It’s easy to copy movies and TV shows to your iPad – or iPhone – to watch while traveling. Here are a few different ways to put videos on iPad.
When you leave for vacation or just on a daily trip, you should download the video that you want to watch to save cellular data and make sure you don’t look at the spinning circle because it’s slow or not – your existing internet connection. So here’s how to copy video files from your PC to your iPad or iPhone.
We will also show you how you can download videos without using a computer at all, so you can watch them whenever you want, wherever you are – even if you don’t have an internet connection.
Video transfer through third-party applications
If you synchronize movies or TV shows that are stored in your iTunes library, you will appear in the original Video application on your iPad. This is a great way to do things, but if your video isn’t in a format that iTunes can play, you can’t add it to the library, or sync it with your iPad.
The good news is that there is an application that can replace iTunes and allows you to copy videos to your iPad (or iPhone) even though it’s not the main computer that you use to sync and back up your device.
One of them is WALTR 2. It’s not free at US $ 39.95, but it is very, very good. The simple drag-and-drop interface belies many of the things it does when transferring files to your iPad or iPhone.
When you insert a video into it, the video will analyze it and try to find metadata (including the cover image) and then convert it to a format that can be played – if necessary – before sending it to your iOS device.
Videos are placed in the correct folder so that it appears in the original Video application: all without iTunes. There is also an option to use Wi-Fi to transfer files, but the fastest way is to use a Lightning cable.
IPhone & iPad application
If you don’t want to pay for WALTR 2, which is quite a lot, there is an application available on the App Store that can play videos and allow you to import files from any computer running iTunes. Most do not require you to convert videos into iPad formats that can be played natively (e.g. MP4). Instead, you can play almost anything you like, including AVI, DIVX, MKV, and others.
There are various applications, including the free VLC Player. Unfortunately, many such applications have to delete codecs following legal requirements and no longer support surround-sound audio (AC-3 and others).
This means that video files with surround sound audio format will play silently: You must convert your video in the appropriate application to mix surround sound to stereo soundtrack first.
Transfer videos through PlayerXtreme Media Player
One free application that has very good reviews is PlayerXtreme Media Player by Xtreme Media Works. This allows you to transfer videos with Wi-Fi, but for speed and reliability, I recommend using a USB cable.
See our broader guide to playing any video format on iPad to find out about some other options. Obviously, install any application that you will use before following the guidelines below.
First, connect your iPad to a computer with the latest version of iTunes (try using the latest version if possible). iTunes will launch automatically and your iPad will appear on the left side. Next, click on the icon that represents your iPad and then click File Sharing on the menu on the left.
In the File Sharing section, click on the appropriate video application – in this case, PlayerXtreme.
Finally, click the Add File … button and navigate to the video that you want to install on your iPad. Select one or more and click Open at the bottom of the dialog box. Don’t forget to choose the subtitle file included with the video.
The movies will start copying to your iPad – a progress bar is displayed in the panel at the top of iTunes.
After transferring, you can unplug your iPad, launch PlayerXtreme (or whichever video playback the application uses) and the video will be there, ready to watch.
Remember that playing video formats that are not supported natively by iOS will drain the battery faster unless the application can use hardware acceleration (which can be done by PlayerXtreme).
Use the video download application
If you don’t want to have to connect your iPad to a computer running iTunes, there are other ways to load movies on your iPad. One of them is installing a video download application. By using the app’s default web browser, you can go to YouTube or other video streaming sites and find the video you want to watch.
When it starts playing, a pop-up window will appear and give you the option to download or save the video. You might have to type a name for it, or maybe automatically get the name from a web page.
This application tends to disappear quickly from the App Store due to Apple’s policy regarding potential copyright infringement, so we cannot link to specifics.
However, you can check out our separate guide that explains how to download YouTube videos to your iPhone or iPad.
Download from Netflix or Amazon Prime Video
If you have a Netflix or Amazon Prime subscription, now you can also download content from both services. If you want to try it, we have a special guide for downloading videos from Netflix or Amazon Prime Video.
If you’re not sure what to watch, we’ve also collected what we think is the best movie on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video too.
Download catch-up TV
Many TV channels have their own applications, and some let you download shows too.
BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, and the All 4 (Chanel 4) application all allow you to download TV shows (including movies) to your iPad. iPlayer and gives you 30 days to watch the things you download, while you are limited to 7 days with the ITV Hub and, when it comes to All 4, it depends on when the event was originally broadcast.
My5 or UKTV Play does not allow you to download shows at the time of writing, but this may change in the future.
Buy or rent from iTunes, Google Play, or other services
If you launch iTunes Store on your iPad, then tap Movies at the bottom, you will find a large selection of the latest films available for rent or purchase. Renting a new film costs £ 3.49 in standard definition or £ 4.49 in HD. Classic movies are cheaper. Buy one to watch repeatedly each time you want to cost £ 9.99 or £ 13.99 depending on the film.
Although you can play movies immediately, movies purchased or rented will also be downloaded to your iPad so you can watch them without an internet connection.
Use iTunes to transfer videos to iPad
Finally, if you prefer to continue using the default Video application and want to load movies from your computer on your iPad, you all must use the computer that you use to sync and back up your iPad.
When your iPad appears at the top of iTunes (after connecting it with a USB cable or using Wi-Fi synchronization), click on the Movies / Films tab and you will see a list of all the movies that you have imported into your iTunes library. Remember that they might appear on the TV Programs tab if they are incorrectly marked. This also applies to TV shows that are incorrectly marked as movies.
Check the Sync Films box, then check the movies you want to add to your iPad from the list. Or, check the box next to ‘Automatically include all movies’, and use the drop-down menu to select options from the list such as ‘all not watched’.
When finished, tap Sync at the bottom right to transfer videos to your iPad and prepare to watch!
If you experience problems, here’s how to turn off & restart your iPad.