iPhone has been a popular device to play movies and record videos with its big screen and high resolution. However, the complicated digital video formats make it troublesome to play videos on iPhone as well as share iPhone recordings. To eliminate confusions that unlucky iPhone users may have, below we will list the detailed iPhone compatible video formats, and how to deal with the incompatible formats.
iPhone playback video:
* H.264 video up to 4K, 60 frames per second, High Profile level 4.2 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats;
* 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 4K.
iPhone camera format:
* H.264 QuickTime files in MOV format at 1080P 30fps is default recording format for iPhone. Slo-mo videos are recorded in 720p at 240fps or 1080P 120 fps.
* High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) under the "High Efficiency" option for all iPhones running iOS 11 onwards.
Sometimes we just have trouble to have iPhone videos played or shared because of iPhone's limited format library. When a video is not 100% compatible, you're likely to run into following situation.
A. "Unsupported Video Format Error" on iPhone
Some users report that it gives error message "Unsupported video format" even when they trying to play MOV videos or other compatible files on iPhone. Since the extension is listed as one of iPhone supported video formats, they are quite confused. Let's check why the problem occurs.
1. Incompatible codecs or newer video formats
MOV, MP4 and AVI are containers instead of codecs, which means that they may contain different codes except H.264, H.265, MPEG-4 or M-JPEG. That's why even when the extension is listed herein, iPhones still have trouble playing them. Some other video formats are only playable on the latest iPhones. For example, mobile HDR 10 and Dolby Vision formats are supported by iPhone 8/X and later only.
2. Higher resolution
Even HEVC is said to be played on all iDevices running on iOS 11 and later, it doesn't mean every resolution. Unfortunately, the older phones won't support 4K resolutions. And so far no iPhone models support 5k or higher. For example: iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus – max resolution of 1080p/240 fps; iPhone 5s – 1080p/60 fps or 720p/240 fps. When you import a higher resolution into iPhone, it will be downscaled to 2K and you may still suffer stuttering playback.
3. The video is corrupted
In many cases the error "unsupported video format" on iPhone occurs when the import video is corrupted. While iPhone is used as a popular device to store movies and videos offline for users to watch without internet, not all downloaded videos can be played on iPhone, however, especially those downloaded from untrusted sources. This is because the video file itself is broken or corrupted. In addition to online files, improper content transfer to iPhone or other app conflicts may also lead to corrupted files.
B. Can't share an iPhone recorded video
Many other users have trouble to send or upload the videos recorded by iPhone XS/XR/X/8/7. This is mainly caused by two factors.
1. iPhone videos are too large
4K and HD videos, even in HEVC format, are quite big in size. On the contrary, most social media and email services have strict limits on the video size. For example, a minute of iPhone video at 4K 30fps takes up 300MB, while WhatsApp allows 16MB only. Then you will need to resize the iPhone video size.
2. Limited compatibility of HEVC
Adding HEVC as an iPhone recording video format is a welcome move as it saves half the size than H.264 while keeping the same video quality. However, the patent royalty requirements have limited the spread of HEVC. For example, HEVC is not a format for Instagram or WhatsApp.
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Hi, I'm Reuben Zaback and I've been an award-winning editor of Digiarty for four years. Writer by day and reader by night, I share programs reviews & tutorials, multimedia solutions, latest tech trends, devices tips, etc. I geek out over Apple products, sports cameras, drones, gadgets and always look to learn something new. My spare time is dominated by sports rehab and part-time study.
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