How to send large video files using iPhone and Android

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You’ve spent days shooting and editing the perfect video. You’re immensely proud of your work, and about to email it to a client or a friend, when suddenly you’re faced with the dreaded error message: “Could not send, file too large.” You get up, dumbfounded, devastated, and walk begin walking away, out of the house, into a snow drift, where you collapse and unleash an unholy wail, and cry bitter tears.

Email is incredibly useful, but it doesn’t always have the storage capacity to handle large files like videos. With most high-resolution videos averaging over 100 megabytes (MB), more often than not, you’ll have to resort to alternatives to email for sharing them over the web. Here are your best bets.

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How to send large video files

Some of the many ways for sending large files over the web include, but are not limited to:

  • Cloud solutions. One popular way to share a large video is by uploading the files to a cloud storage service, which stores the video and allows you to share it with others. Cloud services include Google Drive, which comes with 15 gigabytes (GB) of storage for free; Dropbox, which offers 2 GB of storage space for free and paid personal plans from 2 to 5 terabytes (TB); and WeTransfer, which also offers 2 GB of storage space free of charge, along with up to 20 GB for its paid version. The best way to use cloud storage to send large video files is to upload the file to your preferred storage platform and adjust its permissions so that your intended recipient can access and download the file. That might entail sending them a shared link and/or providing them with a password.
  • Video hosting sites. Popular video hosting sites can also be used to share large videos. You can publish a video to YouTube, Vimeo, or Facebook, for example, some of which allow other users to save and download it. Even if they can’t download it, they can at least view the video. If you’re not ready to share it with the world, most of these platforms will allow you to mark it as “unlisted” — that is, only accessible if you have the link.
  • Email. Despite its constraints, email is probably the easiest plan of attack if your video is small. It’s usually free and almost anyone you might want to share a video file with will have access to their own email inbox. Some popular email platforms include Gmail, ProtonMail, Yahoo Mail, and Microsoft Outlook. Gmail, ProtonMail, and Yahoo! all have the capacity to send up to 25 MB in attachments; Microsoft Outlook ranges in capacity from 20 to 25 MB. If your file meets size limits, you can send your email with a reasonably large video file.

How to send large video files from a phone

Large videos can also be sent from a mobile device. But unlike other methods for sharing large video files, how you send files from a phone will depend less on your choice of platforms and more on hardware.

How to send large video files from an iPhone

If you’re an iPhone user, there are two main ways to share large video files between devices.

  • AirDrop it. AirDrop is probably the easier of the two options. It allows you to instantly share files with recipients within your phone’s WiFi and Bluetooth range. If the recipient is saved in your contacts, select the photos you want to send in your camera roll, tap the “Share” icon, then tap the “Airdrop” option, and your recipient should appear at the top of your screen. Tap their profile picture to initiate the Airdrop.
  • Send it via iCloud. If you’re outside your recipient's WiFi and Bluetooth range, you can opt for iCloud — Apple’s cloud storage service. You can select the video file you want to share in iCloud Drive or on, then add recipients to the list of those who have permission to access the folder via a shareable link.

How to send a large video file from an Android

If you’re an Android device user, your best bet for sharing large video files is the Google Photos mobile app. You can do so by selecting a video in one of your Google Photos albums, click “Share,” and navigate to “Send in Google Photos.” You can search for a specific recipient via names, phone numbers, or email addresses. You can also share with a group by selecting multiple recipients at once.

Final thoughts

As the quality capabilities of user video software becomes more advanced, you may find yourself regularly sharing files of a significant size. While low-cost options like email and mobile features should always be the first resort, there are a number of services and platforms at your disposal to share large, high-quality video files.

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