How to transfer a video from OS X to iOS

A reader finds herself stymied in moving a movie from Mac to iPhone.

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Credit: Thinkstock

Marianne Stecher just wants to shift some media from one Apple device she owns to another:

I’m trying to send a video from my Mac to my iPhone. I don’t have cell service so I can’t send through a text, only over Wi-Fi. I shared it through iCloud sharing so that I could save it to my phone and upload it on my account, but it won’t allow me to save the video to the phone. Emailing doesn’t work either. A 19-second video is apparently too large to send through email.

There are clearly a bunch of constraints affecting Marianne, as some of what she suggests should work and isn’t.

Use AirDrop. With a recent enough vintage Mac and iPhone, AirDrop is the easiest way to transfer images and videos, pass URLs, and hand off other kinds of files and tasks. It requires both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

Install Dropbox. You can get a free account with gigabytes of storage, and then install the Mac and iOS apps. Copy files into the Dropbox folder, and then use the iOS app to view and transfer them to media storage in iOS. (In the iOS Dropbox app, you tap the file, and then tap Share and tap Save Image or Save Video.)

Try Photos and iCloud Photo Library. If you’re syncing via iCloud Photo Library, everything is available everywhere after it’s added to a library on any associated device.

Use Amazon Cloud Drive or Google Photos. You can install the appropriate iOS app and use a website or uploader in OS X.

The email problem have to do with the mail host: Most modern mail hosts allow relatively large attachments, in the tens of megabytes. But an older host or a free account might limit total attachments to 5 or 10MB. A 19-second video with a modern iPhone can far exceed that. Enabling Mail Drop in Apple Mail or using a service like WeTransfer can bypass that limit.

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