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iTunes: Sync purchased HD videos to iPod or iOS device

Symptoms

High definition (HD) videos purchased from the iTunes Store may not work with all devices. Learn how to sync the proper resolution of a purchased video to your device.

Resolution

When you try to sync a purchased HD video that isn't optimized for your device, you may see a message like this one:

"HD Movie" was not copied to the iPhone "iPhone" because it cannot be played on this iPhone.

HD videos purchased from the iTunes Store are offered in 720p or 1080p1 and are compatible with iPhone 4 or later, iPad, iPod touch (4th generation or later), Apple TV, and computers. You may need to download your purchased video from iTunes in the Cloud in a lower resolution for your device.2

Download previously purchased content in a lower resolution

The easiest way to put purchased videos onto your device is to download the videos from iTunes in the Cloud. This should make sure that you get the highest resolution video optimized for your specific device. Learn more about downloading from iTunes in the Cloud.

Syncing video to iPhone 3G or earlier, iPod touch (1st or 2nd generation), iPod classic, iPod 5th generation, or iPod nano (3rd, 4th, or 5th generation)

  1. Make sure you have the latest version of iTunes installed on your computer. You can download the latest version for free here.
  2. Open iTunes on your computer.
  3. From the Store menu, choose Store > Sign In, and then enter your Apple ID and password.
  4. Navigate to your Purchased page. Find it by clicking Movies or TV Shows from the top navigation bar in the iTunes Store, and then click Purchased from "QUICK LINKS" in the iTunes Store.
  5. Choose the appropriate video type: Movies or TV Shows.
  6. In the lower-right corner of the screen, deselect the box next to "Download HD When Available."
  7. Search for the desired video and click the download button.
  8. This should download the standard definition version to your computer so you can sync to your device.

Additional Information

1 Currently 1080p content is compatible with iPad (3rd generation), Apple TV (3rd generation), and a Mac or PC.

2 Some movies may not be available from iTunes in the Cloud. Learn more about where iTunes in the Cloud is available.

Notes: Your computer must meet the minimum system requirements for proper playback of 1080p content.

For movies which are available from iTunes in the Cloud, purchasing the movie will download the HD version to sync to your compatible iOS devices. When you purchase movies in HD that are not currently available for iTunes in the Cloud, the movies will download both the HD and SD versions to sync to your compatible iPod and iOS devices. Previous purchases may be unavailable if they are no longer in the iTunes Store, App Store, or iBooks Store. Some previously purchased movies are not available for iTunes in the Cloud.

Last Modified: Sep 11, 2013
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  • Last Modified: Sep 11, 2013
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