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The Best Mobile Apps for Watching Video

Grab the best mobile video apps for watching video on your Android and iOS phones.

Apps in this Guide

While it's easy to stream videos on your phone using YouTube, for example, there are plenty of mobile apps for viewing, recording, editing, and sharing video with friends that you may not have thoughtmore

While it's easy to stream videos on your phone using YouTube, for example, there are plenty of mobile apps for viewing, recording, editing, and sharing video with friends that you may not have thought of. Watch TV shows, news broadcasts, and live streams of worldwide events on your phone.

What Are the Different Kinds of Mobile Video Players?

Which video player apps you use will largely depend on the videos you want to watch.

If you're looking for user-generated video, for example, you'll want to start with the YouTube app (Android and iOS). News? Try the CNN (Android and iOS) or CBS News (Android and iOS) app. Live gaming playthrough? Grab Twitch (Android and iOS). For live streams of events as routine as a snowy bus ride or as historic as a Senate vote, try Periscope (Android and iOS) and Facebook Live (Android and iOS).

Cable-cutters can download apps for their favored services too, from Hulu (Android and iOS) to Roku (Android and iOS). For video stored on your phone, your stock video player should be up to the task.

Troublesome videos beg for an app like the VLC media player (Android and iOS), which can handle multiple formats.

How Can I Create and Share Video?

For a polished video, look for an editing app that lets you work with clips and photos; organize and trim the clips, add music, transitions, effects, and titles; and then share through your favorite social service. If it seems like too much work, you can find apps that grab your video assets and automatically assemble a video for you.

For something a bit more spontaneous, apps such as Snapchat (Android and iOS) and Instagram (Android and iOS) let you capture short video clips and then share moments of your day with friends.

Can I Record What's On My Screen?

For recording what's on your phone's screen -- say, you want to capture the playthrough of a game -- look to a screen-recording app. You can capture your entire screen or a portion of it and pick quality settings. Some, such as Google's Play Games app (Android), include built-in screen recording tools for streaming and capturing gameplay, your voice, and even your facial expressions, which you can then upload to YouTube to share.

Best mobile video apps



With Snapchat, create and share short video stories with friends. You can also watch daily news shows created specifically for Snapchat, including NBC News daily show "Stay Tuned."



For cable-cutters, Hulu lets you watch current TV episodes, full seasons of shows, and a rotating collection of movies. You can also stream live and on-demand TV with a live streaming subscription.



With Periscope, you can share a live video stream from your phone. Tap the Live button, create a description for your live video, and hit Go Live with a public or private broadcast. You of course can also watch live events broadcast by others.



If you want to watch user-generated video, you want YouTube. You have a bazillion videos to choose from, and if you are feeling creative, you have upload and edit your own video with YouTube's easy-to-use tools.



The gold standard for binge-watching, the Netflix app lets you see original shows ("Stranger Things!"), movies, TV series, documentaries, and more on your phone. Its search tools can make you a little crazy, but otherwise, it may be the best way to watch and watch and watch.



The VLC video player can open almost any video or audio file on your phone and play it. It handles a broad range of multimedia files, it's easy to use yet powerful, and best of all, it's a free.