When connected to the internet, the Dropbox iOS app will play almost any video file. We use the Apple 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:
Will audio files play on the Dropbox app?
When you play an audio file in our app, you should be able to minimize the app and still hear playback. However, a couple of notes on usability:
- The Dropbox app is not designed to be a fully-featured media player, so if you're playing items from a folder of audio files, it will not progress automatically to the next file
- Playback will also stop if the app is open and you load a different file or exit from the playback screen
When the app is open, you can use the scrubber to fast forward or rewind. From the lock screen on your device, you can use the controls in the Control Center to fast forward and rewind the item you are playing. You won't be able to skip to the next audio item here.
Can I play Dropbox media files when I'm offline?
The media player in the Dropbox application uses the Dropbox servers to stream and transcode media. If you're offline, Dropbox will default to Apple's media player. This means that non-native files (those not filmed or recorded on an iOS device) may not play in our application when you're offline.
What happens when I make a file available offline?
When you make a file available offline, it is stored locally on your device. For non-native file types, you can open them in another application that supports those file types. Alternatively, there are other third party applications that can convert files to natively play back on iOS devices.
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