How to Play AVI Files on Mac in 2021

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AVI format

Having issues opening .avi on Mac? It happens to the best of us. AVI was introduced three decades ago and is still very popular today. However, it was created by Microsoft and Apple’s macOS operating system and its default video player, QuickTime, cannot play it. But the good news is that if you want to watch avi on Mac, such as a movie or home video, you absolutely can. Just like you can find software to play WMV on Mac.

Our article describes five ways to solve this issue. You’ll learn the strong points of each solution and how to use them, so you don’t have to struggle anymore.

Option 1: Open AVI on Mac with Third-Party Video Players

If QuickTime doesn’t play AVI on mac, it’s not the end of the world. You can simply get another macOS media player to make things right. Just make sure it’s a safe app with a good selection of features – and here are our top choices that match the description.

Elmedia Player

how to play avi files on mac using elmedia

Elmedia Player is an excellent choice to play .avi on Mac. In fact, the app supports such a wide range of file formats in addition to AVI, that you won’t encounter any compatibility issues with your videos. Elmedia offers advanced playback features such as picture-in-picture mode and an audio equalizer for fine-tuning your sound. The app comes with full subtitle support, meaning it can display both external and built-in subtitles. You can even search for subtitle tracks online. To customize the app, you can choose from a variety of color themes.

Additional capabilities such as creating your own playlists will make watching AVI files on Mac an absolute breeze. Last but not least, the app is constantly maintained and updated by the developer team, to ensure it stays current and glitch-free.

How to open AVI on Mac with Elmedia

Step 1. Download and install the free Elmedia Player app.

install elmedia player on mac

Step 2. Drag your file and drop it onto the Elmedia Player window or the dock icon.

opening avi files on mac with elmedia

Step 3. Find your AVI file and right-click on it, then choose “Open With” > Elmedia Player.


Step 4. From the Elmedia Player app, select “File” in the top left corner of the menu bar, then tap “Open” and browse to find your file.


Step 5. Enjoy your video!


Pros:

  • Easy to use – you don’t need to adjust any settings, but if you want to, you can.
  • All key features are free.
  • Full control over playback settings.

Cons:

  • Some advanced bonus features require a subscription.
  • Only available for Mac.

IINA Player

play avi files on mac with iina player

IINA Player is another great option to open AVI on Mac. The app has a very modern look to it. It integrates seamlessly with macOS and novel features such as Force Touch, Touch Bar and Picture-in-Picture. It even comes with Dark Mode, where everything has been adjusted to make it easy on the eyes. In terms of compatibility, IINA can play almost any media format and delivers great picture quality. The app also comes with fully customizable keyboard, mouse, trackpad, and gesture controls. You can also apply video and audio filters, create playlists, etc., for the most enjoyable experience.

How to Open .avi on Mac with IINA

Step 1. Install and launch IINA on your Mac.


Step 2. Go to File > Open. In the dialog, find the file you want to open.


Step 3. Select your file and click “Open”.

Pros:

  • Free, open-source app.
  • Designed with modern macOS features in mind.
  • App has been translated into more than 20 languages.

Cons:

  • It appears no updated version of the app has been released in a long time.
  • Occasional glitches have been reported.

OmniPlayer

play avi on mac with omniplayer

Our next suggestion on playing AVI on Mac is Omni Player. It is able to play various video formats with resolutions of up to 4K/1080P/720P HD. You can make video adjustments (speed, ratio, brightness, etc.) and subtitle adjustments (delay, size, etc.) in real time. With audio, you can also make adjustments as you go, as well as choose from predefined audio modes or equalizer settings. The playlist management feature works great and allows you to quickly search for files, delete them, or change the repeat mode. All in all, OmniPlayer will deliver a pleasant viewing experience.

How to Open AVI Files on Mac with OmniPlayer

Step 1. Install and open OmniPlayer on your Mac.


Step 2. Drag and drop your file onto the app window, or click the big “+” symbol to open a file.


Step 3. Your AVI video will play automatically.


Pros:

  • You can adjust video brightness, contrast, and saturation.
  • Allows you to enable an auto-hide option after a particular amount of time.
  • It’s able to take screenshots.

Cons:

  • The app theme is not customizable.

Option 2: Play AVI by Converting to a QuickTime MOV format

For another way to open avi, Mac users can convert files to QuickTime MOV or MP4. To do so, you can install a video converter program or use an online AVI file converter. Desktop conversion software works more quickly and allows you to convert multiple AVI files simultaneously. On the other hand, online converters like Zamzar and CloudConvert, can only convert 1 or 2 files at the same time.

Desktop Video Converter App: Movavi

convert avi to any format using movavi

Movavi is a convenient converter app for Mac. It can help you view AVI on Mac by converting your file into another Apple-friendly video format. You can either choose a specific format or select your target device from a list. In fact, the app’s not limited to video files, but can also convert audio and images. Apart from video conversion, Movavi allows you to compress your media, and edit your videos by trimming and tweaking colors. You can even search for subtitles online or add local subtitle files to your converted videos. With all of these options, Movavi offers a perfect workaround when you’re stuck with an AVI on Mac that you can’t play.

How to Convert AVI to a QuickTime Format

Step 1. ​​Install and open Movavi on your Mac.


Step 2. Drag and drop your AVI file onto the app window.


Step 3. Choose your desired output format.


Step 4. Click on the “Convert” button to start the conversion.


Pros:

  • Additional capabilities such as trimming and merging your video.
  • Works with all popular formats, Apple devices, and more.

Cons:

  • The free version only offers a 7-day trial period and puts a watermark on output videos.
  • The interface is a bit busy and takes time getting used to.

Option 3: Find the Right Codec to Play AVI on QuickTime

quctime can't play avi

As described on the official Apple website, QuickTime may require additional components to play additional media types. Most of these are known as codecs and can be downloaded, in order to enhance the functionality of QuickTime.
When looking for an AVI codec for Mac, one of the options you can consider is 3ivx MPEG-4. This codec supports all video files with the AVI extension and can play them on QuickTime Player. To use the codec, make sure you download it from the official website. It comes with a free trial and subsequently requires a license.

Pros:

  • It enables you to play most AVI, MP4, M4A, 3GP, and MOV files.
  • Produces higher quality video than other decoders.

Cons:

  • Some users may find the installation more complex.
  • It’s not free.

Option 4: Open AVI Using a Plugin or Add-On for Your Player

Perian is a free, open source, QuickTime component. It allows QuickTime to play several popular video formats that are not supported natively by macOS. These include AVI, DivX, and XviD, among others. Unfortunately, the Perian software has been discontinued, so there are no new releases available, nor support. As a result, it doesn’t work with the latest versions of QuickTime. The team behind Perian recommend using NicePlayer instead. It’s another open-source solution to opening AVI files on Mac, however, its latest release dates back to 2014.

Pros:

  • It empowers QuickTime to play various unsupported video files, audio, text, and container formats.

Cons:

  • Installation is not straightforward if you’re not a more advanced user.
  • Some plug-ins solutions are not being updated by their creators.
  • Make sure you download any components from the official websites to avoid risks.

Option 5: Fix a Corrupt AVI File to Open It

If you still cannot play AVI on Mac after trying a suitable player, converting your AVI file to MOV, or installing the proper codec, your AVI file might be corrupt. And a corrupt file cannot be played. Luckily, most errors are due to damages to the AVI file index which accompanies your video, not the actual video. Thus, you can try to repair it using an AVI video repair software. There are apps specifically designed for this purpose, both free and paid, as well as online services. Some players such as VLC can play damaged files without actually modifying the source file.

Pros:

  • Repair software can salvage an unplayable AVI file.
  • Some solutions fix low-level corruption issues, while others can repair more severe problems.

Cons:

  • Some repair software may incur hidden charges.
  • Beware of adware or redundant software versions.

What is an AVI file?

An AVI file is a format which uses the .avi file extension. It was introduced in 1992 as the standard video format for the Windows operating system. AVI is saved as part of the Audio Video Interleave (AVI) multimedia container, which acts like a box containing both audio and video. The data in this container can be encoded using various codecs, e.g. DivX and XviD.

What is a Codec?

A codec is a piece of software which encodes or decodes data. Each codec contains an encoder to compress files, and a decoder to decompress them. The compression can be lossy or lossless. Lossy compression compromises quality to produce a smaller file, while lossless preserves quality, producing larger files. Some popular video codecs include DivX, XviD, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, HEVC/H.265, and H.264. If a video player fails to open a file, it may lack a particular codec.

FAQ