Transferring videos from computer to any iOS device is not easy. The default video app on your iOS device can only play specific format (mostly mp4) and that too in a specific resolution (720p).
But, the videos you download from the internet, are usually in Mkv, Avi, etc. Now, if you try to put these videos on your iOS devices using iTunes, you will get an error like –“the video was not copied to your iPad because it can’t be played on it”.
So, what is the solution?
Well, there are two workarounds here —
#1 Convert the videos to a supported format on your computer and then transfer them to your iOS device, either by using iTunes (cable) or Airplay (WiFi).
#2 Use third-party apps to play unsupported format. And yes, they also have the option to send files using cable or wirelessly.
So let’s see, how to do that.
Convert Videos to iOS Supported Format
Method 1: Handbrake
Handbrake is one of the best video converters out there. It’s free, open source and available for all major OS including Windows, Mac, and Linux.
How does it work?
Download handbrake on your computer and open it. Click on the source button and choose the file you want to convert. Next, click on toggle preset and select the device where you are going to play it. And then click the start button.
It’ll take a minute or two, to convert the video. Now, once you have the output video, you need to put it on your iOS devices.
Here is how to do that with iTunes.
#1 Connect your iPad/iPhone with your computer using lightning cable.
#2 Open iTunes on your computer and click on iPad/iPhone icon.
#3 Go to videos and drag and drop the video you have just converted.
#4 Once done, you’ll find those videos under the video app of your iOS device.
This method is free and lets you play movies inside the default video app, which means there will be less battery drain.
You need to convert every video, this takes time and also a little effort.
Method 2: Waltr
In the previous method, we have first converted the movies and then transfer them. Right? Now, what Waltr does is, it combines these two steps in one. Basically, Waltr is a software (available for Windows and Mac) that simultaneously convert and upload videos to your iOS devices.
So, here is how it works
Start by connecting your iOS device to the computer using lightning cable. Next, download Waltr on your computer and open it. Now all you have to do is, drag and drop all your videos inside the Waltr app. The program will automatically convert and transfer them to the video app on your iPad or iPhone.
The entire process is easy. And the transfer speed is also surprisingly fast, It took me some 10 min to transfer 10 GB of TV series. There was no loss in video quality either.
This method is fast and easy. Also, works with the native ‘video’ app, so battery drain is not much. I got around 12 hours of video playback under full charge.
There are two major issues with the app. One, you’ll need a cable — no WiFi support. And two, Waltr is quite expensive (yes there is 14 days free trial). The single license of PC/MAC cost around $30.
Use third-party apps to play videos
Method 3: VLC
VLC is a popular media player, which is known for its ability to play everything you throw at it. And guess what, it won’t disappoint you on iOS either. That’s, you can play any video/audio format in VLC for iOS. No need to convert your files.
Here is how it works
Install VLC on your iPad or iPhone from the AppStore. It’s free. Next, you have to transfer videos from your computer to the VLC app on your iOS devices. You can do this with cables or WiFi. Let’s take a look at each method.
To do it with cable, connect your computer and iPad with the lightning cable. Next, open the iTunes app on your computer, go to your iPad > Apps > VLC. And then drag and drop all your videos files there. Once done, open VLC app on your iOS device and there you’ll find all your videos. You can’t play these videos with other apps, though.
To do it wirelessly. Connect your iPad and computer with same WiFi network. Open the VLC app > tap on the VLC icon at the top right. You will see a hidden menu. Turn on WiFi sharing there. It’ll give an IP address, enter that on the computer’s browser and drag and drop files to it. And that’s it.
This method is free, simple and also fast. No need to waste time converting video format. You also send videos over WiFi, which is always nice.
Since we are using a third-party video player, your battery will drain significantly faster. I got 10% battery drain for every one-hour video playback in VLC while the same video took only 6-7% battery in the default video app.
Method 4: Infuse
This one is a true media player. It has everything you wish a default media player app should have. Like VLC, it can also play almost every kind of video/audio format.
There are two versions of this app in the App store. One is free and other is paid. The free version has almost every feature you need and that too without showing any ads. And in the paid version ($9) you get advance options like 4k support, ability to cast video on chromecast, etc.
How does it work?
The working is similar to the VLC app. You download the Infuse app from the App store. And add videos either from iTunes or WiFi. You can also stream videos from your computer/NAS or even import them from cloud services like Dropbox.
So in a nutshell, Infuse is like VLC. But it has more features, smooth playback.
Advanced options like streaming videos directly from another computer. And unlike VLC, it also imports metadata quite well and battery drain is also less.
The app is paid (only if you need advanced option), but that’ not a bad thing. It’s doing it job well, and the price is well justified.
In this article, we have seen several ways to put movies on iOS devices. Some of them are free but require extra work, while the better ones are paid. But no matter what you choose, there will always be a tradeoff. Battery backup v/s price for instance.
Apparently, I use, Infuse. The battery backup is not as good as what you get with video app, but it’s not a big issue. And, I carry a power bank anyway.
That said, let me know, what is your favorite method in the comments below.