What Are 3GP Files and How to Open Them?

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Your computer didn’t open a 3GP file? We’ll explain what 3GP files are and recommend software that we know can open or convert your 3GP files.

What is a 3GP file?

A 3GP file is a multimedia file stored in an audio and video container format developed by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). It stores video and audio streams that are transmitted between 3G mobile phones and over the Internet.

3GP is a media container format based on the ISO media file format. It stores video streams in H.263 or H.264 format and audio streams in AMR-WB, AMR-WB+, AMR-NB, HE-AAC v1, AAC-LC or enhanced aacPlus format.

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3GP files are commonly used by 3G mobile phones that support video recording, but can also be played on some 2G and 4G phones. When video files are transferred to a computer, you can open them with various applications such as Microsoft Movies & TV, Apple QuickTime Player or VideoLAN VLC Media Player.

Opening a 3GP or 3G2 file

3GP and 3G2 files can be played on many different 3G mobile phones without the need for a special application. Although there may be some limitations, 2G and 4G mobile devices are almost always able to play 3GP/3G2 files natively.

You can also open both media files on a computer. Commercial programs will of course work, but there are also many free 3GP/3G2 players available. For example, you can use software such as Apple’s free QuickTime Media Player, the free VLC Media Player or the MPlayer program.

You can also open 3G2 and 3GP files with Microsoft’s Windows Media Player, which is included in Windows. However, you may need to install a codec to view them properly, such as the free MPEG-4 FFDShow video decoder.


This type of multimedia file was created by the 3GPP 3rd Generation Partnership Project Group, hence its name – occasionally this type of file may have the extension 3GPP. Essentially a video container format, 3GP was created as a space-saving alternative to other file types. They should consume less bandwidth and data when shared, especially between mobile devices.


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