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free video playerA big part of the iOS app ecosystem consists of paid apps, more so than its Android counterpart, the Google Play store. In this way, iOS is much like Mac OS X; it’s very common to shell out a few bucks for software now and again.

Of course, you don’t have to cough up a lot of money to find great free video player apps for your phone or tablet. Personally, I don’t mind paying the extra money for an exceptional application, but a lot of my mobile needs are already met by free applications. The same goes for video playback. Although the most popular of these applications are paid, there are some really great free video player alternatives as well.

Here, we’ll show you how to meet your video player demands with exclusively free iOS apps.

OPlayer LiteOPlayerHD Lite

OPlayer has been covered on MakeUseOf before, first appearing in Nancy Messieh’s article on How To Watch Almost Any Type of Video On Your iPhone, iPad & iPod Touch How To Watch Almost Any Type of Video On Your iPhone, iPad & iPod Touch How To Watch Almost Any Type of Video On Your iPhone, iPad & iPod Touch Read More . It was also covered in my article detailing The Top Free Ways To Stream Video From Your Computer To Your Mobile Or Tablet Top Free Ways to Stream Video from Your Computer to Your Mobile or Tablet Top Free Ways to Stream Video from Your Computer to Your Mobile or Tablet Have a bunch of video files on your computer but want to watch them on your tablet? Not a problem. Read More . There’s a reason for this; OPlayer is a really great app, and one of the best free video player apps available for iOS devices.

free video player

OPlayer can be used as a standard video player, by transferring files from your computer to your device using iTunes. Alternatively, you can transfer your video files over a wireless network, or using an FTP client. If you don’t want to watch videos hosted locally on your iPad, that’s fine too. OPlayer is able to handle video streams over HTTP, RTSP, MMS, FTP and SAMBA shares.

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Over the entire line, OPlayer offers great video compatibility, effortlessly handling most types of video.

The free (lite) version of OPlayer shows a non-intrusive text ad in its menus. You can download OPlayer Lite for your iPhone, or OPlayerHD Lite for your iPad.


Another quality video app is RockPlayer2. In its latest iteration, RockPlayer2 implements support for streaming channels, but the app is still best suited for playing local video files. You’ll have to transfer your videos to your iPhone or iPad using iTunes file transfer, HTTP, FTP or WebDAV. One of the most interesting features of RockPlayer2 is RockShare, which allows you to effortlessly share videos between compatible devices.

best video player

All in all, RockPlayer2 is a more than decent free video player, sporting support for a wide variety of video files. However, its support for h.264 (often encountered in MP4 and MKV containers) is less than spotless and could be much improved.

RockPlayer2 is available for free as an ad-supported universal app for the iPhone and iPad. Ridding the application from its ads is possible through an in-app purchase of just under five bucks.

AirPlayit / AirPlayit HD

If you don’t plan to store your video library on your iPad, you should definitely take a look at AirPlayit. It’s one of the best and most effortless ways to stream videos from your desktop computer to your iPhone or iPad. Just download and install a small server application on your desktop computer, select the folders you wish to share over your network, and you’re good to go.

This server application is freely available for both Windows and Mac OS X computers on the Air Playit website.

best video player

If you’re going offline, you can take a fair amount of video files with you. Supported files can be downloaded to your iPhone or iPad immediately. However, AirPlayit is also capable of converting incompatible files for you; using live conversion (while you’re streaming the videos to your iPad) or offline conversion (if you want to take incompatible video files with you on the road).

PlayerXtreme (iPad)

One of my favorite video players for the iPad is PlayerXtreme. The free version comes with a wealth of features, including playback support for a great many types of video files. It also flawlessly plays h.264 video files. A full overview of the supported file types is available on the PlayerXtreme iTunes page.

best video player

Using the free version of PlayerXtreme, you’ll have to transfer your video files to your iPhone or iPad using iTunes. In-app upgrades (each at USD 0.99) allow you to unlock wireless video transfers, subtitle support, audio boosting, network drives, and more.

VLC Media Player (Cydia)

The VLC Media Player app for the iPhone and iPad was previously available through the app store, but was thrown out due to licensing incompatibilities. The good news that if you’ve jailbroken your iOS device, VLC Media Player can still be installed using Cydia.

free video player

The VLC app is rather basic, but supports a wide variety of video types. The biggest downside is that you’ll have to transfer your video files to your iPhone or iPad using SSH. To find out how, read how to configure your own iPad FTP server on a Jailbroken device How To Configure Your Own iPad FTP Server [Jailbreak] How To Configure Your Own iPad FTP Server [Jailbreak] If you've jailbroken your iPad, there are many ways to transfer files to and fro between your trusty tablet and your computer. However, most of them require you to open some kind of application on... Read More .

To install the app, just search for VLC Media Player on Cydia. It’s listed by ZodTTD’s repository. If you don’t get any results, add the ZodTTD repo via Manage -> Sources -> More Package Sources.

What free video player apps do you use to play back videos on your iPhone or iPad? Drop a line in the comments section below the article!

  1. Den
    November 23, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    MCPlayer is also a great video player application and streamer that stream and playback mkv, mpeg and other popular formats without conversion.

    • Lina
      May 9, 2016 at 1:49 pm

      Agree, use it too. It also allows immediate downloading of video files onto devices and allows users to watch them offline if desired.

  2. Sneha Gupta
    August 23, 2013 at 7:09 am
  3. donunus
    July 18, 2013 at 12:22 am

    Do any of these players support flac or ogg vorbis files?

  4. Chris K.
    July 4, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Hi I have the iPhone 4s and my friend has the samsung 4S, when he plays back a video he recorded he can pause it and then take a picture of the paused video, does iPhon have an app like that? thanks.

  5. Pedro
    May 8, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Do these apps have a feature to watch videos quicker, without distorting the sound? Like VLC for PC? Thanks!

    • Simon Slangen
      May 8, 2013 at 6:16 pm

      I haven't tried it myself, but you should check out Swift Player, which is designed specifically for this purpose.

  6. Anita
    April 12, 2013 at 9:23 am

    I like Oplayer and VLC.
    And also got many cool sites to watch free movies on my iPad from the list "Free and Legal Places to Get iPad/iPad 2 Movies" in iFunia iPad column.

  7. Chris Jones
    April 4, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    After checking several out my player of choice is AVPlayerHD. Besides handling a variety of media types it allows for speed reduction and increase, which is invaluable when watching informational videos such as lectures.

  8. Elisa Mary
    April 3, 2013 at 11:55 am

    can you tell about buzz player

  9. johnbritto
    April 3, 2013 at 11:51 am
  10. sue t
    April 2, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    i wish i ha not purchased the chromebooks ace brand it sucks. i cannot start or complete one task. it does not support apps of any type.i am so disappointed.

  11. null
    April 2, 2013 at 6:10 am

    When did VLC get removed from the App store. I just got it off the App Store the other day?

    • Simon Slangen
      April 17, 2013 at 11:20 am

      There are several apps that integrate with VLC, but the VLC player app for iOS has been gone quite some time (removed due to licensing incompatibilities).

  12. Dave Bakker
    April 1, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    There is also Air Video which has a free version, that plays and does live convert from your desktop to Ios device, and for Android I use EMIT which has a free version also

  13. Scott M
    April 1, 2013 at 10:40 am

    I have always used VLC and not a single problem or suggestion for improvement.It just does its job and does it well.A great viewer.

  14. yong chen
    April 1, 2013 at 9:34 am

    wow..seems good!

  15. Pole Naum
    April 1, 2013 at 9:15 am

    ArkMC app also has a good player for IPhone/IPod, it works well and has another one function: stream all video,music stored on my IPod to other devices, so for convenient to use I payed for it and enjoy, why not

  16. Suzane
    April 1, 2013 at 6:02 am

    The Apps seems promising, will definitely give a try. Will post you back about the experience. Those who need a video streaming App for their i Phones or i Pads, here is Amazon's instant video App

  17. Nevzat A
    April 1, 2013 at 5:48 am

    Wow, VLC is available on every platform!

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