iMovie (known at times as iMovie HD) is a preinstalled video editing application developed by Apple Inc. for macOS, iOS, and iPadOS devices.[2][1]

iMovie for Mac
IMovie 2013.png
IMovie (2019) Screen.png
iMovie 10.1.12 running on macOS Mojave
Developer(s)Apple Inc.
Initial releaseOctober 5, 1999; 22 years ago (1999-10-05)
Stable release
10.3.1 / November 15, 2021; 5 months ago (2021-11-15)[1]
Operating systemmacOS 11.5.1 or later
TypeVideo editing software
iMovie for iOS
IMovie iOS logo.jpg
Developer(s)Apple Inc.
Initial releaseJune 22, 2010; 11 years ago (2010-06-22)[2]
Stable release
3.0 / April 12, 2022; 26 days ago (2022-04-12)[2]
Operating systemiOS 15, iPadOS 15
TypeVideo editing software

It was originally released in 1999 as a Mac OS 8 application bundled with the first FireWire-enabled consumer Mac model, the iMac DV.[3] Since version 3, iMovie has been a macOS-only application included with the iLife suite of Mac applications.[4] iMovie was included for free with the purchase of a new Mac or iOS device in late 2013 and has been free to all users since early 2017.[5]

Apple positions its iMovie video editor for the consumer market. For the professional market, Apple provides another product, Final Cut Pro.

High-definition video supportEdit

Starting in 2005, iMovie was renamed to iMovie HD, and added support for high-definition video from HDV camcorders. Later versions added support for footage from AVCHD camcorders, and H.264-compressed video from MPEG-4 or QuickTime Movie files (.mov)., as generated by e.g. a number of digital photo cameras with HD video recording feature.

To facilitate this, iMovie/iLife installs the Apple Intermediate Codec on the system as a QuickTime component. iMovie transcodes (‘optimizes’) HD video upon ingestion (‘import’) using this codec and stores it in the QuickTime file format (.movie).[6]

Beginning in 2007, iMovie HD was renamed to iMovie again, but continues to include high definition support.


Video effectsEdit

iMovie includes options to modify and enhance video color settings,[7] crop and rotate of a video clip,[8] stabilize shaky videos,[9] add video transitions (such as fade, doorway, slide, swap, mosaic, cube, and page curls),[10] and changing the speed (speed up or slow down) of clips.[11] There are multi-clip video effects, such as creating a cutaway,[12] using a green/blue screen to cut out a subject and replace the background with a different clip,[13] creating a split-screen, and picture-in-picture effect.[14][15] iMovie can also manipulate and enhance the audio of a project by reducing background noise and boosting audio levels of quiet clips.[16]

Importing and exporting from other Apple softwareEdit

With iMovie having versions on Apple's mobile and desktop operating systems Apple introduced a feature which allowed users to import iMovie projects from iOS to macOS.[17] Similarly, if a project ends up requiring more advanced editing than iMovie can provide, iMovie allows projects to be sent to Final Cut Pro X.[18]


iMovie allows for the creation of movie trailers through included templates.[19] The trailers feature in iMovie allows for clips to be easily dropped into the timeline which consists of storyboard panes which have a label that lists which type of clip should be placed in each pane.[20] The template also includes an outline for adding titles and credits to the trailer.[21]

App previewsEdit

iMovie can be used to create app previews for use in Apple's App Store. App previews allow developers to give users a brief overview of an app through video rather than images.[22]

Supported media formatsEdit

Media formats compatible with versions of macOS after macOS Mojave[23]
Video formats Still-image formats Audio formats Container formats
Apple Animation Codec BMP AAC 3GP
Apple Intermediate Codec GIF AIFF AVI
Apple ProRes HEIF BWF M4V
AVCHD (including AVCCAM, AVCHD Lite, and NXCAM) JPEG CAF MOV (QuickTime)
DV (including DVCAM, DVCPRO, and DVCPRO50) PNG MP3 MP4
H.264 PSD MP4
iFrame TIFF
Motion JPEG (OpenDML only)

The following media formats will no longer be compatible with versions of iMovie after macOS Mojave due to Apple transitioning to 64-bit technology in macOS. These files formats can be converted within iMovie on macOS Mojave or prior to be compatible with future releases.[23] Instructions for this conversion process can be found here.

Media formats losing support after macOS Mojave[23]
MPEG-4 Part 2
AV1 / VP9
AVC0 Media AVA0 Media
BitJazz SheerVideo
Flash Video
Indeo video 5.1
Intel Video 4:3
JPEG 2000
Microsoft Video 1
Motion JPEG A
Motion JPEG B
VP3, VP5, VP6, VP6-E, VP6-S, VP7, VP8, VP9
Planar RGB
Sorenson 3
Sorenson Sparc
Sorenson Video / Video 3 / YUV9
Streambox ACT-L2
Windows Media Video 7, 8, 9's Theora Video

Version historyEdit

iMovie (1999)Edit

The first version of iMovie was released in 1999 as a Mac OS 8 application bundled with the first FireWire-enabled consumer Mac model, the iMac DV.[3]

iMovie 2 (2001)[24]Edit

iMovie 2 added the ability to interleave video and audio tracks on the timeline.

iMovie 3 (2003)[25]Edit

iMovie 3 was plagued by performance issues and bugs.

iMovie 4 (2004)[25]Edit

iMovie 4 introduced nondestructive video editing. In prior versions of iMovie, trimming a clip removed the trimmed portion permanently. Beginning in version 4, iMovie introduced Direct Trimming, implementing editing functionality closer to professional grade editing software.

iMovie HD 5 (2005)[26]Edit

A blank movie project in iMovie HD, included with iLife '05.

Beginning with version 5, iMovie was renamed to iMovie HD,[27] and included support for HDV (720p and 1080i) as well as integration with the rest of the iLife suite, with toolbox buttons allowing the importing of images from iPhoto, music from iTunes and the setting of chapter markers ready for exporting to iDVD.

iMovie HD 5 imported mjpeg files as dv by default, which introduces noise; mjpeg files are cryptically lumped with "isight" files in this version.

Another new feature was included called "Magic iMovie", which attempted to automate the whole process of video editing, by allowing a common transition to be added between scenes, a music track to be synchronised with the video and a DVD to be created with the accompanying iDVD software.

iMovie HD 6 (2006)[28]Edit

iMovie 6 was released in January 2006 as part of the iLife '06 suite, and was also originally optionally included with iLife '08 as a substitution for iMovie '08 (due to the new version's incompatibility with older Power PC Macintosh computers). However, this option was removed after iLife '09 was released. It was integrated with iPhoto, iTunes, iDVD, GarageBand and iWeb. iMovie HD 6 was designed for ease of use, and included new themes. Themes allow the user to drop movie clips or photos into professionally designed backdrops. Each theme included full-motion graphic bumpers and transitions. iMovie HD 6 also added real-time effects, which took advantage of the computer's graphic processing unit to perform some effects without rendering. It also introduced real-time titling, enhanced audio tools and effects, the ability to have multiple projects open at once, video podcasts and blogs (using integration with iWeb), and a refined look based on iTunes 5 and 6.

iMovie '08 (2007)[29]Edit

iMovie '08 (Version 7.0) was released in August 2007 as a part of the iLife '08 suite. iMovie '08 was a complete redesign and rewrite of iMovie. It had much better HD output, and more formats to convert to. This was limited, however, by an undocumented restriction on supported codecs. iPhoto uses the QuickTime library and can create thumbnails for all QuickTime supported formats, but most of these cannot be used by iMovie '08. Some of the formats that iMovie '08 is able to import will not be recognized when they are added to an iPhoto library. Though Motion JPEG-encoded AVI files do appear to be recognized, this was the most common format used by digital cameras. A new feature called "skimming" for quickly previewing video in the library at a user controlled speed was added, and so was a feature that allows the user to highlight parts of video clips just like highlighting text. iMovie 08 also had the ability to add more than two layers of background sound, including multiple music, narration and sounds; previous versions could play multiple tracks but could display only two extra audio tracks. It included more exportation formats, including iPhone-sized video. It also supported non-tape-based HD video, such as AVCHD and footage from DVD and HDD camcorders. iMovie '08 also has the ability to export movies to the YouTube video sharing website.

According to Apple's system requirements, iMovie '08 requires a Mac with either a 1.9 GHz or faster PowerPC G5 or Intel processor. G4s are not supported, even though Apple sold its last G4-based Computers (iBook G4s) 14 months before the release of iLife '08. However, a system hack enables iMovie 7.1 or higher to run on a PowerPC G4.[30]

Criticism of iMovie '08Edit

iMovie 08 was criticized due to its drastic abandonment of some iMovie HD 6 features. Former New York Times reviewer David Pogue said "iMovie ‘08 is an utter bafflement... incapable of the more sophisticated editing that the old iMovie made so enjoyable...All visual effects are gone — even basic options like slow motion, reverse motion, fast motion, and black-and-white. And you can’t have more than one project open at a time."[31]

Features removed included the classic timeline, the ability to create DVD chapter markers, support for plugins, and in-timeline audio adjustment and control. iMovie '08 imports to a much more limited set of video codecs and metadata formats than previous versions of iMovie or today's QuickTime Player. For example, QuickTime Player can be extended to support the FLIP Video 3ivx MPEG-4 codec, but iMovie '08 cannot. iMovie '08 also removed the ability to import DV footage. As a result, all resulting videos have lossy compression applied and there is no facility for managing full format video. The peculiar lack of QuickTime support means QuickTime Pro can edit a larger range of video than iMovie '08.

Apple released iMovie HD 6 as a free download to those who had purchased iMovie '08.[32] However, in response to the release of the subsequent newer version of iMovie '09, Apple removed the download in late January 2009[33] while also reducing the $299 price tag for Final Cut Express to $199. Several of the features removed from iMovie '08 that were previously included with iMovie HD 6 have been restored into iMovie '09 and, more recently, iMovie '11.

iMovie '09 (2009)[34]Edit

iMovie '09 (Version 8.0) was released January 2009 as part of the iLife '09 package. It introduced some new features and restored some features from previous versions of iMovie, including basic video effects (such as fast/slow motion and aged film) and image stabilization as well as travel map functions for marking locations where a video was shot. iMovie '09 also introduced simple implementations of more advanced features such as picture-in-picture and Chroma keying. It also improved editing with a precision cut editor and a clip trimmer, improved support for hard drive-based cameras such as the Flip Mino, added some new titles and transitions, and added full iDVD support (which was unavailable in iMovie '08). In addition, it introduced a Full-Screen Library Browser with which the user can find and examine all of his or her video in one place.

iMovie '11 (2010)[35]Edit

iMovie '11 (Version 9.0) was released on October 20, 2010, as part of the iLife '11 package. It has the ability to make trailers for home movies, more control over audio, instant replay and flash and hold effects, facial recognition, news themes, and the ability to watch the video on a Mac, iPad, iPhone/iPod touch, or Apple TV, as well as sharing on Facebook and YouTube. It now supports the AVCHD Lite format.

Apple worked with Abbey Road Studios in London, England, to bring original music/film scores to iMovie '11. The music is most notably used in the "trailers" feature provided by the software.

On January 6, 2011, Apple made iMovie '11 (along with Aperture, the iWork suite, and the rest of the iLife suite) available on the then-new Mac App Store.[36]

Prior versions of iMovie had the ability to split an event so that the unwanted portion of a long event could be deleted in order to save memory. This feature was removed in iMovie ‘11 and is no longer available in iMovie or Final Cut Pro X (FCPX). But in FCPX, as a workaround, you can cut out all but the desired part of a project, export that project in ProRes 422 format, and then import that export. This can be used as a smaller source clip instead of the original larger one.

iMovie 10.0 (2013)[37]Edit

iMovie 10.0 was released on October 22, 2013, by Apple Inc. This version of iMovie was a complete redesign with more options to share a movie, more movie and trailer theme options from iMovie for iOS, easier to make picture-in-pictures, cutaways, side-by-sides etc., more realistic green-screen effects and easier refinements. Because it was not compatible with projects created with iMovie 9, upgrading to iMovie 10 did not replace the earlier version, but instead moved it to a folder where it could still be used.

iMovie 10.1 (2015)[38]Edit

iMovie 10.1 was released on October 13, 2015. It added support for 4K video editing and included a major user interface overhaul, as well as the removal of some peripheral features.

iMovie for iOSEdit

On June 7, 2010, Steve Jobs announced in his WWDC keynote that the upcoming iPhone 4 would support a new, iOS-native version of iMovie that supports many of the basic features of the Mac version of the software.[39] iMovie for iPhone was officially available on June 24, 2010, to coincide with the launch of the iPhone 4.

On September 1, 2010, iMovie was made compatible with the new 4th-generation iPod Touch. An iPad version of iMovie for iOS was made available with the release of iPad 2, announced at an Apple media event on March 2, 2011, and released seven days later.[40] On March 7, 2012, Tim Cook announced an updated version of iMovie for iOS along with the third-generation iPad.

The app was later made free and preinstalled on future Apple devices for no extra charge. Later versions have added support for 4K resolution in version 2.2,[41] Metal graphics processing in version 2.2.5,[42] external displays,[43] and green screen effects in version 2.2.7.[13]

iMovie 3.0 (2022)[44]Edit

In April 2022, Apple Inc. introduced their new version iMovie 3.0 with new features that enable easier and faster creation of edited videos on the iPhone and the iPad. These new features, namely Storyboards and Magic Movie, have been designed to enhance the overall experience of storytelling and movie making process for aspiring creators. The new iMovie Storyboards provide pre-made templates for easier sharing on different content formats and the Magic Movie feature allows effortless transitions and personalization of videos.[45]

Version Dates Availability System Notes
1.0 June 22, 2010 App Store iOS 4.0 or later Initial release for iPhone 4
1.0.1 July 6, 2010 App Store iOS 4.0 or later Improves reliability of exports with photos, resolves music playback issues and improves general performance and relaibility
1.1 September 8, 2010 App Store iOS 4.1 or later Added support for iPod Touch (4th generation)
1.2 March 10, 2011 App Store iOS 4.3 or later Added support for iPad 2, and later iPhone 4S
1.2.1 June 1, 2011 App Store iOS 4.3 or later Improves support for Apple Digital AV Adapter, various performance and relaibility improvements.
1.2.2 October 12, 2011 App Store iOS 5.0 or later Improves support for importing videos from external cameras
1.3 March 7, 2012 App Store iOS 5.1 or later Added support for iPad (3rd generation) Create movie trailers and import songs from GarageBand
1.3.1 May 1, 2012 App Store iOS 5.1 or later Adds ability to access help while editing a project
1.4 September 19, 2012 App Store iOS 6.0 or later Added support for iPhone 5, iPod Touch (5th generation), iPad (4th generation) and iPad Mini
1.4.1 February 13, 2013 App Store iOS 6.0 or later Improves relaibility and stability
1.4.2 September 3, 2013 App Store iOS 6.0 or later Fixes compatibility issues
2.0 October 22, 2013 App Store iOS 7.0 or later Added support for iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S, iPad Air and iPad Mini 2, iMovie for iOS version 2.0 had a new design to match iOS 7
2.1 September 17, 2014 App Store iOS 8.0 or later Added support for iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3
2.1.1 November 6, 2014 App Store iOS 8.0 or later Added support for iCloud Photo Library and iCloud Photo Sharing
2.1.2 April 30, 2015 App Store iOS 8.0 or later Fixes YouTube sharing compatibility
2.2 September 16, 2015 App Store iOS 9.0 or later Added 4K support on iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, iPad Pro
2.2.1 October 22, 2015 App Store iOS 9.1 or later Added 4K support on iPad Air 2
2.2.2 April 20, 2016 App Store iOS 9.2 or later Fixes stability issues
2.2.3 July 28, 2016 App Store iOS 9.3 or later Added the ability to start a project with multiple clips, share to Facebook and Vimeo, and support for Shared iPad
2.2.4 September 5, 2017 App Store iOS 10.3 or later Fixes YouTube sharing compatibility
2.2.5 April 12, 2018 App Store iOS 11.2 or later Add support for Super Retina display on iPhone X and Metal for graphics processing
2.2.6 November 7, 2018 App Store iOS 11.4 or later Add support external display to preview while editing on iPhone 7 or later and iPad (6th generation), iPad Pro (2017) or later
2.2.7 June 11, 2019 App Store iOS 11.4 or later Adds support green-screen effects, ClassKit, removes the ability to share to iMovie Theater with similar functionality being supported through iCloud Photos[1]
2.2.8 September 24, 2019 App Store iOS 12.4 or later Added support for iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max
2.2.9 March 31, 2020 App Store iOS 13.1 or later on iPhone and iPod touch

iPadOS 13.1 or later on iPad

Added support for 4th gen 12.9” iPad Pro and 2nd gen 11” iPad Pro
2.2.10 August 25, 2020 App Store iOS 13.4 or later on iPhone and iPod touch

iPadOS 13.4 or later on iPad

2.3 October 22, 2020 App Store iOS 14.0 or later on iPhone and iPod touch

iPadOS 14.0 or later on iPad

Added support for iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max
2.3.3 September 28, 2021 App Store iOS 15.0 or later on iPhone and iPod touch

iPadOS 15.0 or later on iPad

Added support for Cinematic mode on iPhone 13 and support for ProRAW images.


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  2. ^ a b c "iMovie". App Store.
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  8. ^ "CROP AND ROTATE CLIPS: Crop a clip". Retrieved April 15, 2018.
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  12. ^ "Create a cutaway effect". Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  13. ^ a b "Use a green-screen or blue-screen effect to superimpose one clip over another". Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  14. ^ "Create a split-screen effect". Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  15. ^ "Create a picture-in-picture effect". Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  16. ^ "ADD MUSIC AND SOUND CLIPS: Correct and enhance audio". Retrieved April 15, 2018.
  17. ^ "Import a project from iMovie for iOS". Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  18. ^ "Send a project to Final Cut Pro X". Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  19. ^ "Create a trailer". Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  20. ^ "Add video to your trailer". Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  21. ^ "Add titles and credits to your trailer". Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  22. ^ "Create an app preview". Retrieved July 31, 2019.
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External linksEdit