iPhone Video Formats - How to Convert Video Formats for iPhone

By Reuben Zaback Updated: Nov. 30, 2021

It's necessary to figure out what video formats are supported by iPhone 13/12/11/XS/Pro/Max/8 etc. Why? With the crispy Retina display and the high definition camera, iPhone has been one of the best portable devices to play movies and record videos. However, very often, it refuses to play your videos or it can't play your videos correctly. According to the survey we did last month, over 90% of these sort of errors are caused by unsupported video formats.

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  • - Convert 4K/HD iPhone videos from/to MP4, HEVC, MOV, AVI, 3GP, MKV, FLV and 420+ formats;
  • - Ready profiles for iPhone 12, 11/XS (Max), XR, iPhone X/8/7/6S, etc.;
  • - Flexible options to adjust resolutions, bitrates, frame rates, other parameters to compress iPhone videos;
  • - Cut, trim, rotate, crop, denoise, deshake, split, and other easy editing features;
  • - Level-3 hardware acceleration delivers No.1 fast speed to convert video formats for iPhone.

iPhone Supported Video Formats (Playback & Recording)

The range of video formats that are supported by your iPhone to play or record is different. To eliminate confusions that unlucky iPhone users may have, below we will list the detailed iPhone compatible video formats according to Apple's official statement.

What Video Formats Are Supported by iPhone? - Playback

iPhone plays files of H.264 and MPEG-4 with AAC audio in MP4, M4V, and MOV formats, and M-JEPG with stereo audio in AVI format. In details, they are:

  • 1) M4V, MP4, MOV file formats encoded with: H.265/H.264 video, up to 4K/60 fps, High Profile level 4.2 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio.
  • 2) M4V, MP4, MOV file formats encoded with: MPEG-4 video up to 2.5 Mbps, 480p/30 fps, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio;
  • 3) AVI file formats encoded with: Motion JPEG (M-JPEG) up to 35 Mbps, 1280 by 720 pixels, 30 frames per second, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio.

What Video File Does iPhone Use? - Recording

iPhone records videos of H.264 and HEVC in MOV format. By default, it saves the captured videos in H.264 MOV format at 1080P 30fps. Since iOS 11, users can enable HEVC codec to capture videos for saving storage space.

Note: iPhone users can change the default resolution and frame rate to 4K (30fps), 1080p HD (60fps), and 720p HD (30fps). And this won't bring changes to the selected video codec.

If you are editing iPhone videos or trying to transfer video to iPhone/iPad, make sure you are using the most compatible format. You can resort to the best free Video converter to batch convert footage into an iPhone-supported format.

How to Play and Share Unsupported Video Formats on iPhone

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 errors:

Error 1: Unsupported Video Format Error

Analyze: Some users report that it gives the error message "Unsupported video format" even when playing MOV videos or other compatible files on iPhone.

can't play videos on iPhone

In most cases, this because of they ignore the detailed codec information. MOV, MP4, and AVI are containers instead of codecs, which means that they may contain different codes except for H.264, H.265, MPEG-4, or M-JPEG. In addition, some 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.

Error 2: Stutter Playback on iPhone.

Analyze: Even HEVC is said to be played on all iDevices running on iOS 11 and later, it doesn't mean every resolution. And When you import a higher resolution into iPhone, it will be downscaled to 2K and you may still suffer stuttering playback.

  • 1) The older iPhone don't support 4K resolutions. For example: iPhone 6/6 Plus – max resolution is 1080p/240 fps; iPhone 5s – 1080p/60 fps or 720p/240 fps...
  • 2) So far, no iPhone models support 5k, 8k, or higher.

The good thing is all errors related to iPhone video formats can be fixed by converting the existing videos.

How to Convert Video Format for iPhone at Top Speed - VideoProc Converter

VideoProc Converter is a video processing tool dedicated to 4K and HD videos. It has a large format library of up to 420+ video formats with flexible settings to edit and adjust the videos. Its Level-3 hardware acceleration and high quality engine delivers the No.1 fast speed and high output quality. That's why it's selected as the best tool to convert iPhone videos to MP4 and other common formats for easier sharing and processing.

Step 1. Import the video. Open VideoProc Converter and you will see four options. Select "Video". Then click "+Video" to import the source video from computer hard drive. The software supports videos in any formats, including damages or corrupted files.
iPhone video format converter
Step 2. Choose the iPhone supported video formats. Come over to the Target Format tab, choose MOV H.264 or MP4 H.264 to convert video format for iPhone. Alternatively, click on the gear icon next to Target Format and choose the specific iPhone model (iPhone12/11/ XS Max, XR, X/8, or earlier) that will be used to play the video.
convert video format for iphone
Step 3. Hit "RUN" to convert video to iPhone supported formats.

Bonus: One Click to Convert iPhone Video Formats for Sharing – VideoProc Converter.

Step 1. Add the iPhone video. Free download VideoProc Converter and install it on your PC or Mac, click on "Video", Press "+Video" to import your iPhone video recording to the iPhone video converter.
Step 2. Choose the target format. Navigate to the bottom of the main interface and hit the blue gear icon next to "Target Format". You are going to find the ready set profiles for Huawei, Apple, Samsung, YouTube, Facebook, and a lot more platforms or devices. Choose the proper one.
Tips: You can click the gear icon of the "Options" button to adjust the video settings like bitrate and resolution. Then select the Cut button to further edit the iPhone video for a smaller size.
Step 3. Export the video. Click "Done" and hit "Run" to let VideoProc Converter convert iPhone video formats.
Reuben Zaback

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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