iPhone Won’t Play Videos? Here 4 reasons why

If you’ve encountered an issue with your iPhone playing videos, then you’re not alone – it’s a fairly common issue.

However, the truth is that it can be put down to several different reasons, from issues with your Youtube account to damaged video files on your device. We’re going to look at the main causes of the issue, and what you can do to try and resolve it.

iPhone Won’t Play Videos? How to fix it 

There are a couple of reasons why your iPhone may not be able to play videos – typically, this is often down to a lack of storage space, but it could also be because the video is the wrong format, or in some cases, a damaged video file.

It could also be that large video files may be kept on iCloud, and your phone is having trouble accessing it without a network connection. Let’s look at these issues that may stop iPhone videos from playing properly in more detail.

Poor internet connection

First things first, reset network settings to ensure it’s not an internet issue. If you haven’t downloaded the online video to your camera roll, you’ll need internet access to watch it – this is often the cause of videos not playing.

However, if you’re having a video playback problem and you’ve downloaded the video to your camera roll, it can usually be linked back to one of the following issues.

Video saved on iCloud

The reason might be that the video has been saved in your iCloud account instead of the iPhone’s storage.

If you have no space left on your device, then this can cause issues when you’re streaming videos on your mobile.

You might find it bad in the beginning because it stops you from enjoying your recorded videos.

However, it is a strategy implemented in your phone to optimize storage features, i.e. uploading all videos from the internal storage to your iCloud account while your phone is online.

It means that every time you decide to watch the video, it must be downloaded from your iCloud.

If you are not connected to the internet, you may have trouble watching it. You can clear some other storage space on your device to see if this resolves the issue.

Saved videos in the gallery

There are two main solutions. The easy way is just simply to get connected to the internet so the video can be downloaded from your iCloud and played accordingly.

Secondly, if you don’t have access to the internet, follow the steps below:

  • Go to Settings.
  • Tap Photos and ten select Download and Keep Originals.

In this way, you will keep all the original video files in your internal memory which is available when you are offline.

In case you want to act selective and save just some of the videos (not all of them), first, go to the video file preview from your iPhone’s Camera or Photos app.

Then, click the upload icon, and finally go to the Save to Files option.

Damaged video files/formatting issues

When it comes to the video itself, there could be two scenarios including “video file damaged” and “format not supported” situations.

You can assume that the problem is coming from either the device itself, storage, or app which could result in it damaging the file.

It might be the case that you have been able to watch a video a while ago but suddenly cannot, which could indicate that you’ve got a damaged file.

No need to be panic – damaged files can be easily fixed. We suggest that you fix your damaged files using the online tool called Restore.Media, which can help fix a corrupt iPhone video.

Fortunately, you don’t need to pay anything as you can register a free account. The good thing is that the tool covers most video file formats.

The video file format is not supported

We have already introduced this problem. You sometimes get the message “Unsupported video format” which feels disappointing if you’ve just picked up a new iPhone.

If your video’s file extension is MOV, MP4, M4V, AVI, Quick Time files, and MOV extension, you are probably safe and have no trouble playing them on your iPhone.

The same is true with video codecs including HEVC, H.264, MPEG-4 Part 2, and Motion JPEG. Using smaller video files is a good idea as it can help to make your iPhone battery last longer.

If your video codec or file extension is not supported, then, you just need to convert it to something compatible with iPhone. How can you change this to a compatible format?

There are countless free downloadable video file converters you can pick from. If you’re still having problems playing a specific video format, then you should think about converting videos to a different format.

Additional: YouTube-related issues

Can’t you watch YouTube videos? Don’t worry! You are not alone! If this happens, you just need to do several things to make sure where the main issue is.

Therefore, the first thing to do is make sure of a secure and stable internet connection. If everything is fine, check whether the specific YouTube video you want to watch is not corrupted.

To do this, just open another video. Next, play the video not only on YouTube but also on other apps.

After that, update your YouTube app and see whether the video playback problem is solved. If you are still unable to watch the video, just ask for help from Apple’s support community.


In this article, we talked about when you cannot watch your desired video on your iPhone.

Saving videos on iCloud account, damages or unsupported video files, and finally, YouTube-related issues are among the most common reasons why you fail to watch.

We proposed some solutions for each problem. We hope you have found this article helpful! Now, you can enjoy watching videos more comfortably as you know what to do when something goes wrong.

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Farhad Pashaei

For the past seven years, I've been tinkering with power banks, smartphones, laptops, printers, and writing reviews about them. When I'm not writing, you can bet I'm devouring information on products that are making their first foray into the market, demonstrating my unquenchable thirst for technology.

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