The iPad is a weird device when it comes down to video files. It’s built-in video player supports next to no video formats, and to get files across it is a whole other story due to iTunes needing to sync.

Before we get into any third party apps, let’s breakdown what the iPad can actually play and how to get your content across

What can play on the iPad?

  • H.264 up to 1080p, 60 frames per second / AAC-LC 160 kbps
  • MPEG-4, up to 2.5 Mbps, 1280 x 720, 30 frames per second / AAC-LC 160 kbps
That is about it. The video formats above can be copied into iTunes and synced across to your iPad.

Third Party Playing

As most video formats are AVI, or MKV, this makes watching your average video files on your iPad a rather messy hassle. There are alternatives to this process though, you can either A, convert your files to the correct format making syncing easier, or B, download a third-party app and just copy your video files across to your iPad and play them using the app.
Here are some of the best converting programs out there that will let you convert your files and sync them across to you iPad using iTunes:

Xilisoft Video Converter – $29.99



Although it has a price tag, it is a great converter thanks to its main pre-sets, allowing you to select what device you have and let it automatically convert your video file to that device’s readability

Any Video Converter -Free


Its bulky UI might get in the way of what you need, but if you understand video files and audio codecs, then this will not be a problem.

Wondershare Cideo Converter – $49.95


Even though it is the most expensive version on the list, the Wondershare converter is the best around. It supports 4K UHD, can stream directly to devices while converting, and you can burn files onto discs.


Another alternative route is to download a third-party app onto your iPad and just use iTunes’ app management to drag and copy your video files directly to your device. Here are a few apps that work very well, and can play multiple files such as MKV, AVI, MP4 and others without the need to convert any files:

PlayerXtreme – Free 


One noteworthy app is PlayerXtreme. It plays almost any file without a hitch and you can even copy over other files for safekeeping over a Wi-Fi network, sort of like a USB device. You can sort your files into folders, and it is extremely easy to use.

VLC – Free


VLC is the best media player for Windows and being available on the App Store makes it a whole lot more versatile. Its clean UI and vast file format makes it the most ideal app for you video needs.