iTunes Store: Viewing and downloading HD content on iPad

Learn about viewing and downloading HD content from the iTunes Store on iPad.

With iPad you can download and watch HD (High Definition) Movies and TV shows right on the iPad. For most TV Shows and Movies2 purchased in HD, you can also download an SD (Standard Definition) version from the Purchased page within iTunes.

HD movies and TV shows for iPad

  • HD videos have a resolution of up to 1080p1 on iPad.
  • When you purchase an HD video, you'll only receive the HD version2.

Syncing video to iPad

By default, when syncing video to iPad, iTunes will sync the HD version to iPad when available. You can only sync HD content purchased in 1080p to iPad (3rd generation). You need to download the 720p or SD version from iTunes in the Cloud to sync iPad 2 or earlier, iPhone 4S or earlier, iPod touch (4th generation or earlier), and iPod. Alternatively, you can download the videos directly to your device using iTunes in the Cloud.

If you prefer to sync SD video content to iPad:

  1. With iPad connected to your computer, select it on the left side of the iTunes window.
  2. Click the Summary Tab.
  3. Scroll down to the Options section and select the checkbox for "Prefer standard definition videos."
  4. Now when you sync videos to iPad, only SD versions will be synced.


To undo your change, simply repeat the above steps and uncheck the box next to "Prefer standard definition videos.

Movie Rentals on iPad

SD movie rentals are in a widescreen format and have a resolution of up to 480p.

HD movie rentals have a resolution of up to 1080p1 on iPad.

  • Movies rented on iPad cannot be transferred to other devices and can only be viewed on iPad.
  • An Internet connection to the iTunes Store is required to authorize playback of movie rentals. 

Note: HD movie rentals do not come with an iPhone and iPod-compatible SD version.

For more information about movie rental expiration and viewing limits, see the iTunes Store Movie Rentals FAQ.

Learn more

1 1080p content is only compatible with iPad (3rd generation), Apple TV (3rd generation), and computers that meet the minimum system requirements. HD content purchased directly on iPad 2 or earlier will continue to download in 720p. You may still download the 1080p version using the Purchased page on your computer based on availability.

2 Some movies may not be available from iTunes in the Cloud. These movies, if purchased in HD, will download both the HD and SD versions for you to sync to your compatible iPod and iOS devices. Previous purchases may be unavailable if they have been refunded or are no longer available in the iTunes Store, App Store, or iBooks Store.

For information about syncing purchased HD videos to iPod or other iOS devices, see iTunes: Syncing purchased HD videos to iPod or iOS device.

For information about the iPad Dock Connector to VGA Adapter compatibility see iPad: About iPad Dock Connector to VGA Adapter compatibility.

Notes: HD content may not be available in all countries. For more details about content offerings in your country, see this article.

Movies from iTunes in the Cloud are currently available in the US.

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