How to Fix ‘This File Isn’t Compatible With Quicktime Player’ Error

QuickTime Player is a go-to for many Mac users. So if you come across the ‘This File Isn’t Compatible With QuickTime Player’ error, that can be a bummer. Thankfully you have us for assistance, and we can help you fix it with basic troubleshooting. It’s time to set your worries aside and read along.


The file isn’t compatible with QuickTime Player issue typically arises when you try to open a media file that QuickTime Player cannot handle. To fix it, we first need to understand whether the issue lies with the player or the video. Let’s do that and get your video and QuickTime Player up and running again.

Why Am I seeing ‘This File Isn’t Compatible With QuickTime Player’ Error

The infamous macOS video player error can pop up from time to time. As per an Apple Support article, this compatibility issue is something that Apple expects. The tech giant suggests two solutions updating the app or using another app, but we have more to offer.

However, before we move in to fix the file that isn’t compatible with the QuickTime player issue, it’s wiser to check the reasons behind the error.

  • QuickTime Player or macOS is outdated.
  • QuickTime Player doesn’t support your file’s codec.
  • There’s a file format name mismatch with the QuickTime Player’s codec database.
  • The video or audio file is corrupted.
  • Virus and malware in the macOS interfering with the QuickTime Player’s operation.
  • The QuickTime Player app not responding anymore.

Whatever the reason, trying the following troubleshooting steps in the order of their appearance below should solve the issue quickly.

7 Ways to Fix Quicktime Can’t Open Video Files Error

While the ultimate solution is to contact Apple Support and enlist their help, we have found some solutions that can fix issues, like This file contains some media that isn’t compatible with QuickTime player in no time.

1. Quit and Restart the QuickTime Player

Sometimes, the video player may get stuck in the back-end processing phase. Thus it doesn’t respond well to file execution commands and shows random errors. Force quitting and restarting the app should easily resolve the issue.

Step 1: Go to Launchpad or use Spotlight, search, and open Activity Monitor.

Step 2: Try and spot QuickTime Player from the list of apps or use the search bar to find it.

Step 3: Click the X button from the top menu bar.

Quit and Restart the QuickTime Player

Step 4: Next, click Force Quit.

Click Force Quit

Now, wait for a while. If possible, restart the Mac for a clean slate and then open the QuickTime player and try playing the video.

2. Update the QuickTime Player and macOS

Apple doesn’t offer separate update schedules for built-in apps like Safari and QuickTime Player. As a result, you can only update these apps by updating the OS. Here’s how.

Step 1: Click the Apple icon from the menu bar and select System Settings.

Step 2: If an update is available, you might get a notification on this page. Otherwise, go to General and select Software Update.

Click General and then Software

Step 3: If available, click Upgrade Now.

Update macOS

Step 4: Once the download is complete, follow the onscreen instructions to update your Mac.

When done, try playing the video file. If the error persists, move on to the next step.

Note: If using macOS Monterey or earlier, click the Apple icon → About this Mac → Software Update, if available, click Update Now.

3. Double-Check the File Format

QuickTime Player doesn’t offer as extensive file format support as some of the more advanced media players. However, it can comfortably support formats including QuickTime movie files (MOV), MPEG-4 files (MP4, MP3, M4V, M4A), MPEG-2, AVI, Mjpeg, DV Stream, and audio files such as AIFF, WAV, and AAC.

So maybe the video file is out of the scope, and the ‘The file isn’t compatible with QuickTime Player’ error occurs because it’s simply incompatible.

However, there’s still a chance that the extension name is incorrect or mistakenly changed by you. In such a scenario, renaming the file in the correct format name should help. You may try the following steps on a MacBook or iMac.

Step 1: Open Finder and navigate to the location where the file is stored.

Step 2: Select the File, right-click, and select Get info.

Step 3: Here, check the More info and Name & Extension and ensure all is in order.

Check the File Format

If you feel the extension is not what it should be, try changing it. Now, try to run the file on QuickTime Player to test if you can resolve the issue or not.

4. Check for Video or Audio File Corruption

So far, if you’ve tried all the above troubleshooting and still QuickTime can’t open the video file, you must cross-check the file for any corruption. The easiest way to do so is to use any other media player available on your device to run the video.

If the video isn’t playing in other apps as well, then the issue might be with the video. Try using the next method, download the video again, or use a video converter to fix the problem.

5. Encode Video or Audio Files for QuickTime Player

Macs come with an out-of-the-box multimedia encoder. You can use this tool to re-encode a faulty multimedia file so that macOS can play it on the QuickTime Player app.

Step 1: Open Finder and select the video file.

Step 2: Right-click the file and select ‘Encode Selected Video Files’.

Encode Video or Audio Files on Mac

Step 3: Here, click the drop-down arrow beside the Setting.

Step 4: Select a suitable codec (you can select any, as QuickTime Player supports all of these).

Step 5: Click Continue.

Select the codec and click Continue

Once the encoding session is complete, you’ll spot a converted video file in the same folder. Try playing it, hopefully, you can now play it.

6. Scan macOS for Any Viruses

Though macOS is virtually uninfectable, however, some smart malware and virus programs can cause damage to the built-in apps like the QuickTime Player. Don’t worry. There are fool-proof ways to remove and prevent malware on your Mac.

A good antivirus and thorough cleaning of your Mac can take you a long way. Once you’re certain that the macOS is free from malware, spyware, and virus programs, give the video file another shot. Check if the QuickTime returns back to its quick self (pun intended).

7. Look for a Compatible App on the App Store

If you’re in this section, it means you tried all the previous methods to troubleshoot and couldn’t fix the ‘This File Isn’t Compatible With QuickTime Player’ error. Now, the last option is getting another video player that could play the file you’re facing issues with.

To find the right app for the file, right-click the file → select Open With → App Store. Look through the available options and find the one that suits you the best.

Don’t Wait for the Nick of Time to Fix Quicktime

It might impact your mood a lot when your home video, that episode of your favorite show, or a long-forgotten video is met with this file isn’t compatible with QuickTime player error. We hope this article can help you resolve the issue without much trouble.

If you need any more assistance or have any questions, feel free to contact us via the comments section.

Last updated on 04 November, 2023

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