QuickTime is an extensible multimedia framework developed by Apple Inc., capable of handling various formats of digital video, picture, sound, panoramic images, and interactivity. First made in 1991, the latest Mac version, QuickTime X, is currently available on Mac OS X Snow Leopard and newer. Apple ceased support for the Windows version of QuickTime in 2016 and ceased support for QuickTime 7 on macOS in 2018.
As of Mac OS X Lion, the underlying media framework for QuickTime, QTKit, was deprecated in favor of a newer graphics framework, AVFoundation, and completely discontinued as of macOS Catalina.
QuickTime is bundled with macOS. QuickTime for Microsoft Windows is downloadable as a standalone installation, and was bundled with Apple's iTunes prior to iTunes 10.5, but is no longer supported and therefore security vulnerabilities will no longer be patched. Already, at the time of the Windows version's discontinuation, two such zero-day vulnerabilities (both of which permitted arbitrary code execution) were identified and publicly disclosed by Trend Micro; consequently, Trend Micro strongly advised users to uninstall the product from Windows systems.
Software development kits (SDK) for QuickTime are available to the public with an Apple Developer Connection (ADC) subscription.
It is available free of charge for both macOS and Windows operating systems. There are some other free player applications that rely on the QuickTime framework, providing features not available in the basic QuickTime Player. For example, iTunes can export audio in WAV, AIFF, MP3, AAC, and Apple Lossless. In addition, macOS has a simple AppleScript that can be used to play a movie in full-screen mode, but since version 7.2 full-screen viewing is now supported in the non-Pro version.
The QuickTime framework provides the following:
Encoding and transcoding video and audio from one format to another. Command-line utilities afconvert (to convert audio formats), avconvert (to convert video formats) and qtmodernizer (to automatically convert older formats to H.264/AAC) are provided with macOS for power users.
Decoding video and audio, then sending the decoded stream to the graphics or audio subsystem for playback. In macOS, QuickTime sends video playback to the Quartz Extreme (OpenGL) Compositor.
A "component" plug-in architecture for supporting additional 3rd-party codecs (such as DivX).
As of early 2008, the framework hides many older codecs listed below from the user although the option to "Show legacy encoders" exists in QuickTime Preferences to use them. The framework supports the following file types and codecs natively: