Two Free Tools To Play (Almost) Any Kind Of Movie Files On Your iPhone

As a mobile multimedia player, iPhone (including iPod Touch and iPad) is one of the best out there. The picture and sound quality is hard to rival. Unfortunately, iTunes – as the default multimedia player – limits the movie formats that it can play to only “.mp4” and “.m4v“. So there’s the file conversion ritual that you have to go through every time you want to play other unsupported formats.

Some people are fine with this, but for those who wish that they can play (almost) any kind of movie files without the trouble of converting them can use some help from iOS apps that are built just for this purpose. Here are two alternative free apps that you can use.

1. VLC

This is one of the most popular media players for all the computer platforms out there, and now it has come to iPhone.

The iPhone version does only one thing and it does it very well – play videos. You can throw in practically any kind of videos and this baby will play them without difficulties.

The interface is also simple. You will see a list of available videos along with small thumbnails, “About” and “Edit” button (to delete the files), and nothing else.

VLC iPhone

To play a video, just tap on the one that you want to watch and you are ready to go. You can slide to adjust the volume and position of the scenes. There are also other standard playback buttons like Play/Pause and Skip Backward and Forward. Tap the “Done” button to stop playing, and tap the screen to hide/unhide the tools.

VLC Display

To add videos, you’ll need the help from iTunes. Plug your iPhone to your computer and open iTunes. Select the phone from the left pane and go to the “Apps” tab.

iTunes - VLC Sharing

Scroll down to the bottom of the page and select VLC from the list. Click the “Add” button and browse to the place where the video files are, and the rest is self-explanatory.

iTunes - Apps List

2. OPlayer Lite

The second alternative is OPlayer. There are two version of this app: the Pro-paid version and the Lite-free version. Both come with more bells and whistles than VLC in terms of features.

Note: I’ve tried the lite version and it crashed a couple of times. Still, it’s a viable alternative.

You can add video files to OPlayer via iTunes, similar to VLC.

iTunes - OPlayer Lite

And those files will be presented in explorer-style. Tap on “My Documents” and you can choose one of the available videos to watch.


The playback options are similar to VLC, with the ability to play full screen by tapping on the screen.

OPlayer Play

There’s one thing that made me excited about OPlayer. I found out at the “Settings” that this app is capable of attaching subtitle to the movie (SRT files). So I experimented by adding a movie with its SRT files along with it. It turns out that the subtitle appeared for the first several seconds and then gone.

OPlayer SRT

OPlayer is also able to add files via WiFi connection. You need to point your browser to the address that OPlayer provided. This address will always change every time you start the app, so be sure to check back the “WiFi Transfer” options from “More” menu every time you want to go through the process.

OPlayer WiFi Transfer

Your browser will show upload/download interface. Choose file and click the “Submit” button to upload, or click one of the file to download.

OPlayer WiFi Transfer

Another cool ability from OPlayer is the ability to open web page and download video files directly from the web. I opened YouTube successfully but not able to find any way to download the videos. I didn’t know any direct link to download videos from web so I couldn’t try the feature.

OPlayer YouTube-1

So far, these two apps are the best alternatives of video players that I could find in iPhone. If you know other alternatives, please share using the comment below.

Jeffry Thurana
Jeffry Thurana

Jeffry Thurana is a creative writer living in Indonesia. He helps other writers and freelancers to earn more from their crafts. He's on a quest of learning the art of storytelling, believing that how you tell a story is as important as the story itself. He is also an architect and a designer, and loves traveling and playing classical guitar.

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