The day before your holiday…
…you’re charging all your devices and working out what cables and chargers to bring. The whole family is fighting for bandwidth as they are trying to save various episodes and movies to their tablets from various services such as Netflix, Prime, Plex even. You already have a decent collection of TV shows and films due to your diligent backing up of your DVD and BluRay discs (which you legally own). You decide you fancy putting some onto the iPad for the flight. You plug the iPad into your workstation or laptop but soon realise you’re unable to transfer files to it. What next? Well you used to be able to add them via iTunes, but who uses that still. Point is, there’s no easy way to transfer media directly to your iPad. A quick google search brings up various applications that claim to do it for you. These apps look questionable at best and naturally have the “paid option” for you to transfer video files in excess of 192kb.
I recently found an easy way using VLC. VLC is 100% free to download and is well known software. Admittedly, it feels a little clunky on the iPad, but VLC just does what it’s meant to do – play media. It doesn’t have the feel/look or polish of Plex, but then it doesn’t have to. You have an iptv stream you want to watch on the fly? VLC. You have a film that’s using some obscure codec? VLC. You want to connect to a media server on the LAN? VLC. Anyways, I digress.
If you don’t have VLC for mobile already downloaded on your iPad you can get it here.
Install the app and fire it up. Click on the Network tab at the bottom, and turn on “Sharing via Wifi.” You should immediately see a network url produced. In my case it’s http://iPad.local or http://192.168.2.121.
Bring up a web browser or windows explorer (Win+e) and type in the bar the ip (in my case it’s 192.168.2.121) and wait for a few moments. It will look like nothing’s happening but give it a moment. Next, the webpage will open showing http://192.168.2.121. You’ll be met with two choices. Upload or Download.
Now it’s just a case of dragging the files from your PC or NAS onto the top half of the screen and watch as they transfer wirelessly to your iPad. That’s it. Job done. Just click on the video or audio tab to see the items once the transfer has completed. You should now be able to watch or listen to the content you just sent across. To remove the content you just long press on the file in question and hit the delete button. I tested this with an iPad Pro 2017, an iPad Pro 2021 and an iPhone 12 Max. All worked flawlessly. Now if you’re on Android, you can just plug the tablet in over USB and load it up, but for Apple users this might make their lives just a little easier. If anyone’s wondering about the web browser or the extensions I’m using in the above screen shot you can learn more about Ungoogled Chromium and the steps I’m taking to protect my privacy here.
Another nice touch is that you can also connect various cloud accounts to VLC too, so if you already have some media in say dropbox or google drive, you can potentially access them over the ‘net. Clearly not so helpful if you’re on a plane or in the middle of nowhere, but if you do have an internet connection, it might be useful.
I was impressed how quickly and easily this was to achieve. It’s a little clunky, but to be expected. VLC! I was able to let the iPad screen sleep and the transfers continued, but I think unless the iPad or iPhone is awake you can’t initiate new transfers (the webpage wouldn’t appear or would be stale) which makes sense from a security point of view. I also liked the Download feature. If one of your friends or family has a legal backup of that family video they backed out. You can now get a copy, essentially using the iPad as a big external drive. Anyways, a quick and simple lifehack which might save you from having to use iTunes!
If anyone else has got any other ideas or better methods, pop them in the comments, or in our facebook group.
If you’re considering a renovation and looking at the structured wiring side of things, or maybe you just want to support the blog, have a look below at my smarthome book, it’s available in all the usual places (including paperback)!