Restore Autoplay to QuickTime X

Missing autoplay in QuickTime X? Here's the fix

QuickTime X Player screenshot

QuickTime X came on the scene with the introduction of OS X Snow Leopard. It represented a leap in the version numbering, jumping from 7.x, which had been around since 2005. While Apple included new features in QuickTime X, it also took some away.

If you were a heavy user of the earlier version of QuickTime Player, you might have relied on QuickTime to automatically start playing when you opened or launched a QuickTime file. The Autoplay feature is especially important if you use your Mac and QuickTime in a home entertainment environment.

The new version of QuickTime ships without this handy feature enabled, but you can remedy the situation using the Terminal application and a single line of code.

QuickTime X and QuickTime Player 10 ship on Macs running macOS Catalina (10.15) through OS X Snow Leopard (10.6).

QuickTime X vs. QuickTime 7

QuickTime is a media player, able to handle video, pictures, audio, basic multimedia capture, and editing. It probably sees the most use as a video player, allowing Mac users to view various video formats, including movies made on iOS devices or downloaded from various video sites.

QuickTime X offers a more streamlined interface than QuickTime 7.x and a much more robust performance. It also has the advantage of combining some of the features of the old QuickTime Pro package—specifically, the ability to edit and export QuickTime files. As a result, QuickTime X lets you capture video from any camera attached to your Mac, perform basic editing functions, and export the results in a number of formats that can be used by your Mac or iOS devices.

Restore Autoplay to QuickTime X

You can add the Autoplay functionality back to QuickTime X using Terminal.

  1. Launch Terminal, located at Applications > Utilities.

  2. Type or copy and paste the following command into the Terminal window.

    defaults write MGPlayMovieOnOpen 1

    Enter the text into Terminal in a single line. Depending on the size of your browser window, the line could wrap and appear to be more than one line. Triple-click the code and paste it to maintain a single line.

  3. Press Enter or Return to activate Autoplay functionality.

Disable Autoplay in QuickTime X

If you later decide you’d rather return QuickTime X to its default behavior of not automatically starting to play a QuickTime file when you open or launch it, you can do so by once again using the Terminal application.

  1. Launch Terminal, located at Applications > Utilities.

  2. Enter the following command in a single line into the Terminal window.

    defaults write MGPlayMovieOnOpen 0
  3. Press Enter or Return to turn off disable Autoplay functionality.

QuickTime Player 7

Although QuickTime X has been included with every version of OS X since Snow Leopard, Apple kept QuickTime Player 7 up to date through macOS Mojave (10.14) for users who needed support for some of the older multimedia formats, including QTVR and Interactive QuickTime Movies. QuickTime 7 offered more advanced editing and export functions than are available in QuickTime X.

Mac users could run both QuickTime Player 10 and QuickTime Player 7 concurrently through macOS Mojave.

Apple ended support for Quicktime 7, QuickTime 7 Pro, and QuickTime Player 7 with macOS Catalina (10.15).