How to Download Music and Video Files to the iPad

Documents by Readdle

Have you ever needed to download music or video files to your iPad or iPhone? The lack of a dedicated file structure on the iPad is an often maligned feature that leads some to turn against the iPad as a tool for the classroom, but it shouldn’t. At least not when there are free apps like Documents by Readdle, which have been created to help fill that void. It is one of the few genuine five star apps in the App Store, and here’s why.

Let’s say you are looking for some music to add to an iMovie project that students have created to demonstrate some of their learning. Your options are, initially, a little limited. There are some built-in soundtracks with iMovie, but there are only a limited number to choose from and none are any longer than 1 minute and 4 seconds. So, you turn to the web and find a good selection of royalty free music that fits the bill, but how do you get it into iMovie?

Enter Documents by Readdle. Use the browser in the app to navigate to the page where the link to download the music can be found, and tap on the file you want to download. The pop-up menu will give you the chance to rename the file and to save it to a folder of your choice in the Documents app. Once downloaded, you can select the audio file you just downloaded and use the Open In… option to transfer to the file to iMovie where it can be added to an existing project, or a brand new one.

Best of all, this doesn’t just work with audio files. You can download videos, and drag them to a folder that transfers them to the Camer Roll on your iPad. You can also download images, Office docs, and even zip files (which can later be opened inside the Documents app). As a teacher, this flexibility is fantastic for any kind of multimedia project. Just be sure to check that your students are downloading media that they have rights to use, and are citing their sources accordingly.

Of course, Documents is not just an app for downloading files. It could be great for teachers who want to access or organize files on the go. It includes some basic PDF annotation, and the ability to connect and access your iCloud, Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, and other cloud accounts.  You can also save email attachments, save web pages to read later, and protect everything with a passcode.

I use a number of Readdle apps, and have always been impressed with the quality of them, so this is one to add to my collection. The video below is a quick walkthrough of how to use the Documents app for downloading files.

27 thoughts on “How to Download Music and Video Files to the iPad”

  1. You may try Allavsoft which can download music, video files from all kinds of video sharing websites to MP4, MOV, for iPad or AVI for Windows devices

  2. OMG!!!! Thank you thank you thank you! I’ve been looking for a way to do this I’m very limited with just my ipad right whoever you are i can just hug you so tight right now. Lol

    1. Trying to download a video file from YouTube into Documents by Readdle.. I can’t get the download box to open – nor do i see an arrow for the video. I see a ‘share’ swishy arrow, but it doesn’t take me to documents. How do I get the video into Documents?

      1. The issue here is that you can only download videos that have a download link for you to tap on. YouTube does not allow you to download videos on their site. It is against their terms and conditions so you cannot download YouTube videos this way.

          1. If a website does not provide a download link, it is because they don’t want you to download their videos. I’m not saying there aren’t ways to do it, but I am saying you shouldn’t in order to comply with copyright restrictions. If you want to practice this with Documents, look at creative commons video sites like or

  3. Trying to download a music file on YouTube, no luck. Help please. It is not a “copyright protected” file. Thanks for your help

    1. I guess it all depends on where you are downloading the music from. If you are using the YouTube Audio Library, then Documents still works. You just tap the down arrow to the right of the track you want to download.

  4. Thank you so much! This is exactly what I have been looking for to help our music teacher with ear training for MS. I was able to put a audio file in YouTube(using iMovie) and then put that video in EDPuzzle for the students! So excited!!!!

  5. hey im struggling to do this, when ive downloaded somehting and try to open in imovie it says ‘system is unable to find associated application’

  6. Hi, I’ve downloaded the app, it looks very good! However, I’m struggling to find the free music in YouTube to add to my fitness videos, can you give me the url please? Many thanks.

  7. Going through the app to the YouTube audio library, there isn’t a download arrow next to any songs. However I can hold down the “share” arrow and download that way. BUT it automatically saves as HTML and not MP3 or mp4. What am I doing wrong?

  8. Thank you for these instructions, really helpful!! I always use Acethinker Video Downloader to save online video as mp4 video, and then use iTunes to sync the mp4 video to my iPad, It’s not that direct, but it works well.

  9. Dear Jonathan!
    MANY MANY THANKS 🙏🏻 using it already to save videos to my ipad! Your article is brilliant, cannot thank you enough, Maria

  10. I have purchased a bundle of several audio file When I try to download them (the files will expire from my account in so many days) iPad will not allow me. I have read the comments, but they are different from my situation. Would you help please

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