You may have some clips stored on iPhone that you want to turn to blockbuster with iMovie for sharing to YouTube, Facebook, etc. The first step is to get these iPhone clips to iMovie. Apple's video editing software makes it easy for novice users to do so. However, the process can be intimidating especially when you add 4K UHD HEVC videos recorded by iPhone to iMovie. Some users are complaining of importing problems like iPhone videos not showing up, iMovie not importing videos from iPhone. Follow our guide to getting everything right.
Step 1: Connect your iPhone to the USB cable on your Mac.
Step 2: Turn on your iPhone and open iMovie. Click the Import button and the Import window will appear.
Step 3: Select your iPhone from the Cameras section, and you should see the clips stored on iPhone.
Step 4: Select the location to store the iPhone video files. Click the Import to menu, select an event, or choose New Event and create a new event for the exported videos.
Step 5: Click Import All to transfer all the clips from iPhone to Mac, or select the clip you'd like to add and click the Import Selected button.
If you've transferred iPhone videos to Mac, it's easy to add them into iMovie. These video files should be located in the Videos album on the Photos app.
Step 1: On the left side of the window, click Videos under Albums. You'll see all the clips.
Step 2: Select the one you want to put into iMovie.
Step 3: Directly drag and drop the clip to the timeline.
"iMovie won't import clips shot by iPhone 8. When I select clips I want to add, they appear black. I've tried hundreds of times, but still have the issue. I use iMovie 10.1.6 and a 27" iMac mid-2011 run OS 10.11.6."
This issue could happen to any of the iMovie users, commonly those who use iPhone 7 or later. Before you troubleshoot, make sure that there's no problem with the source video shot by iPhone. Check if the source video you want to include to iMovie plays fine and isn't damaged. Some minor bugs in iMovie could also lead to the error that can be easily solved by restarting the app and your computer. Your iPhone (iPhone 7 or later) may export videos in HEVC format by default, which causes the issue. Follow the guide below to fix iPhone videos not showing up/importing in iMovie.
1. Update iMovie
Update to the latest version of iMovie. The video editing app for Mac has been updated to add support for HEVC following the release of macOS High Sierra. 4K HEVC video editing requires iMovie 10.1 or later. Also, the new version always improves overall stability. A software update is a basic step to fix various iMovie not working issues. Note: there is still no option to export 4k video at 60fps in iMovie.
2. Upgrade macOS
macOS High Sierra or later supports to view and edit HEVC videos. You have to update to macOS High Sierra, Mojave or Catalina if you cannot import clips in HEVC from iPhone to iMovie. Even though you are running the latest macOS, there may be still issues with transferring iPhone videos to iMovie. Older Macs (mid-2015 or earlier) are not compatible with the resolution higher than 1080p and frame rate above 60fps. We recommend you to use the next method if you are in the dilemma.
3. Use VideoProc to Help Add iPhone Videos to iMovie without Error
If the issue persists after you've tried the software update way, or you don't want to upgrade to macOS, or perhaps you are using an old Mac, resort to a solid iPhone video converter and processing program - VideoProc to easily fix iPhone videos not importing to iMovie by processing iPhone videos to iMovie accepted format, resolution, and frame rate. Before you start, make sure you transfer videos from iPhone to your computer.
Step 1: Free download VideoProc for Mac (macOS Catalina also supported). Open it and click the Video button on the main interface. On the popping up Video window, go to the + Video tab. Select the video you want to get to iMovie. You can add more than one video at a time.
Step 2: Choose an output format. On the list of Target Format section at the bottom of the Video window, select H.264 MP4 format that is broadly compatible with apps on Mac including iMovie, QuickTime Player, and Final Cut Pro. The program offers preset for Apple iMovie. Click the + icon to get more format options. Under Mobile Video Profile tab, click Apple Device. Go to iMovie Video and select iMovie (H.264) to change iPhone HEVC format to H.264. Click the Add button to save the format and close the screen.
After transcoding iPhone videos to iMovie format, you should be able to import and edit video from iPhone in iMovie.
Note that 4K editing with iMovie on Mac requires Mac computers manufactured in 2011 or later with at least 4GB of memory. If you are using old Macs and the iPhone video is in 4K UHD, you'd better do one more thing - lower the resolution for iMovie.
On the Video window, click the codec Option button next to video information. A format screen will appear. Under Video Codec Options, click the Resolution drop-down icon, select 1080p. You are allowed to adjust video frame rate, bit rate, quality, etc. as well. Click the Done button to save the settings.
Step 3: Click the RUN button to start processing iPhone videos for importing to iMovie.
Tired of various iMovie errors? Here's a list of easy video editors that give better performances.
Gabriel is a technical editor with several years of writing experience. Gabriel covers video processing, post-production, hardware, Windows, Apple's Macs, iPhones, iPads, and all kinds of technology topics. He loves collecting cool gadgets and trying new things like virtual reality, drones, 8K TVs and the latest 4K games. He also has interests in reading, photography, climbing, scuba diving, and tennis.
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