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How to Edit Videos on Your iPhone or iPad

With iOS 13 and iPadOS 13, Apple developers threw a party for video. Apple’s newest mobile OS casts off the video editing restraints found in previous versions, placing it on par with the photo editor in an updated and enhanced Photos app. With iOS 13, video editing is no longer the foster child of Photos, but a full-on member of the family.

That means you can now use the same photo adjustment tools found in Apple’s Photos app to crop, rotate, alter exposure, apply filters, and edit video in all formats output by the mobile camera — including 4K and Slo-mo — without having to install a third-party app like iMovie or other more advanced video editors sold on the App Store. All video edits are non-destructive. You can revert to the original at any time during the process, and you can save the edited version as a new movie, thus preserving your original footage.

The new video editing system is available for the iPhone SE and later, iPad Air 2 and later, and iPod touch (7th generation). The video interface for both the iPhone and iPad is identical.

To get started using the new video tools, launch the built-in Photos app on your ‌iPhone‌ or ‌iPad‌ and select a video clip from your library using the ‌Photos‌ tab. Use the Days, Months, and Years views or select a clip from one of your albums via the Albums tab. Let’s get started.

How to trim video

The first thing to do when editing video is to cut it down to a reasonable size and trim off parts that you do not want in the final movie. The iOS trimmer is bare-bones, in that you can only trim from the beginning or end, unlike some dedicated video apps that let you cut and splice frames from anywhere in the sequence. However, for a quick video, the trimmer is very easy to use and can be accessed via the Camera icon in Edit mode.

  • Choose a video from your Photos app.
  • Tap Edit at the top right of the screen.
  • In edit mode, tap the camera icon at the bottom to access the trimming tool.
  • Tap and hold the left or right side of the timeline to view the yellow trimmer and its anchors.
  • Drag the anchors left or right to trim from the beginning or end of the movie.
  • Tap the sound icon at the top left to switch the sound on or off.
  • Choose either Save Video or Save Video as New Clip.
  • Tap Done on the bottom right of the window.

How to crop, straighten, flip, and rotate

You can make numerous adjustments, including cropping the video to zero in on your subject. You can also straighten the landscape, rotate the video, and fix both horizontal and vertical alignment. At the top of the screen, a Flip and a Rotate tool are also available. Say you’ve shot a vertical video that you’d prefer to view in a more traditional landscape orientation — you can rotate it and adjust the alignment accordingly. The straighten circle is the first one in the sequence, and probably the one you’ll use most. Horizontal and Vertical alignment are also available in case you need to adjust the orientation or angle.

  • Within your chosen video, tap Edit at the top right of the screen.
  • Tap the crop icon.
  • To crop, just grab a corner and adjust the view any way you want by moving your finger.
  • With your finger, choose Straighten, Horizontal, or Vertical to properly align your video.
  • Move your finger left or right to resize in real time.
  • Choose the flip icon at the top left to flip your video, if needed.
  • Select the rotate icon at the top left to rotate your video, if needed.
  • Tap Done.

The Crop tool also lets you change the video’s aspect ratio to some preconfigured sizes, including Square, 16:9, 5:7, 3:4, 2:3 or freeform. The tool, at the upper right of the screen, is highlighted in yellow when selected.

How to apply adjustments

The Adjustment tools are perhaps the most useful of the new video editing capabilities in the updated Photos app. Here, you can fine-tune your videos in the same manner as photos. You get controls for exposure, highlights, shadows, contrast, brightness, black point, saturation, vibrancy, warmth, tint, sharpness definition, noise reduction, and vignette. You can customize each adjustment with the bottom dial.

  • Tap the Adjustment icon.
  • Choose the tool you need.
  • Scroll left and right to select the intensity of the effect.
  • Tap Done.

How to use filters

how to edit videos on your iphone or ipad videofilters

The Filters tool is the third option in the row of icons along the bottom of the iPhone’s editing interface or on the iPad’s left-hand side of the canvas. This offers you a number of pleasing Instagram-like filters you can apply to your videos, such as Vivid (warm and cool), Dramatic (warm and cool), Mono, Silvertone, and Noir. Within each choice, you can dial the effect up or down to control how much to apply so your movie looks just right. This special effect is useful to give your videos some extra visual punch, but it’s not necessary for all videos.

Bottom line

If you are familiar with editing photos on the iPhone or iPad, getting started with the new iOS 13 native video editor will be a breeze. While it does not have the extensive capabilities of more advanced standalone apps, it gives you plenty of controls for the most important adjustments you’ll need to make your videos look stylish and engaging.

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