Play videos on a mobile device

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Android

The Dropbox Android application uses the native Android operating system video player. Many of the videos in your Dropbox may already be supported, depending on your device and version of the Android operating system.

If you come across a video that is not supported natively, there are many applications available designed to encode them to play properly. We recommend the free Handbrake desktop application (for Windows, Mac, and Linux). Read Handbrake's online documentation for detailed information about how to convert for your mobile device.

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You'll have the best conversion results if you meet the criteria of your mobile device. For example, the Dropbox Android application can play any video your mobile device can handle. The Android OS can play H.263 .3gp and .mp4 files, H.264 AVC .3gp and .mp4 files, and MPEG-4 SP .3gp files. Some features, like screen size and memory, vary from device to device. You might be able to contact your phone's user manual or help documentation for more specifics.

iPad

When connected to the internet, the Dropbox iOS app will play just about any type of video file you throw at it. We use Apple's HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) protocol, which has been specially designed to stream files to your iPhone or iPad. The quality of the stream will depend on the speed of your wireless connection.

iOS and the Dropbox app support numerous video formats, including:

  • .mov
  • .mp4
  • .m4v
  • .mkv
  • .avi
  • .wmv
  • .flv
  • .asf

If you make a video file available for offline access and it's not natively supported by iOS, you'll need to open it with a third-party app that supports the format.

Learn more

In cases where you may need to convert a video file to an iOS-friendly format, we recommend the free Handbrake desktop application (for Windows, Mac, and Linux). Handbrake has convenient video presets for converting video files for the iPhone or iPad. Read Handbrake's online documentation for detailed information about its presets and how to use them.

When converting using something other than iTunes or the Handbrake presets mentioned above, you'll need to meet specific criteria. The Dropbox app can play the following iOS-compatible movie types:

  • H.264 video, up to 1.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Low-Complexity version of the H.264 Baseline Profile with AAC-LC stereo audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, in .mov, .mp4 and .m4v file formats
  • H.264 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Baseline Profile up to Level 3.0 with AAC-LC stereo audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, in .mov, .mp4 and .m4v file formats
  • MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC stereo audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, in .mov, .mp4 and .m4v file formats

iPhone

When connected to the internet, the Dropbox iOS app will play just about any type of video file you throw at it. We use Apple's HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) protocol, which has been specially designed to stream files to your iPhone or iPad. The quality of the stream will depend on the speed of your wireless connection.

iOS and the Dropbox app support numerous video formats, including:

  • .mov
  • .mp4
  • .m4v
  • .mkv
  • .avi
  • .wmv
  • .flv
  • .asf

If you make a video file available for offline access and it's not natively supported by iOS, you'll need to open it with a third-party app that supports the format.

Learn more

In cases where you may need to convert a video file to an iOS-friendly format, we recommend the free Handbrake desktop application (for Windows, Mac, and Linux). Handbrake has convenient video presets for converting video files for the iPhone or iPad. Read Handbrake's online documentation for detailed information about its presets and how to use them.

When converting using something other than iTunes or the Handbrake presets mentioned above, you'll need to meet specific criteria. The Dropbox app can play the following iOS-compatible movie types:

  • H.264 video, up to 1.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Low-Complexity version of the H.264 Baseline Profile with AAC-LC stereo audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, in .mov, .mp4 and .m4v file formats
  • H.264 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Baseline Profile up to Level 3.0 with AAC-LC stereo audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, in .mov, .mp4 and .m4v file formats
  • MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC stereo audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, in .mov, .mp4 and .m4v file formats

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