|Initial release||October 5, 1999|
10.2.4 / June 17, 2021
|Operating system||macOS 10.15.6 or later|
|Type||Video editing software|
|Initial release||June 22, 2010|
2.3.2 / December 14, 2020
|Operating system||iOS, iPadOS|
|Type||Video 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. Since version 3, iMovie has been a macOS-only application included with the iLife suite of Mac applications. 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.
Apple positions its iMovie video editor for the consumer market. For the professional market, Apple provides another product, Final Cut Pro.
High-definition video support
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).
Beginning in 2007, iMovie HD was renamed to iMovie again, but continues to include high definition support.
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 are 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.
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.
Supported media formats
|Video formats||Still-image formats||Audio formats||Container formats|
|Apple Animation Codec||BMP||AAC||3GP|
|Apple Intermediate Codec||GIF||AIFF||AVI|
|AVCHD (including AVCCAM, AVCHD Lite, and NXCAM)||JPEG||CAF||MOV (QuickTime)|
|DV (including DVCAM, DVCPRO, and DVCPRO50)||PNG||MP3||MP4|
|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. Instructions for this conversion process can be found here.
|MPEG-4 Part 2|
|AV1 / VP9|
|AVC0 Media AVA0 Media|
|Indeo video 5.1|
|Intel Video 4:3|
|Microsoft Video 1|
|Motion JPEG A|
|Motion JPEG B|
|VP3, VP5, VP6, VP6-E, VP6-S, VP7, VP8, VP9|
|Sorenson Video / Video 3 / YUV9|
|Windows Media Video 7, 8, 9|
|Xiph.org's Theora Video|
iMovie 2 added the ability to interleave video and audio tracks on the timeline.
iMovie 3 was plagued by performance issues and bugs.
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.
Beginning with version 5, iMovie was renamed to iMovie HD, 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 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 added support 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.
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, Metal graphics processing in version 2.2.5, external displays, and green screen effects in version 2.2.7.
|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|
|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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