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  1. #1


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    Media file types on iOS
    I have just bought an iPad (latest Retina, 64gb), my first ever iOS device, and am struggling with Apple's way of doing things. I am used on my Android tablet to being able to load and play any media file of any format, and I am trying to replicate that on the iPad.

    So far it seems the only music files that can be played are MP3s - is that correct? I have a large amount of WMA music that I wish to be able to play, but which iTunes doesn't seem to recognise.

    I have so far only been able to load (via iTunes) videos of MP4 or M4V formats, and to play those videos. I have many videos of other formats, such as AVI and FLV, that I want to play. I am also accustomed to playing ISO video files. It seems that the built-in video player can't play any of these - is that correct? I have installed the application Player Xtreme which claims to be able to play any format, but even if that is so I can't find a way of loading any formats not playable with the resident video player - I can't find a way of getting them onto the machine in the first place. Presumably there is a way, or Player Xtreme would be pointless - can anyone tell me what it is?

    With all these problems I'm not that impressed at present, but it's only been a couple of days and I want to persist for a while. I obviously expect it to operate differently from Android, but at present I can't find how to do basic things that I've never given a second thought to on Android. I have noticed so far though that the stereo speakers on my $180 Android tablet are vastly superior to the mono speaker on the $650 iPad, in sound quality, spread and volume.

  2. #2

    Slydude's Avatar
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    Check out this info for some suggestions. I have not tried either of the apps in that article. Pay particular attention to the method described for adding video I suspect some of the apps you've tried use a similar method.

    OPlayer HD for iPad Review - YouTube might work as well. I think I have seen some suggestions that it plays .iso and .wma filesas well but can't confirm that.
    Sylvester Roque Former Contributing Editor About This Particular Macintosh

    "Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling

  3. #3


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    Quote Originally Posted by peterbj7 View Post
    So far it seems the only music files that can be played are MP3s - is that correct?
    No. iTunes supports AIFF, MP3, MP4(M4A/M4B/AAC), WAV and Apple Lossless.

    I have a large amount of WMA music that I wish to be able to play, but which iTunes doesn't seem to recognise.
    Batch convert these to one of the above formats using MediaHuman Audio Converter (free). WMA is a proprietary format that only works on Windows. MP3 and MP4 are universally recognized compressed music formats.

    I have so far only been able to load (via iTunes) videos of MP4 or M4V formats, and to play those videos. I have many videos of other formats, such as AVI and FLV, that I want to play. I am also accustomed to playing ISO video files. It seems that the built-in video player can't play any of these - is that correct?
    Yes. You can get around this by installing a program that can play other formats, and loading video into it (and I'll explain that in a second). OR you can convert the videos into the iPad MP4 format so that they play normally on all iOS devices using something like Miro Video Converter (free).

    I have installed the application Player Xtreme which claims to be able to play any format, but even if that is so I can't find a way of loading any formats not playable with the resident video player - I can't find a way of getting them onto the machine in the first place. Presumably there is a way, or Player Xtreme would be pointless - can anyone tell me what it is?
    This isn't a picture of Player Xtreme, but it shows how to add files to a similar program (GPlayer) that supports them on iOS. It is a picture of dragging a file into iTunes *when the iOS device is connected either wired or wirelessly* into the area that supports the file.

    In the picture, you would first:
    1. Connect the device so that it shows up in iTunes, and select the "apps" section
    2. Scroll to the bottom
    3. Select the program (in your case Player Xtreme) and drag in the files you want to sync, then press the Sync button.

    Screen Shot 2013-07-02 at 1.47.43 AM.jpg


    but at present I can't find how to do basic things that I've never given a second thought to on Android.
    And in a few weeks/months/a year, you'll feel the exact opposite way about Android and iOS.

    I have noticed so far though that the stereo speakers on my $180 Android tablet are vastly superior to the mono speaker on the $650 iPad, in sound quality, spread and volume.
    Well, a) mono ≠ stereo, b) your $180 Android speakers are also craptastic compared to headphones, and c) playing music through the speaker of handheld device -- any handheld device -- is awful and annoying. That one is marginally better than another is like saying that pulling out one tooth is less painful than pulling two teeth. Take the hint, and use the headphones.

  4. #4


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    Thanks for the detailed reply. I'll try these things later after work. One correction - WMA works with no problems on Android as well as Windows.

  5. #5


    Member Since
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    You're correct, but its still a proprietary format (as opposed to MP3 which is far more universal).

    I found another solution that might work better for you: there's a $3 app called Air Video from the iOS app store (or another $3 one called StreamToMe, which is more versatile with file types beyond video but doesn't do conversions etc).

    You install that on your phone, install the free server on your Mac, run the server and boom -- now on your local network or internet, you can access, convert or just stream nearly any video format up to 720p resolution. Works very well.

    I have tried both. If all you want is video files instantly converted on the fly as they stream so you can watch them using a net or local wi-fi connection, Air Video is the nicer of the two and converts video files to iTunes format as well, so that's nice. Sadly it doesn't handle pictures, PDFs or most audio formats -- just video.

    StreamToMe is "uglier" in its layout but does a more versatile job: it converts on the fly but doesn't let you permanently convert files and store them in iTunes, it just streams them to your iOS device and plays them.

    Both are easily worth the $ and give you access to an enormously larger library than you could ever store on your iPad.

  6. #6


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    I've been rather busy but I wil try these over the next few days. Thanks.

  7. #7


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    I did what was suggested above and I can now play various video formats. Haven't tried WMA music yet. But I have another question/problem. When I connect my iPad to my Mac with iTunes running it automatically "synchs", whatever that is actually doing. I don't want that to happen, as either it's doing positive harm or it's simply duplicating files on the Mac. How do I stop it so that it NEVER synchs unless I tell it to (and I won't)?

  8. #8

    Slydude's Avatar
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    Synching is copying data from your Mac to your iPhone (songs, contacts, etc) as well as performing a backup of the information on the phone. The setting which tells iTunes not to synch is in the Summary tab once you select the phone. Have a look at this video. It explains how to controls what gets synched.

    What makes you think that it is doing "positive harm"?
    Sylvester Roque Former Contributing Editor About This Particular Macintosh

    "Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling

  9. #9


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    Thanks. I don't "think" it's doing positive harm, but "synch" has a range of meanings some of which would for me have that effect. But I've turned it off now and I don't envisage ever turning it back on. I like to have full control of what happens and where it's put, and I'm very wary of anything provided by a general software producer, whether that be for Mac or Windows.

  10. #10

    Slydude's Avatar
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    The procedures in the video that I linked to should give you a pretty good idea how to control that process. ITunes is the means for adding most types of file to the phone/ As you've noticed with video there are some formats that require other means to add and play back the media.

    After viewing the video, if you choose to leave syncing turned off I recommend synching once in a while so you can backup the contents of your phone. I haven't had to use my iPhone backup yet but did use the one for my iPad once.
    Sylvester Roque Former Contributing Editor About This Particular Macintosh

    "Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling

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