DESPITE the affection many users undoubtedly feel for their iPhones and iPads, the devices remain stubbornly indifferent when it comes to handling any type of file not meeting with Apple’s approval.
Although it’s been less restrictive than Amazon, Tesco and others, Apple has never hidden its intent to use its mobile devices as channels to sell you mobile content - particularly music, video and books - from its own stores. That’s why it’s so notoriously difficult to play anything you’ve acquired from somewhere else.
This is especially true of video files sourced outside iTunes. Apple supports only video formats that work with its own QuickTime software, which means files ending with .mov, .m4v, or .mp4 extensions - and even then there are caveats. Other common files like .avi, DivX, .mpeg, .mkv and .wmv will not play at all on the out-of-the-box apps.
This applies whether the file has been downloaded direct to your phone or tablet, or stored elsewhere on your home network. In the latter case, you’re doubly out of luck because Apple devices don’t natively scan your network for content.
This is in stark contrast to the behaviour of most Android phones and tablets, which can play almost anything, anywhere.
But you can work around Apple’s restrictions if you download the right apps, and part with a few pounds for the extra functionality. All these are available from the usual Apple app store.
Perhaps the best external app currently available is BUZZ Player. It costs £4 but will play more or less any file, in high definition if appropriate, directly from wherever it’s stored. It supports embedded subtitles, too.
TT Player, at £2.29, is cheaper but requires that files be transferred to your phone or tablet before they can be played. You can initiate the transfer from within the app, though. It supports finger gestures to control playback and comes with various audio effect options.
It’s a nuisance to have to jump through so many hoops, but the benefit is that you can finally use your device to play all the videos you’ve purchased - not just the ones you bought from Apple.
Image here - With the right app, you can watch any movie on your iPad or iPhone