4K video has four times the pixels of 1080p, for greater potential, flexibility, and fun!
The iPhone SE, 6s, and 6s Plus can shoot 4K video, or what works out to 2160p. That's four times as many pixels—twice horizontal and twice vertical—as 1080p. Not many people have TVs that can play it yet, but what makes shooting in 4K so great is that there's enough data to crop, zoom, pan, down-sample, and stabilize and still end up with great looking 1080p. 4K isn't enabled by default, though, so whether you want it raw, or you want it for editing, first you have to turn it on.
How much space does 4K take up?
The iPhone SE, 6s, and 6s Plus all offer the option to shoot 4K video. It's a huge boon for videographers, but for the average user, it may not be too practical on your storage space.
If you're considering shooting in 4K with your iPhone, here's how much it space it'll take up on your device, depending on length:
- 30 seconds of 4K will take approximately ~188MB
- 60 seconds takes up ~375MB
- 5 minutes takes up ~1.9GB
- 10 minutes takes up ~4GB
- 30 minutes takes up ~12GB
As you can see, it's a bit heftier than your average video. For the record, a 16GB iPhone comes with around 12GB of available space outside the OS—so you could conceivably fill up an entire phone with 30 minutes of 4K and nothing else. This is, in large part, why 4K is off by default on new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus models—you have to visit Settings > Photos & Camera > Record Video to change it.
In comparison, Apple offers the following chart (based on 60-second shooting times) for its other video options:
- A minute of 720p at 30FPS takes up 60MB
- 1080p at 30FPS takes up 130MB (this is the default setting for the iPhone)
- 1080p at 60FPS takes up 200MB
And, for fun, here's the space cost for one minute of slo-mo:
- Filming 720p at 240FPS takes up 300MB (default)
- Filming 1080p at 120FPS takes up 375MB
How to turn on 4K video
Shooting in 4K can consume 300-400 MB of storage per minute of video. That works out to 1 GB every 3 minutes or so. In other words, a lot.
So, if you don't have a 128 GB iPhone and aren't in the habit of pulling your video files off your device and into Photos for OS X or a folder on your Mac or Windows PC, you may want to leave 4K video off by default and only turn it on when you really want or need it.
- Launch Settings from the Home screen.
- Tap on Photos & Camera.
- Tap Record Video near the bottom.
- Tap 4K HD at 30 fps.
To turn off 4K, repeat the same steps and choose 1080p HD at 30fps or one of the other options.
How to trim 4K videos
You can trim 4K videos the same way you trim any other video on your iPhone, which is to say you can trim it right in the Camera or Photos app.
- Go to the **video* you want to trim. Depending on how recently you shot it, you can either tap the thumbnail right in Camera, got to the Photos app and browse for it, or go into the Videos album and look for it there.
- Tap Edit at the bottom (Camera app) or top right (Photos app).
- Tap the left or right edge of the video scrubber at the bottom to reveal the yellow edit handles on each side.
- Drag the edit handles to the points where you want to start and finish the video.
- Tap Trim or Original or Save as New Clip.
How to edit 4K videos
You can also edit 4K videos the same way you edit other videos—using Apple's iMovie app. It lets you add themes, titles, and transitions.
Whether you're starting a new project or continuing an existing on, simply import your 4K video the way you would any other video and edit away. Once you're done, you can save it back to your Photos library or share it using any service that supports 4K video.
We'll walk you through it in a future guide!
How to share 4K videos
You can share your 4K video right from the standard iOS Share sheet. Not all services can accept a 4K video, so if you choose one that can't, your iPhone 6s will downscale the video to an acceptable size. (No one wants or needs 4K in their text messages, after all.)
YouTube does accept 4K uploads, so it's a great choice if you want to publish your project to the world.
- Go to the video you want to share. Depending on how recently you shot it, you can either tap the thumbnail right in Camera, got to the Photos app and browse for it, or go into the Videos album and look for it there.
- Tap the Share button.
- Tap the video you want to share. A blue checkmark will appear in the bottom corner to confirm you've selected it.
- Tap the icon of the service you want to share to. (In this example, YouTube.)
4K and AirDrop and AirPlay
You can AirDrop 4K movies directly to your Mac or other iOS so you can view or work on them there, or output them over HMDI adapter to a 4K TV or projector.
You can AirPlay 4K to your Apple TV, though it will be downscaled to 1080p for playback.
4K and future-proofing
Even if you don't have a 4K TV or anything that supports it yet, eventually 4K will be the next standard. So, if you have the storage space, shooting important moments in 4K now will let you enjoy and edit them in full resolution in the future. In other word, your iPhone will help you be ready today for your TV of tomorrow.