iMovie is a video editing software application developed by Apple Inc. for macOS and iOS devices. It was originally released in 1999 as a Mac OS 8 application bundled with the first FireWire-enabled consumer Mac model – the iMac DV. Since version 3, iMovie has been a macOS-only application included with the iLife suite of Mac applications. In 2013, iMovie was included for free with the purchase of a new Mac or iOS device and has been free to all users since April 18, 2017.
iMovie 10.1.12 running on macOS Mojave
|Initial release||October 5, 1999|
|Operating system||macOS, classic Mac OS|
|Type||Video editing software|
|Initial release||June 22, 2010|
|Type||Video editing software|
High-definition video support
Starting with version 5 (from 2005), iMovie processes high-definition video from HDV camcorders, in later versions also from AVCHD camcorders and H.264-compressed video from MPEG-4 or QuickTime Movie files (.mov)., e.g. as generated by 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).
iMovie includes options to modify and enhance video color settings, crop and rotate of a video clip, stabilize shaky videos, add video transitions (such as fade), and changing the speed (speed up or slow down) of clips. There multi-clip video effects, such as creating a cutaway, using a green/blue screen to cut out a subject and replace the background with a different clip, creating a split-screen, and picture-in-picture effect. iMovie can also manipulate and enhance the audio of a project by reducing background noise and boosting audio levels of quiet clips.
Importing and exporting from other Apple software
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. 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.
iMovie allows for the creation of movie trailers through included templates. 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. The template also includes an outline for adding titles and credits to the trailer.
Supported media formats
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. Instructions for this conversion process can be found here.
|iMovie||October 5, 1999||Initially bundled with iMac DV. It was later issued as a free download on April 28, 2000.||Mac OS 8.6 and Mac OS 9|
|iMovie 2||July 19, 2000||Bundled with FireWire-enabled Macs, also a separate purchase and later bundled as part of Mac OS X.||Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X||Added new sounds (including some from Skywalker Sound), but removed older ones; also removed the Water Ripple effect. |
First Apple product to include the Aqua user interface.
|iMovie 3||January 7, 2003||Bundled with all new Macs, also a separate purchase (iLife), later as a free download.||Mac OS X||Bundled as part of iLife.|
|iMovie 4||January 6, 2004||Bundled with all new Macs, also a separate purchase (iLife '04).||Mac OS X||Bundled as part of the iLife '04 package.|
|iMovie HD 5||January 6, 2005||Bundled with all new Macs, also a separate purchase (iLife '05).||Mac OS X||Bundled as part of the iLife '05 package.|
|iMovie HD 6||January 10, 2006||Bundled with all new Macs and separate purchase (iLife '06), later as free download for owners of iLife '08.||Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther), Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger), Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard), Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard)||Bundled as part of the iLife '06 package.|
|iMovie '08 (7.0)||August 7, 2007||Bundled with all new Macs and for separate purchase (iLife '08).||Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) and 10.5 (Leopard).||Bundled as part of the iLife '08 package. Redesigned.|
|iMovie '09 (8.0)||January 27, 2009||Bundled with all new Macs and for separate purchase (iLife '09).||Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) and Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard)||Bundled as part of the iLife '09 package.|
|iMovie '11 (9.0)||October 20, 2010||Bundled with all new Macs sold on or after October 20, 2010 or for separate purchase in iLife '11.||Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard), Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion), OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) and OS X 10.9 (Mavericks)||Bundled as part of the iLife '11 package. Also available for purchase in the Mac App Store.|
|iMovie 10.0||October 22, 2013||Bundled with all new Macs and for separate purchase from the Mac App Store||OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) and later||The last version available for Mac OS X Mavericks (10.9 and later) is version 10.0.5.|
|iMovie 10.0.6||October 16, 2014||Bundled with all new Macs and for separate purchase from the Mac App Store||OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) and later|
|iMovie 10.0.8||April 23, 2015||Bundled with all new Macs and for separate purchase from the Mac App Store||OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) and later||YouTube uploader upgraded to API 3.0 to retain ability to upload directly from iMovie after April 20. Older versions of iMovie can no longer upload to YouTube directly due to API 2.0 being dropped 3 days prior. Can now use Sony XAVC-S format.|
|iMovie 10.0.9||June 25, 2015||Bundled with all new Macs and for separate purchase from the Mac App Store||OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) and later||Fixes issues with importing CineForm codec GoPro videos and crashing during YouTube uploads.|
|iMovie 10.1||October 13, 2015||Bundled with all new Macs and for separate purchase from the Mac App Store||OS X 10.10.5 (Yosemite) and later||Support for 4K resolution (3840 x 2160) on compatible Mac computers.|
|iMovie 10.1.1||January 20, 2016||Bundled with all new Macs and for separate purchase from the Mac App Store||OS X 10.10.5 (Yosemite) and later||Bug fixes.|
|iMovie 10.1.2||April 28, 2016||Bundled with all new Macs and for separate purchase from the Mac App Store||OS X 10.11.2 (El Capitan) and later||• Easy to find New Project button in the Projects browser
• Larger project thumbnails that match the look of iMovie for iOS
• Fast project creation lets you begin editing with a single click
|iMovie 10.1.3||October 27, 2016||Bundled with all new Macs and for separate purchase from the Mac App Store||OS X 10.11.2 (El Capitan) and later||Added Touch Bar support.|
|iMovie 10.1.4||December 2, 2016||Bundled with all new Macs and for separate purchase from the Mac App Store||OS X 10.11.2 (El Capitan) and later||Stability improvements.|
|iMovie 10.1.5||April 13, 2017||Bundled with all new Macs and free from the Mac App Store since April 18, 2017||OS X 10.11.2 (El Capitan) and later||• Fixes an issue which could add a red tint to video imported from some camcorders
• Addresses an issue which prevented some videos shot on iPhone from appearing in the import window
• Improves performance and stability
|iMovie 10.1.6||May 25, 2017||Bundled with all new Macs and free from the Mac App Store||OS X 10.11.2 (El Capitan) and later||• Improves stability when updating libraries created with earlier versions of iMovie
• Addresses an issue which could lower the volume of clips after transitions
|iMovie 10.1.7||September 25, 2017||Bundled with all new Macs and free from the Mac App Store||OS X 10.12.2 (Sierra) and later||• Adds support for importing video in the High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) format with macOS High Sierra
• Improves compatibility when sharing to YouTube
|iMovie 10.1.8||November 1, 2017||Bundled with all new Macs and free from the Mac App Store||OS X 10.12.2 (Sierra) and later||• Improves overall stability|
|iMovie 10.1.9||April 9, 2018||Bundled with all new Macs and free from the Mac App Store||macOS 10.13.2 (High Sierra) and later||- Ability to expand the width of the Inspector to view and adjust effect parameters
- Fixes issues with updating older libraries
- Faster redraw of audio waveforms when using clips that are being imported while recorded to disk
- Diamond icon in the Timeline Index to show when the user has modified display of roles in the timeline
- More color options in the Role Editor
- Reveal in Browser correctly displays the location of the original clip in the browser
- Support for Canon Log 3 and Sony S-Log3/S-Gamut3 log processing
- Resolves an issue in which the viewer could occasionally disappear when exiting full screen
- Resolves issues in which Share to DVD could become unresponsive
- Improves font quality of DVD menu and chapter titles
- Improves image quality when creating a DVD
- Enhanced DVD User dialog messages with embedded links to documentation
|iMovie 10.1.10||November 7, 2018||Bundled with all new Macs and free from the Mac App Store||macOS 10.13.6 (High Sierra) and later||
- Removes the option to share video files directly to Facebook
- Adds a new Prepare for Facebook option which exports a Facebook-compatible video file to your system, which you can manually upload to the Facebook website
- Improves overall stability
|iMovie 10.1.11||March 31, 2019||Bundled with all new Macs and free from the Mac App Store||macOS 10.13.6 (High Sierra) and later||
- Detects media files that may be incompatible with future versions of macOS after Mojave and converts them to a compatible format
- Improves reliability when sharing video to YouTube
iMovie HD included support for HDV (720p and 1080i) and 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 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 (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.
Criticism of iMovie '08
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."
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. However, in response to the release of the subsequent newer version of iMovie '09, Apple removed the download in late January 2009 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 (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 (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.
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.
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.
iMovie 10.1 was released on October 13, 2015. It allowed for 4K video editing and included a major user interface overhaul, as well as the removal of some peripheral features.
iMovie for iOS
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. 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. On March 7, 2012, Tim Cook announced an updated version of iMovie for iOS along with the third-generation iPad.
Later versions have added support for 4K resolution in version 2.2, Metal graphics processing in version 2.2.5, external displays, and green screen effects in version 2.2.7.
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