My son had some gaming videos on his computer PC that he wanted to transfer over to his iPhone.
He asked me how and I replied with something like, “surely it’s easy to transfer video over to a phone?”
It turns out many people wonder how to put videos on an iPhone because it’s actually not that obvious – until you know how.
My son’s friends are mostly Android and all they need to do to upload videos to their phones is to hook up via USB cable and literally drag and drop the video clip files onto the phone.
Why can’t Apple’s iOS make things simple like this? Maybe a future update will allow the native transfer of video files onto an iOS device such as an iPad or iPhone.
Also, wouldn’t it be handy if the iPhone or iPad had an SD card slot? We can only dream!
How To Put Videos On An iPhone
For now, we have to use one of the five ways that I know of:
1. Capture the video using the iPhone’s camera.
2. Use iTunes
3. Use Airdrop
4. Use Cloud Storage
5. Use a 3rd Party Software Tool
Each of these methods has its advantages and disadvantages.
Let’s dive in and review each video file transfer technique in depth.
Technique 1: Capture the video using the iPhone’s camera
This is probably the easiest, but most crude technique. The result won’t be very good quality, but it will be fast and simple if the video clip is reasonably short.
- Place the iPhone on a mini tripod or rest it carefully against a solid surface.
- Cue up the video on the screen of the PC, Mac, or TV that you want to capture.
- On the iPhone, go to your camera app and swipe into the video section.
- Adjust the focus and exposure of the image by tapping the screen once and then shortly afterward, hold your finger down on the screen of the iPhone until the yellow box appears and a label that says “AE/AF LOCK”.
- If the image is too bright, hold your finger on the sun icon and drag it downwards until the image darkens. If the image is too dark, hold your finger on the sun icon and drag it up so that that image brightens to your desired result.
- Once you’re ready, press the record button on your iPhone and press play on whatever device that you are playing the video on.
- Try to do this in a quiet area without background noise to ensure you get decent sound quality. You now have your little movie saved on the camera roll.
Be careful of copyright laws surrounding movies and TV shows. You won’t be able to legally upload your recordings to Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube because you’ll probably be breaking copyright laws if you do.
Technique 2: Use iTunes
This is another valid technique, although, not my favorite because I’ve always found the iTunes workflow to be a pain. iTunes has been around for a long time and it used to be much slower to run, especially on a PC.
That has improved a lot over the years but the complicated workflow hasn’t changed. I don’t like using iTunes because it has limited support of different video formats and you need to import the video into your library first before doing any transfer.
That’s a cumbersome workflow and it fills up your iTunes library unnecessarily. It’s almost as tricky as capturing RAW video! (joke).
That said, here are the steps if you want to use iTunes to transfer music, photos, or videos to your iPhone. I should note that’s also Apple’s official solution for transferring media to an Apple device.
(Sorry if you have an Android device, this won’t work!)
These steps also work for an iPad.
- Use a lightning cable to connect your computer and iPhone
- Run iTunes on the computer
- Go to File > Add to Library and select the video file you want to transfer. Click Open.
- Click on iPhone > Movies
- Select the checkbox that says “Sync Movies“
- Finally, choose the video or videos that you’ve just opened/imported and click on Apply. It may take a few moments for the video to sync across to your iPhone and when the transferring status has stopped, you can disconnect your iPhone from the computer.
Technique 3: Use Airdrop
OK, so if you’re a Mac user, you’re good to go with this one. PC user? Tough luck, this won’t work for you.
- Boot up your Mac and run the Finder app.
- Turn on Bluetooth on the iPhone and Mac.
- Find Airdrop in the sidebar of the Mac and you should see your iPhone appear. If not, ensure Wifi is turned on.
- Drag your video file from Finder over the iPhone symbol on your sidebar. Done!
Technique 4: Use Cloud Storage
This is the method that I use most often for transferring occasional video files. Using a cloud service like Dropbox, One from Microsoft, Google Drive, Mega, or Apple iCloud, is a handy way to transfer and sync movies and multiple videos in any video format but you will be limited by available space on the cloud provider.
I personally use Dropbox for this, it’s highly robust and I have been using it reliably for about a decade.
The steps are the same no matter which cloud service or Apple device (iPad or iPhone) you are using:
- Upload the video to the cloud (e.g. your Dropbox account) via your computer (PC or Mac). Depending on the size of the video and your upload speed, this might take some time.
- When syncing has completed, use the official app (for example the Dropbox app) for whichever cloud service you used in Step 1 to save the video to your Photos app on the iPhone.
Technique 5: Use a 3rd Party Software Tool
This my preferred method for situations where I want to transfer 10 or more video files from the computer PC to the iPhone.
I personally use EaseUS MobiMover as it is free. You don’t need a mobile app version. It may not be immediately obvious to a new user how they can sync up a video file from the computer to an iPhone so I’ll list the instructions below:
- Connect the iPhone to your computer and under the Data Transfer menu, select functions.
- Find the files that you’d like to transfer over the iPhone.
- Confirm the data that you’d like to copy over and click on Start.
The free version is limited to 20 files per day. If you want unlimited transfers and the ability to have the software installed on up to 3 PCs, then you’ll need to use this Pro version of Ease US MobiMover.