Plex 4.0 for iOS iPhone screenshot 001

Plex, the popular cross-platform media player and management software, on Monday introduced a thoroughly refreshed mobile application for the iPhone and iPad.

Not only has the app been completely rewritten from the ground up, but features a thoroughly revamped user interface and several new features, improvements and enhancements.

The new Plex for iPhone and iPad is the “poster child for new feature support,” developers said. Taking things to the next level, the app at last works over encrypted connections to home media servers and takes full advantage of Plex Home for effortless sharing of your movies, music and photos with other users.

Rich media browsing

No longer do you have to be content with browsing your media with only basic metadata as today’s update surfaces more information such as recommended movies, Rotten Tomatoes ratings and more.

All new audio and video player

In addition to much richer media browsing, Plex 4.0 introduces completely revamped audio and video players. For starters, you can now multitask like a pro: the new mini player sits on top of the interface as you continue to browse your media.

Plex 4.0 for iOS iPhone screenshot 002

Both the audio and video player respond faster to your commands. The new audio player now switches between cellular and Wi-Fi networks without interrupting playback and will soon feature support for gapless playback.

The improved video player has gained a chapter selection feature.

You can use it to select audio streams, subtitles and video quality during playback. Tidbits related to other Plex improvements such as Mobile Sync and Plex Media Server are listed in the changelog below.

Plex 4.0 changelog

Plex 4.0 includes the following enhancements and bug fixes:

  • We’ve completely redesigned the app, both visually and structurally. It’s easier than ever to navigate your libraries & find something to play, and the new discovery features help you get to the content you’re most likely to want. You can continue browsing during playback and use the new mini player to see and control what’s currently playing. We’ve also added support for more recent media server improvements like extras, related content, and our awesome new music features. All of this great functionality is presented with our beautiful new visual style – it’s fast, fluid and fun.
  • The new single-server UI matches other modern Plex apps. All servers are treated equally, whether they belong to you, or have been shared with you by someone else.
  • Our brand new audio player is much faster when loading or seeking, and switches seamlessly between cellular & wifi networks without interrupting playback. We’re also well on our way to gapless playback support (it’s close, but not quite perfect yet).
  • The video player has been enhanced with the addition of chapter selection and the ability to choose audio streams, subtitles, and video quality during playback.
  • There are many, many improvements to Mobile Sync. Playlists can now be synced, incremental syncs are super fast, and background downloads mean you no longer need to leave the app open for a sync to complete. We took the core of the Plex Media Server, shrank it down and embedded it within the iOS app, so your synced content will now benefit from all the rich browsing, discovery and playback features it provides.
  • You can browse your camera roll, and fling your photos and videos to other Plex players.
  • Multi-user households, rejoice! The app now supports Plex Home, including managed users.
  • There’s also support for secure connections to Plex Media Server. When you see the green padlock badge next to your server, your connection is fully encrypted.

To use Plex 4.0 for iOS, you must download Plex Media Server 0.9.12.5 or newer.

Availability

While it used to cost $4.99 a pop, Plex has adopted the freemium model so it’s now available at no charge whatsoever if all you need is to send photos and videos from the iOS Camera roll to your TV or use the app as a remote control for Plex Media Server running on your Mac or Windows PC.

Advanced features can be unlocked via a one-time $4.99 In-App Purchase. Existing paid customers will instantly gain access to the full set of Plex features.

Plex 4.0 requires an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad with iOS 8.1 or later. The app has native interfaces for all form-factor iOS devices and supports native display resolution of the iPhone 5/5s/5c, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Plex Media Server is available via the Plex website.

Plex for iOS is a free download form the App Store.

Screenshot courtesy of The Verge.

  • ricky

    Mine keeps crashing on the 6plus can’t get past the plex screen 🙁 Tried restarting phone, deleting and redownloading app. Nothing works. But the app works flawlessly on iPad Air 2.

    • This Guy

      They are doing maintenance today so some things will be funky for a bit. Hang tight.

      • ricky

        But it is not a server issue or anything like that. The app just won’t open on my 6plus and crashes back to the home screen but will work flawlessly on my Air 2, gf’s 6plus, dad n mom’s 6, sisters 6plus. I have literally tried everything. Turned phone off and back on. Deleted the app and redownloaded it. Deleted it and downloaded it from another Apple ID.

      • This Guy

        Ahh my mistake. You’ll have to bring that up to Plex then..

      • ricky

        Found out the problem on the Plex Forums. The jailbreak tweak “Eclipse” was interfering with it. Just blacklisted Plex from Eclipse and it started working now. 🙂

    • Simon Moorhouse

      Just out of interest did you manage to solve the crashing issue? Which iOS version are you on?

  • Marcus

    I use VLC & Kodi on my Mac. I use Infuse & Kodi on my iPhone. Does anyone recommend Plex over Kodi? I’ve read a lot of mixed reviews, but it seem like more people like Kodi.

    • Al

      Kodi is a better alternative. Lots of customization can be done with Kodi.

      They are similar yet different… Kodi can do plenty of things whereas Plex is limited… But Plex manages content very well.

      • Marcus

        Good to know. I’ll stick with Kodi.

      • Kodi is better for local playback within your own home network. If you want to watch media outside of your home you should use Plex since it transcodes (a fancy word for convert) media for playback at different bittrates so you can watch a video even over a 3G or 4G connection.

        You can use both though and they’ll both play nicely with eachother.

      • Marcus

        That’s good to know. I might have to try it out, but I’m not sure. I like watching videos on my Mac so I think Kodi would be the best option as I wouldn’t need Plex at all.

      • Niclas

        As aidan already said, they work very different. Both are great, I use plex more bc when I am at home I mostly watch on my tv/proj.

    • Mariano Martinez

      I tried using infuse to play movies from my plex server and it does not play giving errors. Could you play plex videos on infuse?

      • Marcus

        I’ve never tried it out. Sorry.

  • Simon Moorhouse

    FINALLY… Long overdue for a redesign. Working fine on iPhone 6 Plus and iPad Air 2 8.4. Does anyone know if this works on iOS 9 beta? I know the old version wouldn’t work.

    • Al

      I have it on my Air 2 running iOS 9 beta… It works fine.

      • Simon Moorhouse

        Great thanks for the reply

  • Al

    I really think they missed an opportunity with the redesign.

    The MiniPlayer is literally useless on the app.. It’s way too small. Maybe they was thinking of the new Music app when creating this new design. They should had done the MiniPlayer better.. Perhaps similar to have YouTube has their video docked to the side. Even AirVideo app does a better job.

    I like the new design… But they failed with the MiniPlayer. And there’s no support for landscape as well.

    • Techsticles

      +1 on the small PIP window instead of the current mini player and landscape support.

  • Kodi >>>

    • This Guy

      Kodi is very confusing and the layout is bad in my opinion. Plex is much more user friendly.

      I can’t even figure out how to add and catalog the movies on my NAS with Kodi, so I see no point in the app. I guess it’s ok for watching streaming stuff since it has a bunch of add-ons, but personally the reason I haven’t owned a TV in years is because I don’t want to watch that crap. I just want something that will serve movies and do it well. Plex does that.

      • solai

        you can create catogery by creating playlist using folder contain option in Kodi.

        For me to take long time to find and library manage ,library update,Stream to multiple device including smart tv,transcoding watch over online including browser and other device, multiple easy users and controls are very easy in Plex then Kodi

  • besrate hogsa

    kodi is better

    • This Guy

      For you, sure. I prefer Plex.

      • besrate hogsa

        For you sure
        I prefer Kodi isengard

      • Niclas

        Does kodi transcode?
        Checkmate. Mate.

      • Andy Loerch

        Well, currently Plex is transcoding ALAC files to MP3’s, so that’s not a bonus imho AND MP3s that were encoded using Itunes aren’t playing at all, as they just generate an nice, childlike “Uh Oh!” error message.

      • Niclas

        Well, I was thinking of video transcoding. Which is very common.
        Audio transcoding is not that common nor useful unless you have lossless music.
        But anyways:
        1. Plex suppoorts direct play for ALAC.
        2. iTunes converted mp3’s work just fine.
        If you have any problems, it might be bugs in the new release? I haven’t tried it with music because I use spotify.

      • eaglesgift

        Plex transcodes ALAC to mp3 for some strange reason, it doesn’t play it directly, and many of us do have lossless music so support for FLAC and ALAC playback actually would be useful – maybe not for you but for me and lots of other people. To say it’s “not that common nor useful” just because you listen to low-quality, lossy audio files is rather short-sighted to put it politely.

      • Niclas

        Try to read my reply again, good luck and if you need it ELI5, let me know.
        Video transcoding is essential in my opinion.
        Plex can actually direct play ALAC with the correct hw. A year ago (when it was posted, kodi stabile builds didn’t play ALAC correctly in android).
        (and fyi, I listen to high quality lossy audio that you would’nt be able to tell the difference from lossless

      • eaglesgift

        I don’t need to read your reply again. Plex transcodes ALAC to mp3 in iOS, fact. Could I tell the difference if I were listening on an iPad? Probably not. I think I could tell the difference between your lossy audio files and my lossless files if I played them through my stereo setup though (assuming any of our musical tastes coincide).

        Whether Plex directly plays ALAC files in Android is hardly relevant when we are commenting on an article about the iOS app is it?

  • :D

    Can you stream to a smart TV that doesn’t have the Plex app installed (I think it’s called DLNA streaming)?

    • Sleaka J

      Plex server supports DLNA.

      • :D

        Do you have to set it up somehow? When I click the ‘stream to’ icon, my TV doesn’t show. It does in other apps like YouTube though.

      • Sleaka J

        Log into your Plex server. Select Settings -> Server -> DLNA and tick “Enable the DLNA server”.

  • Vinnie

    Lame, we lost the ability to sort by folder!

  • iGadjet.RU

    Can’t save photos to my ios photo library! Please help!!

  • Andy Loerch

    The new audio player does not support ALAC files which for me is an absolute, epic FAIL, but even worse than that, it also does not support many MP3’s that were encoded using Itunes 11.