Syncing Third-Party Camera Videos to an iPad


Q: I have videos taken with my camera that get transferred over to my photo folders along with my pictures when I transfer everything from my camera to my Windows computer. However, when I then sync everything to my iPad 2 (and check the box to sync videos as well), only the photos come over. Why don’t my videos sync as well? Is there an easy way to sync all photos and videos at the same time?

– Julie

A: The likely problem here is that your camera is simply not recording video in a format that is compatible with the iPad. Unfortunately, the iPad supports a relatively limited set of video formats, as noted in Apple’s Tech Specs Page:

Video formats supported: H.264 video up to 1080p, 30 frames per second, High Profile level 4.1 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.

With the obvious exception of iOS devices such as the iPhone, very few cameras natively record video in H.264 or MPEG-4 resolutions, and even those that do often do not provide the specific H.264 settings that are required to ensure iPad compatibility.

This means that in order to transfer these videos to your iPad, you’re going to need to convert them into the appropriate video format. Unfortunately, the Windows Live Movie Maker application that is included with Windows 7 does not allow you to export video in these formats, so you will need to look to a third-party utility for this purpose. These compatibility issues have created a huge market for iPod and iPad video conversion utilities and as a result many of the ones you’ll find in an Internet search either cost money or are laden with advertising. Our recommended option for handling video conversion for iOS devices is Handbrake (, which is a free, open-source utility that can handle just about any video format and includes a number of pre-sets for Apple devices to provide almost “one-button” conversion for most needs.

Once you’ve converted your videos into an iPad compatible format, simply replace the original files in your Photo folders with the converted versions and they should automatically sync to your iPad without any problems. Alternatively, you can also import these videos into your iTunes library as “Movies” if you prefer, in which case they will sync to your iPad and be displayed in the Videos app alongside any other movies, TV shows or music videos that you may have in your library.

Also keep in mind that depending on the format and quality of your original videos, you may also want to consider backing up the original video files from your camera elsewhere for any future editing work you may want to do, since in most cases it’s preferable to work with the original.




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Jesse Hollington

Jesse Hollington was a Senior Editor at iLounge. He's written about Apple technology for nearly a decade and had been covering the industry since the early days of iLounge. In his role at iLounge, he provided daily news coverage, wrote and edited features and reviews, and was responsible for the overall quality of the site's content.