macOS seems to recognize WebP images as such, and seems like it actually tries to display previews of them, but always fails.


They are also associated with Preview application, just like other image formats, but Preview also chokes on it (without any error messages, it just silently fails to open a window).

Does it mean that it's intended to actually work but it fails just on my system for some reason?

In my case, the WebP images are lossless and not animated.

4 Answers 4


Now it's possible with this Quick Look plugin:


  • 4
    Worked, though note that as of Catalina, it won't work with the default instructions, due to security restrictions, you also have to run this terminal command: xattr -d com.apple.quarantine ~/Library/QuickLook/WebpQuickLook.qlgenerator
    – jerclarke
    Commented Jan 14, 2020 at 15:20
  • 2
    Found that in the Issues of their Github, not sure why it's not integrated into their Readme. Hopefully they will update their setup and that command will no longer be necessary (please reply to this if you discover that's so).
    – jerclarke
    Commented Jan 14, 2020 at 15:21
  • @jerclarke: It seems not. No updates to any of the actual code in 2 years, a pull request that's over a year old... looks abandoned - too bad.
    – Seamus
    Commented May 29, 2020 at 3:47
  • 1
    FWIW people on the Github were talking about an App Store app that solves the problem successfully, I think it was this one: apps.apple.com/ca/app/webp-viewer-quick-look-view/…
    – jerclarke
    Commented May 31, 2020 at 0:13
  • It worked for me by doing the x-attribute thing as stated by @jerclarke. I doubt this can ever be fixed as this is a feature of macOS rather than a problem. Any program downloaded from an unidentified developer will be quarantined as a security measure. In my opinion, webp is only intended for the web. If u want to store it in your computer, might as well convert it to other formats rather than downloading an extra app which is risky in my opinion.
    – ed9w2in6
    Commented Oct 28, 2020 at 18:59

A Brief Survey of webp Support in macOS, 5/29/20:

Answer: Nearly 3 years after the OP's question, it seems the answer remains the same: "webp is not well-supported in macOS".

It appears that after briefly supporting webp in a beta release of macOS Sierra, Apple decided against it. AFAIK, Apple provided no rationale or explanation for this decision (no surprise there). This may lead some to speculate that it was a petty motivation - as a Google product, perhaps it's the "not invented here" syndrome? I'll stick my neck out, and speculate that Apple will never support webp. Note also that Safari is notably absent from the list of browsers supporting webp.

As @Allan mentioned, Google has provided a webp library, and they have published the sources for their webp library. There is a GitHub repo for webp, but it's an empty facade - perhaps to prevent others from creating a repo under that name?

Google's licensing appears to be non-standard. I won't comment further as I'm a layperson in IP matters.

Google's webp library includes several command-line utilities. It can be installed with MacPorts (sudo port install webp). For me (my use case), the utilities are useless:

  1. They provide no useful conversions, as they do not decode to the GIF format.

  2. Animated webp files are crudely rendered by vwebp via OpenGL in one size only.

One of the answers here references the WebPQuickLook repo on GitHub. But as of this writing, this repo appears to be abandoned as there have been no changes to the repo files in 2 years.

The macOS App Store has several utilities that claim some level of support for webp. I've not tried them, but I generally shun the App Store due to several poor experiences.

  • If that webp repo github.com/webp was made by google, why would they not show it here github.com/google ?
    – anki
    Commented Sep 22, 2020 at 7:09
  • Newer macOS will put WebPQuickLook in quarantine due to COVID19. Jokes aside, if one follows @jerclarke's instruction then it will work. I believe it is not updated as it is not necessary. It is a simple program that only helps the Quicklook app to generate previews. The Preview app is a separate app and it won't work regardless.
    – ed9w2in6
    Commented Oct 28, 2020 at 18:11
  • 1
    @anki: "why?"... Your guess is as good as mine - maybe they're not proud of it? I do recall reading that Google was behind this code, and it is located on developers.google.com.
    – Seamus
    Commented Oct 28, 2020 at 18:49
  • @ed9w2in6: I did try jerclarke's recipe, but it didn't work on my MBP/Catalina 10.15.6.
    – Seamus
    Commented Oct 28, 2020 at 18:55
  • 1
    It can be the same reason for which they didn't want to implement VP9, despite having free HW decoders in every Intel CPU. WebP is based on codec stuff from VP9. VP9 is royalty-free video codec made by Google. Apple would rather want you to use HEIF-compressed photos as HEIF is based on HEVC/H.264, patented by MPEG which Apple is part of and receives royalties from.
    – k3a
    Commented Feb 3, 2021 at 14:17

Preview cannot open webp.

For full details on what Preview can open can be found here

To view webp files, you need to download the framework from Google

  • 7
    > 'Files are not associated with the "Preview" application. They are associated with their respective applications that can open/edit them.' — this contradicts the fact that when I try to open them, Preview is launched. (to be honest, I don't remember if I manually did set it up that way, but I doubt I did) Commented Jun 3, 2017 at 15:58
  • So, when you have Photoshop installed, what opens it? Preview or Photoshop? When PS is installed can Preview still open it?
    – Allan
    Commented Jun 3, 2017 at 16:00
  • 2
    I can't try this because I don't want to spend money on Photoshop license nor do I trust it. I can try with GIMP though. But I don't see how installed GIMP would magically help Preview to understand files which it can't understand now. Commented Jun 3, 2017 at 16:02
  • PS was an example - regardless. Preview has no ability to view webp.
    – Allan
    Commented Jun 3, 2017 at 16:03

Would like to add a further update. 9/21/2020. While the GitHub repo for webp does work in preview, there is still no support for animated webp in preview. I have found that Pixea from the apple store does a fairly decent version of converting and viewing webp, but it's neither fast, nor that functional.

Tempted to write an extension for Chrome that will show a local directory image browser with thumbnail images, since loading a local webp images and animated images in Chrome is instant. Unless someone knows of one already.

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