How to use iMovie on iPad

iMovie is a free, easy-to-use video editing application that you can use on any Apple product. Using iMovie on iPad has a particularly simple and minimalist interface. This makes it an ideal choice for doing some simple video editing on your videos or photos. The program has many good options for editing if you just need to do something simple and fast.

It’s also a better choice than more professional editing software if you don’t want to add complicated effects or changes, as it’s completely free to use. Also, unlike many free editing software, iMovie doesn’t leave any watermark on your finished project.

While iMovie is easy to use, however, there are many things you can miss that can greatly enhance the quality of your final product. Whether you just want to trim a few clips together or do something a little more involved, knowing the app’s insights will make using iMovie on iPad much easier.

Start a project

When you first open iMovie on your iPad, you’ll see a gray box with a plus sign labeled Create a project. Tapping this will let you choose whether you want to create a Movie or Trailer.

Project create button

The Movie better option to have full control over the project, but if you want to follow a template you can choose Summary.

When you have chosen Movie, you will be taken to a screen where you can choose which media you want to add to your project. You can choose from photos, videos, or other albums on your iPad.

Select photo and video window

When you touch a piece of media, click the check mark to add it to your project. Once you’ve added all the media you want, tap Make a movie on the bottom screen. You will then be taken to the main editing screen.

Ways to edit your project

To start editing media in your project, simply tap the clip in your timeline (bottom half of the screen). Several tools will appear and the clip you selected will be highlighted in yellow. There are five different sections with more options in each section.


Scissors icon

Under the scissor icon, you can select Detached to trim your clip at the cursor position. You can also separate the audio from the clip by selecting Audio Separation. Finally, you can copy the entire selected clip by tapping Replication.

Speed, velocity

Speed ‚Äč‚Äčicon

When you tap this, a yellow bar will appear in the selected clip in your timeline. You can move this bar from each end of the clip to select the part you want to speed select. You can slow down or speed up the selected part of the clip by moving the white circle in the line below the clip. The right side with the hare is increased speed and the side with the tortoise is slowing down.

You can also make a permanent frame of the frame your cursor is on by tapping frozen.


Volume icon

Using the scroll bar below the timeline, you can increase or decrease the audio in the selected clip.


Under this option, there are various pre-made titles and title animations that you can add to your video. You can also choose to center the text or lower it to the left corner of the video by tapping Center or Lower below text options.


Filter icon

If you choose to add any of these filters, they will change the look of the selected video. You don’t have much freedom in changing the look of the filters, but if you like how any of them look in your project it’s an easy way to style for it.

More options in iMovie

Besides these tools, you also have some other options for editing your project in iMovie that you might not notice at first.

Add audio and video directly from iMovie

Microphone and camera icons

On the left side of the screen, you’ll see the microphone and camera icons. By tapping the microphone, you can record audio from your iPad and it will be added to your project. You can do the same with videos by tapping the camera icon.


On the right side of your screen, there is a U-shaped arrow icon, and tapping it will undo the last action you did in iMovie.

See your sound

Undo and waveform icon

Right next to the Undo button is a waveform icon, allowing you to view any audio in your project. This will tell you what you’re doing if you change the volume or want to trim parts of the audio.

Change Project Settings

Gear icon

At the top right, there is a gear icon that you can tap to reveal more settings for your project. At the top, there are filters you can add that will be applied to your entire project instead of just a selected clip.

Below that are the themes you can add, which are some animations and graphics that will automatically be included in your project. The switch just below the themes allows you to turn the Theme background music on and off, which is the music and sounds that have been added to a particular theme.

Project Settings Menu

You can also choose for the project to fade to black and at the bottom you can choose whether changing the speed of the video also changes the pitch of the video’s audio.

Complete your project

When you’re done editing and happy with what you’ve done, you can press Accomplished in the top left corner of the screen to finish.

On this screen you can preview your full project and rename it whatever you want by tapping My Movies Title. If you decide you want to go back to editing, you can press Edit.

Project preview window

At the bottom of the screen, you can tap the first icon with the play button to preview your project in full screen. The icon with the box and the up arrow is Export lets you share, export, or save videos to your iPad.

If you decide you want to delete the video entirely, you can tap the trash to do so.

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