How to Compress a Video on iPhone

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iPhones these days capture video that is both amazing in quality, and large in file size. The large file size of videos can often become a problem when you want to share your video files. In this article we will answer your question on how to compress a video on iPhone in multiple different ways, including changing the recording resolution in your iPhone’s settings, creating a short video from a longer video, and compressing your video with a free iPhone app. 

Choose the Right iPhone Video Compression

If you’re reading this article before you shoot videos, the easiest way to reduce file size is to record your videos in a lower resolution and frame rate. However, if you already recorded your video, you will have to add some sort of video compression while using your iPhone.

When it comes to iPhone video compression, you have two options; shorten the video or reduce the quality of the video. LucidVideo will keep your video’s quality high by shortening it to its best parts. Video compressor apps will reduce quality to compress video file size.  

Option 1:
Change Your iPhone Video Settings to Compress Video

As is often Apple’s way, users only have limited ability to edit settings on their iPhone. Users are unable to select video bitrate, color mode, and other advanced settings. That doesn’t mean you can’t create compressed video files on an iPhone. We’ll show you how to save space below.

If you do not plan on viewing your iPhone videos on a large 4K UHD screen, there’s little need to record your videos in 4K, or even 1080 HD, as you’re recording more information than you can play back on your phone’s small screen. You can easily save video file space by recording in a lower resolution, such as 720 HD. 

video resolution 4k 1080 720 hd sd uhd
Different iPhone video compression options

As you can see in the image above, 4K UHD video is massive, as compared to 720 HD video. Each frame of 4K video is made up of 3840 x 2160 individual pixels, or about 8.3 million pixels. On the other hand, 720 HD video takes less than 1 million pixels to display a frame. 

It may sound like losing 7 million pixels would make the video pixelated, or blurry. In reality, most people would not notice the difference between 720 HD video and 4K UHD video on an average iPhone.

According to Apple, 720p HD video is upwards of 4-10x smaller than 4K 60 video. 

iphone video resolution frame per second options
Apple’s estimated iPhone video resolution and frame rate settings

You can also compress video file size by selecting a lower frame rate. Newer iPhones can record at multiple frame rates, ranging from 24 frames per second (FPS) to 60 fps in regular mode and 240 fps in slo-mo mode. If video file size is important to you, reducing the frame rate from 60 to 30 will reduce file size, without a noticeable change in video quality for most users. 

video frames per second frame rate fps 30 60
Different video frame rates

How to Change iPhone Video Settings

It’s easy to change iPhone video settings to create more compressed videos. First, open up the settings app and either search for Camera at the top of the screen, selecting the result with the Camera icon, or scroll down to the 6th grouping of settings and select Camera. This will take you to the Camera settings page, shown below. 

search for ios camera settings iphone
Search for “Camera” in your iPhone Settings app
iphone camera video record settings

Once in Camera settings, tap the Record Video text to set the capture resolution and frame rate. 

set iphone video resolution for compression
Set iPhone video resolution to increase compression

To save the maximum amount of space possible, choose 720p HD and deselect the HDR Video option. Doing so will add the most video compression possible for your iPhone. 

Once you make these selections, you may immediately leave the settings app and open up the Camera app. Your new video compression settings will be applied and your iPhone will be ready to shoot videos immediately. 

Option 2:
Compress Your iPhone Video by Shortening It

Video compression comes with a compromise: as you reduce file size, you sacrifice video quality. This means that too much compression can make your video look pixelated or display compression artifacts during times of high movement. Depending on the video length, you may need to add too much video compression in order to reduce file size sufficiently. 

For example, if you have a long video that you want to send to a friend, you may not be able to find a happy medium between video quality and file size. When you add enough compression to make the file size small enough to send through email, the video’s quality will not be acceptable. And setting the quality to an acceptable level results in a file that is too large in size. 

video compression on iphone example

In the image above, the left side of the video is uncompressed, with increasing amounts of compression applied as you move to the right of the image. As you can see, fine details are lost with compression, eventually leading to a muddy or blurry/block video display. Note how you can easily see the strings of the guitar on the left with low compression, and the man/guitar on the right is missing almost all fine details do to high video compression. 

One great way to get around this video compression limitation is to shorten the video to its most important segments. LucidVideo will take your long video and automatically create a shorter version made up of the best parts of the original video. 

How To Make A Short Video On an iPhone

First, sign up for a free LucidVideo account. You don’t need to install any app, just head on over to the LucidVideo portal in your web browser to get started. 

sign up for lucidvideo free

Once logged in, you will be sent to your Video Library. Click the blue Upload button to start uploading. 

Upload video to LucidVideo

If you have your video on YouTube, you can paste its URL here, if not, tap on the Upload a Video tab and then tap the Import Video button. Find the video you want to shorten, select it and then tap the Upload button. 

At this point your video will be uploaded to LucidVideo where the AI will find the best scenes in you video and create a short video. During this process it will recognize faces, scenes, emotions, logos and more, ensuring only the best video segments make the cut.  

import video to lucid video
Uploading and compressing a video in LucidVideo

All of this processing does take a little time, so go grab a coffee. LucidVideo will email you when processing is complete. 

Once complete, tap on the video name to view the short video. Tap the download icon on the top right of the video to download. 

download short compressed video

In this case, the original video was shot in 1080pHD, and was 3 minutes, 49 seconds long, resulting in a  569.6MB video file size. LucidVideo compressed this video down to just 74.7MB, which is an 87% reduction in file size. 

The most impressive part is that this video file compression was done without any loss in video quality. The shorter video is still the same 1080p HD resolution, and extra compression was not applied. LucidVideo simply removed the unnecessary parts and created a short video that tells the whole story in less time. 

Interested in trying it out for yourself? Sign up for free today. 

Option 3:
Use a Video Compression App

There are many apps you can download on your iPhone to compress videos. Before you make your choice, be sure to read the app descriptions carefully, as the first few options downloaded required me to pay to compress even a single video. Eventually, it was found that the Video Compressor by Clideo would offer basic video compression without paying first. 

Step 1: Download the App

Open up the App Store app and search for “Video Compression.” Choose your app and start the download. The following steps were completed with the app called Video Compressor – Clideo.

clideo video compressor

Step 2: Choose YOUR Video

Once you open the app, you are presented with a very simple screen. Tap the blue plus icon and select the video you want to compress on your iPhone. 

clideo create compressed video

Step 3: Compress Your Video on Your iPhone

The app next shows you a preview of your video and the amount saved with the Basic Compression settings. Tap the dark Compress icon and your video will be processed and saved to your device. 

compress video on iphone

Which iPhone Video Compression is Right For You?

The easiest way to keep your iPhone and iOS videos small is to record them in a lower resolution and frame rate. If you already recorded the video, you can’t go back and change the resolution or frame rate without compression. When it comes to video compression on an iPhone, you can go about it in two main ways, shorten the video or reduce the quality of the video. LucidVideo will keep your video’s quality high by shortening it to its best parts. Video compressor apps will reduce quality to compress video file size.