Your iPhone can capture amazing video, whether you’re shooting in 4K, slow-motion, or good old 1080p. But what use is glorious video if nobody can see it?
Sharing just about anything from iOS is a painless affair, and video is no exception. Which method or service you choose will depend on who you are sharing with, be it public or private. Today we’ll take a look at your best choices.
Sharing from the Photos App
When you shoot a video, it’s saved to your Camera Roll and accessible via the Photos app. To find all of your videos, launch the app, tap on the Albums tab and choose the Videos album. The Photos app makes it easy to find, organise, view and share your photo and video content.
To share a video, find it and tap on the Share button (pictured above). From this view you can scroll left and right to choose multiple photos or videos, then use one of the shortcuts below to export it. There are three main areas to the share sheet to be aware of:
- The upper row is for sharing locally via AirDrop, with other iOS devices or Mac computers.
- The second row is for sharing directly via apps you have installed to third party services (you’ll need the relevant app installed too).
- The bottom row is for actions, like viewing videos via AirPlay.
Sharing from the associated app will usually provide more options relevant to that service (like editing tools for Instagram). On the other hand, sharing directly from this menu is arguably the fastest way of sharing photos and videos that don’t need to be touched up. You don’t even need to open the respective app, it all takes place in the background.
Which you choose will ultimately depend on what you want, so lets take a look at some of the best services and what they offer.
Local Sharing with Other Devices
If you want to share a video with another iPhone user or with a modern Mac, AirDrop is the way to go. Simply find your video in the Photos app, hit the Share button, then wait for their name to appear in the top row. If they don’t appear, then you may need them to enable AirDrop receiving by swiping up on the screen to reveal Control Center, then tapping AirDrop and choosing Everyone.
Based on my experiences, the newer your device (be it a Mac, iPhone, or iPad) then the better AirDrop will work. You don’t need to share the same wireless network to use AirDrop, but you need both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled. Wireless file transfer can be really temperamental at times, so be sure to check out our AirDrop troubleshooting guide if you run into problems.
Why choose AirDrop? There’s no reliance on an internet connection, so transfer speeds will be as fast as your device allows. Files are not compressed, so videos you send won’t have their quality reduced.
Sharing with Android
iOS can’t share directly to Android devices, so you’ll need an app to help you complete the task. Generally speaking both devices will need the same app, and to be connected to the same wireless network. If you’re unable to connect to a common wireless network, simply create a personal hotspot on your iPhone under Settings > Mobile > Personal Hotspot and connect the Android device to it.
Video and Photo Sharing Platforms
If you want your video to be seen by lots of people or your social media followers and friends, then social media and video-sharing platforms are a good choice. Simply download the corresponding app, login, and share via the app or iOS share sheet.
Here are some of the big players, and what they offer:
- YouTube: Public, private, or unlisted videos, with little in the way of limits.
- Flickr: Public or private videos, with a three minute limit (or 1GB file size).
- Vimeo: Public or private videos, emphasis on quality, basic accounts limited to 500MB per week.
- Instagram: Public videos, with a limit of 3 to 60 seconds.
- Facebook: Public or private videos, with a limit of 45 minutes (or 1.75GB file size).
- Twitter: Public videos, with a limit of 140 seconds (2 minutes 20 seconds, or 512MB in size).
These services are all great if you expect your video to have an audience, rather than simply showing a loved one or friend a video that you don’t want other people having access to.
Which should you choose? Whichever service you use regularly is great, just keep in mind that even YouTube uses some fairly aggressive video compression which means your videos are going to lose quality (Facebook is probably the worst of the lot).
Share via iCloud
iCloud Photo Sharing is a good option if you want to share with other friends or family who use Apple devices. You can set up a shared album and use it time and time again like a feed for sharing with specific individuals. You can make these albums collaborative (so others can contribute), add comments, and have one album for multiple individuals.
This particular iCloud service doesn’t use any of your iCloud storage space, and functions more like a peer-to-peer sharing service. Videos will be compressed, which means they won’t look as good on recipients’ devices as they do on yours in order to save space. You’re also using the internet to transfer media, so uploading your files could take a while.
To share via iCloud Photo Sharing launch Photos and find the video you want to share (you can select multiple photos and videos if you want), hit the Share button then choose iCloud Photo Sharing. In the pop-up that appears tap on Shared Album and then hit New Shared Album or choose an existing album.
Why use iCloud? It’s a free and easy-to-use service that integrates nicely with iOS and Mac devices. You can add more pictures and videos to the same shared album time and time again. Your recipients will need to have an Apple device for this to work!
Share via Google Photos
Google Photos is a bit like iCloud Photo Sharing, but it’s a better option for sharing with Android and Windows users. In fact, Google allows you to upload all of your photos and videos for free in “high quality” — which uses compression to reduce the size of your files.
You can choose to maintain video quality by selecting “original quality” in your Google Photos settings, but these files will eat up your available Google Drive space (you get 15GB for free). It’s up to you to make the call between convenience and quality. Sharing files using Google Photos is really easy: first download the free app and sign in using your Google account, choose the files you want, then hit the Share button.
You can now enter a phone number or email address, choose from frequent Google contacts, or use the bottom-row of options to create a shared album or public link.
Why use Google Photos? It’s perfect for sharing with non-Apple friends who don’t use iCloud, plus you may be already using it to back up all of your photos and videos already.
Use Other Cloud Services
If you only want to share a file with an individual or small group of people, cloud services are the way to go. Generally speaking these videos won’t be compressed, which maintains quality but may also require a good deal of space on your cloud service of choice. A lack of compression makes this a solid choice if the recipient wants to do more than just watch the video, where quality is a concern for editing or production purposes.
These services will all offer an extension for sharing directly from the Photos app. They key to success is having a enough storage space available on your chosen service. Our favorites include Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and Box — you’ll get a small amount of free space when signing up for any of them.
Though each service handles sharing slightly differently, you’ll be able to share a public link with a select few people or simply invite individuals to view a file using their email addresses.
Which service is best? Google Drive gives you 15GB space for free, and if you use Gmail or YouTube then you’ll already have a Google Account.
Peer to Peer Transfer
You can also transfer files peer-to-peer using an app called Resilio Sync (formerly BitTorrent Sync). This removes the requirement for a cloud storage provider as the file is sent directly to the recipient. It’s one of the most secure forms of online file transfer, as data isn’t stored on any servers. It’s free, it goes as fast as your internet connection will allow, and has all sorts of uses.
However there is one caveat: the recipient will need their receiving device online while you’re sharing the file. You’ll also need to leave the app open on your iPhone for as long as it takes to transfer, so for large files this isn’t ideal. It’s great for sharing videos to an “always-listening” Mac or PC, not so much for everyday transfer needs.
that's right. on iOS Sync is killed in background, and will sync files only when open.
— Resilio Inc. (@ResilioInc) June 29, 2016
Files are sent in their entirety, uncompressed. Here’s how to set it up:
- Download the free Resilio Sync app for iOS, and make sure your recipient has the mobile or desktop app.
- Launch the app and create a new folder.
- Add your files to that folder, then hit the i on the folder name.
- You can customize sharing options, or just hit Share link to get a read-only link.
- Give the recipients the link, and once they’re set up you’ll see their status under the Peers field.
Why choose Resilio? If you want a secure peer-to-peer connection for sending uncompressed video, and you know what you’re doing, then it’s probably the best private file transfer method.
Sharing is Caring
For most users, sharing videos on Facebook or Instagram is good enough. iCloud Photo Sharing is the way to go for private sharing if your friends and family are all using Apple gear, otherwise Google Photos is great too. If you have the storage space available, then cloud services like Dropbox are great for sharing uncompressed original files.
Finally Resilio Sync offers a unique and secure solution that many users won’t need, but others may find suits their habits well. Choose the option that’s right for you, and keep the camera rolling.
For more, check out how to manage the storage on your iPhone.
How do you share videos from your iPhone? Let us know what you use in the comments below.
Image credit: Apple iPhone 6s (Karlis Dambrans)