February 28, 2024

How to send large video files using iPhone and Android

Email is incredibly useful, but it doesn’t always have the storage capacity to handle large files like videos. More often than not, you'll have to resort to alternatives.
February 28, 2024

How to send large video files using iPhone and Android

Email is incredibly useful, but it doesn’t always have the storage capacity to handle large files like videos. More often than not, you'll have to resort to alternatives.
February 28, 2024
Brandon Copple
In this article
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What type of content do you primarily create?

Videos
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Transcriptions
Start editing audio & video
This makes the editing process so much faster. I wish I knew about Descript a year ago.
Matt D., Copywriter
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What type of content do you primarily create?

Videos
Podcasts
Social media clips
Transcriptions


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 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.

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); OneDrive, which offers 5GB of free cloud storage; and WeTransfer, which also provides 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 your intended recipient can access and download it. That might entail sending them a shared link or providing 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 want to share a video file with will have access to their email inbox. Some popular email platforms include Gmail, ProtonMail, Yahoo Mail, and Microsoft Outlook. Gmail, ProtonMail, and Yahoo! can send up to 25 MB in attachments; Microsoft Outlook’s size limits range from 20 to 25 MB. 

Of course, you can always edit videos on your iPhone to cut unnecessary parts out and reduce the overall length of the video before trying any of these methods—which means you'll also need to know if you can send the edited long video as an iPhone user.

Can you send long videos on iPhone?

The short answer is yes! You can. The caveat, of course, depends on your definition of "long."

Depending on the length of your video, there are a few methods of sending long videos to your friends, colleagues, raving fans, FBI handlers, etc.

In terms of sending a video directly from your Photos app, the common upper-limit file size figure people on the internet suggest is roughly 100MB. But through experimentation, we could send videos up to around 213MB (a two-minute video at 1080p and 30fps) without hitting the "file too large" message.

And when we attempted to send a video that was just over 500MB from an iPhone (13 Pro Max, iOS 17.3), it automatically generated an iCloud link to send via iMessage. The receiver could use that link to download the video within 14 days.

Of course, these figures all change if you're sending a video via an MMS message to an Android device, which run you into woefully small limits depending on your carrier (and they'll also charge you for it in most cases). That method just won’t work for long videos.

📚 Learn: How to make a slow motion video on iPhone: A 2023 guide

How to send large video files on iPhone

So let’s say your video exceeds the size limits on the Photos app or iMessage; what do you do then? There are other methods for sending large video files you can use, which include:

  1. Airdrop
  2. Cloud storage
  3. Email
  4. Video link

We’ll give you a quick step-by-step tutorial for each method below. These steps are similar for all iOS devices, but may vary depending on your model of iPad or iPhone. 

Method 1: Airdrop

If you're standing reasonably close to the person you want to send the video file to, you can Airdrop it, which uses a combination of Wifi and Bluetooth to transfer files. To do this, make sure both iPhones have Airdrop on, then follow these steps.

Step 1: Select the video you want to share in photos and videos app, and hit the Share icon.

Selecting the Share icon on iPhone

Step 2: Select the "Airdrop" option.

Choosing the Airdrop method to send long videos

Step 3: Select your recipient's iPhone (or other Apple device); they'll receive a pop-up notification that you're trying to send a file to them. Once they accept using Airdrop, the file will start sending.

Choosing a place to send an Airdrop

Method 2: Cloud Storage

As we mentioned, you can use a cloud storage service to send your video file. Google Drive offers the most free storage (15GB). It’s one many people use and is cross-platform — you can find it in the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store, which is good if you're trying to share files to any device that's not another iPhone.

However, the steps will work similarly if you use a different platform (like Dropbox, for example). Make sure you have the app downloaded on your iPhone before starting.

Step 1: Upload your video to Google Drive (or other solution). You can do this from the camera roll by selecting the video, hit the Share icon, and select Google Drive from the list of apps (you might need to tap "More" to find it):

Selecting the More option on iPhone

Step 2: Before hitting "upload", you also have the chance to add people to the upload if you know their Gmail:

Choosing sharing options in Google Drive.

Step 3: If you don't know the person's email, there is another option you can try once you've uploaded the video file. Go to the file in your Drive, click the three dots for the options menu, then hit "Copy link," which you can use to send the link via messaging apps of your choice:

Selecting the Copy link option in Google Drive

Method 3: Email

In a previous section, we also mentioned email as a method of sending large files, and it does come with a (generally) 25MB file size limit. But it's still a good option if you're not using 4K resolution videos—720p is still decent quality, and you can get videos up to 10 minutes long under 25MB at that quality.

The secret sauce here is to compress your videos for lower file size, but not lower quality (you can compress videos easily with Descript).

If your video is up to 25MB, you don't need to compress the video. All that's left is sending the file.

Step 1: Select the video from your camera roll or files and hit the Share icon.

Step 2: Select the email service provider app you want to use (Apple Mail, Gmail, YahooMail, etc.).

Choosing the Mail app on iPhone

Step 3: Craft the email message you want to send (if it's formal, remember to remove the "Sent from iPhone" signature), then hit "Send".

Hitting the Send button on iPhone to send an email video

Method 4: Video link

One of the better ways of sending very large video files is using a video link. A "traditional" way of doing this method is by uploading your video to a video-sharing platform like YouTube or Vimeo and marking the video as "unlisted," which gives you a link to share, but not a publicly listed video.

However, another method is to use an iCloud link, which is very easy—as long as your video is uploaded to iCloud. If not, backup your videos to iCloud before you continue.

Step 1: Go to the video in your camera roll and select the "Share" icon.

Step 2: Scroll down in the options until you see the "Copy iCloud link" option.

Choosing the Copy iCloud Link on iPhone

Step 3: You've got your video link! Paste the link into the messaging platform of your choice. The recipient will have 14 days to download the video, but they can still watch it without downloading it.

Upgrade your video editing and sharing experience

Of course, the above methods are great if you're only sending fun videos to your friends and family. However, if you're looking to create high-quality videos with a better sharing experience across the web, Descript is a great tool to add to your arsenal, and it works on both Mac and Windows PCs.

As a video editor, Descript has a whole suite of tools to help you turn your iPhone shots into professional-quality content—from Studio Sound to filler word removal to AI voices. But the best part, we think, is the transcription-based editing. Instead of messing with a complicated video timeline, you can edit video like a document.

When you're ready to share your awesome new video, you can use Descript's publishing tool to publish to the web with one click or share videos on a platform of your choice.

How to send long videos on iPhone FAQs

How do you send a video that is too long?

You can use Mail Drop, Airdrop, or cloud storage to send a video that’s too long. If your video is too long for SMS or iMessage, you can also send a video link.

What to do when a video is too long to send on iPhone?

If you’ve got an iPhone video that’s too long, you have a few options:

  1. Compress the video to reduce the file size.
  2. Edit the video, trimming parts you don't want/need.
  3. Use a web-based tool like cloud storage, email, or video link to send the video online.

How long can a video be to send through text on an iPhone?

It depends on the video size—with a lower quality file (e.g. 720p), you can send videos up to around 5 minutes in length, but as the video quality increases, so does the file size. We could send a 1080p, 30fps video that was 2 minutes in length via iMessage without issues.

Brandon Copple
Head of Content at Descript. Former Editor at Groupon, Chicago Sun-Times, and a bunch of other places. Dad. Book reader. Friend to many Matts.
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How to send large video files using iPhone and Android

Close woman's hands holding mobile phone


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 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.

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); OneDrive, which offers 5GB of free cloud storage; and WeTransfer, which also provides 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 your intended recipient can access and download it. That might entail sending them a shared link or providing 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 want to share a video file with will have access to their email inbox. Some popular email platforms include Gmail, ProtonMail, Yahoo Mail, and Microsoft Outlook. Gmail, ProtonMail, and Yahoo! can send up to 25 MB in attachments; Microsoft Outlook’s size limits range from 20 to 25 MB. 

Of course, you can always edit videos on your iPhone to cut unnecessary parts out and reduce the overall length of the video before trying any of these methods—which means you'll also need to know if you can send the edited long video as an iPhone user.

Can you send long videos on iPhone?

The short answer is yes! You can. The caveat, of course, depends on your definition of "long."

Depending on the length of your video, there are a few methods of sending long videos to your friends, colleagues, raving fans, FBI handlers, etc.

In terms of sending a video directly from your Photos app, the common upper-limit file size figure people on the internet suggest is roughly 100MB. But through experimentation, we could send videos up to around 213MB (a two-minute video at 1080p and 30fps) without hitting the "file too large" message.

And when we attempted to send a video that was just over 500MB from an iPhone (13 Pro Max, iOS 17.3), it automatically generated an iCloud link to send via iMessage. The receiver could use that link to download the video within 14 days.

Of course, these figures all change if you're sending a video via an MMS message to an Android device, which run you into woefully small limits depending on your carrier (and they'll also charge you for it in most cases). That method just won’t work for long videos.

📚 Learn: How to make a slow motion video on iPhone: A 2023 guide

How to send large video files on iPhone

So let’s say your video exceeds the size limits on the Photos app or iMessage; what do you do then? There are other methods for sending large video files you can use, which include:

  1. Airdrop
  2. Cloud storage
  3. Email
  4. Video link

We’ll give you a quick step-by-step tutorial for each method below. These steps are similar for all iOS devices, but may vary depending on your model of iPad or iPhone. 

Method 1: Airdrop

If you're standing reasonably close to the person you want to send the video file to, you can Airdrop it, which uses a combination of Wifi and Bluetooth to transfer files. To do this, make sure both iPhones have Airdrop on, then follow these steps.

Step 1: Select the video you want to share in photos and videos app, and hit the Share icon.

Selecting the Share icon on iPhone

Step 2: Select the "Airdrop" option.

Choosing the Airdrop method to send long videos

Step 3: Select your recipient's iPhone (or other Apple device); they'll receive a pop-up notification that you're trying to send a file to them. Once they accept using Airdrop, the file will start sending.

Choosing a place to send an Airdrop

Method 2: Cloud Storage

As we mentioned, you can use a cloud storage service to send your video file. Google Drive offers the most free storage (15GB). It’s one many people use and is cross-platform — you can find it in the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store, which is good if you're trying to share files to any device that's not another iPhone.

However, the steps will work similarly if you use a different platform (like Dropbox, for example). Make sure you have the app downloaded on your iPhone before starting.

Step 1: Upload your video to Google Drive (or other solution). You can do this from the camera roll by selecting the video, hit the Share icon, and select Google Drive from the list of apps (you might need to tap "More" to find it):

Selecting the More option on iPhone

Step 2: Before hitting "upload", you also have the chance to add people to the upload if you know their Gmail:

Choosing sharing options in Google Drive.

Step 3: If you don't know the person's email, there is another option you can try once you've uploaded the video file. Go to the file in your Drive, click the three dots for the options menu, then hit "Copy link," which you can use to send the link via messaging apps of your choice:

Selecting the Copy link option in Google Drive

Method 3: Email

In a previous section, we also mentioned email as a method of sending large files, and it does come with a (generally) 25MB file size limit. But it's still a good option if you're not using 4K resolution videos—720p is still decent quality, and you can get videos up to 10 minutes long under 25MB at that quality.

The secret sauce here is to compress your videos for lower file size, but not lower quality (you can compress videos easily with Descript).

If your video is up to 25MB, you don't need to compress the video. All that's left is sending the file.

Step 1: Select the video from your camera roll or files and hit the Share icon.

Step 2: Select the email service provider app you want to use (Apple Mail, Gmail, YahooMail, etc.).

Choosing the Mail app on iPhone

Step 3: Craft the email message you want to send (if it's formal, remember to remove the "Sent from iPhone" signature), then hit "Send".

Hitting the Send button on iPhone to send an email video

Method 4: Video link

One of the better ways of sending very large video files is using a video link. A "traditional" way of doing this method is by uploading your video to a video-sharing platform like YouTube or Vimeo and marking the video as "unlisted," which gives you a link to share, but not a publicly listed video.

However, another method is to use an iCloud link, which is very easy—as long as your video is uploaded to iCloud. If not, backup your videos to iCloud before you continue.

Step 1: Go to the video in your camera roll and select the "Share" icon.

Step 2: Scroll down in the options until you see the "Copy iCloud link" option.

Choosing the Copy iCloud Link on iPhone

Step 3: You've got your video link! Paste the link into the messaging platform of your choice. The recipient will have 14 days to download the video, but they can still watch it without downloading it.

Upgrade your video editing and sharing experience

Of course, the above methods are great if you're only sending fun videos to your friends and family. However, if you're looking to create high-quality videos with a better sharing experience across the web, Descript is a great tool to add to your arsenal, and it works on both Mac and Windows PCs.

As a video editor, Descript has a whole suite of tools to help you turn your iPhone shots into professional-quality content—from Studio Sound to filler word removal to AI voices. But the best part, we think, is the transcription-based editing. Instead of messing with a complicated video timeline, you can edit video like a document.

When you're ready to share your awesome new video, you can use Descript's publishing tool to publish to the web with one click or share videos on a platform of your choice.

How to send long videos on iPhone FAQs

How do you send a video that is too long?

You can use Mail Drop, Airdrop, or cloud storage to send a video that’s too long. If your video is too long for SMS or iMessage, you can also send a video link.

What to do when a video is too long to send on iPhone?

If you’ve got an iPhone video that’s too long, you have a few options:

  1. Compress the video to reduce the file size.
  2. Edit the video, trimming parts you don't want/need.
  3. Use a web-based tool like cloud storage, email, or video link to send the video online.

How long can a video be to send through text on an iPhone?

It depends on the video size—with a lower quality file (e.g. 720p), you can send videos up to around 5 minutes in length, but as the video quality increases, so does the file size. We could send a 1080p, 30fps video that was 2 minutes in length via iMessage without issues.

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