How to View WMV Files On iOS Devices

It can take some time of owning an iOS device, such as an iPhone or iPad, to realize the small nuances that you may be missing out on. They can do so many things, that it’s easy to get caught up in the honeymoon of all of that in the beginning stages of owning one of these devices. However, there are a few things they don’t do natively, or don’t do well at any rate, and it can take a certain amount of searching to find the right way or the right app to accomplish the task.

One of those things iOS devices don’t do natively is playback .wmv files. The reason for this is quite simple. WMV videos and audio are Microsoft creations. Microsoft isn’t going to do anything to make it easier for people to use Apple products. I’ve been using Apple products since 1989, and it’s never been something Microsoft has been interested in, and the more success Apple has with its iOS devices, I just don’t see Microsoft bending on this. This means it’s up to third party apps to come up with a solution.


Sometimes we hit upon WMV and .WMA files via a browser, but usually we run into them in emails. The problem is that when you click on them while viewing an email on an iPad or iPhone, it looks like it’s going to play, but doesn’t. It just keeps you waiting endlessly. If you interrupt it and start over, it just happens again. After a few times of this, you come to the realization it might be something your device isn’t capable of.


After installing one of the two apps discussed below, instead of simply clicking on the file in your email, do a long click, which brings up a menu of other apps that could handle the file. This doesn’t mean all these apps will play the file; it’s simply just recognizing the file. However, there are a few apps out there that won’t just recognize the file, but will allow you to view it as well.


The WMV Player app does exactly what it says it does. It plays WMV files. Doing a long click on the file sitting in your email and calling up this app plays the video. It’s as simple as that. It plays it as easily as iOS devices play YouTube videos. The downside is that the video isn’t the best quality.


Other than just playing the WMV file, this app also has a few extra options. One is that you can download the file and save it within the app for easier recall later on. Additionally, you can view files straight from a built-in browser. Normally, the .wmv files you come across will be in your email, but occasionally you might come across them in the browser as well. This app will handle those as well. Additionally, you can play videos directly out of Dropbox and can use iTunes to transfer videos to your device from your laptop or desktop computer.


The best part of the YXPlayer2 Lite app is the quality of the video. While not perfect, it’s much more defined than it is in the WMV Player app. Additionally, videos can be streamed via AirPlay and an Apple TV to your television. It’s not only .wmv and .wma files that it handles, though. It also handles MPEG, MP3, AAC, and network-streamed videos, as well as other file formats. However, it has its drawbacks as well. It too, has options to save the files or play them through other means, but they aren’t offered here within this free app. You have to pay the $4.99 to to get those options. While having free and paid apps is understandable and appreciated, those features shouldn’t be advertised as being in both versions.

Which app you end up using is up to you. It all depends on whether a clearer video, AirPlay, and more file choices is more important to you, or the possibility of saving, viewing through a browser, and transferring from your computer is more important. The important news here is that it is possible and is available to you for free.


  1. THANKS! Geat help and comparison of options.

  2. WMV player specifically says that it doesn’t yet have functionality to stream wma files from the net.

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