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What file formats can Android play?

Can your phone play as many file types as your computer?

Android phone on table
Image: Unsplash

When you want to play a video or audio file on your computer, you can download the necessary codec support required to play the file. That’s not the case on mobile platforms like Android, where the operating system has inbuilt codec and file support, and their file structure makes it difficult or impossible to add the necessary codec support for other file types.

Sometimes, it can be accomplished by installing a different app that is able to access the different file types, or you might have to convert your files with desktop software into a format that your Android can play.

Whatever method you use, it’s still best to stay within the file types natively supported by the mobile platform, as that will reduce the dependency on third-party software.

So, what file formats can Android play?

Short answer: Almost everything

The developer pages for Android has a handy chart with all the codecs and file/container types that the operating system can play. That includes popular music file types such as mp3, MPEG-4, and FLAC, as well as video codecs such as MP4 and WebM.

Android can also view most picture file types, such as BMP, GIF, and HEIF. Also, the camera can capture RAW images with the DNG format, as long as the device is running Android 5.0 (Lollipop) or newer.

What do you think? Surprised that the operating system can handle so many file types? Have you encountered any that it can’t? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere. His hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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