Let's start by assuming that I have a perfectly compatible file. (In my use case, I was literally trying to get a video I took on my iPhone, that lives in my iPhone photos/video gallery, onto my iPad, so this isn't about conversions or codecs.)

Now, there are many ways to transfer and watch the the video, but I can't find a single darn way to save it with my other videos and photos:

  • If it's short, or I'm willing to clip it, I can email it to myself, but unlike photos, clicking on a video enclosure doesn't allow you to save it to the native app. You can open it in vlc, good reader, etc.
  • If it's under 180MB, I can upload it to Dropbox from the source device (iPhone for me) and then access or watch it on the destination device (iPad for me). But I can't save it to photos from Dropbox on the iPad

Why do I care, if I can access it and even watch it as described above? Two reasons:

  1. I like having things organized in one place. I don't want to have to remember which vids are in Photos, vs. Dropbox, vs. Good reader, etc.
  2. Most apps that use video (including Apple's own iMovie, for frack's sake) can only open and access movies located in the photos app.

Please tell me I'm missing something elegant, if not obvious?

  • The implications of "each app is a sandbox with separate data" security measures is causing your pain. Once you look at the system that way - you see you are asking to bypass security for arbitrary apps. This isn't going to be easy. Basically, you need apps like safari to offer to store a video to the film roll just like they add/copy still pictures. It's really up to Apple to provide this so developers can use it.
    – bmike
    Commented Jun 22, 2011 at 13:45
  • 1
    @brmike, I don't think this is even a consistent application of the walled garden/sandbox/whatever, though. Apple lets its own mail as well as other 3rd party apps save photos to the Photos app, but not videos.
    – Jaydles
    Commented Jun 22, 2011 at 15:49
  • consider unportecting this: the Syclone0044 answer is not uptodate and is useless in its current form to itunes 12.6 users such as myself Commented May 31, 2017 at 10:52
  • @AntonTropashko good point - done!
    – Jaydles
    Commented May 31, 2017 at 14:06
  • thanks, dumped my findings from yesterday into yet another answer. Commented Jun 1, 2017 at 7:36

8 Answers 8


I'm surprised nobody has answered this correctly.

The solution is to open iTunes, click on your iPhone, go to the Photos tab, then Sync Photos for the folder that contains the photo and video subfolders you want to sync. Each subfolder will then be sync'ed to your iphone UNDERNEATH the Camera Roll as new Albums, and these are treated seperately than the Camera Roll and will always remain synced.

Furthermore, apps that can access the Camera Roll almost always can also access Synced Albums, so this should really work well for you. I keep a whole bunch of old photos and videos on my iPhone at all times using this method and it works great.

As a bonus, unlike the Camera Roll, these Synced Albums don't get backed up in iTunes, so it won't slow down your Backup like a growing Camera Roll will.

  • I up voted this because it works, but it's still sort of kludge, and isn't what I need. I want to edit a movie that I can get onto my device (via an eclosure, say) using a 1st-party app on that same device. I don't want to have to go home and tether to my computer...
    – Jaydles
    Commented Jun 22, 2012 at 17:34
  • the answer is obsolete in the newest versions of itunes, consider adding a section with uptodate instructions. In fact I see no sync checkbox anywhere. frustrating. thank you apple. morover there is no photos tab for device in itunes. Commented May 31, 2017 at 10:50

Apparently the only way to get a video into a Photos app on ios 10.{1,2} is to use airdrop. If you import video through the iTunes it will end up in the Videos application.

iMovie and 3rd party video apps can see videos only in the camera roll, the videos (including home videos: the type is not important) in the Videos app can not be accessed by 3rd party apps (for editing or whatever).


You are missing nothing obvious. Currently, I have to shoot video from a camera that works with the camera connection kit for iPad since that is the only way to get video into the photo roll at present.

The camera connector kit won't work to import video from iPhone to iPad. The SD card reader won't let your iPhone write out video to a card. As you've discovered, no app has the ability to add video to the camera roll other than calling the built in camera to capture it and store it in the roll.

I've looked over the iCloud and iOS5 announcements closely, and even though it looks like video you capture will get backed up to the cloud as part of the nightly wifi application data backups, the Photo Stream demonstration very carefully mentioned Photo all the time and no videos were present in any of the files. I don't know for sure, but it doesn't look like anything is announced to change this in the near future.

I have submitted a bug report against iMovie for iOS and perhaps if enough people do, it might get added. Also, consumer feedback might help too.

I personally don't care if I can use wifi or bluetooth device to device, use the camera connector kit, go through the cloud. I'd just like to be able to edit video on iPad iMovie using footage shot from iPhone without needing to bring a PC and a USB cable for transfer.


The easiest way is to use an app that allows you to download from the account "Dropbox" and save to camera roll. I use "Downloads Free" by LS apps. It has its own browser. Navigate to your Dropbox account online. Select your video and download it. It gets saved under the files folder. Select your video and select save to photos option. Photos refers to the Camera Roll. Voila.

  • 3
    Or better yet, use Dropbox's app.
    – Emil
    Commented Feb 10, 2013 at 22:34

I use Photo Transfer App to copy videos over WiFi from my iPhone to my iPad.

It works well for me. The videos appear in the Camera Roll on the iPad, alongside videos I took on the iPad itself.


On iOS 11 I would suggest using iCloud Drive. Suppose you do not want to use a computer or any other apple devices.

  1. You can email the file to yourself, click the attachment, select “save to files”, and you can save it to iCloud Drive. (Sometimes there is an option to save to photos directly). Currently iMovie is able to import files from iCloud Drive, then you can save it to the Camera Roll.

  2. Some online file storage apps can save photos and movies to your Camera Roll (e.g., Google Drive: use “send a copy” to save to video, or “open in” to save to iCloud Drive)


I found a simple way to get a photo/video into the Photos app

  • Tap on the photo/video in Safari and open it in a new tab.
  • Tap the "share" button and look for "Save photo"/"Save video"
  • Selecting this will put the current image into your Photo library

You tap the camera icon and press either record (for a video) or capture (for a photo) then it will automatically save.

  • 2
    There isn't anything automatic about a saved video from an iPhone getting into the video app on an iPad - so this answer will need some editing to explain how to make the jump of a video file external to an iOS device getting incorporated into the videos app.
    – bmike
    Commented Sep 26, 2012 at 21:06

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