iMovie Review: An Efficient Language for Your Ideas to Interact with Your Audience

iMovie is one of the most commonly-used video editing software and the first choice for many Apple users when they begin mastering video editing. Why is it widely trusted? What are its highlighted features? In this post, we’ll take a deep look into it and find out the reasons.

Tuesday February 8, 2022 1:40 PM PDT by Karen Greene
Apple iMovie Review

Apple iMovie Review

Visuals go vital in our everyday life. If you are a student, you may find that video clips as a visual aid have been popular in classes nowadays; they break down information into manageable pieces that are easier to absorb and hold more appeal. If you have some leisure time, you may sink yourself into the couch and scroll videos on YouTube or TikTok to help soothe your mind and body. If you are at a family reunion, you probably notice someone is shooting a video for this memorable moment.

With the broad adoption of video content as a channel of learning, relaxation, and communication, more and more people are tempted to put video editing learning on the agenda. But choosing the right software might be a challenge and complex undertaking, especially for novices who are not yet familiar with the process of making decent videos. Although the market is flooded with options, if you are an Apple user, you are most likely to find out that iMovie seems to be on the list of various recommended software when searching for recommended software on the Internet. Below are the comments we summarize about iMovie.

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Pros and cons


  • Easy to learn and simple to use
  • Automatically improve video quality
  • Does not require an active internet connection when using most of its functions and features
  • Allows for external media
  • Export the final product in a very efficient and seamless manner
  • Can share your project to other Apple devices and Final Cut Pro


  • Does not accept plug-ins
  • Lacks some of the more precise and sophisticated tools that other video editing software like Adobe Premiere and Final Cut offer
  • Cannot import live photos
  • The automatically backed up files will take up a lot of space
  • Only available on macOS

The developers of iMovie know that not everyone is a professional editor with years of experience. So like many other Apple products, iMovie is intuitive, keeping the average user in mind. But this never means it is not an effective tool. Since iMovie is only available on Mac, if you’re a Windows user, you can learn from our post about iMovie alternatives for Windows.

User Interface

Apple iMovie has a clean and smooth interface. When you open iMovie, you will be presented with a screen that has three thematic areas at the top of the screen—Media, Projects, and Theater.

iMovie Interface

iMovie Interface

Media is where you store your content. You may have different libraries that contain diverse media according to project themes. Projects is a collection of your edited projects. If you want to do some re-edits on a previous project or go on your last editing, you should click here. When you create a new project, you will be prompted with a drop-down menu to choose either a Movie or Trailer project. And Theater is a place to view movies you have finished or share.

After you create a new project by clicking on a large “+” over Create New, you will be taken to an interface. The Project Interface is organized into three modules, too.

iMovie Project Interface

iMovie Project Interface

The first section in the top left third of iMovie is called the Project Media, which grants you access to all imported media, as well as quick views into your iPhoto library, and any music from your iTunes library GarageBand. For instance, you can easily add music to videos on iPhone with iMovie. The second section on the bottom half is called Timeline, where you drag your footage from the project media and start to edit your video.

Various videos will be lined up horizontally here, with footage on the left displaying before footage on the right. The third section in the top right corner is called Media Viewer where you can see the footage you are working on.

iMovie highlights its sheer simplicity in layout, which contributes to a positive user experience and better functionality. With iMovie to start, video editing will be no longer daunting.

Basic Editing Tools

To make basic editing tools easy to find, iMovie integrates and puts them separately into the three modules in the Project Interface.

On the timeline, you can do any duration-related edits. Splitting a clip, trimming, and adjusting the freeze-frame are all welcome. To make this kind of editing, the first and a must you need to do is to move your Playhead to the frame where you want to start editing.

While in Project Media, you will find audio, titles, backgrounds, and transitions, which are all common elements that a video may need. And in the Media Viewer, you can make complex visual effects to the video, such as cropping, speed changing, and color grading.

You should keep in mind that all editing must occur in the Project Timeline. Therefore, at the very beginning of the project, you need to select a certain clip from the Project Media and drag that clip into the Timeline.

Learn More: How to Add Text to iMovie

iMovie Basic Editing Tools

iMovie Basic Editing Tools

Effect Tools

Compared to basic editing tools, Effect tools mainly focus on changing or modifying the whole look of the video. iMovie comes with some Effects tools that allow users to complete complex effects or adjustments within a few steps. Take Green/blue Screen as an example. This tool enables you to change the background to anything you want, which opens up plenty of opportunities for some cool visual effects.

Another example is Steadycam. It smooths out shakes, wobbles, and vibrations in a video clip and is of great help when editing some handheld shots. Although these tools help simplify your editing progress and give your video a more stylish feeling, iMovie still lacks some advanced effects. For instance, dedicated color grading and correction. If you want Effects more than iMovie has preset, you may turn to some other professional software, for iMovie still does not accept plug-ins in its latest version.

iMovie Effects Tools

iMovie Effects Tools

Audio Editing

Technically, we can do two kinds of audio editing in iMovie—add some audio and edit audio.

iMovie has a built-in set of sound effects that we can use. And all we need to do is to search the sound effect name in the search bar and drag it to the Timeline. But occasionally, we still cannot find the one we want exactly. To solve that, iMovie offers you a smooth way to adjust the existing and imported sound effect. It is a lot like editing a written document.

Things are deleted, replaced, cut, copied, and pasted just like they would be in an essay or a novel. Here I’d like to list some of what you can do exactly. You control the volume, either higher or lower; you can create a fade-in or fade-out to make the voice sounds more natural by dragging the fade handle at either the beginning or end of the clip; you can change the audio speed by selecting Custom in the Speed drop-down box and enter a percentage.

The pitch and duration of the original sound will be changed, and thus you will get closer to the target sound you want. Certainly, you can preserve the edited sound effect after your adjustment. Furthermore, iMovie includes several equalizers preset for you to enhance or fix audio slightly, such as boost bass and treble. iMovie users on Mac can click on actions in the menu bar to make audio adjustments to your clips.

iMovie Adjust Volume

iMovie Adjust Volume


Shortcuts are an efficient way to complete your video editing tasks, which normally need a mouse, trackpad, or other input devices, by pressing key combinations. And more than 90% of editing steps in iMovie can be done with shortcuts. For novices, shortcuts may simply be some hard-to-remember pressing sequence. But when you become a little familiar with them, you will be able to edit faster by using the shortcuts. You will find all the shortcuts on the iMovie official website.

iMovie Shortcuts

iMovie Shortcuts

Share Project

After finishing editing on iMovie, you can share the video to other iOS devices or directly transfer it to Final Cut Pro, a piece of advanced editing software for more professional editing. If a project has multiple editors, then iMovie has a natural advantage over other software, by which editors can also quickly modify and receive feedback. Generally speaking, there are two methods to share your projects. One is to use AirDrop to share the file to a nearby device. This may cause converting progress because some new formats are only available on newer devices. The second is to store the files in iCloud first and then access them through another device. Since there is no Windows version of iMovie, if not all of your co-editors have iOS devices, this function is unavailable.

iMovie Share Project

iMovie Share Project

Our Verdict

iMovie is what we like to call entry-level editing software. It is a type of software that you can use to enjoy editing your videos like never before. Browse your clips easily, instantly share your favorite moments, and create Hollywood-style trailers and beautiful movies at stunning 4K resolution. It’s a nice place for beginners to start, and it is efficient and powerful at this level. But some built-in features can be limiting as users grow. Until then, you will probably start to think of turning to Professional-grade editing software like Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro.


Karen is a professional writer with a background in column writing who enjoys resolving complex topics and explaining them in interesting ways.