HD/4K Videos Won’t Play on iPhone (11)
1. iPhone Won’t Play 4K/HD Videos from Mac, Windows, Android, GoPro, DJI and other Devices
“Why won’t my iPhone play video after syncing from my Mac via iTunes? It plays normally in my QuickTime player.”
Reason 1: Incompatible video format
There are times you’ve downloaded and saved some online videos on your computer. But when you sync them to iPhone you end up with playback failure, with error message “unsupported video format“. The same problem happens when you try to play the AVI, MKV, WMV or other video files sent from your friend working on Windows OS or the videos made on Android. The major problem is the video is formatted other than MP4, MOV, or M4V that is natively supported by iPhone.
Reason 2: Subcodec error with HEVC video
iOS 11 added the support of HEVC format in 2017. Playing HEVC videos on iPhone will be problematic, if you still work with iOS 10 or older version. Besides, although iOS 11 natively supports HEVC, you iPhone must use a newer processor to playback these files smoothly. For iPhone manufactured before 2016 it will struggle to play back HEVC video.
Even trickier, your new model such as iPhone 11 won’t play HEVC videos from time to time. Why? Technically, iOS 11/12 only recognize HEVC video encoded in hvc1 subcodec. Chances are some HEVC files created by programs like Handbrake and FFMPEG are tagged as hev1. So except for upgrading your iOS to newer version for HEVC, it’s suggested to convert HEVC video to H.264 which is fully compatible with iPhone to fix video not playing on iPhone issue.
Reason 3: Problem with 4K video, higher frame-rate video or oversized video
Many a iPhone user reported a playback failure of 4k videos filmed by GoPro, DJI Mavic or other cameras. They are told the 4K videos are unsupported and won’t play on iPhone or iPad and the resolution or FPS need to be lower. These videos are commonly filmed HEVC 4K 60fps, 2.7k 120fps and 1080p 240fps. Here are the majorly 2 reasons why your iPhone won’t play these videos.
• High bitrate or big file size: Some user suggests 2.7k60fps cannot play on iPhone despite of short length. But the file size turns out to be overly big since the max bitrate reaches to 60mbps. Technically, 10 min 2.7K60fps GoPro video will take up around 4.8GB storage space, let along the 4K60fps video. Lower bitrate means that iPhone will have less work and easier time to do when playing back the video. You must shrink video size by lowering bitrate for smooth video playback on iPhone. Or else, make sure your iPhone has double the required space available for 4K video playback. Some camera is equipped with settings purpose built for higher quality but resulting in big size, such as GoPro’s Protune, make sure to turn off the feature to ensure an easier playback on iPhone later.
• High Resolution: 4K video playback problem on iPhone such as stuttering or lags happens as a result of the iPhone’s processing power. This is typically because playing 4k video consumes resources like processor, RAM and graphic memory. Secondly, right now, only iPhone 8 (Plus), iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS (Max), iPad Pro and iPhone 11 series in 10.5-inch, 12.9-inch, 11-inch and 12.9-inch can play 4K and HDR videos flawlessly. To accommodate the process, the 4K videos of higher resolution shall be converted to a lower resolution like 1080p or 720p, if you have older models. Check what video quality your iDevice can play >>
• Higher Frame rate: iPhone users are disappointed to see some footages cannot load or play on iPhone. Frankly, certain iDevices have specific limitations and have put a block on frame rate higher or lower being copied into the system folders or imported through the lighting connector. For example, iPhone blocks any video in 100fps and even 29.99fps, while Mavic 30fps is actually more like 29.99fps instead of 30fps. You have to convert the frame rate to Apple 30fps beforehand.
Reason 4: Aspect ratio error
Users encountered the problem that iPhone won’t play GoPro HEVC videos, especially the 4:3 videos even with lower resolutions and frame rates. Why? This is because of the aspect ratio issue. According to Gopro, no version of iOS supports 4K 4:3 playback. You have to convert 4K 4:3 to 16:9 aspect ratio or change the video resolution to lower 1080p/720p first. Otherwise, iPhone prevents you from playing 4K 4:3 video.
Reason 5: The video is damaged
If the video not working with iPhone, check if your video is damaged. You can play the video on your desktop computer with a third-party media player.