Videos Not Playing on iPhone? Try These 17 Fixes

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iphone videos not playing

If you’re struggling to play videos on your camera roll, there could be several reasons why this happens. When videos won’t play, they can be stuck on a circle loading icon for a long time, and even then, the video may still not load.

Sometimes your videos may be loading but it takes a long time for it to finish buffering and eventually play. There are many occasions that can cause your iPhone or your iPad to load videos in your camera roll without playing them.

Why Won’t Videos Play on My iPhone

Buffering Videos Not Loading in Camera Roll

If your iPhone camera roll videos won’t play, it’s because Optimize iPhone Storage is turned on. You’ll know this because your videos will start buffering. This is a feature that tries to optimize your iPhone’s storage by limiting the amount of storage your camera roll use.

This causes the video to load because the Optimize iPhone Storage is trying to optimize your camera roll which means videos load and it takes longer to play. With Optimize Storage on, you may even notice that your photos are blurry.

If your storage is almost full, then you’ll need to make some space so that your iPhone doesn’t need to optimize your storage by limiting the amount of storage your camera roll is using. When you’ve freed some space on your iPhone, then you can disable this feature.

You’ll find that this only happens in your camera roll with recorded videos you’ve taken on your iPhone. Or it can happen to videos that you’ve saved to your camera, i.e from apps like Snapchat, Facebook, or Safari. If you like to playback videos from time to time, the last thing you want the video to do is load. Sometimes this loading time can be slow, depending on how large the file is, however, it shouldn’t take too long.

Videos Not Playing in iPhone Apps

If your videos are unable to play on your iPhone, then there’s a problem with video playback within that certain app. If there’s a bug within the app, this can cause the video not to play. You’ll need to make sure that your apps are kept up to date so that videos can play.

For example, if videos are not playing on YouTube, then you need to update the apps or troubleshoot any problems that could affect video playback.

If there’s an internet problem, this can also cause videos within apps not to play. When playing back videos that have been hosted on an app, you need a strong internet connection in order to watch the video unless it’ll start to buffer which can become annoying. You’ll need to make sure that you have a strong source of internet.

What To Do If Videos Won’t Play on iPhone

If videos won’t play on your iPhone or your iPhone camera roll, you need to determine if this problem is only happening in your camera roll, and then from there, you can start to troubleshoot. If videos aren’t playing on your camera roll, then you’ll need to change the appropriate iCloud settings that could affect video playback.

If your videos aren’t playing within apps, then you need to change the appropriate that could prevent videos from playing on your iPhone. Usually, this problem is within the apps themselves, however, this is something you’ll need to troubleshoot.

1. Turn off Optimize iPhone Storage

When Optimize Storage is turned on, all of your videos are automatically uploaded to your iCloud as soon as you stop using your iPhone for a long time and your device is connected to WI-FI. This means that your camera roll stores a compressed version of your videos in order to reduce storage space.

This means that your photos and videos have to load in order for you to watch the decompressed version of the video that’s been stored in your iCloud.

To store original photos and videos instead of the compressed versions, you’ll need to turn on Download and Keep Originals. This means your camera roll will store the original version of your photos and video so that you can they don’t have to load up any other versions.

To turn on Download and Keep Original:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Click on Photos.download and keep originals
  3. Click Download and Keep Originals.

You’ll need to wait for a while so that your iPhone can restore your original photo and videos stored in the iCloud back onto your device. This may take a few hours.

2. Make Storage Space

If you don’t recall turning on Optimize iPhone storage for your videos, then it’s likely that your iPhone turned it on itself in order to save storage. This means that you’ll need to make storage space because your device is trying to tell you that you have limited storage space left.

The best way to remove a lot of storage at once is to delete some apps. But if you feel like you need all the apps on your device, you can offload some apps. When you offload an app, the data and files from the app are going to be wiped, but the app is still going to remain on your iPhone – this removes its storage in your device.

To Offload an App:

  1. Go to the Settings app.
  2. Tap on General.
  3. Click on iPhone Storage.
  4. Scroll down and tap on Offload App.
  5. Tap on the app you want to offload and offload it.

Increasing your storage space can stop your iPhone or iPad from automatically turning on Optimize iPhone Storage in order to save some space.

3. Wait for the Videos to Load on Your iPhone

If there’s a software glitch causing your photos or videos not to load in your camera roll, then you can force one video to load which will trigger all of the other videos to load. Along with this, waiting is also another solution to letting the content in your camera roll load up.

  1. Open the Photos app.
  2. Tap on a video that you were having issues with.
  3. Wait for the video to finish loading. This may take a few seconds to a few minutes.
  4. Once the video has finished loading, go back to the main view of the Photos app and try to open another video.

Because you were able to get one to load, you’ll now have triggered all of the other videos.

4. Access the Videos from the iCloud Website

Accessing your videos from the iCloud website on your computer is also another option if you still can’t load content from your iPhone. Once you’ve accessed it on your computer, then you can transfer the content from your computer to your iPhone.

  1. Open a browser on your computer and go to iCloud website.
  2. Log-in to your account.
  3. Click on Photos after and you should be able to view your videos. Download the ones you want to your computer.

You can now load all of the downloaded photos and videos on your computer. With the content transfer app, you can use this to transfer the content to your iPhone.

5. Restart your iPhone

Restarting your iPhone will refresh the software it’s running on. If there’s a bug or glitch that’s causing your content not to load, then restarting your iPhone may get rid of it which could fix the problem you’re experiencing.

6. Force Close Photos App

Since photos and videos are buffering in the Photos app and that’s where the problem is arising from, force closing the Photos app might get rid of the issue and cause the content to start loading up. To force close the Photos app, you need to open the multitasking view by swiping up from the bottom of your screen, then closing the app by swiping the Photos app up.

7. Convert Your Videos into Compatible Format

If the videos that you’re trying to load up on your camera roll have been downloaded from a website and not been taken by the native camera, then they may not be supported by your iPhone. You will never get these videos to play because your iPhone just doesn’t have the capacity to play them.

Rather than wasting your time trying to play them, you can convert the videos into formats that your iPhone is able to play. There are tons of video converters that’ll allow you to convert foreign videos into formats your iPhone can play such as mov m4v, and mp4. Once you’ve converted the video, try playing them again in your camera roll and you’ll notice they’ll play.

8. Check and Repair Corrupt iPhone Video

There’s a chance that the video you have that’s failing to play is corrupt. Although you shot it from your iPhone, there’s still a chance that it could be corrupt. There’s a higher chance of it being corrupt if the video was downloaded from email or shared via a chat.

If you want to be able to watch a corrupt video, you’ll need to transfer the videos from iPhone to a computer and repair them using video repair software, such as Stellar Repair for Video that supports iPhone video file formats such as HEVC, MP4, MOV, AVI, etc.

It can fix corrupt video files on iPhone in only three steps and this will allow you to transfer the video back to your iPhone and watch it from there.

9. Clear Safari History

If the videos you’re trying to play are on Safari, then you should delete the Safari history, cookies, and caches. To do this, open iPhone Settings, then select Safari and tap Clear History and Website Data. Along with this, you can force quit Safari and open it again.

10. Force Restart To Solve Faulty App

Another problem that can stop videos from playing is a problem with your device. If there’s a software problem within your device that’s stopping your camera roll from playing videos, or videos are not playing across your iPhone in general, then you’ll need to refresh the software – this can be with a force restart.

For iPhone 8 or Later:

Quickly press-release the volume up button, then press-release the volume down button in quick succession. Once done, press-hold the sleep/wake button until the Apple logo appears on the screen.

For iPhone 7 & 7 Plus:

Press-hold the sleep/wake button with the volume down button for at least 7-10 seconds. Do not release them until the Apple logo appears on the screen.

For iPhone 6 Plus & Previous Models:

Press-hold the home and side/top button (as per the model) for 10 seconds. Do not release them until the Apple logo appears on the screen.

11. Restart Internet Connection

If there’s a problem with your internet connection, this can cause videos to load and buffer. If you typically have a weak source of internet, for example, slow WIFI, then this may be a frequent occurrence. You need to make sure that you turn your WIFI off then on, or switch to data. Once you’ve done this, you can visit the app again to see if the videos are not playing. If they’re still buffering, you can put this down to something else.

12. Update the App

If you’re still unable to play videos, then you need to update the app. Bugs are the most common causes of problems within an app so it’s best that you get rid of the bug by installing a newer update. The biggest reasons why as are update are due to bugs so if your videos are loading which has rendered you unable to watch them, you need to update the app.

To update an app, go to the App Store, tap on Updates, select the Update button next to the app. Once you’ve done this, you need to go back to the app and see if videos are playing.

13. Delete the Faulty Third-Party App on iPhone

If the videos are unable to play on a third-party app, then you’ll need to delete the app and reinstall it again. This only works if the video won’t play on an app that isn’t your camera roll. This could be apps like Safari, Whatsapp, Chrome etc. Third-party apps from the App Store can result in an abnormal video which could prevent your content from playing.

14. Reset Network Settings

The next thing that you should do to try and get rid of any glitches that could be causing videos not to play in the camera roll is to reset network settings.

To wipe all settings:

  1. From the home screen, tap Settings
  2. Scroll down to, then tap General
  3. Scroll down to, then tap Reset
  4. Tap Reset Network Settings
  5. Tap Reset Network Settings to confirm
  6. After doing this, go back to your camera roll and see if you’re able to play videos that weren’t able to play before.

15. DFU Restore Your Device

The next thing you need to do in this situation is to restore your phone from DFU mode. This is the last step an Apple tech will take when there’s a hardware or software issue going on within your device.

The problem you’re experiencing is persisting then restoring from DFU mode is the best way to try and get the software to refresh and get rid of whatever glitch is causing the problem.

When you put your device in DFU mode and restore it, it’s going to wipe all of the code off the device, update the firmware, and put the code back on. During this process, you’re going to lose all of your data, so you do need to back up your iOS device.

16. Factory Reset

A factory reset will be needed if a force restart doesn’t work. A factory reset involves wiping your device clean and restoring it back to its normal settings. For this to work, you’ll need to be willing to lose all of your data in the process, but if it’s backed up, then you’ll get it back. There are two ways to factory reset your iPhone but the easier way is through the settings app.

To revert to factory settings:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Go to Reset and choose to Erase All Content and Settings
  4. You will be prompted to backup your data at this point. Tap Back Up Then Erase.
  5. Enter your passcode to confirm the factory reset. Once you have entered the passcode and hit OK, then your iPhone will start erasing.
  6. Once the reset is complete, then check to see if your camera roll will play videos.

17. Contact Apple Support

If you have tried all the steps and you still can’t play videos in your camera roll, then it looks like there’s a deeper issue that can’t be resolved with troubleshooting steps. In this case, you’ll need to contact Apple support to get this fixed. You can speak to their live chat via the Apple Support website.

David Johnson is a freelance writer with 9 years of experience writing for Techzillo and other established tech outlets like iMore. His focus and key interests are Apple and accessibility as well as consumer technology in general. Read our Editorial Guidlines and Fact Checking process.

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