It’s common to use free apps that come with the device when you want to complete basic tasks on your Mac or iPhone, such as recording or editing a short video clip. That makes iMovie the most natural choice for anyone who wants to make changes to a recording or combine a few video and audio recordings into a longer form.

How to Change Aspect Ratio in iMovie

How to Change Aspect Ratio in iMovie

While simplicity of use is among the major advantages of iMovie, it still takes a little bit of knowledge to get the best results. This software actually gives you a lot of great options and lets you manipulate the video in any way you want, including changing the aspect ratio to fit perfectly on a differently sized screen. This function can be readily executed on any device, and you don’t have to be an expert to do it correctly, especially if you read this article carefully to prepare.

Also read: How do I resize images in Paint and Paint 3D? > 

What is iMovie?

iMovie is a software application developed by Apple that is shipped pre-installed on every device coming from this manufacturer. This is a video editing app intended for entry level users, but it still brings plenty of advanced tools that can be used in every stage of the editing process, from cutting raw footage to preparing the final product. The first version of iMovie was released in 1999, and since then this app has consistently been a part of the Apple ecosystem with new versions coming out every few years.

What is iMove

What is iMove

Both visual and audio components of a multimedia clip can be enhanced through the various functions and effects that iMovie enables. This includes basic tasks like cropping, trimming, and resizing videos, as well as more sophisticated edits such as color corrections, transitions, split-screen, picture in picture, green screen effects, and so forth. Despite the multitude of high-level tools available, iMovie remains relatively simple to use and requires far less technical knowledge than popular alternatives such as Final Cut X or Adobe Premiere.

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What is Aspect Ratio and Why do You Need to Change it?

Aspect ratio is one of the characteristics that every video has, and it describes the relationship between the height and width of image. For example, a video can be in a 1.85/1 or 4/3 ratio, indicating how much larger is the vertical dimension compared to the horizontal one. Depending on the aspect ratio, a video can fit better or worse on a particular size and shape of a screen, with a certain portion of space around the edges remaining empty.

Common Aspects Ratios

Common Aspects Ratios

Here are some possible motivations to change the aspect ratio of an existing video:

How to Change Aspect Ratio on a Mac?

If you are using iMovie on a Mac computer, you can easily change the aspect ratio of any video that you open with this software. Resizing the video can be accomplished almost instantly using a native function, and no deep editing knowledge is required other than understanding the benefits of each aspect ratio so you can make the right choice. Here is the procedure to follow in order to change aspect ratio of your video on a Mac.

Change Aspect Ratio on a Mac

Change Aspect Ratio on a Mac

Step 1 – Open a project in iMac and click on the File menu

Step 2 – Select the Project Properties item from this menu to open the pop-up screen

Step 3 – Change the default aspect ratio to the one you prefer by choosing from the list of options

Step 4 – Apply and save new settings, and the video will appear in the chosen dimensions

How to Change Aspect Ratio on iPhone/iPad?

Since many people use their mobile devices to record and edit videos, it makes sense to learn how to change aspect ratio in iMovie on your iPad or iPhone. Again, you can use a built-in function in iMovie for this purpose so there is no need for any external software. Follow the steps outlined below to quickly change how your video looks on the screen:

How to Change Aspect Ratio on iPhone/iPad

How to Change Aspect Ratio on iPhone/iPad

Step 1 – Run the iMovie app and open the video you would like to edit as a new project

Step 2 – Tap on the Zoom icon located in the upper right corner of the screen

Step 3 – Use your fingers and the Pinch to Zoom function to change the shape and size of the video

Step 4 – Tap on the Done button to save your changes and enjoy your video in a new format

Frequently Asked Questions about Changing the Aspect Ratio in iMovie

Does changing the aspect ratio affects the technical quality of the video?

By adjusting the aspect ratio you are merely changing the way the video is displayed, while its other key parameters such as frame rate, resolution, etc. remain the same. That said, choosing the wrong aspect ratio can still negatively affect viewing experience even if technical quality is largely unchanged.

Can I export my videos to another computer and retain the aspect ratio I set?

When you change aspect ratio by using iMovie settings, the original video file retains its original properties. That means it will be in the initial aspect ratio when you open it on a different device. In order to permanently change its outlook, it’s necessary to resize the video.

What is the best aspect ratio for mobile videos?

There are a few good options to choose from here. Square format with 1:1 ratio is pretty good for the mobile screen, which is also true for the Portrait (16:9) and Landscape format (9:16). Thus, the best ratio should be determined based on the content and purpose of your video.

Final Words

While the term ‘aspect ratio’ sounds very technical and complicated, but in reality denotes a simple property of a video. Once you understand that it refers simply to the relation between the height and width of an image, you will realize this is a factor you can easily control. We explained how to do this in iMovie (on a Mac or iPhone), but you can realistically achieve the same thing with third-party video editing apps as well. If you are not yet familiar with different aspect ratios and their advantages, you can play around with this feature in iMovie and find out how the viewing experience changes when you convert a video from one ratio to another.


Let everyone enjoy a simplified workflow of video creating, editing, and sharing.