How To Edit Videos On Your iPhone

Make your own videos with your iPhone and a few cool apps

Editing iPhone Videos
image credit: Kinson C Photography/Moment Open/Getty Images

Having an iPhone in your pocket means you can record great-looking video at practically any time. Even better, thanks to features built into the Photos app that comes with the iOS, you can edit the video, too. These features are pretty basic — they just let you trim your video to your favorite sections — but they're good for creating a clip to share with your friends via email or text messaging, or with the world on YouTube.

The Photos app isn't a professional-level video-editing tool. You can't add sophisticated features like onscreen text, or visual or sound effects. If you want those kinds of features, the other apps discussed at the end of the article are worth checking out.

Requirements for Editing Videos on iPhone

Any modern iPhone model can edit videos. In fact, every iPhone since 2009 has been able to edit video (assuming you're running iOS 6 or higher and that's virtually everyone these days).

How to Edit Video on an iPhone

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In order to edit a video on the iPhone, you'll need to have some videos in the first place. You do that using the Camera app that comes with the iPhone (or third-party video apps). Read this article for instructions on how to use the Camera app to record video.

Once you've got some video, follow these steps:

  1. If you just recorded the video using Camera, tap the box in the lower left corner and skip to step 4.

    If you want to edit a video taken earlier, tap the Photos app to launch it.

  2. In Photos, tap the video you want to edit.

    If you can't find it in iOS 12, tap on the Albums button at the bottom of your screen, then scroll to the Media Types section, then choose Videos.

    iOS 12 iPhone 8 Plus screenshot, landscape, showing Videos from Media Types section

    In earlier iOS versions, you simply tap on Albums in the lower right corner, then tap the Videos album.

  3. Tap the video you want to edit to open it.

    Screenshot of Photos app on iOS 12 iPhone 8 Plus showing a video being chosen for editing
  4. Tap Edit in the top corner.

    Edit button in iOS 12 Photos app on an iPhone 8 Plus
  5. A timeline bar at the bottom of the screen shows each frame of your video. To edit the video, tap and hold either end of the timeline bar (look for the white bars at each end of the bar).

    Editing bar in iOS 12 Photos app on an iPhone 8 Plus
  6. Drag either end of the bar, which should now be yellow, to cut out the parts of the video you don't want to save. The section of the video shown within the yellow bar is what you'll save.

    In the Photos app, you can only save continuous segments of the video. You can't cut out a middle section and stitch together two separate parts of the video.

  7. When you're happy with your selection, tap Done. If you change your mind and want to get rid of your selections (but still save the video), tap Cancel.

    Done button after Editing a video in iOS 12's Photos app on an iPhone 8 Plus
  8. In iOS 12, a menu pops up offering two options: Save as New Clip and Cancel. Choose Save as New Clip if you want to save your edit.

    Save as New Clip button in Editing process on iOS 12's Photos app on an iPhone 8 Plus

    In earlier versions of iOS, the option to Trim Original was available, making permanent anything you cut from the original video.

  9. The edited video will now be in your Photo albums as a separate video.

For more flexibility, choose Save as New Clip. This saves the trimmed version of the video as a new file on your iPhone and leaves the original untouched. That way, you can return to it to make other edits later.

Whichever you choose, the video will be saved to your Photos app where you can view and share it.

How to Share Edited Videos from Your iPhone

If you tap the action button (the box-and-arrow icon) at the bottom of the screen while looking at your video, you should have the following options to share your video:

  • AirDrop: Share the video directly to another user with an Apple device nearby via AirDrop, a wireless file-sharing feature. Just tap the name and photo of the person you want to send it to.
  • Message: Choosing Message will import the video into the Messages app and let you send the video as a text message.
  • Mail: Choosing Mail will import the video in the built-in Mail app. Address the email as you would any other email and send it.
  • YouTube: Share your new video on YouTube by tapping that button. When you do that, your iPhone automatically formats the video for that site and posts it to your account (this requires you have a YouTube account, of course).

Other iPhone Video Editing Apps

The Photos app isn't your only option for editing video on the iPhone. Some other apps that can help you edit videos on your iPhone include:

  • iMovie: Apple's iOS version of its versatile and powerful desktop iMovie program. Choose visual effects, add on-screen text, and include music. Free
  • Magisto: This app applies intelligence to automatically create an edited video for you. It also adds visual themes and music. Free, with in-app purchases
  • Splice: This editor, now owned by GoPro, gives you separate tracks for video and audio to make more complex videos. Add onscreen text, voice narration, and animations. Free
  • Videoshop: Add audio, voiceovers, onscreen text (including animated text), and special effects like slow motion, fast motion, and reverse video in this app. Free, with in-app purchases.

How to Edit Videos With Third-Party iPhone Apps

Starting in iOS 8, Apple allows apps to borrow features from each other. In this case, that means that if you have a video-editing app on your iPhone that supports this option, you can use features from that app in the video editing interface in Photos. Here's how:

  1. Tap Photos to open it.

  2. Select the video you want to edit.

  3. Tap Edit.

  4. At the bottom of the screen, tap the three-dot icon in the circle.

    Three dot icon to find other video editing apps on your iPhone
  5. The menu that pops up lets you pick another app, such as iMovie, that can share its features with you.

  6. That app's features appear on the screen. In this example, the screen now says iMovie and gives you that app's editing features. Use them here and save your video without ever leaving Photos.