iMovie for iPhone 4 & iPod touch (4th generation): Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

See the frequently asked questions below to learn more about iMovie for iPhone 4.

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What are the requirements for using iMovie for iPhone 4 and iPod touch (4th generation)?

iMovie is compatible with iPhone 4 running iOS 4 or later. iMovie is also compatible with iPod touch (4th generation) running iOS 4.1 or later. iMovie is not compatible with earlier models of iPhone or iPod touch, and it is not compatible with iPad. The computer you sync iMovie with must have iTunes 9.2 or later, which you can download for free here.

How do I create a project for the first time?

Follow these steps to create an iMovie project for the first time:

  1. Tap the iMovie icon to open iMovie:

  2. The first time you open iMovie (or if you have yet to create a project), you're prompted to start a new project. Tap the [+] button in the top-right of window to create a new project: 

    The [+] button opens the Select Theme window:

  3. Swipe through the five theme options. Then, choose whether you want to use the audio track associated with your theme by tapping the Theme Music option ON or OFF.
  4. After making your theme and theme music selections, tap the Done button. The new project window opens and contains four buttons:

You need to tap the Media Library or Camera button to bring media into your project.

Here's what the four buttons do:

  • Project button (top-left corner):

    Tap the Project button to open the project window. This is where you see all the iMovie projects you have created.

  • Play button (top-right corner):

    Tap the Play button to play your project.

  • Media Library button (bottom-left corner):

    Tap the Media Library button to choose media (Video, Photos, Audio) to add to your project.

  • Camera button (bottom-right corner):

    Tap the Camera button to record video or insert photos directly into your project. When you tap the Camera button, the following buttons appear in the window:

    1. Front/Rear Camera button: Toggle between front and rear facing cameras.
    2. Flash: LED flash options (Off, Auto, On) — iPhone 4 only.
    3. Video/Photo slider: Toggle between video and photos modes.
    4. Record button: Records video or takes photo.
    5. Cancel button: Cancel camera mode.
  • Note: Photos taken with the Camera button only appear in your iMovie timeline. They are not added to the Camera Roll.

    When you tap the Camera button, you may get the below alert message; you should tap OK if you want to access you photos and videos.

    "'iMovie' Would Like to Use Your Current Location. This allows access to location information in photo and videos."

    You can now add media to your movie timeline by tapping any of the three media options at the bottom of the window:

How do I open projects I have already created?

If you previously created projects in iMovie, they will appear in the Projects window. Swipe to scan through your projects. Each project is represented by a single thumbnail image:

From the Projects window, tap the project thumbnail you want to open. Your project opens so you can edit, play, or add media (shown below in landscape mode):


What is a theme?

A theme is a collection of titles and transitions designed to enhance the look of your movie. When you create a new project, you are prompted to select one of five themes: Modern, Bright, Travel, Playful, and News. 

To change the theme for an existing iMovie project, follow these steps:

  1. Tap the Gear button at the beginning of your movie (the left side of the timeline).

  2. Choose a theme by swiping through the list of five themes under the Select Theme heading:

    Note: Each theme comes with its own soundtrack. Slide the Theme Music button to On to automatically add this soundtrack to your movie. Slide the Theme Music button to Off to create a project without any music or to choose your own music from your your iPod app (iPhone 4) or Music app (iPod touch).

  3. Tap Done after selecting your theme.

How do I add media (video, photos, and audio) to my project?

  1. Open your iMovie project by tapping the project thumbnail. If you don't already have a project, you can create one by tapping the [+] button and then you can add media:

    Tapping the project thumbnail opens the project window:

  2. Tap the Media Library button.

    Note: You can also record video directly into your timeline by tapping the Camera button.

  3. Tap Video to select a video clip from the Camera Roll. You can also select video clips that are contained within your project, including clips that you previously recorded directly into your timeline.

  4. Tapping Photos opens the Photos window. From there, you can select a photo from your Camera Roll or from the Photos app.

    Note: The Camera Roll contains photos taken on your device. The Photos app contains photos that are synced to your device from your computer.

  5. Tap Audio to select one of the included soundtracks (located in Theme Music), or select music from your iPod app (iPhone 4) or Music app (iPod touch).

    You can only use one audio track per movie (one song only, not several in series). If your movie is shorter than the audio track, then the audio track fades out automatically. If your movie is longer than the audio track, then the audio track loops automatically. Also note that only non-DRM music can be added to a project.

How do I add titles to my project?

  1. Double-tap a video clip to open the Clip Settings window:

    The Clip Settings window also offers options to Delete Clip and turn the Audio On or Off in the video clip. If you turn audio on in the video clip, and your project also contains a music track that plays at the same time, then the volume of the music track will be reduced for the duration of the video clip. If you turn audio off in the video clip, the clip displays a mute badge in the timeline thumbnail:


  2. Tap Title Style to see the four title options:

    • Tap None if you'd prefer to leave the video clip without a title.
    • Tap Opening, Middle, or Ending to insert a title that matches one of these three styles.

    Note: Each title spans the entire video clip to which it is added. While the three title styles are designed to look best in specific parts of your movie, you can add any title style to any video clip in your project. You cannot add titles to photos.

  3. Enter text in the text field. Tap the "X" to clear the text field.

  4. From the Clip Settings window, you can also set the Location that appears in the title.

    The Location section of the window offers three options:

    1. Location Text button: Allows you to enter custom text that will appear in the location section of the title.
    2. Current Location button: Sets location text to current GPS location.
    3. Other Location button: Lets you search the iMovie database for a specific location.

How do I add transitions to my project?

By default, a cross-dissolve transition is automatically inserted between every video clip and every photo in your project. Transitions are represented by the transition button in your project's timeline:

Follow these steps to create a transition: 

  1. Double-tap a transition button to open the transition window.

  2. Select from the following transition options:
    • None

      If you choose None, a blank transition icon appears in the timeline to indicate no transition between your video clips:

    • Cross Dissolve.
    • Theme (uses the special transition that matches the theme you've selected for your project).
    • Duration: Tap the duration (0.5 sec, 1.0 sec, 1.5 sec, 2.0 sec) you want for your transition.

How do I adjust photos in my movie?

Follow these steps to adjust the Ken Burns effect:

  1. In the iMovie timeline, tap the photo to bring up the Ken Burns controls:

  2. Within the Viewer, tap Start to set the opening look of the photo. You can drag to position or pinch to zoom your photo.
  3. Within the Viewer, tap End to set the final look of the photo. 
  4. Tap Done when you've set the start and end position and scale of your photo.

    Note: By default, the Ken Burns effect is automatically applied to all photos. To disable the Ken Burns effect, the photo start and end settings must be the same for both position and scale.

What video editing features are available in iMovie for iPhone 4 and iPod touch (4th generation)?

With iMovie for iPhone 4 and iPod touch (4th generation) you can delete, move, trim, and split video clips.

  • To delete a clip, touch and hold a clip then drag the clip out of the timeline.
  • To move a clip, touch and hold a clip then drag the clip to the desired location in the timeline.
  • To trim a clip, tap the clip once to reveal the trim "handles," then touch and drag a trim handle to trim the clip.
  • To split a clip, swipe across the timeline to position the playhead where you want the split to occur. Tap to select the video clip, then swipe down over the playhead. 

What other things can I do in iMovie for iPhone 4 and iPod touch (4th generation)?

  • Pinch within the timeline or viewer to zoom in/out the timescale of the project.
  • Slide across the timeline to scrub.
  • Shake your device to Undo or Redo previous actions.
  • Rotate your device to switch between portrait and landscape modes.

How do I share my final project?

  1. Tap the  Projects View button and swipe through the Projects window until the project you wish to export is centered on the screen:

  2. Tap the Export button:

  3. Select one of the following options:

    • Medium - 360p (640x360)
    • Large - 540p (960x540) 
    • HD - 720p (1280x720)

    After selecting one of the options, a message appears stating that the movie has been exported to your Camera Roll.

  4. Once exported to your Camera Roll, you can share your movie in the following ways:
    • Email
    • MMS (multimedia message) — iPhone 4 only
    • YouTube
    • Note: See the User Guide for your device for instructions on how to share your video from the Camera Roll.

    When sharing via Email or MMS (iPhone 4 only), the movie is scaled down to a resolution of 568 x 320. When sharing an HD movie to YouTube, you can choose to share a standard definition or HD version of your movie. If you want to share the original, full-resolution version of your movie, you need to sync your movie to your computer and then share it from your computer.

Can I save an iMovie for iPhone 4 and iPod touch (4th generation) project and work on it later?

Yes, all projects are automatically saved until you delete them.

How do I delete a Project?

From the Projects window, make sure the project you wish to delete is centered on the screen, then tap the Trash button at the lower-right corner of the window.

Can I export my project directly into iMovie on my Mac?

No, projects only work on iPhone 4 and iPod touch (4th generation). However, you can export your finished movies to the iPhone Camera Roll, then transfer them to your Mac and bring them into iMovie.

For details on how to transfer your finished movie from the Camera Roll to your Mac, see Copying personal photos and videos from iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to your computer.

Can I import an iMovie project on my Mac into iMovie for iPhone 4 and iPod touch (4th generation)?

No, the projects from iMovie on your Mac cannot be imported into iMovie for iPhone 4 and iPod touch (4th generation).

Why do I get a message asking for location data?

The first time you open iMovie for iPhone 4 or iPod touch (4th generation), the app displays a message asking permission to use your current location. Because photos and videos recorded on iPhone 4 and iPod touch (4th generation) include location information, you must tap OK to enable iMovie to access photos and videos in the Media Library.

What do I do if iMovie for iPhone 4 or iPod touch (4th generation) can't access my photos and videos?

If you do not allow iMovie to use your location data, then the app is unable to access photos and videos in the Media Browser. In this case, the following message appears:

"iMovie cannot access your photos or videos."

To allow iMovie to access photos and videos in your Media Browser, open the Settings app on your iPhone 4 or iPod touch (4th generation), tap General, then tap Location Services, and set the iMovie switch to "on."

What happens to video that I record directly into my timeline?

iMovie for iPhone 4 and iPod touch (4th generation) allows you to record video directly into your timeline by tapping the Camera button:


The video clips that you record into your project are kept within the project. You can move these clips to the Camera Roll and sync them back to your computer by following these steps:

  1. Open the project containing the video clips you want to move.
  2. Within iMovie, tap the Media Library button.

  3. If not already selected, tap the Video button at the bottom of the window to see your video clips.

  4. Tap the Edit button at the top-left of the Video browser window.

  5. Tap the blue Move button (shown below as a folder on a blue background with an arrow in the lower left-hand corner of the image):

    This moves the video clip to your device's Camera Roll. Once a video clip is moved, the button disappears and the video clip dims.

    Note: You can also delete the video clip by tapping the red Delete button.

  6. When finished, tap the Done button at the top-left corner of the window:


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