How to Add Video to iOS Devices in macOS Catalina

Add Video To Ios Devices Featured

With the introduction of macOS Catalina, it is time to officially say goodbye to iTunes, at least for Apple laptops. First released to the world all the way back in 2001, iTunes has been the bedrock of the iPod, iPhone and iPad ecosystem.

In today’s brave new world, Apple has released three separate apps for Catalina users to replace iTunes. One of the apps is the TV app which now handles all of your purchased and rented content as well as streaming and uploaded content. Whereas iOS users could previously upload content directly through iTunes, that is not the case anymore. Admittedly, Apple has made it a little confusing, but rest assured, by the end of this article you will be an expert.

Using the TV App

Home to all of your video content, the TV app is prime real estate for all videos on your Mac. Fortunately, adding “home” videos to this app is as simple as drag and drop. At the top of the app is a list of five menu options including a tab labeled “Library.”

Add Video To Ios Devices Tvapp

Upon clicking that tab, you’ll see a full list of all video content. Adding more content to this tab is as easy as selecting a video (or videos) from your Finder app and dragging it to the TV app. After a moment or two of uploading, the videos will appear.

It is important to note that any video uploaded to the TV app can only be played on the TV app. If you want to use a third-party video solution like VLC, you will need to open it with that specific app.

Adding Home Videos

Historically, once a movie or TV show was added to iTunes, you would also upload it to your connected iOS device through iTunes. That is not the case anymore, as Apple has done a complete 180 and made it possible to sync movies/TV shows through Finder. The steps below are straightforward, and once you have added videos a few times, it becomes second nature.

1. Start with the basics and open the Finder app from the Mac dock.

Add Video To Ios Devices Finder

2. Connect your iOS device to your desktop or laptop. To ensure it will connect properly, make sure your device is unlocked if you have password protection.

3. Locate your device in Finder. It will be listed under “Locations” on the left side, likely underneath your laptop or desktop computer name.

Add Video To Ios Devices Finder

4. The next screen and its related series of tabs should look familiar to any previous iTunes user. Find the “Movies” tab and click on it with your mouse.

Add Video To Ios Devices List

5. Next, check the box labeled “Sync movies onto (device name).” Once you’ve done this step, movie syncing is allowed. For the purposes of this step, both TV shows and movies are considered movies.

Add Video To Ios Devices List

6. In the box below there should be a list of available movies and video content to sync. Select each movie by clicking on the available box. Alternatively, you could check the “Automatically include all” movies and upload all of the available video content.

Add Video To Ios Devices Movies

7. Once you are confident you have selected all of the video content you want on your iOS device, click “Apply” and then “Sync” at the bottom-right of the Finder window.

Add Purchased Content

Adding your own video content or content purchased from Apple is pretty much the same as your own video content. The only other step that might be required is to open up the “TV Shows” tab in Finder which is next to the “Movies” tab utilized for your own video content above. The same exact steps take place regardless of which tab you are under.

1. Click on the box labeled “Sync TV Shows” to enable TV show syncing.

2. Select the box if you want to “Automatically include” the entire list or manually select which shows to upload.

Add Video To Ios Devices Sync

3. Click Apply and then click Sync to initiate the upload process to your iPhone or iPad.

Add Video To Ios Devices Tvshows


While millions of people will mourn the “death” of iTunes, Apple has really done macOS Catalina users a favor. We might not love the idea of three apps instead of one, but this step was long overdue. In the process of separating podcasts, music and video content, Apple has made it far easier to manage your owned or purchased video material. If that is the tradeoff to say goodbye to iTunes forever, so be it.

Are you missing iTunes already? Sound off below.

David Joz
David Joz

David is a freelance tech writer with over 15 years of experience in the tech industry. He loves all things Nintendo.

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