iMovie is one of the most beloved apps in the Apple ecosystem, and it can be used on a Mac, iPhone, or iPad. Since it was launched more than 20 years ago, it has been steadily improved to include new video and audio editing features and other functions. Today, it’s a modern tool that greatly simplifies the technical aspect of editing and lets inexperienced users create solid videos fairly quickly.

How to Merge Clips in iMovie

How to Merge Clips in iMovie

One of the basic tasks you can accomplish in iMovie is to merge multiple video clips together into a longer multimedia piece. Since in this scenario, no changes are made to individual clips, this procedure can be finished in a short time without any need for precise handmade interventions. Even novice users can learn how to do this, and our tutorial will explain all the relevant steps in simple terms that anyone can understand.

Also read: How to Clip a YouTube Video? >

What is iMovie and What Does it Primarily Serve?

Almost every iPhone or Mac owner is familiar with iMovie, as this software comes pre-installed on all Apple devices. Since it has been developed specifically for Apple hardware, it tends to function perfectly and rarely if ever has any conflicts or incompatibilities with other iOS or MacOS applications. Its primary role is to be a basic video editor for tasks that don’t require advanced skill levels or lots of resources.

In practice, people use iMovie for all kinds of things, from fixing the colors on a vacation video to producing YouTube clips for commercial purposes. While it may not be as advanced as Final Cut Pro, it still has a role in professional video editing and can produce impressive results in the right hands. At the same time, it offers a quick and reliable way for users without technical skills to enact simple edits on their own. This proved to be a winning combination, which is why iMovie has been one of the most frequently used media apps on Mac as well as iPhone for such a long time.

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Why Do You Need to Merge Clips in iMovie?

There are many situations where merging clips into a longer video is the logical thing to do. Merging allows you to extend the duration of the video and combine multiple scenes into a more complex narrative. Here is a brief overview of the reasons why most users decide to start merging clips:

How to Join Several Separate Clips in iMovie on a Mac

Since iMovie is a serious video editor, it lets you import and combine as many clips as you want. The easiest way to do this is through the timeline feature that you would use for any other editing task. The procedure is completely intuitive and visually obvious – you literally just need to put the clips in the right order and iMovie will automatically turn them into a single video. Here is the sequence of steps that will take you directly to this outcome.

Step 1 – Run iMovie on your Mac, go to the File menu, and click on the New Project option

Step 2 – Choose a name for your project and set up the correct aspect ratio and other key parameters

Step 3 – Go back to the File menu, click on Import Media, and then select Movies to upload your clips

Upload Your Clips

Upload Your Clips

Step 4 – Drag and drop individual clips onto the project timeline and arrange them in any order and duration you want

Step 5 – Save the project as a new one. MOV file or share it to your iTunes account

How to Join Split Clips into One in iMovie on a Mac

Another common situation is that a user has imported a longer screen recording and split it into several smaller, more manageable clips. This is useful for editing parts of the recording or transferring a large file over a slow internet connection. It’s possible to use the default method described above to re-merge the clips, but there is an even easier way that you shouldn’t overlook.

In particular, you should pay attention to the Join Clips function in iMovie. This convenient function makes merging completely effortless, but can only be applied to clips that were previously parts of the same video. If this condition is met, you can do the following to combine split clips into a continuous video that looks as if it was shot in one take.

Step 1 – With the clips visible in the frame, press Shift and select them all

Press Shift and Select Them All

Press Shift and Select Them All

Step 2 – Go to Modify menu, and choose the Join Clips option from the drop-down window

Step 3 – Clips will be instantly joined into a single video. Save it to your computer.

Frequently Asked Questions about Merging Clips in iMovie

1. Is it possible to merge clips recorded with different devices into a single video?

Yes, if you are using the first option described above you are free to combine content from different sources, i.e. your iPhone and your webcam, for as long as the clips are in a format supported by iMovie. However, if there are significant differences in quality, light, etc. between the clips, the final video might feel disjointed and amateurish.

2. Which file formats can be recognized by iMovie and which ones can be used to export videos?

iMovie supports a large number of audio, video, and image formats. Some of the more common file formats for imported clips include H.264, HDV, MPEG-4, AVCHD, AVI, MOV, and MP4. Finished videos are in MOV format by default, but can be natively converted to BMP, FLC, AVI, and other formats.

Further Reading: How to Fix iMovie Not Exporting >

3. Can I preview the merged video before I decide whether to save it or not?

Yes, because iMovie also contains a video player integrated with the editor. You can review your work at any moment and decide whether you are satisfied with the result or if more tinkering with clips is called for. In other words, you have complete control over the final product and can make it perfect.

Final Words

Learning how to merge clips in iMovie is the first step towards developing video editing abilities, and thanks to simple and accessible tools this software has this task is not too hard. After you do it once or twice, it will become completely natural and you’ll be able to do it without thinking. As you become more familiar with iMovie and its commands, you will discover this software is more resourceful than most people believe. This realization might unlock a new level of creativity and allow you to make the most out of the video clips you have on your iPhone and Mac.


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