How to View AVI Files in QuickTime

June 2, 2011, By Christian Cawley

QuickTime is a popular media player available for Apple computers as part of the Mac OS X operating system. In the free versions, it can be used to playback video and audio, while the premium releases of QuickTime can be used to convert formats and export clips.

Video formats such as 3GP and 3G2 (commonly used on mobile phones), MPEG1 and MPEG4, H.264 and AVI can be used with QuickTime.

AVI files should be available by default; however there are occasions in which these will not play back correctly, or indeed at all. In situations like this, you might consider converting your AVI files for use in QuickTime, but this should not be necessary.

If your AVI files – possibly acquired from your digital camera or downloaded from the web – will not play in QuickTime, they may need to be converted. Alternatively you might try an alternative media player, such as the Mac version of VLC (see below).

QuickTime should be able to playback certain AVI file encoding, and it is only due to the use of certain codecs that this won’t be possible, so do try and play the file before reaching for a file converter.

How to Convert AVI Files to QuickTime

A couple of open source tools are available to allow you to convert your AVI files into the native MOV format beloved of Apple users. With these files installed, viewing your AVI files in QuickTime is a simple job.

How to Convert Your Files

To begin, you will need to download a couple of files. Note that this procedure should be used with QuickTime 6 or later.

Visit to download the 3ivx MPEG-4 Codec and to grab the DivX Doctor II app. Both of these downloads should be installed as is – don’t bother changing any of the default options.

To begin converting your AVI files, drag and drop them onto DivX Doctor II. The converter utility will then convert the files into MOV format and store them on your Mac hard drive. You should then be able to play the clips in QuickTime!

Using VLC for Mac OS X

Alternatively, if you fancy the flexibility that having an additional, universal media player installed brings, VLC is an open source option and can be quickly downloaded and installed on your Mac.

Simply visit to download – this is a 41MB file which will download in just a few minutes, depending upon your internet connection speed. The file is in DMG format, so you will just need to double-click to run the application.

VLC for Mac will playback pretty much any video or audio file that you have on your Mac, from AVI to the most obscure camera phone media container formats. It is also ideal for streaming video across a local network and offers all of this without having to download and install additional codecs!

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