MacMost Now 908: Transferring Videos From an SD Card To Your iPad

You can store videos on an SD card and then transfer them to your iPad using a simple adapter. This allows you to store videos to watch externally and put them on your iPad when you are ready to watch them. It is useful if you are traveling and have limited space on your iPad. However, you need to know how to trick the iPad into thinking the video comes from a camera, and then you need to use the Photos app to watch the video, not the Videos app.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 908: Transferring Videos From an SD Card To Your iPad.

Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode I'm going to show you how to transfer video from a SD card onto your iPad.

Now suppose you are traveling and your iPad is the only device you've got with you and you want to store a bunch of videos on it maybe to watch on the airplane. But there is not enough space.

Well you can store some video on a SD card and bring that SD card with you and transfer that video onto your iPad to watch. Now it doesn't work, of course, with things like purchased or rented videos. These are videos that you've got on your own separate from that. It assumes, of course, that you've saved those videos in a format that is compatible for playback on your iPad.

You can convert them using iTunes or if you are using video conversion software just make sure you set it to be compatible with the iPad.

Then you can store them on one of these and use some adapters to plug a SD card into your iPad to transfer the videos there. But it is a little tricky. It doesn't work very intuitively.

So the first thing I'm going to show you is how I put the video on the SD card. The first thing I did is I want to trick the iPad into thinking this is a card coming from my camera. I don't want to just trick it. I want to make it a card coming from my camera.

So I plug the SD card into a standard camera. I formatted it using it there. Now the next thing I did was to take a short video using my camera. This was just to get an idea of how it stores videos. So I was able to see here when I plugged this SD card into my Mac using either the slot on the side of a MacBook or you can get a cheap adapter to plug it into your Mac through USB.

I can see that I've got the SD card here. It creates a DCIM folder which most cameras do. Under that it creates a folder for the current day. And under that it stuck my video and I can see that it named it MVI_and then some numbers.MOV. Great!

So I want to basically replace this short video that I took with my camera with an actual video, say of something I want to watch on the airplane. I want either to replace it or just put it sequentially next with the next number, 1112, 1113, etc., and put these movies there on the SD card.

The next thing I want to do, is I want to take the adapter and put the SD card into it. I'm going to use the Apple official SD card adapter for the old 30 pin dock and I've put an adapter to go to a lightening connector on that. Today of course you can get a lightening to SD card adapter for $29 from Apple and it is great for transferring photos to your iPad or any other iOS device but also it is great for this.

I'm going to plug in the whole thing into my iPad here and then I'm going to go and launch the photos app there. It is going to show up now inside the photos app as something that I can import.

So there you go. You can see it shows up there under camera and now I can hit Import All and it will import all those videos or I can select an individual video, with a checkmark, and import just that one.

Now here is where it gets strange. You don't actually then see the video show up under Videos. You see it show up in your photos app because it acts like a video that you took with your camera. So it is kind of strange.

Say you take some movies and you put them on a SD card and you use this technique it will import them in and then to watch these movies you go to your photos app. You find the video there like it was something that you took with your camera and you can watch your movie through the photos app. But it does work fine. As a matter of fact it works just as well as it does with the videos app. You can even stream it with an HGMI adapter to a TV if you are traveling and you have that ability or use Airplay to stream it.

So I hope you found this useful. Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 13 Responses to “MacMost Now 908: Transferring Videos From an SD Card To Your iPad”

    6 years ago

    Gary, That’s a pretty cool hack, but have you tried using the VLC app for iOS? In the VLC app just choose the VLC pylon button in the upper left-hand corner and turn on Wi-Fi upload. Then from your browser and navigate to the address listed on the VLC app. Finally, drag the movie file from Finder to the open browser window.

      6 years ago

      No need to use the VLC app for that. You can use lots of sharing apps for that. Or, just transfer the video the normal way with iTunes. The technique I describe in the video is for when you don’t have a network, or your Mac, for that matter.

    Lance Jensen
    6 years ago

    Will this work for a MP4 file – a theatrical release that has been downloaded and converted to the standard for movies?

      6 years ago

      As long as it is using a format that works on the iPad — “mp4” could contain anything. Easy enough to test it…

    6 years ago

    Couldn’t you just drag and drop it from its folder to the SD card?

      6 years ago

      After you have the video in the right format, you still have to put it in the right place. Watch the video and I explain that.

    6 years ago

    Nice video, Gary. However, I don’t understand how it is helpful if you have limited space if you still have to import the video from the card to the iPad. Hang on, I think I just answered my question. You’re suggesting perhaps you have space for one video but not, say, the ten you’d like to bring with you. Sorry for the slow pick up.

    Dawn Slater
    6 years ago

    Cool! I can take my collection of MacMost videos with me!

    6 years ago

    This is sort of on topic (in that it has to do with watching video on the ipad from external storage media). Is there a way to store a video on a USB drive and connect it to an ipad via the lightning to USB adapter and play the video?

      6 years ago

      I don’t believe so, no.

        6 years ago

        The movies taken on my camera are not transferred to my iPad. If my camera has an incompatible video format (which I assume is the reason for this), how can I convert them so that they can be stored on my iPad? I am on 5 week trip and do not have my laptop with me.

          6 years ago

          Without a computer, you can’t convert them. You’ll need to transfer them to your computer and use software there to convert, then sync to your iPad.

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