Someone please remind me of what software I need to install to get as full support for FLAC audio as possible.

I've figured out how to do this, and then forgotten again, perhaps a dozen times over the years. Every time I reinstall or upgrade my Mac. Now I've installed OS X 10.9 Mavericks, and it's time to do it one more time.

Ideally I'd like:

  • QuickLook preview support
  • ability to open and play FLAC in QuickTime Player (QTP7 is okay)

I'm hoping to avoid installing half a dozen QuickTime components and Quicklook plugins to find something that works well with 10.9. Thanks!


7 Answers 7


Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but native support of FLAC in Mavericks is near non-existent.

Your best bet would be to just convert your FLAC to ALAC, or Apple Lossless Audio Codec.

You can download the free utility XLD, or X Lossless Decoder, to convert.

Download XLD from its homepage here: http://tmkk.undo.jp/xld/index_e.html


It may not fill yours, or our, wishlists (eg Finder and iTunes integration) but no one has noted that


will play FLAC files directly from macOS. The UI is far from ideal but certainly saves all that dull tedium of conversion if you're in a hurry to hit Play.


I have had little joy so far, after trying several downloads.

You can install Fluke to play Flac audio files in some apps, such as Quicktime Player 7.

This doesn't resolve the issue though, because it appears Quicklook preview still does not work.

I had hopes for Xiph.org's codecs, and Perian, though the latter probably just uses Xiph and is no longer maintained. Still no support for previewing Quicklook.

It's possible I have some conflicting plugin/codec somewhere, but I doubt it. I tried to clear stale files from the Components, QuickTime, and QuickLook folders (of both the root and the user Library folders) after each install.


Unfortunately Fluke doesn't work for me. To play FLAC files, I use Cog or Play (they seem no longer maintained, but work perfectly on Mavericks). To convert/import them to iTunes, there is FLAC to Any Lite.


Kudos to @Maya for pointing out the right answer. Here's what I did for converting a FLAC CD rip to something that iTunes would play properly.

The method I used was as follows:

  1. Download and install XLD
  2. Start up XLD and using "Open Folder as a Disc..." from the File menu, point it to the folder containing FLAC files
  3. If you have an album cover, drag and drop it to the empty photo in the UI
  4. Press the Get MetaData button in the toolbar to load up the song titles, etc.
  5. Open up the XLD preferences to change the output format to Apple Lossless
  6. Press the Transcode button
  7. Drag and drop the converted .M4A files into iTunes
  8. Enjoy! :)

VLC is the best tool I know of for just playing FLAC files (see John2095's answer for the link). If you'd like to manipulate the files from the command line (encoding/decoding), then the flac tool is available from MacPorts. I believe it's available from HomeBrew, too, but I don't use that, so I'm not 100% sure.


I use Vox to play FLAC files (free on the App store) - it's drag 'n' drop simple. To convert FLACs to m4a and automatically add them to iTunes I use Max which does it in a single step.

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