install this program in your computer, and run it.


Step2: Load MP4 files.

You can click "File"-->"Add Video/Audio" or "Add from Folder" to import MP4 which you want to convert. Or you can directly drag or drop away the file.


Step3: Choose VLC playable output format.

To get the perfect and smooth playback, you can  select the H.264 as output format from "Format > HD Video > H.264 HD Video (*.mp4)". Or you can choose other VLC supported formats as you like.


Step4: Start MP4 file conversion.

Start MP4 file to VLC conversion by clicking the right-bottom convert button. Just wait for a second, you can click the "Open" button of the main interface and that will pop up the folder with converted file. Then you could play it will VLC smoothly.


When you get here, it's the end of the article. As we all know, there are just few kinds of formats that VLC could support, if you have tried all solutions given by itself then you have not found the way to solve the problem - "VLC not playing MP4", and you can have a trial of Pavtube Video Converter Ultimate, and you will find the new world.