How to Transfer Movies to iPad: I know, you still don’t believe it but it’s all true. The iPad , the Apple device you wanted so much, is finally in your hands and ready to meet all your technological needs. So what are you waiting for to use it to browse the internet, play games, listen to music and watch your favorite videos? How do you say? Have you tried to play the movies you saved on your PC on the iPad but they don’t seem to work? Don’t panic, just convert them or feed them to apps that can reproduce them as they are.
To be precise, there are two ways at your disposal: if you want to stick to the official solutions, you have to convert your videos into one of the formats natively supported by the iPad (MP4, M4V or MOV) and transfer them to the tablet using iTunes, the Apple’s multimedia program which is available as a free download on Windows and is pre-installed on all Macs. Alternatively, if you don’t want to waste time converting files, you can install a third-party video player on your iPad and use it to watch movies in the formats that are not natively supported by the iPad, such as AVI or MKV.
You ask me which of the two solutions I recommend? Personally I would opt for third-party players, but if you want videos that are 100% optimized for iPad, so without the risk of slowdowns, freezes and “waste” in terms of space occupied on the device memory, go ahead with the conversion and transfer via iTunes. In short: it’s up to you to decide. I can not help but put myself at your complete disposal and explain step-by-step how to transfer movies to iPad in both ways. Have fun!
Transfer movies to iPad using iTunes
Let’s start with the standard procedure for transferring movies to iPad , the one that involves converting the files into a format “digested” by the Apple tablet and transferring them via iTunes .
As already mentioned above, iTunes is available as a free download for Windows systems, while it is already installed “as standard” on all Macs. If you have a Windows PC and have not yet installed iTunes on it, connect to the website Apple and click on the Download 64-bit button or the Download 32-bit button to download the program in 64 or 32-bit version (depending on the type of operating system you use on your computer).
When the download is complete, open the iTunes installation package (eg iTunes64Setup.exe ) and complete the setup by first clicking on Next and then on Install , Yes , Yes and Finish . At the first connection of the iPad with the computer, remember to authorize the communication between the two devices by clicking on the Continue button that appears on the Windows or macOS desktop and pressing the Authorize button which, instead, appears on the iPad screen. You may be asked to enter the tablet unlock PIN as well.
Converting Movies to Transfer to iPad
Once iTunes is installed on your computer, you can move on to converting videos to copy to iPad. To do this, I suggest you turn to HandBrake : a free and open source video converter compatible with both Windows and macOS.
I recommend HandBrake because, in addition to being free and extremely simple to use, it includes preset profiles that allow you to obtain videos that are 100% optimized for Apple devices, including the iPad. If you want to download it to your computer, connect to its official website and click on the Download HandBrake button .
When the download is complete, if you are using a Windows PC , open the HandBrake installation package ( HandBrake-xx-x86_64-Win_GUI.exe ) and, in the window that opens, complete the setup by clicking in sequence on the Yes , Next buttons , I Agree , Install and Finish .
Do you use a Mac ? In this case, installing HandBrake is even easier! All you have to do is open the dmg package that contains the program and drag the icon of the latter into the Applications folder of macOS. To start HandBrake for the first time, right-click on its icon and select the Open item from the menu that appears: this is to bypass the macOS restrictions against applications from non-certified developers and must be performed only at the first start.
Now you can convert your iPad movies. Then start HandBrake and, if you are using a Windows PC, click on the File button located in the left sidebar to choose the video to convert. If you are using a Mac, start the program and the window for choosing the video to convert will automatically open.
After choosing the video to convert, move to the right sidebar (if you don’t see it, go to the Presets menu> Show presets panel of HandBrake or click on the Toggle presets button located at the top right), expand the Devices menu that can be found in the latter and choose the conversion profile that best suits your iPad model.
- Apple 1080p60 Surround – creates videos in Full HD resolution with a framerate of 60 FPS. This file format is compatible with iPad Air and later, iPad Pro and later, and iPad Mini 2 and later.
- Apple 1080p30 Surround – creates videos in Full HD resolution with a framerate of 30 FPS. This file format is compatible with iPad Air and later, iPad Pro and later, 3rd generation iPad and later, and iPad Mini and later.
- Apple 720p30 Surround – creates HD resolution videos with a framerate of 30 FPS. This file format is compatible with all iPad models.
- Apple 540p30 Surround – creates video in SD resolution with a framerate of 30 FPS. This file format is compatible with all iPad models.
Once you have selected the profile that best suits your device (and the video you need to convert), click the Browse button located in the Destination field , choose the folder where you want to save the converted video, assign a name to this last by typing it in the appropriate text field and start the video conversion by first clicking on the Save button and then on Start encode or Start (top).
The conversion process will go on for a few minutes. The actual length will depend on the length of the movie to convert and the power of the computer being used.
Copy movies to iPad
Now you have movies ready to be transferred and viewed on the iPad (via the Video application present “standard” on iOS). To transfer the videos from the computer to the tablet, connect the two devices to each other using the supplied Lightning cable , then open iTunes (if it has not already opened by itself) and click on the tablet icon that should have appeared at the top left .
At this point, select the Summary item from the left sidebar, scroll the screen to the bottom, put the check mark next to the item Manually manage videos and click on the Apply button located at the bottom right: in this way, you can freely manage the videos to be uploaded to iPad without having to synchronize the computer video library with the Apple tablet.
You’re finally ready for action! Then select the Movies icon located under the item On the device in the iTunes sidebar, take the movies you previously converted with HandBrake (they should be files in MP4 format ) and drag them into the Apple multimedia program window.
Within seconds, the videos will be copied to the tablet memory and then be visible in the iOS Video application (which you can easily find on the iPad home screen).
If you want, you can also sync the iTunes video library on your computer with the iPad Videos app : this way, all the videos in iTunes on your computer (or part of them) will be automatically copied to the iPad when you connect the two devices and the changes made on one device will be applied automatically on the other (so, for example, deleting a video from the iTunes library, it will also be deleted from the iPad Video app).
To activate video synchronization between computer and iPad, select the Movies icon located under the Settings item in the iTunes sidebar, put the check mark next to the Sync movie item (top) and choose what to do.
If you want to synchronize all the videos in the iTunes video library with the iPad (to which you can add videos by simply selecting the Movies item from the drop-down menu located at the top left and dragging the files into the program window), put the sign of check next to the item Automatically include movies , select the item all from the adjacent drop-down menu and click on the Apply / Synchronize button located at the bottom right.
If, on the other hand, you want to synchronize only some videos leaving the others on your computer, put the check mark next to their thumbnails and click on the Apply / Synchronize button located at the bottom right.
In case of second thoughts, you can delete the videos uploaded to iPad directly from the Video app or using iTunes, by selecting the names of the files that no longer interest you and pressing the delete key ( or backspace , if you have a Mac) on your computer keyboard.
Note: If you want, you can copy movies (and any other files) to iPad wirelessly as well. All you have to do is to temporarily connect the tablet to the computer via Lightning cable, click on the device icon at the top left of the main iTunes window, select the Summary item from the left sidebar, put the check mark on Synchronize with iPad via Wi-Fi option and click on the Finish button located at the bottom right. For wireless data synchronization to be successful, iPad and computer must be connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
Transfer movies from the iTunes Store
Have you purchased a movie from the iTunes Store and now would like to transfer it to your iPad? No problem, you can open the Video app on the device and, if this is associated with the Apple ID with which you made the purchase, download the film of your interest by simply pressing the cloud icon under its poster.
If your iPad is not yet connected to an Apple ID, open the Settings menu (the gear icon located on the home screen) and press the item Login on iPad .
Transfer movies to iPad with third party solutions
Don’t feel like wasting time converting your videos to an iPad specific format? So, as I already mentioned at the opening of this tutorial, you can install a third-party video player and use that to copy and play the movies on the iPad: by doing so, you will be able to view on the tablet even the files that are not readable in the iOS Video app, such as AVI or MKV files downloaded from the Internet.
Among the many video players available on the App Store, I would like to recommend VLC , which is completely free, supports all major video and audio file formats (except videos with AC3 audio, for licensing reasons) and allows the transfer of files to iPad via cable or wirelessly, even without using iTunes.
Once you have downloaded VLC from the App Store (just search for the name of the app and press the Get button located next to its icon in the search results), if you want to transfer your videos to the iPad wirelessly without going through iTunes, start the application, presses the traffic cone (top left) and moves the lever relating to the Sharing via Wi-Fi function to ON . An address will appear, for example .
At this point, make sure that the computer is connected to the same Wi-Fi network as the iPad, open the browser you usually use to surf the Internet (eg Chrome or Safari ) and connect to the address that VLC has just given you . A web panel will open, through which you can copy your movies to iPad without going through iTunes.
Then drag the files you want to copy to the tablet in the browser window (in the Drop files box ) and wait a few seconds for the operation to be successful. At the end, you can play your movies in VLC by simply pressing on their thumbnails on the main screen of the app.
If you want, you can copy the movies to VLC for iPad via the iTunes File Sharing feature as well. Then connect the tablet to the computer using the supplied Lightning cable (this is not necessary if you have activated the Synchronize with iPad via Wi-Fi function in iTunes), click on the device icon that appears at the top left and select the File Sharing item from the sidebar.
At this point, click on the VLC icon in the Applications panel , drag the movies you want to transfer to the iPad in the adjacent box ( VLC Documents ) and, within a few seconds, your videos will be available in the app.
In case of second thoughts, you can delete the videos copied in VLC using the appropriate function of the app or by selecting them in the iTunes File Sharing menu and pressing the delete (or backspace , if you have a Mac) keyboard.
If you want to copy videos with AC3 audio to the iPad without having to convert them first, you have to rely on paid players, such as the excellent Infuse (0.99 euros / month or 49.99 euros one-off), which also offers wireless data transfer functions via browser and via iTunes.