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

By Eric Pascal, Updated: Nov. 19, 2020

"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 error messages like "unsupported video format", "unsupported video format null" and "this video cannot be played because the file format is unsupported" when playing certain video clips.

These videos refused to play on iPhone are either the .mov files shot with iPhone itself, or the 4K/2.7K high definition footages recorded with GoPro, DJI Mavic or any other DSLR or digital cameras. It may also happen when using video editor software. For example, "unsupported video format" message often pops up when loading video in PocketVideo.

If you've ever faced with such problem with your iDevices, just check why the iPhone unsupported video formats error happens and how to fix video not supported by iPhone iPad issue.

3 Major Reasons Why iPhone Shows Unsupported Video Format Error Message

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.
How to fix: 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.
How to Fix: Go with a video converter to turn the unsupported video format to iPhone compatible file.

3. The videos won't play on iPhone just because it is corrupted.
How to Fix: You need to repair it or cut off the corrupted video(s) 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.

Thus, instead relying on multiple apps offered by iPhone to fix the unsupported video format error one by one, a better solution is working with a full-featured desktop software that allows you to cut, edit, resize, compress and convert the problematic videos.

For those who want a one-stop shop to solve all the video format issue with iPhone without misoperation, VideoProc deserves you attention. It is an all-in-one video toolkit that can deftly convert iPhone unsupported format, compress 4K 240fps videos, edit or cut off the corrupted video clips. Thanks to the strong support of level-3 hardware acceleration powered by Intel QSV, NVidia, and AMD, VideoProc can get all things done without lags or freezing.

To begin with, make sure to transfer the videos that cannot be played on your iPhone to the computer. If the videos are recorded with GoPro or other cameras, you can import them to a computer 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 this issue, here we share you the solution to shrink video on computer instead.

Step 1: Download and launch VideoProc, choose Video and clik + Video 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 a new panel, where you can adjust resolution, codec, bitrate, frame rate and more parameters

- Lower Resolution: Videos recorded by GoPro or DJI Mavic won't play on iPhone and say unsupported. This is a typically error because of the high 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 play. 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: The 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 visible quality loss. If you are using an iPhone 6s or earlier, you'll then need to change HEVC to H.264 as HEVC video won't play on older iPhone.

- Reduce Bitrate: Bitrate plays a direct role of video file size. But once the bitrate reaches beyond the limit value, the video quality won't enhance, but 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 the more efficient data compression.

- Decrease the 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. To smoothly play a video on iPhone without video format not supported error, downgrading it's frame rate, for instance, turn a 60fps recording to 30fps file, is a good way.

- 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 and click 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.

Download VideoProc free to re-encode to fix unsupported video format on iPhone now!

convert video to iPhone supported format MP4 H.264

Step 4: Click RUN to begin converting the iPhone unsupported video file to iPhone friendly format.

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.

However, why your MP4 or MOV video cannot play on iPhone?

iPhone supports MP4, MOV and M4V videos. However, these formats refer to the container used to hold the audio, video, text and other media data. To take MP4 as an example, it can hold H.264, AVCHD, AVC, and a few other codecs. However, only the MP4 videos that contain HEVC, H.264 or MPEG-4 video codec can play on iPhone.

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.

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.

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

Yes. The unsupported video format on iPhone error occurs possibly because the video is downloaded from unsafe sources 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, the MP4 or MOV video cannot be played on your iPhone, and you'll get the error message as well.

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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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.

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