iOS Trouble Shooting

Why won't my video play on an iPhone?

The most common challenge encountered by a number of customers is trying to play our videos on iOS devices. Although we do disclaimer on most of our product's that they are not intended for mobile devices, we do have some recommendations on how to resolve the issue. 

If you try to download the video and get a arrow with a slash through it, you'll find this guide quite helpful! (At least we hope so).

Why does it happen?

Our videos are typically very large, often 2 GB to 5 GB, ranging from an hour and a half to almost four hours. The format we use to compress these videos so that they retain high image quality but are small enough to be downloadable is an mp4 format called H.264.

Without getting too technical, your phone (although quite powerful) is not built quite like a computer. The processing power is more limited and it lacks some of the functionality that a computer might. 

As such, the process of "unpacking" these long, high-quality images from their compressed files is a little out of reach for some devices. Some videos seem to work and others don't, however we haven't found a rhythm or reason as to why; honestly, it seems a little random. 

What we have figured out is a few ways to make it work. It takes a few extra steps, however hopefully you'll find this resolves your playback issues with an iOS device. 


Playing MP4 Files on an iOS Device

Method #1: Using a computer and iTunes

In the past, some customers have had success with uploading the .mp4 to my computer, then opening iTunes, click on File then Add File to Library... and navigate to the folder containing your video and select it.

If you look under Movies on the left side of the screen, you should see your video. The next time you sync your iPad, the movie will be transferred over and you can play it with the built-in video app.  Depending on your version of iTunes or iOS software, this may work.


Method #2: Utilizing a computer and Google Drive

Google's cloud storage is called Google Drive, which has some interesting technology in it. Among these features is the ability to add a video to your Google Drive and, once it's processed, you can play it back through your Google Drive. 

This is pretty handy if you're switching between devices and want to save storage on your phone, but still may not be a resolution for someone who doesn't have access to a computer or who is looking to resolve it on the phone itself. 


Method #3: Downloading the VLC App

This is a little bit more complicated, with several steps, but it might be the ideal solution for those looking to do everything directly through their device. As a disclaimer, we don't have an affiliation with VLC nor do we troubleshoot their app, however this is a handy workaround submitted by Jacob H.

If you are encountering an issue where, after clicking the "Download Now" button you encounter a playback arrow with a line through it, this may be the solution you've been looking for. 

VLC is a useful video player and their mobile app (VLC for Mobile) can help work around the playback issue with iOS. If you'd like to try this method, download VLC for Mobile from the app store.

Once it is installed, go back to the screen with the crossed-out black arrow and choose the "Share" bottom on the bottom of your screen. From there, you should have an option to "Save to Files" and then (in theory) VLC should appear on the list under "On My Phone" (not "iCloud Drive). This should result in an arrow in the top right hand corner to appear, indicating that it is downloading.

Once the download has completed (which may take a while depending on your connection speed; again, large file sizes), you should be able to open the VLC app and see your newly downloaded video in the Library. From there, you should be able to choose it and playback there!