September 19, 2023

How to edit videos on your iPhone: A beginner’s guide

Nothing ruins great footage like a bad edit. Learn how to edit videos on iPhone and create great clips—no matter your skill level or budget.
September 19, 2023

How to edit videos on your iPhone: A beginner’s guide

Nothing ruins great footage like a bad edit. Learn how to edit videos on iPhone and create great clips—no matter your skill level or budget.
September 19, 2023
Elsier Otachi
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What type of content do you primarily create?

Videos
Podcasts
Social media clips
Transcriptions
Start editing audio & video
This makes the editing process so much faster. I wish I knew about Descript a year ago.
Matt D., Copywriter
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What type of content do you primarily create?

Videos
Podcasts
Social media clips
Transcriptions


If you want to make great videos, you can make great videos — even if you think you don’t have the right equipment. These days, a smartphone will do the job well enough. 

If you’re an iPhone user, you already have a quality camera and editing software built into your device. With a few tweaks to your camera settings, a solid microphone, and a lighting setup, you can produce professional-looking videos any time. 

This step-by-step guide explains how to edit videos on an iPhone, with the tricks and settings to produce stylish videos.

Can you edit videos on iPhone?

You can edit videos on an iPhone using the preloaded Photos app or iMovie app.

In the Photos app, you can trim your video, adjust color and light, and add filters. It's not possible to merge multiple clips into one video or add onscreen text — you'll need iMovie for that. iMovie also lets you trim clips, add titles, background music, sound effects, voiceovers, filters, and seamless transitions.

iMovie works on other Mac and iOS devices and even supports 4K video. However, iMovie's editing tools aren't as sophisticated as others, which can leave professional content creators disappointed. 

Read more: How to use Apple Continuity Camera for professional videos

How to edit videos on my iPhone

With some footage, a bit of creativity, and your iPhone, you can edit and produce great-looking clips. The tutorial below covers how to edit videos on iPhone using the built-in Photos app and iMovie app.

1. Open the Photos app

Opening Photos app on iPhone

2. Find and select the video

Tap the Videos album and select your video.

Finding a video on iPhone

This step may be different depending on your iOS version. For instance, if your iPhone runs iOS 12, tap Albums > Media Types > Videos. For earlier iOS versions, tap Albums > Videos.

3. Tap "edit"

Finding the Edit feature in the Photos app

Note: If you just recorded a video using Camera, tap the box in the lower-left corner, then tap Edit in the top corner. 

A timeline bar will appear at the bottom of the screen showing each frame of your video.

Timeline bar for editing videos on iPhone

Below the timeline bar, you’ll find a set of four editing options:

  • Edit: This camera-like icon brings up the video timeline.
  • Adjustment: Select this tool (shaped like a dial) to tweak your video’s exposure, brilliance, shadows, highlights, contrast, warmth, saturation, vibrancy, tint, sharpness, and other attributes.
  • Filter: Tap the filter icon (shaped like three rings) to apply different color filters, such as original, vivid, dramatic, mono, and silvertone to your video. Use each filter’s slider bar to increase or decrease its intensity.
  • Crop: Crop your video by dragging the guidelines until you get the portion you want.

4. Adjust video settings

Tap and hold either end of the timeline to engage the trimming tool (indicated by a yellow border around the timeline bar). 

Move the sliders to change the start and stop times and cut out the unwanted portion. For more precise editing, tap and hold an anchor to expand the timeline bar.

Trimming a video on iPhone

5. Add text, captions, or markup 

If you’re producing a video for an audience, adding captions or subtitles makes it accessible for hearing-impaired viewers and those watching with the sound turned off. Otherwise, they’ll miss the best part of your content. 

You can add text, titles, or captions to a video on your iPhone using the Photos app. However, it’s more tedious this way as you’ll need to log in to Photos on iCloud.com first—that means switching between Photos and your browser. 

An easier way is to use iMovie, which has various tools to add and edit text to your video. Here’s how:

Tap Done in the Photos app, then save the trimmed clip before switching to iMovie to add your text, captions, or markup.

Tap Save Video to save the trimmed clip or Save Video as New Clip to save both versions of the clip.

Saving video in Photos app

Next, download iMovie from the App Store, then tap to launch it. Then, select Start new project

Starting a new project in iMovie

Tap the Movie option to create a new project.

Selecting the movie option in iMovie app

Select a clip to upload from the most recent videos you recorded directly or uploaded to your iPhone. 

Choosing a movie from album on iPhone

Scroll the timeline bar so the playhead (white vertical line) appears where you want to add your video.

Image of the timeline bar in iMovie

Tap the Add Media (+) button.

Adding media in iMovie

Select Video.

Choosing video option in iMovie

Select Video, then tap the T (or text) option. You’ll find a variety of templates and text styles to choose from, each with different font sizes and animations. 

Adding text in iMovie video timeline

Tap on each style to preview what the text will look like, and pick the right one for your video. Enter your text and select where it’ll be displayed: in a lower corner or across the middle of the screen.

Adding text to iMovie

Tap Done in the top left corner of the screen.

Next, tap the Play button to preview your video in landscape full screen mode and ensure your captions/subtitles are accurate. If you notice a wrong word or misspelling, revert to edit mode, select the video, and tap the T (text) icon.

Previewing added text to video

When you’re happy with the text, select Save Video to store the video on your iPhone.

Saving video to iPhone

Tip: If your iPhone’s storage is full, our guide on how to send large, high-quality video files using your phone (iOS or Android) shares all the services and platforms at your disposal.

6. Use the magic wand (auto-enhance)

Apple’s auto-enhance feature—which resembles a magic wand—automatically adjusts your video’s color and brightness levels. 

However, this tool doesn't always produce the best results. More often than not, it worsens the Video through overexposure and oversaturation instead of improving it. Plus, any changes you make affect the entire Video—not just one part. 

But it’s worth a try, since you can always undo your work. Open the Photos app again, select the video you just edited, then tap the Auto Enhance (magic wand) tool. When enabled, the icon will turn pale gray.

Using Apple’s Auto Enhance feature for video

Use the slider to adjust the intensity of the edits. 

Adjusting enhancements to video in Photos app

To remove the auto-enhancement from your video, tap the Auto Enhance tool again (when disabled, the Auto Enhance icon will change from pale to dark gray).

7. Preview your edited video

Tap the Play button to preview your trimmed video.

8. Save your video

When you’re finished, tap Done.

How to trim videos on iPhone

You can trim a video to make it longer or shorter, split it into two separate clips, or change the sequence of clips.

1. Tap the iMovie app. 

2. Select the video you want to trim.

Choosing a video to trim

3. Enter Edit mode. Tap the Video in the timeline. A yellow highlight around the clip indicates you're in Edit mode.

4. Use the Trim tool to shorten or lengthen your video clip.

Using the Trim tool in iMovie mobile app

5. Adjust trim points.

image

For easier editing, pinch open in the center of the timeline to zoom in on the video and see more detail.

Drag the clip’s edge toward the center to shorten it or away from the center to lengthen it. 

If you can’t drag the edges on either side, there might not be additional video on either end of the clip, or it’s at the shortest length allowed by iMovie (0.3 seconds). 

How to cut and shorten videos on iPhone

Whether you use Photos or iMovie, you can trim a video to change its start and stop points.

1. Open the Photos app.

2. Select the video you want to cut and shorten, then tap Edit.

3. Adjust cut points.

Drag the ends of the frame viewer to adjust start and stop points, then tap Done.

Adjusting the start and stop point for video.

4. Tap the Play button to preview the shortened video.

Previewing shortened video.

5. Tap Save Video (saves the trimmed clip) or Save Video as New Clip (keeps the original version and saves an additional trimmed clip in your library). 

Saving video as New Clip in Photos app.

If you overwrote the clip, tap Edit, then select Revert to undo the changes. If you save it as a new clip, you can't undo the changes.

How to add filters to videos on iPhone

You can add iMovie’s video filters to clips in your project or the entire project to enhance or change how they look, such as converting a color clip to Sepia or black and white.

To add filters to a single clip:

1. Tap the Photos app to launch it.

2. Tap on the video you want to add filters to.

3. Select clip in the timeline to reveal the inspector (‘i’) icon.

Finding the inspector icon in albums

4. Access the Filters tool (shaped like three rings).

Tapping the Filters tool on iPhone

5. Choose a filter to preview it in the viewer. 

Previewing filter

6. Adjust filter intensity by dragging the slider below the timeline right or left.

Adjusting filter intensity

7. Tap outside the filters to dismiss them, then tap Done > Save Video or Save Video as New Clip.

Saving video in Photos app.

To add filters to an entire project:

1. Open the iMovie app and select your video.

2. Next, tap the Project Settings button (shaped like a cog wheel) in the bottom right corner.

Adding a filter through iMovie

3. Tap a filter to select it.

Finding the filter to add

4. When you’re finished, tap Done.

Saving video on iMovie app.
Read more: How to create a podcast on an iPhone

Upgrade your video editing tools with Descript

If iPhone video editing isn’t enough for you as a filmmaker, it’s a good idea to check out more advanced video editing software like Descript. You can go beyond basic editing features for your TikTok or YouTube videos, and create original video that stands out. 

Descript isn’t available for iPhone just yet. But you can still create a free account and use features like color grading, overlays, Studio Sound, text-based video editing, and royalty-free music.

How to edit videos on iPhone FAQs

Do iPhones have video editing?

iPhones come preloaded with the Photos app and iMovie app. Both apps have built-in features for editing videos on the device without syncing them to a computer or downloading extra apps.

How do you edit and delete part of a video on iPhone?

You can edit a video on an iPhone using the Photos app. Tap Photos, select your video, then tap Edit. Adjust the video settings to change the start and stop times, then drag the guidelines until only what you want to keep is visible. Alternatively, use the iMovie app by selecting the video you want to edit and using the Trim tool to adjust the Video to your liking. When finished, save your video to your phone's storage or share it on your favorite social media platform.

How do you edit videos on an iPhone without apps?

You’ll need a video editing app to edit a video on an iPhone. Preloaded apps, such as Photos and iMovie, are a good starting point. However, if you’re looking for more power or sophisticated tools, use a video editor like Descript to produce studio-grade videos quickly and easily.

Elsier Otachi
Elsier is a freelance SaaS and eCommerce writer. When she’s not hard at work, she's reading, listening to music, or spending time with family.
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How to edit videos on your iPhone: A beginner’s guide


If you want to make great videos, you can make great videos — even if you think you don’t have the right equipment. These days, a smartphone will do the job well enough. 

If you’re an iPhone user, you already have a quality camera and editing software built into your device. With a few tweaks to your camera settings, a solid microphone, and a lighting setup, you can produce professional-looking videos any time. 

This step-by-step guide explains how to edit videos on an iPhone, with the tricks and settings to produce stylish videos.

Can you edit videos on iPhone?

You can edit videos on an iPhone using the preloaded Photos app or iMovie app.

In the Photos app, you can trim your video, adjust color and light, and add filters. It's not possible to merge multiple clips into one video or add onscreen text — you'll need iMovie for that. iMovie also lets you trim clips, add titles, background music, sound effects, voiceovers, filters, and seamless transitions.

iMovie works on other Mac and iOS devices and even supports 4K video. However, iMovie's editing tools aren't as sophisticated as others, which can leave professional content creators disappointed. 

Read more: How to use Apple Continuity Camera for professional videos

How to edit videos on my iPhone

With some footage, a bit of creativity, and your iPhone, you can edit and produce great-looking clips. The tutorial below covers how to edit videos on iPhone using the built-in Photos app and iMovie app.

1. Open the Photos app

Opening Photos app on iPhone

2. Find and select the video

Tap the Videos album and select your video.

Finding a video on iPhone

This step may be different depending on your iOS version. For instance, if your iPhone runs iOS 12, tap Albums > Media Types > Videos. For earlier iOS versions, tap Albums > Videos.

3. Tap "edit"

Finding the Edit feature in the Photos app

Note: If you just recorded a video using Camera, tap the box in the lower-left corner, then tap Edit in the top corner. 

A timeline bar will appear at the bottom of the screen showing each frame of your video.

Timeline bar for editing videos on iPhone

Below the timeline bar, you’ll find a set of four editing options:

  • Edit: This camera-like icon brings up the video timeline.
  • Adjustment: Select this tool (shaped like a dial) to tweak your video’s exposure, brilliance, shadows, highlights, contrast, warmth, saturation, vibrancy, tint, sharpness, and other attributes.
  • Filter: Tap the filter icon (shaped like three rings) to apply different color filters, such as original, vivid, dramatic, mono, and silvertone to your video. Use each filter’s slider bar to increase or decrease its intensity.
  • Crop: Crop your video by dragging the guidelines until you get the portion you want.

4. Adjust video settings

Tap and hold either end of the timeline to engage the trimming tool (indicated by a yellow border around the timeline bar). 

Move the sliders to change the start and stop times and cut out the unwanted portion. For more precise editing, tap and hold an anchor to expand the timeline bar.

Trimming a video on iPhone

5. Add text, captions, or markup 

If you’re producing a video for an audience, adding captions or subtitles makes it accessible for hearing-impaired viewers and those watching with the sound turned off. Otherwise, they’ll miss the best part of your content. 

You can add text, titles, or captions to a video on your iPhone using the Photos app. However, it’s more tedious this way as you’ll need to log in to Photos on iCloud.com first—that means switching between Photos and your browser. 

An easier way is to use iMovie, which has various tools to add and edit text to your video. Here’s how:

Tap Done in the Photos app, then save the trimmed clip before switching to iMovie to add your text, captions, or markup.

Tap Save Video to save the trimmed clip or Save Video as New Clip to save both versions of the clip.

Saving video in Photos app

Next, download iMovie from the App Store, then tap to launch it. Then, select Start new project

Starting a new project in iMovie

Tap the Movie option to create a new project.

Selecting the movie option in iMovie app

Select a clip to upload from the most recent videos you recorded directly or uploaded to your iPhone. 

Choosing a movie from album on iPhone

Scroll the timeline bar so the playhead (white vertical line) appears where you want to add your video.

Image of the timeline bar in iMovie

Tap the Add Media (+) button.

Adding media in iMovie

Select Video.

Choosing video option in iMovie

Select Video, then tap the T (or text) option. You’ll find a variety of templates and text styles to choose from, each with different font sizes and animations. 

Adding text in iMovie video timeline

Tap on each style to preview what the text will look like, and pick the right one for your video. Enter your text and select where it’ll be displayed: in a lower corner or across the middle of the screen.

Adding text to iMovie

Tap Done in the top left corner of the screen.

Next, tap the Play button to preview your video in landscape full screen mode and ensure your captions/subtitles are accurate. If you notice a wrong word or misspelling, revert to edit mode, select the video, and tap the T (text) icon.

Previewing added text to video

When you’re happy with the text, select Save Video to store the video on your iPhone.

Saving video to iPhone

Tip: If your iPhone’s storage is full, our guide on how to send large, high-quality video files using your phone (iOS or Android) shares all the services and platforms at your disposal.

6. Use the magic wand (auto-enhance)

Apple’s auto-enhance feature—which resembles a magic wand—automatically adjusts your video’s color and brightness levels. 

However, this tool doesn't always produce the best results. More often than not, it worsens the Video through overexposure and oversaturation instead of improving it. Plus, any changes you make affect the entire Video—not just one part. 

But it’s worth a try, since you can always undo your work. Open the Photos app again, select the video you just edited, then tap the Auto Enhance (magic wand) tool. When enabled, the icon will turn pale gray.

Using Apple’s Auto Enhance feature for video

Use the slider to adjust the intensity of the edits. 

Adjusting enhancements to video in Photos app

To remove the auto-enhancement from your video, tap the Auto Enhance tool again (when disabled, the Auto Enhance icon will change from pale to dark gray).

7. Preview your edited video

Tap the Play button to preview your trimmed video.

8. Save your video

When you’re finished, tap Done.

How to trim videos on iPhone

You can trim a video to make it longer or shorter, split it into two separate clips, or change the sequence of clips.

1. Tap the iMovie app. 

2. Select the video you want to trim.

Choosing a video to trim

3. Enter Edit mode. Tap the Video in the timeline. A yellow highlight around the clip indicates you're in Edit mode.

4. Use the Trim tool to shorten or lengthen your video clip.

Using the Trim tool in iMovie mobile app

5. Adjust trim points.

image

For easier editing, pinch open in the center of the timeline to zoom in on the video and see more detail.

Drag the clip’s edge toward the center to shorten it or away from the center to lengthen it. 

If you can’t drag the edges on either side, there might not be additional video on either end of the clip, or it’s at the shortest length allowed by iMovie (0.3 seconds). 

How to cut and shorten videos on iPhone

Whether you use Photos or iMovie, you can trim a video to change its start and stop points.

1. Open the Photos app.

2. Select the video you want to cut and shorten, then tap Edit.

3. Adjust cut points.

Drag the ends of the frame viewer to adjust start and stop points, then tap Done.

Adjusting the start and stop point for video.

4. Tap the Play button to preview the shortened video.

Previewing shortened video.

5. Tap Save Video (saves the trimmed clip) or Save Video as New Clip (keeps the original version and saves an additional trimmed clip in your library). 

Saving video as New Clip in Photos app.

If you overwrote the clip, tap Edit, then select Revert to undo the changes. If you save it as a new clip, you can't undo the changes.

How to add filters to videos on iPhone

You can add iMovie’s video filters to clips in your project or the entire project to enhance or change how they look, such as converting a color clip to Sepia or black and white.

To add filters to a single clip:

1. Tap the Photos app to launch it.

2. Tap on the video you want to add filters to.

3. Select clip in the timeline to reveal the inspector (‘i’) icon.

Finding the inspector icon in albums

4. Access the Filters tool (shaped like three rings).

Tapping the Filters tool on iPhone

5. Choose a filter to preview it in the viewer. 

Previewing filter

6. Adjust filter intensity by dragging the slider below the timeline right or left.

Adjusting filter intensity

7. Tap outside the filters to dismiss them, then tap Done > Save Video or Save Video as New Clip.

Saving video in Photos app.

To add filters to an entire project:

1. Open the iMovie app and select your video.

2. Next, tap the Project Settings button (shaped like a cog wheel) in the bottom right corner.

Adding a filter through iMovie

3. Tap a filter to select it.

Finding the filter to add

4. When you’re finished, tap Done.

Saving video on iMovie app.
Read more: How to create a podcast on an iPhone

Upgrade your video editing tools with Descript

If iPhone video editing isn’t enough for you as a filmmaker, it’s a good idea to check out more advanced video editing software like Descript. You can go beyond basic editing features for your TikTok or YouTube videos, and create original video that stands out. 

Descript isn’t available for iPhone just yet. But you can still create a free account and use features like color grading, overlays, Studio Sound, text-based video editing, and royalty-free music.

How to edit videos on iPhone FAQs

Do iPhones have video editing?

iPhones come preloaded with the Photos app and iMovie app. Both apps have built-in features for editing videos on the device without syncing them to a computer or downloading extra apps.

How do you edit and delete part of a video on iPhone?

You can edit a video on an iPhone using the Photos app. Tap Photos, select your video, then tap Edit. Adjust the video settings to change the start and stop times, then drag the guidelines until only what you want to keep is visible. Alternatively, use the iMovie app by selecting the video you want to edit and using the Trim tool to adjust the Video to your liking. When finished, save your video to your phone's storage or share it on your favorite social media platform.

How do you edit videos on an iPhone without apps?

You’ll need a video editing app to edit a video on an iPhone. Preloaded apps, such as Photos and iMovie, are a good starting point. However, if you’re looking for more power or sophisticated tools, use a video editor like Descript to produce studio-grade videos quickly and easily.

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