How to Send a Large Video From iPhone

Send long videos from an iPhone without missing a second!

iPhones are great for capturing footage, but sending a large video from your iPhone usually requires extra not-obvious steps. If you try to send someone a video longer than a couple of minutes you’ll inevitably run into a notification telling you your clip must be trimmed or downsized.

Understanding iPhone Sending Limits

The most obvious way to send video from an iPhone is to use the stock text or email apps, but iMessage content caps at 100MB per message and the Mail app limits attachments to 20MB.

Editing iPhone Videos
image credit: Kinson C Photography/Moment Open/Getty Images

Curious about how much video you can record on your iPhone? Newer iPhones are capable of recording 4K footage at up to 60 frames per second, which equates to roughly 400MB per minute of finished video. Even shooting at 720p HD for a couple of minutes will generate content too big to send directly through Messages.

How to Send Long Videos From iPhone Using AirDrop

To share a large video from your iPhone with a nearby iOS or macOS device, AirDrop is often the quickest and most straightforward method. There are no limits to the video size and no need to download additional apps.

  1. Make sure the receiving device is close by and powered up.

  2. Ensure the receiving device is set up to accept AirDrop files.

    • On iOS: Go to Settings > General > AirDrop, then tap either Contacts Only or Everyone.
    General, AirDrop, Contacts Only/Everyone
    • On macOS: Search for AirDrop in Spotlight or open the app directly from Finder. Once opened, click Allow me to be discovered by, then click either Contacts Only or Everyone.
    AirDrop, Allow me to be discovered by: Everyone on macOS
  3. Next, open the stock Photos app on the sending device.

  4. Find the video you want to send and tap to open it.

    Photos icon, Videos content, Selected video
  5. Tap the share icon.

  6. You will see the sharing panel, including the AirDrop icon. After a few seconds, you should see a list of available devices.

    If you don’t see the receiving device, wait a moment for the list to refresh automatically or tap the AirDrop icon.

  7. Tap the receiving device icon.

    Share button, AirDrop icon, receiving device
  8. The transfer will automatically start. Depending on the size of the video it can take some time to send, but be patient and avoid moving the devices too far from each other. You’ll know the video has arrived when it appears in the Photos app on the receiving iOS device or within Downloads on macOS.

AirDrop is usually pretty stable, but if you try to send several videos that are larger than a few hundred megabytes, the transfer may fail. For this reason, it’s best to transfer one video at a time.

How to Send a Large Video From iPhone Using iCloud

There are lots of cloud storage services available, but if you have an iPhone you’ll likely already have an iCloud account. iCloud comes with 5GB free storage as standard, which can be used to share long videos and other large files. If your file is within this 5GB limit, Mail Drop is your best option.

Mail limits attachments to 20MB. However, the Mail Drop feature lets you share files up to 5GB in size through a direct email link. After the link is shared, the recipient has 30 days to download the file.

If your video is over 100MB you must be connected to Wi-Fi for Mail Drop to work. Even if the clip is already backed up to your iCloud account, Mail won’t allow you to send it as an attachment through cellular data alone.

  1. Open the Photos app and tap the video you want to share.

  2. Tap the share icon.

  3. This opens the share menu. Tap Mail.

  4. You’ll be taken to a Mail compose page with your attachment automatically added to the bottom of the message. Add the recipient and subject, then compose your email as normal.

  5. Tap Send.

  6. You’ll see a notice that your attachment is too large to send. It will give you the option to use Mail Drop. Tap Use Mail Drop and your message will automatically start sending.

    Mail icon, Send button, Use Mail Drop
  7. If your video attachment is not already backed up to iCloud, the transfer process begins in the background. Your email sends after the upload is complete.

Sending iPhone Videos Larger Than 5GB

Although iCloud is generally useful for backing up your iPhone files, for sharing videos larger than 5GB, a different service such as Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, or Google Drive is often a better option.