My goal is to have the MTS files in PhotoStream so that all of my iPhone applications such as video collage creator apps can use them. MTS video files are files created by Sony Nex 3N camera that are downloaded to MacOS X and Dropbox.

Error msg.

I am using iMovie 10.0.6 in MacOS X.

How can I open MTS video files in iPhone in a way that video editing apps are able to use them?

  • 2
    What you call a "ridiculous usability feature" Apple likely calls "not worth the time". Why does Sony not use a standard file format for their videos instead of a proprietary one? MTS files are not compatible with iOS unless they are converted to another format first.
    – tubedogg
    Commented Dec 29, 2014 at 5:27
  • A lot of Sony products focused on Blu-Ray formats, especially in their Asian markets, so their initial format for just about everything HD was AVCHD (i.e. MTS or M2TS). Not to say that it's right, but it's what they did.
    – Jason Mock
    Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 22:13

4 Answers 4


You need to convert them first.

I recommend using Handbrake application for this. It is free and solid.

  • Sorry man I can't chase your elusive question. You asked how to convert MTS into format that iPhone and iMovie can understand and I have answered. You marked it as accepted. Now I come here again because you deselected it is as answer. I don't understand. Not that I chase those points but I know that Handbrake can convert MTS to h.264 (and few other formats) which is for iPhone. Now you imply I had to know you needed to open AVCHD container directly in Handbrake. WTH? Open that container as you were opening it earlier, Handbrake as of now can't do that.
    – iskra
    Commented Jan 2, 2015 at 21:25

Up until iMovie 10.x (currently the latest version; previous version was 9.x and also called iMovie '11) there was no native support for AVCHD, but this has changed.

If you're able to run iMovie 10.x (I think it requires OS X 10.9 Mavericks or newer) you can natively import the AVCHD files, and it will quickly and losslessly convert them to MOV files that should be much more compatible with OS X & iOS devices.

As far as I can tell it's just a "remuxing" of the original files, i.e. moving the H.264 video from the AVCHD/MTS/M2TS container into a MOV container, so is way faster than Handbrake.

(I personally think it was a ridiculous oversight that Apple didn't support AVCHD about 3-4 years ago, but better late than never I guess).


I'm doing it now directly on an iPad. My workflow is:

Import with Lexar microSD reader to iConv. iConv allows converting .mts to .mov and saving to PhotoStream.

I'm currently trying to find an alternative to iConv as I have not yet purchased the pro version and I think it's a bit expensive for a simple converter.

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    – Tetsujin
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 7:35
  • @Tetsujin Why do you think this does not answer the question: How can I open MTS video files to iPhone's photostream so applications can use them? I tell him exactly how to do that. If you are referring to the comment about iConv being expensive, sorry, but this a reality that anyone interested in importing MTS to Photostream by this method should know. Commented May 24, 2017 at 9:28

This is what works based on iskra's tip about Handbrake. I am now one step closer to video improvisation: next I need to understand how to deal with the AVCHD files in OS X. I think the best idea is to do all cutting/cleaning-up and things like that in OS X before transmitting to iOS with Handbreak or anything.

Puzzle 1: best way to convert MTS files to iPhone. There are many options Handbrake and Handbrake Alternative. Others?


Procedure that avoids the "no valid source selected"

  1. copy the AVCHD file away from your camera to some harddrive (and free space from your camera)

  2. rename the AVCHD file and rename the BDMV -- now when you clip them in Handbrake you can get into the MTS files


You store the AVCHD without changing them or importing them anywhere in your external hardrive (best idea with this large files).

My plan is after all shooting sessions to remove the material away from the camera so material irrelevant to each other won't get into the libraries.

ALERT! Conversion of MTS files to iPhone file type: eg 1.5 GB video about (15 minutes) required 15 minutes' conversion on Macbook Air 1.8 GHz -- far too long time for improvisational material!

Related historical material

  1. comment to iskra's Handbrake: when I select the AVCHD thing, it says "No valid source found" -- how can I get the AVCHD into Handbrake?

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and instructions

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Puzzle 2. Is handbrake really a solution to this? Or should I use Handbrake Alternative to get the ACHD videos to iPhone?

Solution: rename the folder names and you will get the MTS files to be accessed by Handbrake: it is not programmed automatically to dig into the AVCHD folders.

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