How to Watch Movies on iPhone

Everything you need to know to make iPhone your mini home theater

What to Know

  • On Apple TV: Open app, tap Watch Now or Originals to watch a movie. Tap Store to rent or purchase a movie.
  • Tap Library to stream or download purchases and rentals. You have 30 days to watch rentals.

This article explains how to watch movies on an iPhone. The information applies to all iPhones and iPads.

Locating Movies and TV Shows

The iPhone ships with the Apple TV app. You can copy movies and TV shows you have on your computer to the iPhone by syncing your devices in iTunes, or you can download them directly to the phone:

To stream original movies and TV shows from Apple, sign up for the Apple TV+ streaming service.

  1. Open the Apple TV app.

  2. On the bottom of the screen, tap Watch Now or Originals to watch a movie. Or, tap the search icon to find a particular title.

  3. Tap Store to purchase or rent a title. (If the title is also available in another app that you subscribe to, tap Open In to open the movie in an app such as Hulu or Netflix.)

  4. Go to the Library tab to stream or download your purchases and rentals.

    Download movies when you have a Wi-Fi connection to avoid maxing out your data limit.

In the case of movie rentals, you have 30 days to begin watching a movie before it expires and disappears from your iPhone. Once you begin watching, however, you have only 48 hours to finish viewing the movie, so don't start it unless you plan to finish it within two days.

The Apple TV App

When you begin watching your movie or show in the Apple TV app, the screen automatically changes to a horizontal orientation to provide the best display of video, replicating the horizontal format of modern TVs. There are controls for volume, fast-forwarding, and options for closed captioning.

Video looks and sounds great on the iPhone. Of course, this is determined in part by the encoding of the video, but anything purchased or rented from Apple TV ought to be pleasing to the discerning eye.

Other Video Sources on iPhone

The Apple TV app isn't the only place you can find videos on your iPhone. Apple offers iMovie, which is for your own home movies or short films that you make using your camera and the iMovie app. If you are an Apple Music member with a Family or Individual Plan (not the Voice Plan), you can watch videos in the Music app. 

Best for Travel

The situation most suited to watching video on the iPhone is travel. Bringing a movie or two along with you on your phone for a long bus, plane or train ride seems like a great way to pass the time.

Hand Cramps Holding the iPhone?

Holding the iPhone in your hand long enough to watch a full TV show or movie can be a little taxing. With a long movie, you’ll be holding the iPhone a few inches from your face and at just the right angle—a little tilt in one direction of the other can make the image too light or too dark—for quite a while. 

Some iPhone cases include built-in stands but if you are watching a movie or TV show on your iPhone, you probably aren't around a flat service. If you’re home, you'll watch the movie on a computer or TV, with the aid of adapters, cables or an Apple TV.

  • How do I stream movies from my iPhone to my TV?

    To stream your iPhone to your TV, use a Lightning adapter with an HDMI cable, Chromecast, Apple TV, or a DLNA-compatible app with a smart TV. If you have the Apple TV app on your TV, download it and sign into your Apple ID to watch movies and shows you've purchased.

  • How do I watch free movies on my iPhone?

    There are dozens of free movie streaming apps available for iPhone like Tubi, Crackle, and Vudu. There are also apps for watching TV on iPhone, some of which are available for free.

  • How do I make movies on my iPhone?

    You can edit videos on an iPhone using the built-in Photos app, or use iMovie for more advanced video-making options. There are also third-party video recording apps for iPhone.

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