How do I get videos off my iPad?

A few weeks ago I asked you all what you were struggling with and some fantastic questions came through (and not one of them was “dumb”!). I’m going to start answering each one as best I can in a blog post.

(You can still add your questions there. Head over to the original post, scroll down and type your question at the bottom).

I won’t be necessarily answering them in the order they were submitted – rather, I’ll start with the questions I think will be useful to the most number of people. There will also be times when I’m preparing for a workshop or presentation and one of the questions happens to tie in with what I am doing, so it will likely be answered a little quicker than some of the others! This week is one of those weeks – I just presented a “Flipped Music Classroom” session at the Adelaide DAYTiME conference on Friday 19 February and showed how easy it is to create videos on your iPad or Smartphone – and this very question arose during the session. I’ll be presenting the same session again two more times in the next month, so it will be good to have the answer here!

Question 1: How Do I Get Videos Off My iPad and on to My Computer?

Lisa Sutton from Melbourne, Australia asked:

How to transfer student videos from iPad to computer | Midnight Music




It’s a common issue. Real-life scenarios:

1. Students create video projects in the regular in-built Camera app, or in another app like iMovie or Explain Everything and you want to export the video and send it somewhere – to a computer or other hard drive

2. You record students for assessment or practice purposes – during piano lessons, in choir rehearsal or in class ensembles – and your iPad (or phone) is filling up fast! How do you get them off?

5 Ways To Get Videos (and Photos) Off Your iPad

Here are a few ways you can transfer videos from your iPad to your computer. The methods described below work for photos as well – the process is identical. Unfortunately there is no one perfect solution. Each has drawbacks and benefits. Personally, I use more than one of the options below. It just depends what the video is, what I need to do with it at the time, where I am (on a WIFI network or not) and how much time I have! The one I use most often is option 3 and I use iExplorer. It’s quick and painless 🙂

Side note: please be aware that most schools have a policy in place regarding the sharing of media that features students (such as videos, images or audio files). Each school is different. Check your own school policy and speak to your IT co-ordinator before choosing one of these options. Not all options will be permitted at all schools.

Option 1: Email the video to yourself (or to someone else)

Although I’ve mentioned this first, it’s not really a viable option! Videos are usually way too big to email (as mentioned by Lisa above) and even if they are short ones, your device will usually compress them during the emailing process which is result in a poor video quality. Only use this if you have an incredibly short video and it’s a “one-off” occasion.

One other thing about this method – some of you may be using class sets of iPads that do not have an email account set up on them. This means you won’t be able to use this option.

Option 2: Send the video to a cloud-based storage service such as Dropbox, Box or Google Drive or iCloud

In theory this sounds like it should be the best option. You sign up for one of the above-mentioned free storage services and then install the corresponding app on your iPad.

There are 2 methods of getting videos to your storage destination:

A. Export the video FROM the video app and choose the storage app as your saving destination.

B. Import the video INTO the “storage” app – that is, open the storage app – ie. Dropbox, Google Drive – choose Add and locate the file

Steps for Method A: Export FROM the video app

The basic steps are: open the video/movie app (the place you created the video), tap Share and export directly to your cloud-based storage.

As an example, here’s the workflow outline for iMovie:

– iMovie project > Choose Share > Choose Other application (wait while movie exports) > Select Dropbox/Google Drive/Box/Evernote etc

– OR iMovie project > Choose Share > Select iCloud (wait while movie exports)

Steps for Method B: Import the video INTO the storage app

Part 1 – First you’ll need to export your movie to the Camera Roll. This bit is easy!

Here’s an outline of the steps:

– Open iMovie > Choose Share > Choose Save video > Select export file size (medium, large or HD) and wait while movie exports

Part 2 – Open the storage app and “add” the video file

Here’s the workflow outline for Dropbox and Google Drive:

– Dropbox > Choose Menu button (3 little dots at top right) > Choose Add files > Select Photos (accesses your Camera Roll where photos AND videos live) > Select your video > tap Upload > wait while the video syncs via WIFI to Dropbox

Google Drive > Choose Add To My Drive > Choose Upload Photos or Videos > Select Camera Roll > Select your video > tap the tick at top right > wait while the video syncs via WIFI to Dropbox.

The downside

The biggest drawback of using this system? The time it takes to sync – that is, the time is takes to send the videos from your iPad to your storage service via WIFI. It takes AGES, especially when the videos are large and especially is you have multiple students all doing it at once.

The other drawback – as Lisa mentions in her original question – if you have limited space in your storage destination you will run out of room pretty quickly.

Option 3: Plug your iPad into your computer and use a software “portal” to transfer the videos

A “portal” is the how I think about this method. Essentially, you will plug your iPad into your computer using the charging cable (the white one) and then use a software application to import the videos.
You can use free software that comes with your computer (see below for options) or purchase a third-party application.

On a Windows machine, you can use the Photos app.

Find instructions for Windows 8 here and instructions for Windows 7 here.

On a Mac, although you can use iPhoto to import videos and photos (instructions here), Image Capture can give you more flexibility and I find it makes navigation of files a bit easier. Details for using Image Capture can be found here.

iExplorer is one of my favourite third-party options. Although I could use Image Capture or iPhoto on my Mac, I usually turn to iExplorer. It’s easy to find the videos I need and drag them into a folder on my hard drive. The other big benefit is that iExplorer allows me to browse the entire contents of my iPad media – including anything I have created in any of the music apps I own. I can use it to browse my iPad GarageBand projects for instance, and then drag them straight on to my desktop. You can also use iExplorer to easily transfer music, text messages, voicemail and contacts from your device to your computer.

The downside

This may not be a viable option when dealing with a class set of iPads! If your students have created videos and you want them to all end up on your computer, this option will be time-consuming.

Option 4: Airdrop

This one is only useful for those of you with an iPad or iPhone, PLUS Mac computer that’s running OS X Yosemite. Airdrop allows you to share content (like videos) wirelessly between your Mac and iOS devices. There are instructions on how to do this here.

Option 5: Upload your videos directly to a video-sharing website

Finally, the last option I’ll mention is to upload your videos directly to a video-sharing website. The benefit of this is that the videos then live in an online location that can be accessed by students anywhere they have an internet connection. Videos can be made private so that they are not accessible by the wider online community, but even so this may not comply with your school data protection policy, so check with your IT person before going ahead.

Platforms you can use include Youtube, Teachertube, Vimeo or even Facebook and the basic steps are:

– Open the video app, choose Share and then select Youtube or Vimeo as the destination

– OR save the exported video to your Camera Roll, tap Share and then select Youtube or Vimeo as the destination

Question 2: Once I Get The Videos Off My iPad, What Do I Do With Them Next?

In part two of this post, I’ll answer a related question that I received from Mallory:

Student iPad video storage and sharing | Midnight Music

Look out for that post in a few days’ time. Sign up to the Midnight Music mailing list to be notified when it is published.