How to Open an MP4 File on iPhone or iPad: A Simple Guide

Opening an MP4 file on your iPhone or iPad is straightforward. Simply tap on the file, and it should automatically play in the default iOS video player, the Apple TV app. If the file is attached to an email or a message, you might need to download it first by tapping on the download icon. Once downloaded, tapping the file should launch the video player. After successfully opening the file, you can enjoy your video in full resolution with sound.

After opening the MP4 file, you can expect smooth playback of your video. The playback controls allow you to play, pause, fast forward, rewind, or skip to a different part of the video. You can also adjust the volume, enable subtitles if available, or even cast the video to a compatible device using AirPlay.


In the digital age, videos are everywhere. From video calls with friends and family to streaming your favorite TV shows, videos have become an integral part of our daily lives. This is especially true for iPhone and iPad users, who often use their devices to watch videos on the go. One common video format you might encounter is MP4, a digital multimedia container format widely used for storing video and audio.

But how do you open an MP4 file on your iPhone or iPad? Why is this knowledge important, and who should be aware of it? Well, think about it – you’ve just received an important video file from your colleague, or maybe you’ve downloaded a movie you want to watch during your commute. Knowing how to open and play an MP4 file on your iOS device ensures you can enjoy these moments without a hitch. It’s also crucial for content creators, educators, or anyone who uses videos for work or education purposes. With that in mind, let’s dive into the simple steps to access and play MP4 files on your iPhone or iPad.

Step by Step Tutorial on Opening an MP4 File

Before starting, ensure your iPhone or iPad is updated to the latest version of iOS to avoid any compatibility issues.

Step 1: Locate the MP4 File

Find the MP4 file you want to open. It could be in your Files app, an email attachment, or a download link on a website.

Locating the MP4 file is as easy as navigating to where it’s saved. If it’s an email attachment, you’ll typically find a download icon next to the file’s name. Tap it to save the file to your device. If it’s in the Files app, simply browse to the folder where it’s stored.

Step 2: Tap to Open

Once you’ve located the MP4 file, tap on it to open.

Tapping the file will prompt your iPhone or iPad to use its default video player to play the content. In most cases, this should happen seamlessly, and the video should start playing immediately.

Step 3: Use Playback Controls

Use the on-screen playback controls to navigate through the video as needed.

While the video is playing, you have several controls at your fingertips. You can tap the screen to bring up the playback controls, allowing you to pause, play, or skip through the video. You can also adjust the volume or enter full-screen mode for a better viewing experience.


ConvenienceOpening an MP4 file directly on your iPhone or iPad is highly convenient, especially when you’re on the move. The process is simple, and it doesn’t require any additional apps or software.
Quality PlaybackThe default video player on iOS devices is optimized for high-quality playback. This means you can enjoy your videos in the best resolution and sound quality available for your device.
AccessibilityAccessibility features like subtitles and closed captions are supported, ensuring that users with hearing impairments can also enjoy video content without barriers.


Limited CompatibilityWhile MP4 is a widely accepted format, there may be instances where specific codecs used within the MP4 container are not compatible with the iOS video player, leading to playback issues.
Storage SpaceHigh-resolution MP4 files can be quite large, taking up significant storage space on your device. This can be a limitation for users with limited storage capacity.
No Advanced FeaturesThe default iOS video player is fairly basic and may not offer advanced features such as video editing or format conversion that some users might require.

Additional Information

When opening an MP4 file on an iPhone or iPad, you might encounter a situation where the video doesn’t play. This could be due to a number of reasons, such as an incompatible codec or a corrupted file. In such cases, you can try downloading a third-party video player from the App Store that supports a wider range of codecs and formats. Some popular options include VLC for Mobile and Infuse.

Another tip is to ensure that your device has enough free storage space before attempting to download and open large MP4 files. If space is limited, consider using cloud storage services like iCloud, Dropbox, or Google Drive to access your videos without taking up physical storage on your device.

Remember that opening an MP4 file might also hinge on the source of the file. If you’re attempting to open a file from an untrusted source, there’s a risk of malware. Always ensure that you’re downloading or opening files from reputable sources to keep your device safe.


  1. Locate the MP4 file you wish to open.
  2. Tap on the file to open it in the default video player.
  3. Use the playback controls to navigate the video.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I open an MP4 file on my iPhone or iPad if it’s stored on a cloud service?

Yes, you can open MP4 files stored on cloud services like iCloud, Dropbox, or Google Drive. Simply navigate to the file within the app and tap to open it.

What should I do if the MP4 file won’t play on my iPhone or iPad?

If the file won’t play, it could be due to an incompatible codec or a corrupt file. Try downloading a third-party video player from the App Store that supports more formats.

Can I save MP4 files to my iPhone or iPad for offline viewing?

Absolutely! You can download the MP4 file to your device’s local storage for offline viewing. Just make sure you have enough free space available.

How can I share an MP4 file from my iPhone or iPad with someone else?

You can share an MP4 file via AirDrop, email, or messaging apps. Simply select the file, tap the share icon, and choose the method you prefer.

Are there any limitations to the types of MP4 files I can play on my iPhone or iPad?

Generally, the iOS video player supports most MP4 files. However, there might be limitations with certain codecs. If you encounter issues, try a different video player app.


Knowing how to open an MP4 file on your iPhone or iPad is essential in this digital age where videos are a significant part of our lives. Whether for work, education, or entertainment, mastering this simple task can enhance your video consumption experience.

While the process is straightforward, always stay aware of potential compatibility issues and remember that third-party video player apps can offer a solution when needed. Embrace the ease of watching your favorite MP4 videos on your iOS devices, and never miss a moment of high-quality video content.