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Posted by Donna Peng - | Contact Authoremail icon

How to Play 4K Videos on iPhone iPad?

- I have a 4k camera and have only ever been able to play back through my 4K TV. Is there any way to play 4K UHD videos on iPhone or iPad? I had tried many different video player apps on my iPad Air but none of them worked perfectly.

Since iPhone 6/6S, users are able to shoot videos in 4K resolution. Since then, Apple users are wondering if they can watch videos at higher resolutions on iPhone or iPad. Now the latest iPhone 15 feature Apple A17 Pro chip and M2 chip, so users should be able to play 4K videos on iPhone iPad without error. Disappointedly, there are users who can't watch 4K on iPhone iPad successfully. Why?

Part 1. Why iPhone iPad won't Play 4K UHD Video?

1. Low Display Resolution

Before you play 4K videos on iPhone or iPad, you should know that not all the displays of iPhone iPad supports 4K resolution:

  • iPhone 12-15: 2,532x1,170 pixels at 460ppi for Pro models, and 2,796x1,290 pixels at 460ppi for Pro Max models.
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max: 2688 x 1242 pixels at 458 ppi, and 1792-by-828-pixel resolution at 326 ppi for iPhone 11
  • iPhone XR: 1792-by-828-pixel resolution at 326 ppi
  • iPhone X: 2436-by-1125-pixel resolution at 458 ppi
  • iPhone 8 Plus: 1920-by-1080-pixel resolution at 401 ppi
  • iPhone 7: 1334-by-750-pixel resolution at 326 ppi
  • iPad 7 screen resolution: 2160-by-1620-pixel resolution at 264 ppi
  • iPad Air 3 screen resolution: 2224-by-1668 resolution at 264 ppi
  • 4K resolution: 3840×2160 (16:9) or 4096x2160 (17:9)

From the display resolutions mentioned above, all the models cannot truly handle 4k resolution. It shall be noted that there isn't any visual difference between 4k and 1080p on your small-sized iPhone screen. But since 4k video does exhuast more space compared with 1080p, why not downconverting 4k to 1080p or lower resolution to save stoage space?

2. Unsupported Video Format

Sometimes, the 4K videos come in an format that is not supported by iPhone. Therefore, it will result in iPhone iPad not playing 4K videos. To be specific:

  • The video formats supported by iPhone iPad include: HEVC, H.264, MPEG‑4 Part 2, and Motion JPEG
  • 4K video formats include: MP4, HEVC, MKV, MTS/M2TS, AVCHD, CineForm, XAVC, MXF, AV1, VVC, etc. Check the complete 4k codecs >>

Since 4k video may be encoded with CineForm, XAVC, MKV, etc that are not supported by iPhone, errors such as missing codec, no video, etc may appear while viewing 4k content on iPhone, so you need to convert 4k video first before playing it on your Apple device.

3. 4K Large Size

4K video takes way much space. True 4K film needs more data storage, at least 100 gigabytes. If you're using an iPhone or iPad with a less-powerful chip, or low storage, the 4K video playback on it will be painful. In fact, on the displays of iOS-devices, you can hardly tell 4K apart from 1080p screen due to the pixel density. So 4K videos can be played on iPhone or iPad after compressed and converted to iPhone supported video formats, in 1080p, at 4:3 or 16:9.

Part 2. How to Play 4K Video on iPhone iPad?

  • To play uncompatible 4K videos on iPhone iPad, here is the solution: convert / compress unsupported 4K videos for Apple devices.
  • The software you need: Winxvideo AI

Winxvideo AI - an AI-powered 4K video converter. It's able to convert HD/4K/8K videos from AV1, MKV, M2TS, MTS, TS, AVCHD, MOV, MP4, any other unsupported formats to iPhone iPad formats like H.264, HEVC, MPEG4, etc. It will also convert 4K videos to other formats like AVI, WMV, MP4, etc accepted by your Android, PC, TV, and more at ultra-fast speed by using hardware accelerated video encoding/decoding technology. Easily compress 4K/8K videos to lower 1080P, HD for playing on iPhone iPad without obvious quality downgrade. GPU hardware acceleration (Intel/Nvidia/AMD) is supported to deliver fast 4K video converesion speed.

Step-by-step Guide to Play 4K video on iPad iPhone

Step 1. Prepare a 4K ultra HD video. If your 4K video is shot by a 4K camera, import it via a SD card reader.

Step 2. Download the 4K Video Converter (or 4K UHD Video Converter for Mac), install and open it.

Step 3. Click Video Converter > tap "+Video" on the top-left to add the source 4K video you want to watch on iPhone iPad. You can add multiple videos as you need. Once the video is loaded, a window will pop up asking you to select an output format.

enable converter feature

Step 4. Under Output Profile, choose "Apple Device", "to iPad Video" and select your iPhone iPad device as the target profile. You can also choose an iPhone iPad supported format like MP4 or MOV.

Convert 4K Video for iPhone playback

Step 5. If your iPhone chip is not strong enough to deal with 4K videos, or your iPhone doesn't have enough space to play 4K videos smoothly, you can further compress the 4K UHD files for iPhone. Back to the main interface, click on the Settings icon to compress 4K videos to 1080P for iPhone. Select Resolution and choose 1080x1920 (recommended).

Compress 4K Video for iPhone playback

Step 6. Check the Hardware Encoder box on the main interface to enable hardware acceleration for 4K converting. Then click "RUN" and start converting the 4K video to iPad Air video. Once finished, transfer the converted 4K UHD videos to iPhone or iPad and you should be able to watch it without error.

Winxvideo AI will also help download 4K/8K videos from online sites with faste speed, edit 4K videos, make photo slideshows and etc. Embracing 370+ video audio codecs and 420+ preset profiles, it can deal with AVI, WMV, MP4, VOB, MPEG, MOV, 3GP, Google TV, WebM, ASF, TS, MOD, TOD, MKV and so on, while supporting the latest portable devices, including iPhone 15/Pro/Max, iPad mini, iPad Pro, Air, Apple TV, Samsung Galaxy Note, and more.

Still have problem about playing 4K video on iPhone/iPad/Android? Please feel free to Email Us >>


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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