How To Transfer Video to Apple iPad iPhone

This guide shows how to transfer personal videos to your Apple iPad, Apple iPhone or Apple iPod Touch. It describes file-transfer, cover image, grouping and chapter selection step by step with screenshots.


* Apple iPad, Apple iPhone or Apple iPod Touch, with connection cable or wifi-transfer enabled.

* Windows PC or Mac

* Apple iTunes (, installed on PC/Mac.

* MP4/M4V video file, encoded using Apple-compatible video/audio settings.


1. File Transfer:

Make sure iTunes is installed on your PC / Mac, and start it. Apple releases updates for iPad, iPhone and iTunes on a regular basis, and some combinations do not work well with each other, so make sure that the versions match. If, when you start iTunes, it reports a new version is available, it might be a good idea to install it.

Connect your Apple iPad, Apple iPhone or Apple iPod Touch to your computer so iTunes recognizes it. If it does, it should be displayed at the top-left in iTunes.

video to iphone 1

Click on your iPad / iPhone / iPod Touch in iTunes, and it should bring up a settings/options screen, where you can make changes to the way iTunes syncs and backs-up your device. Near the bottom, enable the checkmark for "Manually Manage".

manually manage music and videosiTunes makes it easy to sync your video and music content automatically, but our own experiences when it comes to video is that things tend to get messy. Memory full, not the movies you want, so we prefer control over what is on our devices, so we set it to manually manage.

Select the "Films" section in iTunes in the top left menu,

films section itunes

then find your video file(s) in Windows Explorer/Mac Finder, and drag them over to or import them into iTunes using File > Add file/Add folder to Library.

Note: If you do not have video files that are compatible with your iPad/iPhone or iPod, you can use our Video Converter app to convert the videos from one format to another. For details and download information, have a look here:


itunes import video

The videos you added will appear in the "home videos" section.

add videos to itunes

From here, click and hold the mouse button on top of the video you want to transfer, and on the left side, iTunes should display your connected device(s).

itunes side menu drag file

Move the mouse (while holding the button) over to which one you want the movie on, and let go of the button to start the transfer.

copying video with itunes

On your iPad / iPhone / iPod Touch, open the "Videos" app, and your video(s) should be displayed there, under "Home Videos".

home videos on iphone

A simple tap will play them.

2. Cover images & grouping.

Cover images:

When you transfer a personal video to your iPhone or iPad, iTunes will transfer over a screenshot of the video for a visual presentation for your movie in the videos app. For personal recordings, this works quite well, but if you are transferring a movie or TV show of some sorts, a cover-image makes it look a lot nicer.

Thankfully iTunes makes this fairly simple to do, once you know where to start.

Lets start by finding a cover-image for the movie you just transferred. It can be any image, so a simple search for "movie name cover image" in Google/Bing/Yahoo will be sufficient to find one.

cover images iphone

Pick the image you like to use, and save it to a location on your computer where you can find it (desktop, pictures folder etc), since we need this for the next steps.

With a cover image saved, start Apple iTunes, and in the Films section, find a personal movie you added.

add videos to itunes

Rightclick (or click and hold) on the movie name, and a menu with options appears.

get info itunes video

Here, select "get info", and a new window appears with information from your video.

get info video itunes

Here, select "Artwork" at the top, tap "add artwork" at the bottom and select the cover image you downloaded earlier.

add artwork itunes

In iTunes, the video will now be displayed with the cover image instead of the screenshot.

artwork in itunes


Unfortunately, for personal videos, cover images are not displayed, so we need to change the videos from Personal Videos to a different group, such as TV Shows or Films/Movies.

In the same "get info" window we used for the cover image, select the "options" tab and there you can use the dropdown to change the video type.

itunes change video to movie film

After tapping OK, your movie will disappear from the "home movies" and is now located under "films".

itunes movie grouping

and after transfer to your device, the movie, with cover image will be visible in the "Videos" app under "Movies".

movie group iphone

TV Show grouping:

When you purchase a TV series from iTunes, the episodes are nicely grouped by show and season. You can do this with your own videos (such as TV episodes or movie sequels for example) as well.

First, select (in iTunes) all the episodes/videos you want in the same group.

tv show grouping

Now right-click on one of them (make sure the others are still selected) and select "get info" again. A warning should appear indicating you are editting multiple items.

get info multiple

Add your artwork as we did before.

tv show artwork

and then select the "options" tab, and switch the content to "TV programme"

tv programme grouping

Now switch to the "Details" tab, and enter the information of the collection. Do not enter episode numbers here, since we are editing the collection, not the individual items.

collection itunes

Now click OK to save the changes, and the collection you created will remove the items from the Home Videos, and place them in the TV section in iTunes.

itunes tv group

To assign episode numbers, do a "get info" on each individual episode, and enter the episode number in the Details tab.

To transfer the collection over, click and hold, and drag it over to your iDevice to the left.

When done, you will find your collection of episodes/movies in the Videos app on your device.

tv shows on iPhone

sample movies iphone tv show

3. Chapter/scene selection:

If you use a portable device such as a smartphone for video playback, it can be a little tricky trying to find a spot in a video. The position slider used by video players to find a spot in a video usually does take up the full width of the screen, but depending on the length of the video, it can be tricky to find a spot.

Thankfully Apple devices support "scene markers" in video files, which makes it easier to skip to a certain section of a video.

Of course to be able to use scene selection, you will need a video file that actually has scene selection markers in it. For this guide, I used Video Converter GT on an MKV file that was created using MakeMKV. The MKV file has scene markings in the file, and Video Converter GT has the ability to convert them to the proper format for Apple devices.

Note: While it doesn't matter on the device itself, if you use Quicktime to preview the file, it will only recognize scene markings if the file is a .M4V file. If you have a file ending with .MP4, renaming the file-type to .M4V should make it work.

quicktime chapter markings

The image above has the extra options that are available if Quicktime recognizes the scene markings highlighted.

vlc scene markings

VLC ( also recognizes them, and even displays the locations underneath the position slider.

On your iPad or iPhone, the video player controls will display additional buttons to jump to the next/previous scene.

iphone scene markers