Mac File Formats

Mac File Formats

File formats supported by macOS is a tough question because there is no solid list of extensions that macOS works with on the Internet. But don’t worry and let’s investigate on this matter together.

Mac OS is a Unix-based graphical operating system that was first introduced by Apple Inc. in 2001 and since then it’s the second most used desktop OS in the world, after Microsoft Windows. Mac OS is a proprietary operating system.

Despite lesser popularity of macOS it has a number of beneficial features. For example, not only macOS has a built-in security system, but it is harder for viruses to get to the Mac computer because majority of them were designed to attack Windows OS, the most popular and widely used one, due to higher chances to break its protection. That is because Windows OS comes with no antivirus whatsoever – the user has to purchase the software separately and make sure to update it in time.

In addition, Mac OS are easier to use and troubleshooting is mostly done by the system itself because of a system’s good architecture. The downside of macOS that computers it is running at are very expensive for the same specifications that of Windows PCs. The price is justified by long term usage of Macs and the macOS providing updates so user can run the latest software available.

The biggest advantage of macOS is its built-in utilities. There are so many of them already installed and so many more in AppStore, that no matter what file you are going to engage with, there is a huge probability that the viewer or editor is already present in the system. This makes macOS very convenient and comfortable to work with even for an inexperienced user.

Listed formats have clickable links to pages that contain extended information about file extensions of interest.

Text formats supported by macOS

While Windows OS opens only TXT files without a proper application to handle other text-based formats, macOS uses its own to manage those files. opens common text-based formats like PDF as well as it is Microsoft Word-friendly and can manage DOC files.

If you want more Microsoft Office-like experience on your Mac, try OpenDocument software series. It’s pretty similar to MSO, but free and launches under macOS without a hitch. The format that is used here is ODT

Mac OS doesn’t open database format files by its own, but SQLite is free and available for Mac so there wouldn’t be any major problem with SQL and DB files.

Video and audio formats supported by macOS

The Quick Time Player is a default media player for macOS. It supports a variety of formats, including its native format MOV, which is the best and the most common video format to use within macOS. MOV format is compatible with all macOS versions.

Video File Formats supported by Mac:

AVCHD Format Extension

Video codecs associated with those formats (Apple ProRes, Apple Pixlet, Cinepak, Motion JPEG and others)

There aren’t a lot of audio formats that macOS supports, but they cover the most commonly used ones: MP3, M4A, M4P (iTunes audio format), AIFF, AU, WAV, SND, AMR, AAC, Apple Lossless and others.

Graphic formats supported by macOS

macOS has its own graphic viewer called Preview that covers most of the widely used raster graphic formats: GIF, TGA, HEIF, etc and some vector files. It also allows editing those files to some extent, but its abilities are nowhere near good image editor.

.psd (Photoshop Document)

.png (Portable Network Graphic)

.jpeg (Joint Photographic Group)

.raw (Raw Image Data File)

.tiff (Tagged Image File Format)

.bmp (Bitmap Picture)

To expand your computer’s ability to view photos of every kind (especially vector ones) there is you would need to download third-party viewer like Phiewer.

Other formats supported by macOS

Those who work with Windows are familiar with EXE format which stands for executable files. Those files launch Windows applications and programs. Those files would not launch under macOS because those are not compatible with it.

The rough equivalent of EXE for Mac are DMG and APP files. APP files launch macOS application, while DMG holds a compressed file that, when decompressed and launched, turns into an APP file that can be launched as a normal program.

Using a flash drive with macOS might be tricky because of some flash drives file system. macOS supports only usb drives that are FAT32, if your drive uses NTFS you want to convert it before trying to stick it into a Mac’s usb port.

ZIP and RAR are easily managed by macOS as it has preinstalled utility for compressing or decompressing files.