How to Play WMA on Mac with or without QuickTime (Big Sur Included)

Peter William
time March 17, 2021 Preview 215
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WMA is a commonly used audio format in Windows operating systems. Apple's original sound player can’t directly open it, as it uses Microsoft's proprietary codec. If the WMA file won’t play on Mac, you might feel very frustrated. Well, this article will take a look at how to play WMA on Mac as well as introduce the best WMA player for Mac to you.

What is a WMA File?

WMA or Windows Media Audio is an audio file container developed by Microsoft. It reduces the data traffic, but maintains the sound quality to achieve a better compression rate. Generally, the quality of WMA files is higher than that of MP3 files while maintaining a low bit rate like 64 kbps.

Developer Microsoft
Full name WMA (Windows Media Audio) File Format
File extension .wma
MIME type audio/x-ms-wma
Pros Great quality and performance in low bitrates
Cons Poor compatibility on non-Windows systems

 

Can QuickTime Play WMA on Mac Free?

Unfortunately, QuickTime Player doesn't natively support many popular formats, including WMA. When you try to listen to WMA on Mac with QuickTime Player, it would fail to parse and prompt you QuickTime Player can’t open “xxx.wma”.

But you can download different components to play the unsupported QuickTime formats, say, Perian for MKV.

wma file won’t play on mac quicktime

To open WMA files on Mac, you can install Flip4Mac (powered by Telestream). It's the only QuickTime component to help play, import, and export WMA files on your Mac.

flip4mac

However, there are three shortcomings:

  • It doesn’t support the Windows Media Audio Voice codec.
  • Flip4Mac has been charging since 2014.
  • It’s not compatible with OS X El Capitan or later.

Due to the terrible compatibility and practicality, Flip4Mac is almost eliminated. Its developer - Telestream is also aware of the problem. Now, they strongly recommend users to install its upgraded QuickTime component – Switch to play WMA files on Mac OS X. It supports most QuickTime video codecs and extra containers/codecs that are not used in the QuickTime media framework.

 

The Best Free WMA Player for Mac

Cisdem Video Player (a.k.a CVP) boasts of a minimalistic yet resourceful design, making it easy to play WMA on Mac free. It supports virtually any video and audio format you throw at it without a hiccup, e.g. WMA, WMV, MP4, RMVB, AVI, MPEG, VOB, DVD-VR File Format, APE, M4A, etc. This best WMA player for Mac is able to process large media file smoothly.

Thanks to Cisdem Video Player, you can fast forward or rewind to your desired time point quickly, select the file you want to play from the playlist, switch audio tracks & add external subtitles, etc.

Summary of benefits and notable features of Cisdem Video Player:

  • Lightweight and easy to use
  • Support all WMA decoders, including WMA Pro, WMA Lossless, WMA Voice, WMAV1, and WMAV2
  • Listen to WMA on Mac, encoded at whatever bitrate levels, like 320kbps, 256kbps, 224kbps, 64kbps, etc.
  • Enjoy high definition video playback, like 2k, 4k, 5k, and 8k
  • Play in more than 50 formats
  • Switch to any audio tracks and subtitles languages (when multiple available)
  • Create a smart playlist automatically
  • Built-in mini player
  • Playback speed and volume control
  • Support video conversion feature to convert WMA to MP3, M4A, etc. (in-app purchase)
  • Available on Mac OS X 10.10 or higher

How to Open WMA Files on Mac:

  1. Download Cisdem Video Player to your Mac computer.
    Free Download
  2. Click the DMG file to open the installation window. Drag the icon to the Applications folder.install cisdem video player
  3. Launch Cisdem free WMA player on Mac. Drag-n-drop WMA audio to its main interface.add wma files
  4. Click the “play” button to listen to WMA file on Mac.start playing wma on mac free

Alternatively, right-click the WMA file, and choose “Open With” > “Cisdem Video Player”. The WMA file will start playing immediately.

 

Alternative WMA Players for Mac

In addition to Cisdem Video Player, you have other options to play WMA on Mac. Below are three free alternatives.

1) VLC

VLC is an outstanding WMA player with a long history. It has existed since 1996. With constant upgrades, it has become the top media player around the world. The software can work on many operating systems, including Mac, Linux, Windows, Solaris, Android, iOS, etc. It supports multiple audio/video compression methods, file formats, and subtitles.

vlc wma player for mac

Advantages:

  1. Stream music, movies, and TV shows in various formats
  2. Play DVD, VCD, and Blu-ray
  3. Support playlist
  4. Allow to keep audio level between sessions
  5. Long list of hotkeys to quickly manage file playback

Disadvantages:

  1. Poor compatibility with the new Mac systems, such as macOS Big Sur

2) KMPlayer

KMPlayer is an exquisite WMA player for Mac. Just press shortcut keys to increase or decrease the volume of a WMA audio. It sets an accurate time point, allowing you to directly fast forward/rewind 5sec or 30sec. You can fine-tune the color balance of a playing video, like contrast, brightness, HUE, saturation, balance init. If necessary, you can also rotate the screen to adjust to the best angle.

play.wma on mac with kmplayer

Advantages:

  1. Support 4k high-resolution video playback
  2. Control sound and subtitles
  3. Run media files in a variety of formats
  4. Open DVD video
  5. One-finger gesture to control playback

Disadvantages:

  1. 32-bit app. Not compatible with macOS Catalina or later

3) 5KPlayer

5KPlayer is an all-around media player to play WMA on Mac. It‘s boosted by DXVA2, Intel QSV, and NVIDIA CUDA hardware acceleration. This WMA player for Mac also lets you play MP4, MKV, H.265, VP8, VP9, MTS, DVD and other kinds of videos/audio files. Its special feature is to support airplay, so you are able to do instant screen mirroring by modifying the resolution.

listen to wma on mac with 5kplayer

Advantages:

  1. Play 4K, 360° video, DVD and IPTV
  2. Listen to WMA file or other audio
  3. Detect Hi-Fi audio files
  4. Work with Apple AirPlay
  5. Built-in YouTube downloader

Disadvantages:

  1. Old fashioned and not simple to use for beginners

 

The Best WMA converter for Mac to Convert WMA to MP3 or Other QuickTime Format

The best free WMA player for Mac – Cisdem Video Player we mentioned earlier has a conversion feature that needs to be unlocked for a fee. It supports 9 audio/video outputs and 60 presets for devices. You can use the software to convert WMA to MP3 and M4A.

But Cisdem Video Player is not a dedicated video/audio converter. It doesn’t support many output formats. If you often want to perform media file conversion, give a try on its brother software – Cisdem Video Converter.

The app supports 300+ files formats and devices. It gives you the ability to tweak the output file codec, bitrate, sample rate, quality, etc.

Summary of stunning features of Cisdem Video Converter:

  • Convert WMA to MP3, AAC, AC3, APE, FLAC, OGG, WAV, MKA, etc.
  • Extract audio files from a music video
  • Convert video to iPhone, iPad, MP4, or any format
  • Batch convert WMA to QuickTime formats
  • Rip copy-protected or homemade DVD disc
  • Download video/audio from 1000+ sites

How to Convert WMA to QuickTime on Mac:

  1. Download and install the free trial of Cisdem Video Converter.
    Free Download
  2. Launch it. Drag an individual or multiple WMA files into the software.load wma files
  3. Choose the QuickTime formats (e.g. MP3) as the outputs.wma to quicktime format
  4. Click the “conversion” button.

After conversion, you can open the converted WMA file on Mac via QuickTime Player.

 

Extended: Play WMA on iPhone

All Apple devices are incapable of playing WMA files, and the same is true on the iPhone. YxPlayer is a reliable WMA player for iPhone (iOS 11.0 or later). It supports lots of audio and video formats plus helps you share your WMA or other media files with YxPlayer users. You can download YxPlayer on Mac App Store. It is not freeware and needs to cost $2.99. Once you installed YxPlayer on iPhone, you will have the ability to open WMA with it straightly.

play wma on iphone

 

Conclusion

Hopefully, this article helped you figure out how to open WMA files on Mac. Three methods are mentioned above: install the QuickTime component, use a WMA player for Mac, or convert WMA to QuickTime format. However, there is another situation that will cause “WMA file won’t play on Mac”. If your WMA tracks are protected by DRM, they can’t be played or copied to an audio CD.

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Peter William
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Peter has always had great enthusiasm for writing, programming and web development. He likes writing about software and technology, his works are featured on some tech blogs or forums like Tom's Hardware, CNET, etc.

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