We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
iPhone apps Reviews
15,670 Reviews

BBC iPlayer 2.0 for iPhone and iPad review

Free

Manufacturer: BBC

Our Rating: We rate this 4.5 out of 5

The new BBC iPlayer iPhone and iPad app enables television to be downloaded, read our review to find out more.

The BBC iPlayer 2.0 app for iPhone and iPad introduces a great new feature: W-iFi downloads. This enables you to download television programs via Wi-Fi and store them locally on your iOS device. Our review puts this new feature to the test. See also: Best iPhone and Android apps.

Ever since the BBC iPlayer app launched in 2011 (and prior to that the BBC’s compelling iOS-optimised website) it’s been a great source of content for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad owners. See iPhone 4S review.

With its large catalogue of television programs and radio shows, all streamed without commercials, the BBC iPlayer app enables you to watch any show broadcast in the last seven days on the move. See iPad review.

The last update to BBC iPlayer finally enabled users to stream television shows over a 3G connection, removing the requirement to be connected to a Wi-Fi router. This made the app much more mobile, but the quality when using a 3G connection leaves something to be desired, and of course this doesn’t help out iPod touch or iPad WiFi owners on the move without 3G connections. Take a look at iPhone 5 launch: everything you need to know too.

Enter the latest update with its newfound ability to download programs and cache them locally on an iOS device for up to 30 days. Downloading is simple enough process, click the Download button underneath the main player window and it’ll start to store the program locally. You can then click play when you’re out and about and it’ll play the cached version rather attempt a 3G download.

The implementation is pretty good. You can request to download a program while browsing in 3G, and it’ll wait until a Wi-Fi connection is present before starting the download.

BBC iPlayer 2.0 for iPhone and iPadYou can start watching shows while they are downloading, and you can always still watch shows in 3G when on the move and wait for a Wi-Fi download when you return. Programs only download when the app is open, however, and it doesn’t initiate downloads in the background.

An option in the BBC iPlayer app Settings enables you to choose between Standard or Higher Quality Downloads. This typically doubles the amount of space (and consequently time required to download each episode). But it does deliver noticeably higher quality video playback, which is especially different on the iPad.

Normal quality downloads of shows are around 300MB, whereas higher quality ones are around 600MB. A recent episode of Doctor Who (Asylum of the Daleks) took up 270MB in standard definition or 527 in high definition mode.

The BBC iPlayer 2.0 app has a new Downloads tab that enables you to view a Queue of programmes, or a Downloaded list. You can pause, or remove downloads from within the App, or remove all downloaded content using the

The new BBC iPlayer 2.0 app has just become a lot more useful. Especially for anybody going on a long-haul flight, who’ll find the pre-downloaded television shows on the iPad much more entertaining than the in-flight system. Probably the only thing that’s missing is that you can’t download radio shows, only television shows. While these are easy enough to stream in 3G, it’d be nice to be able to download them for iPod touch owners, or people who use an iPhone in an environment without cellular connection.

BBC iPlayer 2.0 Expert Verdict »

Size: 19.1 MB
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 5.1 or later.
  • Overall: We give this item 9 of 10 overall

The BBC iPlayer app should be a stock download for all iOS device owners in the UK, and the latest update makes it even more useful. The ability to cache shows for 30 days will make it a vital component for anybody going on long journeys without reliable connection, and also make it less data intensive for watching television shows. The only improvements now would be the ability to subscribe to a series and download automatically, perhaps in the background. But this is a great update.

  • BBC iPlayer Beta review

    BBC iPlayer Beta

    BBC iPlayer is the BBC's on-demand TV download software and service.

  • iPlayer Radio review

    iPlayer Radio

    The BBC's iPlayer Radio app offers free access to live local and national radio broadcasts streamed over Wi-Fi or 3G on iPhone and iPod touch. Here's our iPlayer Radio review.

  • Microsoft Surface RT vs iPad 4 comparison review

    Microsoft Surface RT vs iPad 4 comparison

    Microsoft's Surface RT is a tablet that a lot of people have been waiting for, but how does it shape up next to the Apple iPad 4? We put the two up against each other in this Microsoft Surface RT vs iPad 4 comparison review.

  • BBC Media Player review

    BBC Media Player

    BBC Media Player is, well, a player for the BBC's video and audio content that works on Android smartphones and tablets. Here's our BBC Media Player review.

  • Sky+ app review - full control of Sky+ box from mobile and tablet

    Sky+ app - full control of Sky+ box from mobile and tablet

    The updated Sky+ app for iOS and Android offers near full control of your Sky+HD box from near and far.


IDG UK Sites

Best Christmas 2014 UK tech deals, Boxing Day 2014 UK tech deals & January sales 2015 UK tech...

IDG UK Sites

Chromebooks: ready for the prime time (but not for everybody)

IDG UK Sites

Hands-on with Sony's latest smartglasses

IDG UK Sites

The 13 most inspirational Tim Cook quotes