Converting video files for the iPad

Miro Video Converter: Drag-and-drop one-click no-fuss video conversion
Miro Video Converter: Drag-and-drop one-click no-fuss video conversion

If you have video files on your computer that you want to transfer for watching on your iPad, you have to make sure they conform to the iPad’s supported video formats (from the iPad 2 specs page):

H.264 video up to 720p, 30 frames per second, Main Profile level 3.1 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 by 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 by 720 pixels, 30 frames per second, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format

Don’t worry about the tech terms. What all this means is the iPad will play most .m4v, .mp4 and .mov files. And a few .avi files.

For other types of video files, you will have to convert them before transferring them to your iPad.

Those of you who have tried converting videos probably know what most video conversion software are complicated. They have presets, sure, but sometimes those presets aren’t optimal. Sometimes there are so many presets, you don’t even know which one is most suitable!

Enter Miro Video Converter (MVC).

This is a free application available for OS X and Windows.

Using Miro Video Coverter

Unlike most video conversion software, MVC is simple. The screenshot at the top of the post shows the entire interface. After you download and install MVC:

  1. Launch MVC.
  2. Drag the file you want to convert, drop it in MVC.
  3. Choose the desired device for the file.
  4. If you have chosen iPad, check Send to iTunes.
  5. Click Convert!

That’s it!

Get a cup of coffee, especially if the video is large – it might take a while.

To get the newly-converted video onto your iPad, sync it with iTunes.


  1. MVC will deal with most videos. Some can’t be converted. Often the fault lies with the video file itself.
  2. MVC only works one file at a time. It won’t queue files. You can’t drag-and-drop a bunch of files or a folder of video files. (Try Prism if you need batch conversion of video files.)
  3. Video conversion takes time. Do it in the background while you are working on other things on your computer. (Assuming your computer has the horsepower to do this.)

Besides converting your videos, you can also stream videos from your computer to your iPad or use a video playback app.

2 thoughts on “Converting video files for the iPad

  1. Chris 1 February 2012 / 10:33

    I am having trouble playing video files from Keynote. I built a test Keynote on my iMac using the same video in 3 different formats – flv, m4v, and mp4. All three play perfectly on the iMac. Next, I emailed the test file to myself and opened it on the iPad.

    If I had read the above post, I would have known that the flv file wouldn’t play. However, the other two formats also encounter problems. The video starts automatically for both when I advance the slides. However, the audio doesn’t work. I made sure the volume was up, but nothing changed.

    I did not use any iPad-specific video conversion software. Could that be the problem? Is there something I can adjust on the iPad audio settings that might clear this up? Will this no longer be a problem if I am plugged into an audio jack?

    Hoping to solve this little problem.


  2. Kenneth Pinto 2 February 2012 / 11:05

    Hmm… it should work, assuming there are no issues with the video.

    If you can get audio from any other app, then the iPad’s audio is fine. Also, it doesn’t matter whether you are using the in-built speakers or a headset plugged into the audio jack.

    I converted the m4v using Miro Video Converter to mp4. I imported it to the iPad and created a presentation on Keynote using the video. The audio worked fine. I sent it to my iMac to test, and the audio worked too.

    Then, I did it the other way round – I created a Keynote presentation on my iMac (audio working), and sent it to the iPad to play. The audio worked too.

    I’m not sure regarding “iPad specific video conversion software” because most video conversion software have a million and one settings to deal with. Which is why I like Miro Video Converter – just choose the playback device.

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