How to Export iMovie Files

Share your iMovie videos on macOS and iOS

iMovie is Apple’s free video editing software for macOS and iOS. It’s a great tool for cutting home movies and other amateur films. After you complete your video project, you can quickly and easily share it or upload it to YouTube, Vimeo, and more. All you need is to know how to export iMovie files.

This guide includes instructions for iMovie on macOS and iOS.

How to Export a Video From iMovie to Your Mac

If you want to share your iMove file with others using a cloud-sharing service, physical media, or some other method, you need to export the video from iMovie to your Mac.

  1. Open your finished iMovie project.

  2. Click the share icon in the upper right corner to launch the share tab.

    iMovie project with the share icon highlighted.
  3. In the share tab, click Export File to save the video to your Mac.

    iMovie share tab with the Export File icon highlighted.
  4. You'll then see an export pop-up for your file. Here you can see the current name of your video. You also have the option to add file tags, adjust the export resolution, quality, and render speed. Simply click the accompanying arrows to make any changes. Once you’ve made your choices, click Next.

    iMovie file export with the settings pop up menu.
  5. On the following pop-up, you have the option to change the name of the file and choose where you want to save it. To change the filename, type a new name in the Save As field.

    Pop-up menu with Save As highlighted
  6. The file is set to save to your default location as listed in the Where field. To change this, click the blue side arrows and select a new save location. Finally, click Save to export your video.

    iMovie file export with the export options highlighted.
  7. That’s it! Your video now exports to your Mac.

How to Upload a Video From iMovie to Your YouTube Account

If you want to upload your video directly to YouTube from iMovie, the process starts the same, but changes once you've chosen the YouTube option.

  1. Open your finished iMovie project.

  2. In the top right corner, click the share icon.

    iMovie project with the share icon highlighted.
  3. In the share tab, click YouTube to upload your video to YouTube.

    iMovie share tab with the You Tube icon highlighted.
  4. You'll then see an export popup for your video. Here you can see its current name, the video description, and file tags. Additionally, you can see and adjust the upload resolution, the YouTube category, and the viewing permissions. Simply click the side arrows to change any settings. Once you're happy with your selections, click Next.

    iMovie with a pop-up showing YouTube sharing options.
  5. If you aren’t already logged in to You Tube, you see a notification asking you to log in. Click Sign In to proceed.

    iMovie showing a YouTube sign in pop up menu.
  6. You are taken to a browser page to log in to YouTube, and to authorize iMovie access for your account. Once complete, you return to iMovie.

  7. Back in iMovie, you see the same pop-up from Step 4, except you're now logged in to YouTube. Click Next to continue.

    iMovie with a pop-up showing YouTube sharing options.
  8. Read the YouTube Terms of Service notification informing you to not upload copyrighted material. There are also links to YouTube's copyright tips and terms of use. Click Publish to start the upload.

    iMovie with the YouTube upload notification and the Publish button highlighted.
  9. That's it! Your video uploads to YouTube.

    Once uploaded, you can adjust your video's description, permissions, and more via YouTube's Creator Studio.

How to Export a Video From iMovie on Your iOS Device

If you're using iMovie on an iOS device, the steps for exporting your video take a similar track as those used when exporting to a Mac. However, you may need to choose different resolution options to save space on your mobile device.

  1. After you finish editing your video in iMovie, tap Done.

  2. You'll be taken to the project overview page where you can play the video or continue editing it. Tap the share icon to start the export process.

  3. Tap Save Video.

    iOS iMovie path to Save Video option
  4. Under Choose an export size is a list of several options for the resolution of your export. Tap your preferred resolution.

  5. Your video begins to export. Once completed, you can find it in your Camara Roll or Photos app, depending on your iOS version.

    iMovie for iOS export process showing the image resolution selection and the the video exporting.

How to Upload a Video From iMovie for iOS to Your YouTube Account

Uploading iMovie videos to YouTube from an iOS device is also similar to uploading from the a Mac. You'll see many of the same options, including the meta data you enter about the video to help viewers find it.

  1. Once you’ve finished editing your video, tap Done.

  2. You are taken to the project overview page where you can play the video or resume editing. Tap the share icon to start the export process.

  3. On the Sharing screen, tap YouTube.

    Exporting an iMovie for iOS to YouTube in share field
  4. iMovie launches a page with options for the YouTube upload, including the video name, description, and upload resolution. Make your selections and then tap Share to upload the video to YouTube.

    Settings YouTube upload process and Share button

    If you haven't already authorized iMovie access for your YouTube or Google account, you will see a notification on this page asking you to sign in. Tap Continue to follow the authorization process. Once complete, return to iMovie.