How to add The Great Courses video downloads to your iPad

The Great Courses is well, great. Except for one thing – you can’t easily download the lecture videos to your iPad from the website or the iPad App, you can only stream them from there. This is a bit of an oversight, since the iPad App is very useful, but you’re likely to be travelling when wanting to use it, and have no connection to stream the lectures. So instead you need to download the lectures, then get them added to iTunes, then sync to your iPad. Here’s how it works for me (this is Windows, but Mac should be same):

Set your Courses download preference to be iTunes MV4 (under My Digital Library -> Download Preferences):

2014-12-03 18_52_06-Download Preferences

In iTunes go to Edit -> Preferences, click on the Advanced tab, and ensure the option ‘Keep iTunes Media Folder Organized’ it ticked, and for good measure also tick the ‘Copy files to iTunes Media Folder when adding to Library’.

2014-12-03 18_55_19-Advanced Preferences

Go and download some lectures. Then in iTunes go to File -> Add Files to Library, choose those MV4 lecture files.

Then you need to look under TV Shows (rather than Movies – this caught me out first time around!), and it should now have those added lectures.

Now plug in the iPad and copy over the files manually, or sync TV Shows – however you have your iPad set up.

2014-12-03 18_58_35-iTunesThe iPad SD Card way

An alternative and useful method – especially if your disk space is limited on your iPad – is to purchase a lightening to SD card adapter, such as this one:

You can then transfer your MV4 lecture files onto the SD card, however, they must be in a certain folder and named in a particular way (like images from a digital camera, basically). So firstly, create a folder in the SD card called DCIM. Copy your lecture files into this folder, then rename the files to DSC_1001.mv4. Increment the number of course, for DSC_1002.mv4, and so on.

Plus your card into the adapter and then into the iPad, and it should bring up your Photo library (if it doesn’t do it automatically, just open it anyway), and on the bottom panel should say ‘Import’. In there you can should see your files, where you can select them and choose import.

This is a perfect solution if you have a lot of lectures, and not much disk space on the iPad – since you can import one at a time, delete it, and import the next.


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