Apple has strict video encoding guidelines for its devices, and popular encoding tool Handbrake’s default presets are a little out-of-date. So we put together our own presets optimised for creating both iPad and iPhone 4-compatible video in Handbrake.
Note: these presets were designed to work with the new iPhone 4 and the iPad. They may not be compatible with other Apple devices.
Installing The Presets
We’ve had some issues importing these presets in the Windows version of Handbrake (they looked like they had imported and appeared in the preset list, but the settings didn’t actually make the trip), so if you find you have the same problems you should download this file instead. Hit Win+R, then paste %appdata%Handbrake and add the downloaded presets file. You’ll see two other preset files in the folder: handbrake_presets.xml and user_presets.xml. If you don’t have any of your own presets, go ahead and delete the user_presets.xml file and change the name of the downloaded file (currently windows_ipad_iphone_presets.xml) to user_presets.xml. If you do have your own presets, you can just open both files and copy the contents of windows_ipad_iphone_presets.xml into user_presets.xml. Either way, when you’re finished just open Handbrake and the new presets should now be available.
Choosing The Right Preset
If you’re ripping a DVD you’re dealing with standard definition video, so the SD preset is all you’ll need. If you’re converting HD content, however, you have a choice. You can either convert the content to a full 720p or use the iFrame preset, which will create a file that’s approximately 960×540. This is half-1080p resolution and is a size Apple likes to promote for HD content. It’s nearly full resolution on your iPad and is as close as you’ll get to full resolution on your iPhone 4. This is a good option for saving space if you’re planning on watching your videos mainly on the iPad. If you plan on showing them on your television or want a higher-quality file, using the 720p preset may be a better choice.
Encoding can be a particular thing, so while these presets aim for both quality and file size you may have your own preferences. If you do, please share them in the comments!