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How to format video for your iPod, iPhone, or iPad

Watching movies and TV shows on your Apple devices is easy

by Sebastian Anthony on November 23, 2010


You probably know that your iPod, iPhone and iPad can play music — but did you know that it can play video, too? Instead of loading up your Apple device with music every morning, you could watch TV shows and films on your way to work!

It can't play every kind of video file, though. Some file types simply won't work (like Flash), and some files are simply too large or complicated for the device to handle. Fortunately, it's a simple enough task to convert video to a format that does work. Just follow this guide, and you'll be watching TV and movies on your Apple device in no time!

This guide assumes that you have a video file on your computer that you want to watch on your iPod, iPhone or iPad. It can be a video of just about anything — a home video, a TV show, a film, it doesn't matter — but you must have a video file before you continue.

Downloading a converter
To begin with, you need a piece of software that will convert your video from one format into another. It will also change the size of the video to fit the screen of your iPod, iPhone, or iPad to make sure your device can play the video properly.

Because each device has a different screen, you will need different programs to do the converting. Click the link that corresponds to the device that you want to watch videos on.

If you're a Windows user, make sure you click the Download Windows Version link; likewise, if you're on a Mac, click Download Mac OS X Version.

Converting a video
Once it's downloaded, run the file. Install the program by hitting Next repeatedly, but select "Do not install StumbleUpon" when asked. When it's done installing, launch the program. You will be asked to select the model of your iPod, iPhone or iPad; if you are unsure of the exact model, click the link for the Apple Support Site, enter the serial number, and it will provide the type and generation (by design year). Once you've selected a model, you'll see a screen that looks like this:

sa 630 videora welcome screen

To begin the conversion, click Convert in the top left corner. Click the Video File tab and you'll see a screen like this:

sa 630 videora video file

Click Normal Mode, then Select File in the bottom right corner. You will be prompted to select a video file from somewhere on your hard drive; and almost any video file will work.

You then have the option of changing the Output Directory. It's not necessary to do so, but if you like keeping your files in one place, hit Browse in the bottom right and select a destination for your converted video. Click the orange Next button in the middle of your screen (see image below). Give your video a title and click Next again.

sa 630 videora title

Now for the most daunting page of all: Video Settings. You can safely press Next if you wish, but if you use an old computer, you might want to flip the Enhance Quality switch to Off. You can also change Video Quality if you don't have much spare space on your Apple device. The default settings are just fine, though, so don't worry too much about it. Once you're ready, hit the orange Next button.

All that remains is to push the Start Converting button in the bottom right. At this point, you can either click View Conversion Progress to see how it's going or simply do something else with your computer. The conversion will take a long time; a TV show might be done in about 10 minutes, but it will probably take longer. Films might require an hour or more.

Once it's done, however, your new video should be automatically added to your iTunes library! In fact, once it's done converting, you should simply be able to attach your iPod, iPhone or iPad to your computer, and the video will automatically transfer.

At this point, you should probably grab your Apple device and make sure the video plays correctly. That's all there is to it!

[Image credit: Blake Patterson]

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