Many of us have a bunch of videos on our computers that we’d love to put on our iPhones.
Unfortunately, the process of transferring media between the two isn’t quite as straightforward as you might think.
Unlike Android, the iPhone doesn’t let you simply connect to your computer’s USB port and drag and drop files into its storage. So, how should you put videos that you recorded or downloaded onto your iPhone for offline viewing?
There are four ways of going about this:
- Using iTunes
- Using third party software (PC/Mac)
- Using Airdrop (Mac only)
- Using the cloud
Let’s go through each method in greater detail.
Method 1: Using iTunes
Using iTunes is a very popular way of transferring music, photos and videos to your iPhone. It is, after all, Apple’s very own solution.
- Connect your iPhone to your computer using a Lightning-to-USB cable
- Launch iTunes on your computer
- Navigate to File > Add to Library or File > Add Folder to Library
- Locate the video you want (or folder of videos) and then click Open. Your video(s) are now part of your iTunes library.
- Click on iPhone > Movies.
- Tick the Sync Movies checkbox
- Select the video(s) you just imported to your iTunes library and press Apply/Sync. Your video(s) are now on your iPhone.
Why I’m not a fan of the iTunes method
Apple designed iTunes with the intention that it would be your all in one media library across all your devices (computer, iPhone, iPad etc.) While this has some advantages, it also comes with its own set of problems:
- Forces you to import videos to your iTunes library first, only then can you transfer it over to your iPhone. It’s a two step process.
- iTunes on Windows isn’t good and there are much better media library alternatives out there
- Many video formats are unsupported by iTunes.
- Potential syncing issues (e.g. deleting media on one device effects other devices)
As a result, I personally don’t use iTunes to put videos on my iPhone anymore.
Method 2: Using A Third Party App (PC and Mac)
For PC users, using a third party iPhone file transfer app is both the simplest and fastest method. This is also one of the best methods for Mac users–although the Airdrop method (discussed below) is also a good method.
There are numerous iPhone file transfer software solutions out there but my personal recommendation is AnyTrans.
Let’s take a look at how you can use AnyTrans to put videos on your iPhone. Other apps will follow a similar procedure.
- With your iPhone connected to your computer, launch AnyTrans
- Go to Device Manager
- Select the type of file you wish to transfer to your iPhone. For videos, select Videos.
- Select the type of video you want to transfer and then press the ‘+’ button
- Locate the video you want to save to your iPhone
As you can see, using a third party app like AnyTrans is far more intuitive than using iTunes.
Note that this software is not free. If you want a free solution EaseUS MobiMover is a good alternative, although lacking in features and not quite as intuitive.
Method 3: Using Airdrop (Mac only)
Mac users have the option to put videos on their iPhone using the awesome Airdrop feature. Here is how you do it:
- On your Mac, open your Finder.
- On the left sidebar, locate Airdrop. Alternatively, Choose Go > AirDrop from the menu bar in the Finder.
- Turn on bluetooth if it isn’t already on.
- You should see your iPhone device as one of the nearby devices. Make sure your iPhone has Bluetooth and WiFi turned on.
- Drag and drop your video(s) to your iPhone device. Voila.
Note: Airdropped files are automatically handled by an app on your iPhone that can open the file. If your video has a format that can’t be handled by any of your iPhone apps, you can’t transfer the video. I therefore recommend downloading VLC for Mobile on your iPhone which can basically play any type of video you throw at it.
Method 4: Via The Cloud
The last method is to use a Cloud service. The most popular Cloud services are Apple iCloud, Google Drive, Microsoft OneCloud and Dropbox. This method is, however, heavily limited by space and transfer speed constraints.
Regardless of which cloud service you choose, the process is the same:
- On your PC/Mac, upload the video to the cloud by downloading the cloud provider’s client. This may take a while.
- On your iPhone, use the corresponding Cloud app to download the video you just uploaded.
I would personally recommend Google Drive because it has a generous amount of storage space on the free tier. The iPhone app for Google Drive can be downloaded here.
I wouldn’t suggest using Apple iCloud to host your videos as its space is limited and its compatibility with Windows and Android is poor.
I’m a photographer and the chief editor of Capture Guide. I now live in Santa Barbara, California but spent several years across parts of South America working as a journalist with my trusty old Nikon D7100.