Unlike Android, iOS doesn’t have a downloader built-in. When you press the download button on a music file in Safari, it doesn’t open automatically in the Music app. Apple wants you to do things differently – stream using Apple Music, buy movies from iTunes and so on. But what if you want to download mixtapes online? Or watch TV shows on your iPhone? There are a couple of ways to download music and videos on the iPhone and iPad.
How to Download Music and Video on iPhone and iPad
1. Documents by Readdle
The best way to download music and video from the internet and play it on your iPhone or iPad is by using the Documents by Readdle app. It’s an all-in-one app with a built-in browser, downloader, file manager and media player.
If you’d rather forget that the Music app and the video app on the iPhone exists, Documents would be more than happy to take over the job for you.
Just visit the website in Documents and hit the download button. You can also decide where to save the file. Once downloaded, just tap on it to play it. Documents will play most audio and video formats right in the app. If you wish, you can share it to an app like VLC as well (we’ll get to that below).
Documents also has a nifty way to transfer files from a PC or Mac. If you want to transfer videos from your PC or for your friend’s computer, make sure you’re connected to the same network and just go to docstransfer.com and scan the QR code. Now select files and they’ll be transferred to your iPhone or iPad instantly! No need to install iTunes or connect a Lightning cable.
Download: Documents by Readdle (Free)
2. Shortcuts App
If you’ve felt hamstrung by the limitations of iOS, the new Shortcuts app is going to feel like a god-sent. It’s Apple’s own user automation app for iOS 12. Using it you can do things that you just can’t do using apps on the App Store. You can run complex automation workflows where multiple actions run one after the other, automatically.
But one thing you can also do run user-created shortcuts. One shortcut called Video Downloader basically lets you download videos from almost any major website. This includes Facebook, YouTube, DailyMotion, Vimeo, Twitter and so on.
There’s also a shortcut called YouTube Ripper. It will give you the option to download just the audio from the video file. In both shortcuts, all you have to do is open the video, share it, select Shortcuts and run the shortcut. Once the video or audio has been downloaded, you can choose where to save it (in iCloud Drive or Dropbox), or open it in an app like VLC or Documents.
If you’re not familiar with Shortcuts app, read our guide here.
Download: Video Downloader Shortcut
Download: YouTube Ripper Shortcut
While VLC doesn’t have a downloader built-in, its WiFi Transfer and media server tools are quite exquisite. Open the sidebar and tap on the Wi-Fi Transfer option to turn it on. Then enter the address in the browser on your PC or Mac. Then select the files to transfer and wait while they get copied over wirelessly.
If you’re running a Plex server or a DLNA server, you don’t need to transfer anything either. Just connect to the server and start streaming from the server instantly.
Download: VLC (Free)
4. Download From Streaming Apps
No matter which app you’re using, most popular servers offer an offline feature now. While not all media can be downloaded this way, most movies and TV shows can. In apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and so on, you’ll find a download button.
The same goes for music streaming apps like Apple Music, Spotify, and Pandora. If you’re paying for the premium plan, you can download any song for offline playback! So open your favorite app and just look for the download button.
5. Cloud Music Player
Why pay $10 a month for Apple Music or Spotify if you’ve already got your own music collection sitting on your laptop. There’s a way to turn your music collection into a streaming app using a cloud syncing service like Dropbox or Google Drive.
Just upload the music on Dropbox or Google Drive and download the Cloud Music Player app on your iPhone or iPad. Then simply connect your cloud storage account with the app. Voila, all the music is now available to be stream on your iPhone or iPad, whenever you want it. No need to pay a subscription.
And yes, you can download the music to be available offline. You can use Wi-Fi Transfer feature to sync music to Cloud Music Player if you don’t have space on your cloud account.
Download: Cloud Music Player (Free)
Bonus: Use iCloud Drive and Files App
If you’re paying for the premium version of iCloud Drive and you have space left over, just upload your music or videos to iCloud Drive itself. This way they’ll be available in the Finder app on you Mac and on the Files app on your iPhone or iPad.
Files is a new app by Apple on your iPhone or iPad. It’s not a popular app but it’s already on your iPhone or iPad. Just open it and you’ll find your iCloud Drive files right there. Tap on a file to load it. Tap it again and it will start playing right there in the Files app.
How Do You Manage Media On Your iPhone or iPad?
Do you transfer and keep your music or movie collection on your iPhone or iPad? Do you load up your iPad with movies before going on a long trip?
Or have you stopped doing all that and you just use streaming services and offline feature to save media offline temporarily? Share with us in the comments below.