Get video and audio files working iOS

We love Apple but they do like to make things a little difficult sometimes including which video formats their devices support. So if you are planning on creating a Fliplet app or any other kind of content for the iPad, iPhone or iPod it’s important to understand which audio and video formats will work. Ian, Fliplet’s CEO, has put together this handy guide on how to convert your content so it works on Apple products.

Apple devices only support video and audio in a limited number of formats – but worry not if your file is encoded in another format, converting to make it compatible is really easy and will take less than 5 minutes to set-up (although the compression time might take quite a bit longer depending on what resolution you choose and the length of the video).

There are four steps you’ll need to follow to convert video or audio files to work with Apple devices:

  1. Get the right software for the job
  2. Check the conversion settings and ensure they match Apple’s standards
  3. Choose the right codec
  4. Set the size and resolution
  5. Export and test your new video

1. Get the right software for the job

Ensure you have a suitable piece of software that will convert video for apple devices; if you have a Mac, iMovie should already be preloaded but if not, or if you are on a PC, there are several converters available including Handbrake for Windows, Mac and Linux.

convert video for apple
The iMovie export screen supports selecting suitable formats for mobile devices.

2. Check the conversion settings and ensure they match Apple’s standards

Some software including Handbrake and iMovie will allow you to choose the Apple device you are exporting for and apply the correct settings but if you are using any other kind of software make sure the conversion settings match Apple’s standards.

convert video for apple

Handbrake has a button 'toggle presets' that shows the right hand settings pane. Selecting 'ipad' will pre-configure the software to suit the device type.

Apple supports the following video standards:

  • H.264 video up to 1080p, 30 frames per second, High Profile level 4.1 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, 640×480 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, 1280×720 pixels, 30 frames per second, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format

Apple supports the following audio standards:

  • AAC (8 to 320 Kbps)
  • Protected AAC (from iTunes Store)
  • HE-AAC, MP3 (8 to 320 Kbps)
  • MP3 VBR
  • Audible (formats 2, 3, 4, Audible Enhanced Audio, AAX and AAX+)
  • Apple Lossless
  • AIFF
  • WAV

3. Choose the right codec

The codec is computer software that understands how to play video or audio. Choosing the correct one is really important as using the wrong one is a bit like trying to put petrol into a diesel car i.e. it ain’t going to work!

A common codec is MPEG-2 which is the format used by all DVD movies. The best format for Apple devices is H.264 which is newer and offers great quality.

4. Set the size and resolution

So obviously you want to use the best quality possible for your video – however it is important to bear in mind that higher quality means a larger file size which will take longer to download. Therefore I would recommend you aim for the best resolution you can whilst keeping the download size of your videos in mind and also balancing the quality of your video with the length in order to keep the download times short.

If the primary use of your video will be on older Apple devices without retina display screens then you should be able to use a lower resolution video format as the devices will display them as low resolution anyway.

A good middle ground for all Apple devices is 720p unless you really need high quality.

The main resolutions are 1080p or 720p. 1080p is very high quality at 1920×1080 resolution and 720p is 1280 × 720.

5. Export and test your new video

Click convert and wait! Depending on your computer and the settings you selected it how long it will take. Typically I find Handbrake is faster than iMovie.

Once the new file has been created verify it works and it looks OK -you never know if there have been problems with the conversation process and a quick scan through the file should help to confirm any issues.

Now you can upload the file into Fliplet by adding a video to any text-area and selecting your video file.

Other useful resources: