Unable to Play Video on iPhone
Why and How to Fix Unsupported Video Format Error on iPone iPad

How to Fix Unsupported Video Format or Unable to Play Video on iPhone iPad
By Eric Pascal, Updated: Jan 15, 2019

"I took a video of my daughter and when I went to review it, my iPhone said 'Unsupported Video Format. This movie cannot be played because the video format is not supported.' Then once I pulled up the camera again it said there was not enough storage. Is there a way to get the video back or am I screwed? "

"I cannot load video from Hero 5 Black into my iPhone 6S Plus via Capture app. I have tried with both 4K and 1080P but the Capture app get the error 'Failed: Video not supported'. Can you help me out? Photos do load correctly - it is only video, that I cannot download to my iPhone (running iOS 10)."

Unable to play video due to unsupported format

Many an iPhone user reported getting "unsupported video format" error message when playing certain video clips. These videos refused to play on iPhone are either the .mov files shot with iPhone itself, or the 4K/2.7 high-quality footages recorded with GoPro, Mavic or any other cameras. If you've ever faced with such problem with your iDevice, just check why and how to fix video not supported by iPhone iPad issue.

3 Major Reasons Why Unsupported Video Format Error Occurs on iPhone

1. Your iPhone runs out of storage space due to the big size of the video, especially the 4K/2.7K and higher frame video. You need to reduce video size for iPhone to save file space or optimize the storage space in iCloud Photos.

2. The format in which you're recording at isn't the type that iPhone supports. Going with file conversion can solve video format not supported error on iPhone.

3. The videos won't play on iPhone just because it is corrupted. You need to repair it or cut off the damaged part with a video editor.


How to Solve Video Format Not Supported Error on iPhone iPad

Frankly, iPhone offers a bundle of apps to address the video format not supported issue and makes video transcoding a snap. But there are no one-stop solution in a single app to deal with video format conversion, compression, damaged video repairing, let along the large 4k 60fps video editing and resizing. When dealing with the video with higher resolution and frame, these apps will freeze or crash on iPhone even when it is equipped with A12 processor. So other than relying on apps to fix the unsupported video format error one by one, you can cut, edit, resize, compress and convert the problematic videos on computer once and for all because desktop software offers more powerful features, flexible operation on bigger screen, batch processing, and more.

If you just want a one-stop shop to solve all the video format issue with iPhone without misoperation, VideoProc deserves you attention. It is an one-in-one video toolkit that can deftly process, convert, resize, edit and cut off damaged 4K and HD videos at up to 240fps, without lags or freezing, due to the strong support of level-3 hardware acceleration powered by Intel QSV, Nvidia and AMD.

To begin with, make sure to transfer them to your computer first, if the videos to be resized are taken with iPhone. For videos are recorded with GoPro or other cameras, you can import them to computer first with SD Adapter.

Solution 1: Resize Video to Save more Space for iPhone

It's well known iCloud Photo Library offers a flexible option to optimize iPhone storage by storing all the full-resolution originals in smaller versions on iPhone. But the problem is users of iPhone constantly reported download errors on iPhone video and ended with blank screen. To avoid the issue, here we share you the solution to resize video on computer instead.

Step 1: After you download and launch VideoProc, choose Video and clicp +Video on the main interface to fire off the video processing feature and load the video that iPhone won't play.

download iPhone video format converter

Step 2: Select the output format supported by iPhone, such as MP4, MOV or M4V.

Step 3: Hit Option button with a gear icon to enter the video adjustment window, where you can adjust resolution, codec, bitrate, frame rate and more that are associated with the file size.

- Lower Resolution: Videos recorded by GoPro or Mavic won't play on iPhone and say unsupported. This is typically because of the higher resolution such as 4K or 2.7. By lowering the resolution, e.g. from 4K to 1080p, the video will drastically downsized to a smaller file that your iPhone can handle. Theoretically, this will degrade video quality to some extent. But there isn't any noticeable change of quality when you play the compressed video on the smaller-screen iPhone.

- Change Codec: Support for HEVC is built into iOS 11 or later. If you are working with iPhone 7 or later, be sure to convert H.264 to HEVC in such a way to reduce the file size by 50% or more without compromising the video quality. For older iPhone, make sure to change HEVC to H.264 in such a way to play the unplayable HEVC video on older iPhone.

- Reduce Bitrate: Bitrate plays a direct role of video file size. But if the bitrate reaches beyond the limit value, the video quality won't enhance, on the contrary, the file size will be extremely large. You can select Manual from the drop-down menu and set the value for the specific video, say 35-45 mbps for 4k 2160p video. And choose ABR instead of CBR for more efficient data compression.

- Decrease Frame rate: It's undeniable that video of higher frame rate, such as the slo-mo video at up to 240fps, eats up more storage space than normal one at the same resolution. For a smooth viewing on iPhone without video format not supported error, you can change the higher frame rate from 60/50fps to 30fps. Related: see how to speed up iPhone video without changing frame rate, Why you cannot play and share 4k 60fps video

- Increase GOP value: Increasing the value of GOP will result in decreased I-frame that is far larger than B- and P- frames.

adjust video settings for iPhone

Step 4: Hit RUN button to begin processing video with optimized file size for iPhone.

Solution 2: Re-encode Video to iPhone Supported File Format

Step 1: Open VideoProc and click Video button.

Step 2: Tap +Video button to load the video that doesn't play on iPhone.

Step 3: Click Target Format to choose the output format supported by iPhone. You can go to Apple Device > to iPhone Video and choose the specific iPhone model you are using. Despite compatibility varies by the model of each device and operating system version, VideoProc keeps updating to support the latest model and set the best video playback settings without bothering you to adjust the obscure parameters yourself.

convert video to iPhone supported format MP4 H.264

Step 4: Click RUN to begin converting video format to iPhone supported file.

To play the file format that is unsupported on iPhone, like the MKV, AVI, FLV, WMV, MTS, AVCHD, etc, you can follow the above steps and change the incompatible video format to iPhone supported one like MP4, MOV, M4V. Below is the supported video format list iPhone accepts.

Check the video formats supported by iPhone XS/XS Max/XR/X/8/7

* H.264 video up to 1080p, 60 frames per second, High Profile level 4.2/4.1 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov;

* MPEG-4 video up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps per channel, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats;

* Motion JPEG (M-JPEG) up to 35 Mbps, 1280 by 720 pixels, 30 frames per second, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format.

* H.265 video up to 1080p. (Note: iPhone supports video formatted in HEVC only when it is upgraded to iOS 11 or later. The playback of HEVC video at higher resolution, e.g. 4K, on iPhone will be stuttering on older devices.)

Related: convert MKV to iPhone, fix AVI video won't play on iPhone, convert YouTube to iPhone

Solution 3: Cut off Damaged Video to Fix Video Format Not Supported Error on iPhone

Step 1: Open VideoProc and click Video button on the main interface.

Step 2: Drag and drop the problematic video in the window or you can simply click +Video button to load the damaged video.

Step 3: Choose the preferred video format iPhone supports.

Step 4: Click Cut button below the video information. Drag the knob on the slider to select the video clips you preferred and remove the damaged area. Click Done to save the clip.

Cut video to remove damaged clip

Step 5: Click RUN to begin export a new video without damaged section and then you can play video on iPhone without video format not supported error. If the video is physically damaged which minor fix won't help, just go to professional video repairing tool to get it fixed.

See the detailed guide to cut and trim unwanted parts of the video >>

Are There any Other Causes Responsible for Unsupported Video Format Error on iPhone iPad?

Yes. The file format not supported on iPhone occurs possibly because the video downloaded from unsafe source or downloaded incompletely due to slow network. Except for this, if the video transferring process gets interrupted or your iPhone is turned off during the video transfer, you won't play video on iPhone and gets the error message as well. So for a successful video playback on iPhone, make sure to download video from reliable resource at a high-speed internet connection and sync the video files to iPhone without any interruption. If you still cannot fix the video format unsupported error, you can rely on a movie player app to check whether you can play the video back on iPhone.

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Eric Pascal

Eric Pascal previously held a senior editor role at Digiarty, covering almost any technology to do with Apple, from reviews, complex troubleshooting tips, to software related. Eric's quite adept with photographing & post production subjects. His journey into the world began somewhere in 2012, aiming to help photographer get out of sticky situations. He's also a keen musician and sportsman.

How to iPhone Video Processing Fix Unsupported Video Format

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