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How to Load Videos onto an iPhone or iPod Touch

written by: Jimmy Rogers•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 6/27/2010

Learn how to load videos of almost any format onto an iPhone or iPod Touch. This tutorial will help you download the right helper programs and convert videos for use on Apple's most recent portable video players.

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    Make Almost Any Video Format iPhone & iPod Touch Friendly

    One of the best attributes of an iPhone or iPod Touch is its ability to play back videos on an extremely high quality screen. I love watching video podcasts and other video from the iTunes Store when I'm on the go.

    Sometimes, though, I have a video that I have downloaded from YouTube or gotten elsewhere online and I want to watch it on my iPhone too. Well never fear, here are the instructions for taking almost any video format, converting it, and putting it on your iPhone (or iPod Touch, it works for both).

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    Convert The Video

    1. First, start off by locating your "target" video. This is the video that you intend to put on your iPhone or iPod Touch.

    2. Almost any common type of video will work for this particular set of instructions, but check to see if it matches one from this list: *avi, *.mpg, *.mpeg, *.mpe, *.wmv, *.asf, *.mov, *.qt, *.3gp, *.3g2, *.flv, *.swf (the * is where the filename usually is).

      If your target file isn't one of the supported file formats, do a google search for "convert [your file format] to [.avi or any of the other formats listed]" and look for freeware that will convert the file for you.

    3. Now that you have the file, you need a conversion program.

      There are tons of little freeware apps out there (along with many for-pay programs), but my personal favorite is "Free Video to iPhone Converter," which is put out by DVDVideoSoft.com. This site has a large number of free conversion apps that will probably cover any simple conversions you will need on your computer. I highly recommend them!

    4. Once you have downloaded the conversion program, install it as you usually would and open it up. It will also install a little icon to help you find similar programs (you can delete this if you like), but don't worry about it.

    5. On the program's main menu, navigate to your target file with the upper box and then indicate where you would like the converted file to end up (this process will create a second file and keep the first one intact).

      You can also specify the new file's name. he program defaults to appending "NEW" to the filename.

    6. Below these file location boxes, you will see a drop-down menu where you can select the quality of the video.

      The higher quality will look better but the conversion will take much longer. It's more of a personal preference. If the video is already poor quality, you might have to use a higher conversion setting to retain any detail.

    7. You have the option to trim the video with a button at the bottom, but for your first time, just go ahead and hit the "convert" button.

    8. It will begin the (probably) rather lengthy process of converting the file. Once it is finished it will alert you with a dialog box.

    Whew! Now you have a video that started out as one file type and now is a *.mp4. Quicktime and other players can play this file, but to get it onto your iPhone or iPod Touch you'll nex need to do these quick steps.

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    Transfer The Video To Your IPhone or iPod Touch

    1. Open iTunes and connect your iPhone or iPod Touch.

    2. Click on the "Movies" category in the left sidebar. This category seems to work best for this particular process.

    3. Drag your new *.mp4 file over the open area for Movies and drop it there. This will copy the file into your iTunes library (or simply use it where it is, depending on your settings).

    4. At this point (if iTunes is copying new files into a special directory, per your settings) you can actually delete your new file, but I would wait until you've gotten good at this process.

    5. Next go to your device's page in iTunes and select the "Video" tab. Make sure your newly added movie is selected for syncing.

    6. Sync your iPhone/iPod Touch.

    7. Once the transfer is complete you should be able to find your new video on the video menu under "Movies." Click on it and ENJOY!
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    Whether you're going on a long trip or just want to finish the tail end of a movie while on the train, this process is an excellent way to get movies and shows over to your iPhone or iPod Touch. Please leave comments with any questions or tips you run into!