How to view WebM video on your iPhone or iPad

Google's WebM video file format has become nichely popular in the years since its debut. As a royalty-free alternative to H.264 standard, it's used for high-quality-but-low-bandwidth videos on sites like YouTube, Reddit, 4chan, and the like. I'm not going to get into the reasons why people might prefer WebMs to gifs, MP4s, MKVs, or FLVs; frankly, I see it as a personal/site-specific preference. But here's the thing: those people who desperately want to view WebMs on their iPhone? They run into a bit of a snag when using a mobile web browser.

Because Apple's QuickTime player codec doesn't support WebM. That means no WebM videos in Safari, no WebM videos in Chrome (which uses the same WebKit-based rendering engine on iOS), no WebM videos in any third-party browser or any app integrating a web view.

But don't woe over WebM just yet: There's a third-party app to save you from your troubles.

As long as you know the URL of your WebM video, you can open it in or download it in PentaLoop's free PlayerXtreme HD (opens in new tab). It reminds me a lot of VLC for an iOS device: The app claims to be able to play a veritable cornucopia of different video formats, including .mkv, .vob, .wmv, and yes — WebM.

I didn't thoroughly test the PlayerXtreme HD's competency in all of these formats, but it certainly played .webm videos back with little trouble. All you have to do is follow these steps:

  1. Find the WebM video you want to view and open its URL in a new tab.
  2. Tap the "Open In" link in the Safari window.
  3. Select Open in PlayerXtreme.

  1. Enjoy your WebM video!

That's all there is to it. (You can alternatively directly paste a URL into PlayerXtreme, but that requires a $3 in-app purchase to unlock its pro features.) Hopefully this tip helps those of you looking to watch some WebMs; if you have a different or better way, drop it in the comments!

  • PlayerXtreme - Free, $3 in-app purchase for direct URLs - Download now (opens in new tab)
Serenity Caldwell

Serenity was formerly the Managing Editor at iMore, and now works for Apple. She's been talking, writing about, and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. In her spare time, she sketches, sings, and in her secret superhero life, plays roller derby. Follow her on Twitter @settern.

16 Comments
  • The best way to deal with WebM video is to ignore it. The world doesn't need crappily designed video codecs that only exist for political purposes. WebM should die the long slow horrible death it deserves.
  • WebM is another symptom of Google's we-can-do-it-better arrogance.
    Google doesn't care that they make enemies in industries they wade into.
  • Enemies? You're just a dumb herd, exactly no knowledge about the topic and here you are passing judgement anyway.
  • If you had any actual understanding on the topic, you would know WebM is a great format and your white shit needs an upgrade.
  • Hi! I just see the WebM Project video presentation, that is in WebM, in my iPhone and I had no problem .... i don`t understand the need ....
  • Some websites (like Google/YouTube) do auto-conversion on WebM videos for iOS users. Others (anyone who links to a WebM file directly) don't, so much.
  • Infuse 3 is pretty good.
  • I understand Google's point with webM, but I think H.264 was a good enough standard for this generation, like MP3 was for audio, and the better battle to fight would have been for next-gen. (And not only because H.265's HEVC acronym is egregious.)
  • "Google's WebM video file format has become nichely popular in the years since its debut." Who knows?
    With a little luck, It could become the next Flash.
    /s
  • Anything to stick it to MPEG-LA
  • "I'm not going to get into the reasons why people might prefer WebMs to gifs, MP4s, MKVs, or FLVs" because webM is lighter, faster and fluid, not a retard format like h264 or another stupid format.
  • This article seemed like an ad. There are many apps that will let you do the same thing. You might already have one installed. Sent from the iMore App
  • wonder what private data collector Mr. Google created in this video format...
  • This doesn't work. I've paid for the Pro version and not only does pasting a webm link not work but 'Open In.....' doesn't register in Safari.
    Waste of money for webm's.
  • This also doesn't work for me I also paid for the pro and open in doesn't register in safari
  • The best way to deal with WebM video is to download PlayerXtreme because this application can play all the audio video formats.