How to Play MOV Files on a Mac

By Nick Flegg

MOV files are video files that work natively with Apple's QuickTime Player, which ships with the Mac operating system. The extension MOV is short for Apple QuickTime Movie. MOV files can also be opened in other applications such as VLC Player and Safari and can also be copied into iTunes playlists.

Double-Clicking a MOV File

A MOV file can be opened by locating the file and just double-clicking it. The file automatically opens in your primary video player, which by default is Apple's QuickTime Player. If the timing of your clicks is too slow, the application won't open, and the text associated with the file will become highlighted. To correct this, click on an object other than the MOV file once to reset your cursor and then double-click on the MOV file again.

Opening a MOV File Using Quick Look

Highlight a MOV file and press the space bar button on your keyboard to open the MOV file in Apple's Quick Look. Quick Look enables you to view files quickly and easily without opening full applications. Quick Look also comes with buttons that switch the player into full-screen mode and open your video in related applications. If the MOV file is contained within a folder, you can also open Quick Look by highlighting the file and pressing the eye icon at the of the top of the folder window.

Dragging a MOV File into an Application

If your video player is already open, you can drag the MOV file into the application in order to play it. This works for programs such as QuickTime Player, VLC Player and even Apple's built-in Web browser, Safari. You can also add a MOV file to your iTunes library using the same method. Once added, your MOV file can be found under the Movies tab.

Right-Clicking a MOV File

Right-clicking a MOV file gives you access to more advanced options, such as compressing, burning or duplicating the file. Compressing a MOV file shrinks the file size, although it must be uncompressed again before it can be played. Duplicating a MOV file enables you to create an exact copy of the video for archiving purposes. Burning a MOV file copies to file onto a DVD. You also have the option to make an alias, which acts as a shortcut button in case you want to store the original file somewhere that isn't easily accessible.

Opening a MOV File in Another Application

To open a MOV file in an application other than QuickTime Player, right-click the file and choose the "Open With" option to display a list of related applications. If the list doesn't contain the application you're searching for, click the "Other" button to search for the specific application manually. Switch "Recommended Applications" to "All Applications" if the application of your choice isn't selectable and tick the "Always Open With" option if you'd like to automatically associate this newly selected program with MOV files.

Finding More Information

To find more information about your MOV file, right-click the file and choose the "Get Info" button. You will be able to view details such as file size, location, duration and video resolution. You can also rename the file, choose an application with which to open it or change the access permissions. Click the red "X" icon on the top left corner of the window to close this screen.