How to Export iMovie Files

Share your iMovie videos on macOS and iOS

MacBook keyboard with a film slate resting upon it and a two pencils and a pad close by.

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iMovie is Apple’s free video editing software for macOS and iOS. It’s a great tool for cutting home movies, amateur films, and more. Once you've completed your video project, you can quickly and easily share it to your device 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'll 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 to launch the share tab.

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

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

  6. The file will be 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 will now export 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 icons 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 popup showing YouTube sharing options.
  5. If you haven’t already, you will see a notification asking you to log in to YouTube. Click Sign In to proceed.

    iMovie showing a YouTube sign in popup.
  6. You'll then be taken to a browser page to log into YouTube, and to authorize iMovie access for your account. Once complete, you will return to iMovie.

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

    iMovie with the share to YouTube popup highlighted.
  8. You'll then see a 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 will now upload 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 to 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. Once you’ve finished editing your video, 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. You will then see various share options. Tap Save Video.

    A grid of three screens showing the iMovie for iOS showing the workflow to go from the edit tab to the share field.
  4. Next, you'll be shown several options for the resolution of your export. Tap your preferred resolution.

  5. Your video will begin to export. Once completed, you will find it in your Camera Roll.

    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 very similar to uploading from the a Mac. You'll see many of the same options, including the meta data you'll enter about the video to help viewers find it.

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

  2. You will be 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. There are various share options. Tap YouTube to begin sharing to YouTube.

    A grid of three screens showing the iMovie for iOS showing the workflow to go from the edit tab to the share field.
  4. iMovie will then launch a page with options for your YouTube upload. These include the video name, description, upload resolution, and more. Make your selections, then tap Share.

    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.

  5. That’s it! Your video will start to upload to YouTube.

    iMovie for iOS YouTube upload process.