As you are probably aware the format that videos are in can make a big difference. In some cases, it can even affect whether or not a video can be viewed on a certain device or platform.

That is the reason why it is important that you choose the right format if you intend to watch videos (or want your videos to be watched) on mobile devices. But what format is best for them?

While there are several formats that technically can be watched on mobile devices – as things stand there are two in particular that are probably the ‘best’ options.

MP4 (H.264)

As a format MP4 is undoubtedly the most popular option out there when encoded using the H.264 (MPEG-4 AVC) video codec. It is widely used for online videos, and its popularity stems from the fact that when it was released it provided good video quality at lower file sizes.

Although it is relatively old, MP4 with H.264 remains popular due to the fact that it is supported by practically all devices and platforms – including mobile devices. Almost all mobile devices can use hardware acceleration to decode the format, which is more power-efficient than software decoding.

In short, using this format will essentially guarantee that you are able to watch your videos without any issues on any mobile device. The only caveat is that because it is older, there are newer formats that have better compression.

HEVC (H.265)

Speaking of newer formats with better compression, the HEVC (H.265) format that is the successor to H.264 is arguably the most popular of the new options.

It is able to compress videos much more efficiently than its predecessor. In fact, an H.264 video can be compressed to about 50% of its file size using H.265.

As you can imagine the improved compression makes this an attractive format for mobile devices – most of which have relatively limited storage space. It is part of the reason why Apple decided to start using HEVC encoding for videos recorded on iPhones and other devices.

However, despite its significant advantage, there is a downside to HEVC: Support. Unlike its predecessor, it is not as widely-supported and many older mobile devices will not be able to use hardware acceleration to view it.

That can result in significant battery drain when watching HEVC videos – which is definitely not ideal.

“Which is Best?”

If you want to know which of the two formats is ‘best’, you should ask yourself one simple question: Do the mobile devices that your video will be viewed on support HEVC?

Assuming they do you can take advantage of it and use it to conserve storage space on your mobile devices. However, if they do not (or you aren’t sure) – it is safer to use H.264.

The one exception is if you are willing to accept the fact that HEVC videos may drain your battery quite rapidly when they are watched. If you are, you can use it without too much worry – as most mobile devices can decode the format using the software, or you can download a player to do so.


At any time you can use Online Video Converter to switch the formats that your videos are inconvenient. All you need to do is read this guide to see how to upload any video and convert it to the format you need.

Overall if you make sure your videos are in the ‘best’ format for mobile devices, you shouldn’t face any issues. As you can see it can even help you conserve storage space and prevent battery drain in some cases.