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How to Edit Videos on an iPhone

In the age of smartphones, shooting and editing video has gotten easier than ever before. Creating high-quality, cinematic video content used to be a process. It was something that required thousands upon thousands of dollars of camera gear software to pull off. Now, given the right creator, even feature-length films can be shot using nothing more than a smartphone.

Creating content on a smartphone is amazing for beginners learning how to create great videos. Apple has led the way for years in terms of video quality on a smartphone, with the newest iPhone 13 and 14 Pro even being able to shoot in ProRes (a professional-grade video codec).

While Android has some great options as well, IOS makes shooting and editing videos as simple as clicking a button. There are plenty of great tools for video editors looking to create content using only their phones.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to edit an iPhone video using several different techniques. As a side note, everything done in this tutorial can also be done on the iPad and Mac.

Editing an iPhone video using the Photos App

Apple has made iPhone video editing easier than ever with their own built-in video editing software. The easiest way to edit an iPhone video without opening up a dedicated video editing software is by going to the photos app on your iPhone.

After you shoot your video, it’ll show up within the library pannel located in the photos app. Clicking on the video with have it start automatically playing. In the top right corner is an edit button. Clicking on that will bring you to the iPhone video editor.

On the bottom of the screen is a small timeline where you can trim video clips, splice them, and play what you have on screen. On the left hand side are four different video editing tools. The first one (shaped like a camera) is the default tool and is what brings up the video timeline. The one below it (shaped like a dial) brings up the “adjustment tools”.

In the “adjust” page, you can edit the following:

  • Exposure
  • Highlights
  • Shadows
  • Contrast
  • Brightness
  • black point
  • Saturation
  • Vibrance
  • Warmth
  • Tint
  • Sharpness
  • Definition
  • Noise reduction
  • Vignette

This can all be done with the two columns on the right-hand side. The first column contains all the icons and picture settings that can be accessed through scrolling. The second column adjusts the intensity of these settings.

Tapping the icon after the settings have been adjusted resorts that particular setting back to the default. At any time, you can click the “undo” or “redo” buttons in the upper left-hand corner to revert any changes.

The third tool (shaped like three rings) is the “filters” tool. This tab gives you a slew of filters to pick for your video. The intensity of each filer can be adjusted through the dial next to it.

Finally, the tool on the bottom gives you three icons to adjust the orientation of the video clip. In the upper left-hand corner, there is an easy option for flipping the video and changing the rotation. Clicking on the upper right-hand side of the screen gives you options for changing the video's aspect ratio.

 

There are two icons on the left-hand side of the screen that allows you to change the video from horizontal to vertical.

Once your video is to your liking, clicking the “done” button in the upper right-hand corner will save all of your changes. You’ll get the option to “save video” or “save video as a new clip” which will create a separate file for your edited video.

After the video saves, if you click “edit” again, you’ll have the option to “revert to original” which will bring your video back to its original state.

Editing an iPhone video using iMovie

iMovie is another great free tool for editing iPhone videos. It is a lot more robust than the default editing software in the photos app and gives you much more editing features. The best part about iMovie is that it’s completely free with zero in-app purchases.

Opening up iMovie will give you three different starting options:

  • Magic Movie creates an automated “movie” based on what media you give it.
  • Storyboard allows you to create trailers and short video clips based on a series of templates iMovie gives you.
  • Movie allows you to create a “movie” from scratch and is a lot more in line with more traditional software you may find.

For the purpose of this tutorial, we’ll be sticking with the Movie option. Selecting that will bring you to a media tab where you can choose the clips that you want to work with. 

After selecting them, you’ll be brought to a timeline where all of your clips are automatically inserted. iMovie has an incredibly intuitive interface. On the left hand of the screen are options for finishing your movie (Done button), adding more media (Plus button), and playing your movie (Play button). On the left-hand side are options for help (Question mark button), project settings (Gear button), and an undo button.

Clicking on any of the video clips in the timeline will bring up a small menu at the bottom of the screen. The Scissors icon (default) will let you change the starting and end points of the clip by pulling the bolded yellow on either end.

The Timer icon allows you to change the speed of the clip and also lets you freeze certain frames within the clip itself.

The Audio icon allows you to change the volume of the audio of the video (assuming your video has any audio at all). The text icon lets you add text overlays to your clip and gives a wide variety of presets to choose from. You can also change the font, duration, and color of the text as well.

Finally, the Color icon lets you add filters to your video clip, allowing you to adjust the intensity of said filter as well. An important thing to note is that iMovie doesn’t have standard coloring tools that you may find in other video editing apps, including the default photos app.

If you want to add audio or music to your timeline, that can be done through the plus button on the left-hand side of the screen. Tapping on audio will give you three different options to choose from, Soundtracks, My Music, and Sound Effects.

“Soundtracks” gives you a great selection of free music from Apple, “My Music” allows you to choose licensed songs through your apple music library, and “Sound Effects” lets you choose free sound effects from Apple’s library.

Once a sound is placed in the timeline, you can tap on it and change some of the settings like you would any of the video clips. Both the audio and video clips in the timeline can be moved around by holding and dragging them to any spot in the timeline.

The last thing to cover within the timeline itself is transitions. Transitions are automatically added between clips anytime you add a new video clip into the timeline. This is indicated by the two inverted triangles in the middle of each of the clips. Tapping on it will bring you to a transitions menu where you can adjust the type of transition as well as the duration.

Outside of the timeline is the Project Settings icon. Here, you can adjust the filter and theme for the entire project. The theme of the project will give you custom transition options that are a bit more flashy than the normal ones.

Finally, clicking “done” on the left-hand of the screen allows you to change the name of your movie or delete the entire thing altogether. You’re also able to export the video by clicking the button next to the trash can icon. This will let you save your video to your library as well as upload it directly to social media like Instagram and TikTok.

Editing an iPhone video using Adobe Premiere Rush

Adobe is a company known for making some of the best video editing apps out there. Adobe Premiere Pro is a pillar in the professional world and a program that filmmakers all over use. Adobe Premiere Rush is the little brother to Premiere Pro. While it doesn’t offer all of the same functionality that Premiere Pro may offer, it’s still an incredibly versatile free video editing app that can be downloaded directly from the app store. 

While it may be free to download, there are a few paid features locked off to those who are subscribed to Adobe’s Creative Cloud. One of these is the ability to export UHD videos.

When you open Adobe Premiere Rush, you’ll be brought to a blank tab with a button that reads "Create New Project”. Clicking on this will let you choose your media as well as let you name your new project. Once you’ve selected the video clips you want to work with, clicking “Create” in the lower right-hand corner will bring you to your timeline.

Adobe Premiere Rush has a very similar interface to iMovie. Much like iMovie, clicking on a video clip within a timeline will give you options for that clip. Clicking on it again will bring up a small window, giving you options to Split, Duplicate, Delete, and Separate audio.

Splitting the clip will create cuts within the clip itself. This is handy when you want to remove or re-order things. Separating the audio allows you to edit the audio separately from the video, even giving you the option to move it around. Much like iMovie, dragging the highlighted ends of a video clip will allow you to shorten or lengthen that clip.

At the very bottom of the screen is a slew of options for editing. The blue plus button lets you import whatever media you want into the timeline. This includes things like voiceovers, video clips, audio, and even graphics. 

Importing graphics is great because of the number of templates Adobe Premiere Rush has. Titles, transition graphics, and overlays can all be found here.

The bin button beside the blue plus button brings up your project assets, and clicking on the button next to that gives you a more robust multi-layer timeline. This timeline is more in-line with what other, professional video software like Premiere Pro and Final Cut have. 

Finally, the button besides that one gives you the option for changing the aspect ratio of the project.

Next to all of these buttons are similar options to the ones found in iMovie and the default photo video editor. Things such as Graphics, Effects, Color, Speed, Audio, and Transform can all be found here.

Each of these tabs gives much more options than there iMovie counterparts though, making it great for more advanced users.

Exporting your Adobe Premiere Rush video can be done by clicking the export button in the upper right-hand corner. Here, you can adjust some of the quality settings before choosing to export at 1080p or 4k. You can also share directly to social media using the buttons below.

Using Simon Says for editing and captioning iPhone videos

Captions are an important part of any video (especially for social media use). They are especially handy if you have a voiceover or something similar in your video. Simon Says is a wonderful captioning tool, with a wonderful iOS app that allows you to record and transcribe content directly on your iPhone.

With 100 language options, you can view and bookmark transcriptions directly within the app as well as export the transcription to a plethora of different formats. Simon Says does all of the hard work for you, and makes transcription and captioning easier than ever.