Videos really take advantage of the brilliant screen built into todays iOS devices. Too bad they only support playing MP4 files. Learn how to convert videos right on your device.

When switching from your PC or Mac to living on the iPad, and in the iOS ecosystem, you are going to miss some things for sure. One of the things I missed recently was having a great and customizable tool to convert videos. On your Mac or PC you would use an app like Handbrake but sadly this is not available on iOS.

There are a couple of online services, who specialize in converting videos, audio and photos into various formats, but they all have several flaws. One of the biggest ones is that you have to upload the video to the service in order to convert it. Why not take advantage of the great A9X chipset that is built into your device? Why not convert it without leaving the device? Offline.

Meet iConv

The name of your solution is iConv, an app available for all iOS devices from iOS 8.0 and above. It has support for iOS split screen and multitasking and works beautifully on the iPad Pro. I personally used this app for a month now. You can import videos in all ways possible:

  • Import from a Document Provider
  • Copy via iTunes on your computer
  • via “Copy to iConv” action from other apps
  • Import from Camera Roll

How I use iConv

One day, I had to convert a video on my iPad and was looking for an app which can convert videos into native iOS formats and supports document providers. Sadly there was no such thing in the App Store on that date but I bought iConv nevertheless. The app looked the most promising throughout the competition and the pricing seemed right. A couple of days later the app got an update with support for document providers.

My use case was simple: I wanted to make some tweaks to a video a coworker shared with me on Dropbox. To import the video into Pinnacle Studio Pro or iMove. Sadly both apps can only handle MP4 files and the video I wanted to use was a QuickTime movie file (mov). Today I can just open iConv on my iPad, import the video from Dropbox and convert it to MP4.

The app has support for over ten different video formats including: MP4, QuickTime Movie (mov), Matroska Multimedia Container (mkv) and Windows Movie Video (wmv) to name a few. The same goes with the audio formats: ac3, aac and m4a are only three of the eleven the app supports.

The conversion itself is fast and the 2.19 GHz processor in the iPad Pro is doing a great job. For my sample Matroska video file of 28 minutes in length and 227 MB took roughly 13 minutes to convert into MP4. The resulting video file was 868 MB big.

For comparison I dusted my retina 13-inch MacBook Pro and did the same conversion there using Handbrake and it took about 6:30 minutes to complete but the resulting file size was only 165 MB. My guess on why the file size differs that much is that Handbrake is applying a much better compression. In other comparisons I saw that Handbrakes compression was better than iMovie (on the Mac) and was only beaten by Final Cut Pro.

Once the conversion finishes you can play the file directly in iConv or use the “Open in …” functionality and copy it to other apps like Dropbox, Google Drive or VLC.

Conclusion

If you are making the switch to iOS and are searching fo a way to convert video on your iOS device, without the need to upload them, iConv is a great option. The app is free and comes with a $4.99 In-App Purchase to remove the ads and unlock additional features.

The app is definitely quite niche right now but a great addition to any productivity setup. You know, when a Windows friend sends you a WMV file.