Q: How do I organize videos on my iPad in the same way that I organize my books? I’d like to put them into some type of collections, or if not collections, then folders would be acceptable also. It’s frustrating, not being able to group related videos. Hope you can point me in the right direction.
A: Unfortunately, the built-in iPad Videos app offers very little in the form of organization, as it’s designed to replicate the organization in iTunes within categories such as Movies, TV Shows, Music Videos, and Podcasts. If your videos are stored as “Movies” in iTunes and you are syncing them on this way, they will simply appear as a single large collection of content.
Third-party apps can provide additional capabilities in this area, but of course lack the ability to easily sync with iTunes or your computer in the same way as the built-in apps.
Fortunately, there are a couple of ways to work around this using the stock iOS apps. One option is to re-categorize your videos in iTunes as “TV Shows” instead of “Movies” or “Home Videos”—the latter of which has no meaning outside of iTunes 11 anyway. Since individual TV show episodes are grouped on the iPad by the show name, you could use this field to identify collections, organizing your videos into “Episodes” for each “Show.” More information on how to do this can be found in our Guide to Managing iTunes Videos.
This would translate onto your iPad when these videos were synced from your computer, but keep in mind that you cannot change this information on the iPad itself; you would need to return to iTunes if you wanted to place a video in a different collection. Further, the iPad Videos app was oddly designed to rely solely on artwork for videos, meaning that your collections may not be clearly identifiable unless you assign custom artwork to your videos in iTunes.
An alternative approach is to simply forego the Videos app altogether and store your videos in the Photos app. If you’re a Mac user with iPhoto or Aperture, they can be synced on directly from these apps using iTunes, or synced from a folder of videos on either a Mac or a PC. These folders or albums that you sync to your iPad can include any combination of photos and/or videos. This is configured from the Photos screen in your device sync settings in iTunes, and the process for setting this up for videos is the same as it is for photos; just ensure that collections of your videos are also included in the albums or folders that you want to sync and the Include videos option is selected.
Using this method, each folder or album from your computer becomes an Album in the Photos app on your iPad. Further, while you can’t change these existing Album names, you can create new albums directly on the device in order to group photos and videos from your Camera Roll and your synced albums.
Note that these actually work more like “tags” than traditional albums, however, in that your photos and videos will appear both in their original location and any additional albums that you create and add them to. Keep in mind as well that these albums are stored solely on your device and will not be synced back to iTunes or any other iOS device.