[ss_click_to_tweet tweet=”Apple’s iPhone only supports a limited number of video codecs out of the box, so if you want to play things like MKV you’re going to need a third-party application…” content=”Apple’s iPhone only supports a limited number of video codecs out of the box, so if you want to play things like MKV you’re going to need a third-party application…” style=”default”]

How To Play Almost Any Video Codec on iPhone


Apple’s iPhone only supports a select few video codecs out the box. This is fine for most people, but if you do a lot of P2P and torrenting on your iPhone, the vast majority of downloaded content WILL NOT work on iPhone.

To get around this, you need to download a third-party video player like VLC for iOS (free) which will allow you to play everything from MP4 to MKV files. The best thing about VLC, however, is that it is completely open-source and free, so there’s no cost associated with using it (unlike most third-party video players for iOS)

VLC for iOS Features

  • Plays All Music, TV Shows, Film Formats With Conversion
  • Syncs With Google Drive, OneDrive, Box, iCloud Drive
  • Supports SMB, FTP, UPnP/DLNA Media Servers
  • AirPlay / Chromecast Support
  • Supports All iOS Versions

Why VLC for iOS is The Best Video App For iPhone


It works, basically. You can literally play anything through VLC and it will work – from movies to music. All formats are supported and there is no requirement for conversion either. Just select the file, hit play, and it will start working.

VLC for iOS is easy to use too. And, because it syncs with a ton of cloud services, managing your files off-device is easier than ever, which is great for conserving your iPhone’s storage – movies take up A LOT of space, so it pays to store them in the cloud.

For me, VLC for iOS is the only video player you’ll ever need for playing pretty much any video format on iPhone. It works great, is constantly updated, and it costs nothing to run. For this reason, it is our #1 recommended video player app for iPhone right now.

Other Top Video Players For iPhone (That Play MKV)

If you need more options, the following video players for iPhone come highly recommended. Most, however, are paid-for applications, so you will have to pony up some cash to use them…

  1. AVPlayer – AVPlayer supports a wide range of video codecs, including MKV, and allows complete control over the media, so you can pause, scrub, fast-forward, and rewind downloaded content. Another cool feature? You can password protect your downloads for added safety or for when the feds coming knocking!
  2. Infuse 6 – Infuse 6 is perhaps the best-designed app on this list. Not only does it look good, but it also supports a massive range of video codecs, including all the usual suspects (MKV, FLAC, WMA, M4V, and TS to name just a few). If you’re a stickler for app design, Infuse 6 could be the one to go for.
  3. Playable Pro – Playable Pro looks terrible, but, like VLC, it’ll pretty much play anything. You have to pay $1.99 for the Pro version unless you want the app peppered with ads. It works great, but you will need the Pro version because the ads are truly awful.
  4. Flex: Player Flex: Player is completely free and works great. Licensed decoders do require in-app purchases, however, which is definitely something you’ll want to keep in mind before downloading this application. Other than that, it’s a great video player for iPhone and iPad.
  5. PlayerXtreme Media Player – PlayerXtreme Media Player supports all major and exotic video codecs, has built-in support for streaming thanks to its use of UPnP and DLNA connectivity, and it also allows you to save and store all your content inside folders. A decent application that packs in a lot of features, PlayerXtreme Media Player is certainly worth a look, though I’d still go with VLC over it.

Bottom line? If you need a fully functional video player for iPhone that’ll stream and play basically any type of video, then VLC for iOS is the one to go for – it’s free, it works brilliantly, and it is packed with features that most of the above-mentioned video players charge for. For me, VLC for iOS is a complete no brainer. I’ve used VLC for years and it has never let me down.

You can download VLC for iOS right here.