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Posted by Donna Peng - Contact Author

How to Fix Videos not Playing on iPhone Problem?

Featuring bigger and bigger screen size, high-resolution display and portability, iPhone becomes one fashionable tool for video and movie enjoyment. A great majority of users can play videos on iPhone easily while some unlucky guys get into videos not playing on iPhone trouble:

"My iPhone is not playing videos in any kind. When the movie is about to start, I get the black screen but then I get the play button with a circle and a line in it. The 3rd party apps won't play either. Any suggestions?"

"I restored old videos via iTunes from my backup to my iPhone 6. However, some of them do not play. They simply have the loading circle but nothing happens. Everything else restored OK, pics, music etc, just the videos are not working. Can anybody help?"

Videos not working on iPhone is a common issue no matter you use iPhone 13, 12, 11, X, 8, 7 or 6. Sometimes, you may get YouTube videos not playing on iPhone error. Sometimes, your iPhone won’t play videos on Camera Roll. Whatever, how to make the playback normal? This article will help you dig out the reasons and solutions.

Hot search: How to Solve Choppy Video Playback Issue >>

Best Way to Solve iPhone Won’t Play Videos Caused by Incompatible Video Formats/Codecs

The incompatible format or codec is the commonest culprit causing (old) iPhone not playing videos, as iPhone only supports MOV, MP4, M4V and AVI format encoded with HEVC, H.264, MPEG 4 Part 2, or Motion JPEG. So, if the downloaded or transferred videos are unplayable, try to convert them to iPhone supported formats with Winxvideo AI.

Table of Contents

Part 1. Why Is iPhone not Playing Videos?

When you are unable to play videos on iPhone, you have several factors to consider. In conclusion, they are incompatible formats/codec, poor Internet connection, corrupted video file, down server, app issue, outdated iOS, no more storage space, app caches or cookies, etc. Based on the causes, we will list the corresponding solutions.

Part 2. Fix Videos not Playing on iPhone Caused by Incompatible Formats/Codecs

The most common reason to videos not working on iPhone properly is that the video you try to open is not supported by the device. Only MOV, MP4, M4V and AVI encoded with HEVC, H.264, MPEG 4 Part 2 or Motion JPEG are playable on iPhone by default. More specifically, the supported videos are:

iPhone supported videos:

  • H.264 video up to 4K, 30 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, 640x480 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, 1280x720 pixels, 30 frames per second, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format.

Accordingly, popular formats like MKV and WMV are excluded in the list. Besides, old iPhone won’t play videos also because of the 4K resolution as iPhone 6s and 6s Plus were the first to offer 4K at 30fps. So, it is better to convert videos to iPhone formats and compress 4K to 1080p to solve such a problem.

Winxvideo AI, a tailor-made 4K video converter and compressor lets you convert between any formats for any devices, for example, convert MKV to MP4 or MOV format that is very suitable for all iPhone series, and even iPads, Apple TV or other iDevices. If needed, you can also use it to downscale the video resolution to 1080p, 720p, or 480p for older iPhones to play smoothly.

Step 1. Download Winxvideo AI, install and launch it on your computer.

Step 2. On the main UI, click on the Video Converter button to navigate to the video conversion window.

Step 3. Add the video you want to convert by clicking on the + Video button.

Step 4. When the Output Profile window pops up, simply navigate to Apple Device > to iPhone Video, and choose your iPhone model. Here, you can also choose LQ or HQ to get low quality or high quality video.

Step 5. To change the video resolution, click on Settings icon. And you can also have a simple editing like crop or trim by clicking on the Edit button.

Step 6. Click Browse button to choose a destination folder to save the converted video, and then hit RUN to start conversion.

Convert Video for iPhone
Convert Video for iPhone

Part 3. Troubleshoot iPhone not Playing Videos on App, Camera Roll and Safari

As we have explained above, not only format/codec issue can cause the error, but poor internet, corrupted file, big file size, etc. can also lead to the playback, buffering, or display error. Below are detailed workarounds which we hope helpful.

1. Perform a reboot

This should be the first and easiest step. By restarting your iPhone, there is a great chance that your video playback error can be fixed. Simply press and hold the sleep/wake button and the Home button simultaneously, drag the slider to turn your iPhone off, and turn on your iPhone again. Then, play your video on iPhone again to see if it works.

2. Repair corrupted or damaged video

Another doubt is that your video shot on iPhone, downloaded from online, shared via email or transferred through iTunes is corrupted or broken. The feasible yet only way is to repair the corrupted video with a video repairing tool first and then play with iPhone.

3. Check the internet condition

A fast and smooth video playback often requires 2-4 Mbps for SD videos, 5-10Mbps for HD videos and 25Mbps for 4K videos. So, slow or poor internet condition may cause choppy video playback or even video not playing error on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Safari, etc. So, you can try to switch to a high-speed internet plan by connecting your service provider or change from cellular data to WiFi network.

* Go to iPhone Settings > General > Reset > Reset network settings > Enter the passcode > Tap Reset network settings.

4. Check the app server status

If you are watching online videos on YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram on your iPhone, you should make sure that the server status of the app is working properly in your region. Occasionally, the app server will crash or be undergoing routine maintenance, which may prevent you from watching online videos on iPhone. If it is the case, you can wait for the recovery of the server status.

5. Force quit the app

Force quit and again launch the iPhone app in which the videos are not playing. This is specially suitable for online streaming videos, such as YouTube videos not playing on iPhone error.

  • iPhone X or later users: On the Home screen, swipe up and pause slightly on the middle of the screen > swipe right or left to find the app in which videos are not playing > swipe up the app preview to close it > reopen the iPhone app and check if the videos are playing or not.
  • iPhone 8 or earlier users: Double-tap the Home button > swipe right or left to find the app in which videos are not playing > swipe up the app preview to close it > reopen the iPhone app and check if the videos are playing or not.

6. Update the app

Some iPhone not playing videos errors can be fixed by updating the app as the updates often improve app performance.

* Open the App Store > tap your profile icon at the top right > scroll down to your app that has video problem > tap Update next to it.

7. Reinstall the app

Reinstalling the problematic app will remove all the related user data and cache files, and free up space occupied by the user data, causing the videos not playing on iPhone issue.

* Open Settings on your iPhone > tap General and tap iPhone Storage > click the problematic iPhone app > tap Offload app twice > tap Reinstall App.

8. Update the iOS

Newer iOS will render better video playback performance, so you are suggested to update your iOS.

* Turn on WiFi on your iPhone > go to iPhone Settings > General > Software Update > click Download and Install > click Install Now.

9. Free up iPhone memory

Insufficient memory also results in this kind of problem. Just clear unnecessary data, useless videos/photos/files or reduce video file size to free up the memory of your iPhone.

10. Clear App Caches/Cookies/History/Data

The app Caches/Cookies/History/Data is another typical cause for iPhone won’t play videos error if you frequently watch YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, etc. online videos. Please periodically clear them to speed up your iPhone.

  • Go to iPhone Settings > Safari > tap Clear History and Website Data.
  • Open Settings app > select General and tap iPhone Storage > select the app you want to offload and tap Offload App.
  • Go to iPhone Settings > scroll to the eligible app and tap it > tap the Clear cache option to clear the app’s cache if your app comes with cache feature.

11. Turn off the Optimize iPhone Storage

If you are facing the issue that iPhone Camera Roll videos won’t play, it is possible that you have turned on the Optimize iPhone Storage in the Photo & Camera section. Just change it to Download and Keep Originals.

12. Install a third-party video player for iPhone

To play videos downloaded online, emailed by others or transferred from computer, you can make use of a third-party video player for iPhone even the video formats are not supported by iPhone. And VLC is the most recommended one.

13. Restore to Factory Settings

To do this, please backup your iPhone first. You can back up the iPhone data in iCloud or computer through iTunes or third-party tool like WinX MediaTrans.

Go to iPhone Settings > General > Reset > click on Erase All Content and Settings > enter Apple passcode > click on Erase iPhone > click on Erase iPhone option again > enter Apple ID password to confirm the action.

Wrap up:

What explained above are all possible causes and solutions to iPhone won’t play videos error. Try them one by one based on your own conditions.

Recommended Tool for iPhone Video Download & Conversion - Winxvideo AI

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author - Donna Peng

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Donna Peng's fascination with multimedia began at an early age - shortly after she licked the physical disc and then she's been obsessed ever since. Her decade-long career at Digiarty after the graduation has seen her unmatched expertise in the field of DVD, digital video, software and anything related to home theatre. She is currently fascinated with photography.

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