How to Get Detailed Info on Media Files in macOS

This guide will show you how to get info on media files (.avi, .mkv, .mp4 etc) – such as the codecs used for audio and video – in macOS.

Using the small and free App MediaInfo, you can quickly get detailed info on any media file. If you need to figure out which codec a certain file is using, this is the App for you. It can be super-helpful when trying to figure out which media player will open a given file etc. Let’s jump right in!

Update: at some point in the last 3 years MediaInfo became a $0.99 Mac App Store download. Fortunately, a slightly older version remains free – and it’s the same one that’s used in this guide. On the download page (linked below) locate version v20.09, the one that’s not from the Mac App Store

  1. Head over to the MediaInfo download page and download the App. Once the download has completed, open the .dmg and drag-and-drop to your Applications folder to install it. Then double-click it to open it for the first time.
  2. the MediaInfo app in a Finder window

  3. In the very upper-left corner of the MediaInfo window there’s a Open Media File button – click it.
  4. the main GUI for MediaInfo

  5. Navigate to a media file that you want to get information about then select it and click the Open button.
  6. locating a file to open in Finder

  7. MediaInfo will read the file and then display the results in a neatly organized window.
  8. media info displayed nicely in a macOS app
    click to enlarge

  9. There are 3 main parts to the ‘info’ window – General, Video and Audio. The names are pretty self explanatory. As illustrated in the screenshot below, the file I’ve opened in MediaInfo was created with the HEVC video codec – which is relatively new.
  10. screenshot of the 3 panels in the MediaInfo app

  11. As illustrated in the screenshot below, the .avi file I’ve opened was created with the motion JPEG video format – which is relatively old, and was often used by digital cameras and webcams.
  12. determining the media info for an AVI file in macOS
    click to enlarge

  13. MediaInfo can even get info on audio files, such as .flac, .shn, .wav etc.
  14. MediaInfo determining the info for an audio file in macOS
    click to enlarge

Now you know how to determine the info for any given media file in macOS!

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