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How to Fix Corrupt MOV Which Can't be Played on QuickTime

Occasionally, you might find that your MOV can’t be played on QuickTime or that your file got corrupted somehow. Fortunately, depending on the specific cause, it’s usually easy to fix a corrupt MOV and ensure you can access your most essential files.

Learn how to fix the QuickTime MOV error and restore your corrupted files.

What Is the QuickTime Video Player?

quicktime player icon

QuickTime is the default video player that comes with your macOS. It’s a powerful little player that supports various picture, audio, and video file formats, including MOV.

While it’s primarily used as a player for multimedia content, it comes with some basic editing features that enable you to have some fun with your MOV files. For instance, you can seamlessly clip, merge, split, and trim your videos or use the player for live streaming.

The best part is that it has a seamless mobile integration, so anything you can do on your Mac, you can also do on your iPhone with the utmost ease.

Reasons Why QuickTime Doesn’t Want to Play MOV Files

quicktime file icon

MOV file format is compatible with QuickTime player, so you should always be able to open your videos without much fuss. If your QuickTime will not play MOV, it’s probably because your files got corrupted.

In a nutshell, a corrupted file will have pieces of its data missing. Sometimes, those small missing pieces will make your videos a bit glitchy, or the overall quality will be poorer than expected.

However, if there are too many missing pieces of data, the video player will be unable to reconstruct the data that’s left, and it will refuse to open your files, sending out errors every time you try to play your video.

Causes of MOV Video File Corruption

mov file and settings icon

To be able to fix unplayable MOV files, you’ll want to first identify the cause of their corruption. Knowing the cause can help you save time and effort by going straight for the most effective solution.

The problem is that a million different things could corrupt your files, from malware attacks to improper downloads and outdated software.

Here’s a quick overview of some of the most common reasons why your MOV files got corrupted:

Cause of file corruption Explanation
Malware/virus attack Malware and computer viruses infect your files by overwriting them with malicious code, preventing them from being opened in video players;
Outdated software Outdated software could contain bugs and glitches that are preventing it from reading and properly opening files of different formats;
Unsupported file format Not all media players support the MOV file format, meaning that they won’t be able to open your files even if they’re not corrupted;
Incomplete download Losing connection or otherwise interrupting file downloads/transfers can corrupt your files as not all data will be able to complete its transfer;
Improper file conversion Using third-party software to convert to or from MOV format could corrupt your files and make them unplayable.

How to Repair Corrupt MOV Video Files

person typing on their laptop

MOV video repair doesn’t always require you to be a tech guru, nor does it require you to spend hundreds of dollars for professional repair. In many instances, simple solutions such as using intuitive repair software or updating your players can give you access to your video files again.

Here are some of the easiest and most effective ways to repair QuickTime MOV file errors.

Repair Corrupt MOV Videos With Repairit

Wondershare’s Repairit is an advanced data repair tool that can salvage files lost or corrupted in virtually any scenario. Whether it comes to a data transfer interruption, disk corruption, malware attack, or anything in between, chances are that Wondershare Repairit can help you fix the problem as it boasts a high success rate.

To fix your MOV files with Repairit, you’ll have to follow a few simple steps:

Step 1: Install Repairit on your Mac, then click +Add to upload your corrupted MOV file;

repairit mov repair step one

Step 2: Click Repair to start the data repair process;

Step 3: Preview your MOV files and click Save.

repairit mov repair step three

Alternatively, you can use the Wondershare Repairit Advanced Repair mode if your MOV files are completely corrupted and unplayable. The process is just as simple as the traditional data repair:

Step 1: Add your corrupt MOV and click Repair;

repairit mov advanced repair step 1

Step 2: Preview the video, then click Advanced Repair;

Step 3: Upload a sample MOV file that isn’t corrupted and click Next;

Step 4: Click Repair.

repairit mov repair step four

Your repaired MOV files will be in the location you chose during the repair process, and you should be able to play them without any further issues.

Update Your QuickTime Player

As mentioned, outdated software could be causing problems with your MOV files, so you might want to try updating your QuickTime player before attempting other solutions. After all, in many instances, the easiest fix is the most effective one.

Since QuickTime player is the default app on your Mac, updating your macOS will update your player:

Step 1: Click on the Apple logo in the top right-hand corner;

Step 2: Click on System Preferences;

apple menu system preferences

Step 3: Go to Software Update;

Step 4: If an update is available, click Upgrade Now;

macos upgrade

Wait for the macOS update to complete. You might need to restart your device, so follow the on-screen instructions.

Convert the Files to a Different Format

Of course, it’s also possible that the MOV format itself is causing problems. Even if your player does support the MOV format, there could be a glitch that’s preventing it from playing your videos. In that instance, the best thing you could do is convert your videos to a different format, such as MP4.

The easiest way to do that is with the iMovie app on your Mac:

Step 1: Open iMovie and click on Create New;

imovie converting mov to mp4

Step 2: Select Import Media and choose your MOV file;

Step 3: Go to File > Share > File;

imovie mov to mp4 conversion

Step 4: Go to Export File > Next > Save.

This simple process will convert your MOV files to MP4, and hopefully, you’ll be able to play your video.

Use VLC to Repair MOV Files

Another easy solution is using the VLC media player to repair your MOV files. VLC has some great features that can help you easily repair any files:

Step 1: Open the VLC media player and go to Media > Convert/Save;

vlc media player

Step 2: Add your damaged MOV file;

Step 3: Under Profile, choose your preferred settings and click Start;

vlc media player file conversion

Step 4: When the conversion is done, go to Tools > Preferences;

Step 5: Go to Input/Codecs;

Step 6: Under Damaged or incomplete AVI file, choose Always Fix;

vlc player damaged or incomplete avi file

Step 7: Click Save.

Now, when you open your corrupted MOV file (that you’ve just converted to AVI) in VLC, the tool will automatically fix it and enable you to play it without obstacles.

Use QuickTime Movie Inspector

Finally, to check whether the MOV file corruption is causing problems, you can use the QuickTime Movie Inspector. That won’t fix the QuickTime MOV file, but it can help you ensure it’s file corruption that’s to blame.

To check your MOV files with Movie Inspector, follow the next few steps:

Step 1: Open QuickTime and import your MOV file;

Step 2: Go to Window > Show Movie Inspector;

quicktime movie inspector

Step 3: Check the MOV file information.

Your MOV file isn’t corrupt if you can see information such as resolution, data size, video format, and more. Your MOV file is corrupt if all you see is a black screen with an error code. You can search the error code online to learn more about it.


Having corrupt or otherwise damaged MOV files is annoying, but there are a few effective solutions you could try to repair your files. In most instances, using advanced tools like Repairit, converting your files with the VLC media player, or simply updating your players could be just the solution you need.

The most common QuickTime MOV error you’ll encounter is an incompatible or missing codec error. You can check for the error information using Movie Inspector and then research the error code you receive.

The most common QuickTime MOV error you’ll encounter is an incompatible or missing codec error. You can check for the error information using Movie Inspector and then research the error code you receive. In most instances, it’s possible to fix a corrupt MOV video. You can try converting the video to another file format or, better yet, relying on Wondershare’s Repairit. With Advanced Repair, Wondershare Repairit can help restore your files and make them playable again.

There are several different media players that support MOV files, including QuickTime Player, VLC Media Player, AllPlayer, and GOM Player, to name but a few.