[Step-by-Step] How to Edit and Make Vertical Videos Using iMovie on iPhone and Mac

August 25, 2023Ashley Mae

All social platforms mostly show vertical videos, including TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. Even on YouTube, you can see videos that will fit on your screen vertically. Since it is a trend, you will have to adjust video editing to what viewers like. With this in mind, you can learn how to use iMovie for vertical videos and the best alternative for professional editing.

iMovie Vertical Video

Part 1. How to Edit Vertical Video in iMovie [iPhone]

If you haven’t known, editing a vertical video on iMovie is impossible by default. In some cases, a user had his video cropped because the app could only export the clip in a 4:3 aspect ratio with black bars from left to right. However, with the following profound method, you do not need any extra software and can easily edit vertical videos using iMovie on your iPhone.

Step 1:
Run the iMovie app on your iPhone and tap the Start New Project button. Tap Movie from the menu and choose the video clip from the camera gallery. Press Create Movie to move to the editing window.
Step 2:
To remove the black spaces from the sides of the video clip, rotate it by placing two fingers on the video and rotating counterclockwise. A white curved arrow will appear, indicating the activated action.
iPhone Rotate
Step 3:
Edit the clip with optional features such as trimming, adjusting the playback speed, and so on. Tap the Done button and choose Save Video to export the edited movie to the Photos app.
Step 4:
Head to the Photos app and open the edited clip. Tap the Edit button and press the crop tool. Use the Rotate button until the video is vertical again. Tap Done and save the changes you made.
iPhone Photos App

Part 2. How to Make a Vertical Video in iMovie [Mac]

By default, iMovie can only edit and create videos horizontally. Unless you upload a portrait, iMovie will still turn it to 4:3 with black spaces on both sides. The only way to do this is by using the cropping feature in iMovie. To start, follow the steps below to change the aspect ratio and get a vertical video with iMovie on Mac:

Step 1:
Open iMovie on your Mac and import the portrait clips to the program. Then, drag and drop the video into the editing timeline. Select the video until the yellow border appears. If you imported multiple clips, press the Command button to select them all.
iMovie Upload
Step 2:
Choose the Crop icon from the top menu above the Preview window, then click the Rotate button until the video is in landscape mode. Proceed to edit the movie with the optional tools. However, adding text is not advisable since you must turn the video back to portrait. The Text feature does not rotate texts.
iMovie Crop
Step 3:
Export the video to save to your device. Open it to your local folder and hit the space bar on the keyboard. Once the menu layer appears, select the Rotate button until the video is vertical again. Press the space bar again, and it will save the changes.
iMovie Export

Note: If you do not know how to export iMovie to MP4 after editing, here is a quick tip. You can find the Share button and choose Export File, in which you can effortlessly get an output MP4 video at any time.

Part 3. Alternative to iMovie to Edit and Make Vertical Video

If the work on iMovie is too much, you can use Aiseesoft Video Converter Ultimate as an alternative video editor. It is capable of doing all video editing, including converting, compressing, applying filters, and more. Changing the video aspect ratio in this converter is easy with custom or fixed options like 9:16, 16:9, 4:3, 1:1, etc. The best part of using Video Converter Ultimate is the high-quality result of edited videos, suitable for posting online.

Video Converter Ultimate


Video Converter Ultimate - An Excellent Vertical Video Editor

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  • Export portrait videos without black bars on the left and right sides.
  • Lightweight with a fast-speed process for conversion and exportation.
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Step 1:
Firstly, download the program. Then, install it. Once Video Converter Ultimate runs, click the Add File button to import the footage. With the Add Folder option, you can also add multiple files to edit in a batch simultaneously.
Aiseesoft Video Converter Ultimate Add File
Step 2:
Click the Edit button and open a new window. You will find all the tools you need to edit the aspect ratio, audio, subtitle, and so on. Save all the changes and apply them by clicking the OK button.
Edit the Video
Step 3:
To choose an output format, click the Format menu at the right part of the uploaded clip and select the desired format. Click the Cog button has the Custom Profile, where you can change the video quality, encoder, frame rate, and other settings. Press Create New to save.
Aiseesoft Video Converter Ultimate Custom Profile
Step 4:
In the Save to drop-down option, choose the designated folder to store the video file. Finally, click the Convert All button to process the vertical video. Share it via email provider or post it on social media.
Click Convert All Button

Part 4. FAQs about iMovie Vertical Video

How do I change the vertical aspect ratio in iMovie?

iMovie does not have a way to change the aspect ratio. It can only put a video clip in landscape mode. However, you can use the method in this post to change the aspect ratio with the Photos app.

How do you change a video from portrait to landscape in iMovie on iPhone?

To edit a video, import it on iMovie. Use the Rotate feature to make the video on the landscape. Proceed to edit, then export. From the Photos app, tap the Edit button and rotate the video back again until vertical.

Why is iMovie cropping my vertical video?

The video editor app is programmed to edit videos horizontally. So when you upload a vertical video on iMovie, it will automatically crop it. The result is a squared aspect ratio with black bars on both sides.

Which app is better for editing vertical videos aside from iMovie?

If you love posting online, you can use TikTok to edit vertical videos. As you may know, the platform has millions of video clips in portrait mode, so editing one is not too difficult. The app also has a wide range of effects and filters, along with tools to cut, merge, or rotate footage.

Which free apps to make vertical videos on iPhone?

Check the App Store for other video editors. Try PowerDirector, CapCut, InShot, YouCut, Canva, and KineMaster.


iMovie is a great video editor, but using it alone for portrait videos is quite troublesome. Luckily, you can still make it happen by following the method above and learn how to edit vertical video in iMovie. Alternatively, Aiseesoft Video Converter Ultimate is another excellent option for your to try and make a great vertical video effortlessly on Windows and Mac. If you prefer an easier way to achive this task, do not miss out this program and start by downloading it here safely.

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Video Converter Ultimate is excellent video converter, editor and enhancer to convert, enhance and edit videos and music in 1000 formats and more.

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