Best Programs for Video Editing on a Mac

An overview of video editing apps for pros and beginners

iMovie icon

Powerful commercial and free video editing applications are available for beginners and professionals alike. Mac video editing is fun and easy if you have the right software and know how to use it. Most of these software titles offer online tutorials and free trials for users, so pick a program and jump right in.

Apple iMovie is easy to use – you just choose your clips and then add music, effects, and titles. The beginner-friendly software features: 

  • 4K-resolution video
  • Dozens of styles to add animated credits and titles to movies
  • Transitions and backgrounds 
  • Built-in sound effects, music, and voiceover recording to add a professional touch

Users with advanced video editing experience may want to take advantage of features that allow:

  • Changing the speed of a video 
  • ​Split-screen effects
  • Picture-in-picture capability

Apple iMovie video editing software is free for all recent-model Mac computers and low-cost for older Macs. Find it at the Mac App Store.

An iMovie app is available for Apple's mobile devices, so you can share the movie you make on your Mac with your iPad, iPhone, and Apple TV. More »

Apple's Final Cut Pro X is a professional step up from iMovie and a must-have for editors who work in 3D virtual reality. This is advanced video editing software for the Mac. The software's Magnetic Timeline 2 feature eliminates unwanted gaps in the timeline and any syncing problems. Professionals and advanced users alike appreciate the media organization features that use automatic metadata and keywords to locate clips.

The multichannel audio editing controls are extensive in Final Cut Pro and include suppression of complete channels and adjustments to timing and volume.

Other features include:

  • High Dynamic Range (HDR) video
  • VR headset compatibility for 3D virtual reality editing
  • Advanced chroma keying
  • Customizable share interface
  • Color grading and masks
  • 3D titles and special effects
  • Compound clips
  • Tight integration with Apple's Compressor software
  • Wide variety of plug-ins
  • Support for multicam editing

Final Cut Pro is commercial software with an ecosystem of available third-party products. A 30-day free trial of Final Cut Pro is available from the Apple website. More »

Adobe Premiere Pro software offers a start-to-finish video production solution for Macs and PCs. Use Adobe Premiere Pro with virtually any video format. With this fast and efficient professional-level video editor, you can work with just about anything in native format. Make quick and advanced color adjustments to your video from the Color panel. Other features of interest include:

  • Works with 8K, virtual reality, and smartphone footage
  • Accommodates 3D video and audio editing
  • Detects VR video type and application-appropriate settings
  • Integrates with After Effects and other Adobe video and audio tools
  • Supports multiple projects open during collaboration
  • Provides color workflows
  • Accommodates multicam editing
  • Syncs settings and offers training through Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Integrates easily with other Creative Cloud apps including After Effects

Premiere Pro is available by subscription as part of Adobe Creative Cloud. A seven-day free trial of Adobe Premiere Pro CC is available at the Adobe Premiere Pro website. More »

Adobe Premiere Elements is low-cost personal video editing software for users who want an easy editing experience without the advanced capabilities of professional editing software such as Adobe's Premiere Pro CC. Ideal for creating videos for social media and shared family memories, Premiere Elements has a low learning curve combined with intelligent editing. The software includes:

  • 4K compatibility
  • Bounce-back GIFs and short video clips
  • Guided Edit features for beginners
  • Visual view of all your videos organized by date
  • Friendly search by place, event, album, and favorites
  • Cool titles and dramatic effects
  • Shake-reduction technology
  • Slow-motion effects
  • Smart music file options
  • Automatic trim of poor footage

A free trial of Premiere Elements is available at the Adobe Premiere Elements website. More »

Avid Media Composer is an affordable professional-level tool for creative editorial work on Macs and PCs. HD and high-res editing are fast and productive. Avid's resolution independence lets you work with footage from a 4K camera, an iPhone, and an old SD archive—all in the same project. Features include:

  • Support for 2K, Ultra HD, and 8K source files
  • 3D editing tools to capture, edit, and manage a complete 3D workflow
  • Clip preview before you import them
  • Audio dupe detection, audio ducking, groups, and nested AudioSuite clip effects 
  • "Virtual" licensing 
  • Project level mask-margins
  • Fast, fluid effects and color correction
  • High-visibility feedback as you edit in the timeline
  • Support for most in-demand camera codecs
  • Ability to mix media formats, resolutions, and frame rates

A free trial of Avid Media Composer is available at the Avid website. More »

DaVinci Resolve Studio is postproduction video editing software that runs on all the popular platforms, including Macs, Windows, and Linux computers. DaVinci Resolve Studio is professional software. The Studio version: 

  • Processes 4K video
  • Handles HDR and wide-color gamut workflows
  • Offers multiuser collaboration features for editors, colorists, and sound engineers
  • Includes 3D tools
  • Has dozens of special effects
  • Works with all major file formats and media types
  • Works well in collaboration with Fusion and After Effects
  • Processes luminance independent of color

DaVinci Resolve offers a free version that has many of the same features as the Studio version at the DaVinci Resolve website. More »

If you've never edited video before, Wondershare Filmora is a good place to start. The company takes pride in the fact that it is easy for anyone to learn – even people who've never edited video. The Filmora software supports:

  • 4K editing support
  • Noise removal
  • Color tuning
  • Camera shake reduction
  • Intuitive interface design
  • Filters and overlays
  • Text and titles
  • Motion elements
  • Music and text layers

Users with video editing experience can appreciate even more features, including:

  • Picture in picture
  • Green screen
  • Split screen
  • Advanced text editing
  • Audio separation

A free trial is available at the Filmora website. More »

OpenShot Video Editor is simple and free open-source software that is designed to be easy to use and quick to learn. This surprisingly powerful cross-platform software runs on Macs, Windows, and Linux computers. OpenShot Video Editor features include:

  • Unlimited tracks
  • Animation framework to fade, slide, bounce, and animate elements
  • 3D animations
  • Trim and slice capabilities
  • Video titles and effects
  • Slow motion and other time effects

A comprehensive user guide is available at the Support tab of the OpenShot Video Editor website. More »

If you are looking for a no-editing-required video editor, Shred Video may be for you. You just drop in videos and music, choose your highlights, and the application delivers your movie in seconds, Tweak it as much as you like until you have it just right.

Shred Video software:

  • Accommodates unlimited videos and music
  • Stores videos on the web, where you can watch or share them on social media networks
  • Makes videos instantly playable on Apple TV
  • Applies a watermark to downloaded copies of your video

The application is free at the Mac App Store, but if you want HD capability or you want to download a watermark-free video, you'll need to upgrade to Shred Video Pro, which is a monthly subscription service. More »

Blender is free, open-source 3D video creation software that easily meets video editing and game creation needs. This is not your average video editing software. Although you can use it to edit video, it is designed to be a complete 3D creation suite, which also includes:

  • Modeling
  • Rigging
  • Animation
  • Simulation
  • Rendering
  • Compositing
  • Motion tracking

Blender promotes subscriptions to its Blender Cloud at the Blender website. For a low monthly fee, users can access hundreds of hours of training and tutorials. With the subscription, you can:

  • Collaborate with others
  • Store and sync your settings online for multiple workstations
  • Create personal projects
More »