Cropping Videos in QuickTime and Alternative Solutions

April 09, 2024Ashley Mae

QuickTime, the default media player on Macs, is a versatile tool for playing videos and basic editing. While you can't use QuickTime to crop videos, you can achieve similar results using the trim feature or explore alternative solutions. This article explores both approaches to help you refine your video content.

Crop Video QuickTime

Part 1. Why Can't I Crop Videos in QuickTime

While QuickTime excels at basic video playback and editing tasks like trimming and splitting, it lacks a dedicated cropping tool. That means you can't directly select an area within the video frame and remove the surrounding parts. QuickTime Pro, a paid version that's no longer actively supported by Apple, offered some workarounds involving masks, but these methods are not readily accessible for most users.

Understanding Cropping vs. Trimming

Cropping and trimming are video editing techniques that often get confused. Cropping means removing unwanted areas from the frame. It essentially resizes the video and focuses on a specific region within it. Trimming refers to deleting unwanted sections from the beginning or end of a video, effectively shortening its duration.

Part 2. How to Trim a Video in QuickTime

Trimming allows you to remove unwanted sections from the edges of your video, effectively achieving a similar visual effect. Here is how to trim a video in QuickTime.

Step 1.
Launch QuickTime Player on your Mac and import the video you want to trim. Go to the top menu bar, navigate to Edit, and then Trim. Alternatively, use the keyboard shortcut Command + T.
QuickTime Edit Trim Feature
Step 2.
A yellow trimming bar will appear at the bottom of the player window. The highlighted area between the two yellow handles represents the section that will be retained. Drag the handles to choose the portion of the video you want to keep. For more precise edits, click and hold on a yellow handle. It allows you to scrub through the video frame by frame, ensuring you capture the exact part you desire.
Trim Video in QuickTime Player
Step 3.
Once you are happy with your selection, click the Trim button located at the right end of the trimming bar. This operation will permanently remove the unwanted sections and shorten the video. After trimming, QuickTime doesn't automatically overwrite the original file. You need to save your trimmed video through its Export As option. Choose the desired format and quality settings.
QuickTime Export as 4K

Part 3. QuickTime Alternatives to Crop Videos on Mac and Windows

While QuickTime trimming offers a basic solution, it has limitations. You cannot change the video's aspect ratio or remove unwanted areas within the frame. If you need precise cropping capabilities beyond trimming, here are some effective alternatives.

Screen Recording with Selection Tool

QuickTime gives a quick and easy workaround if you only need a basic crop. Open QuickTime and play your video. Open the Screenshot tool (Shift + Command + 5) and select Record Entire Screen. Click and drag to select the area you want to capture (essentially cropping the video). Then, click Record to capture the selected screen area while the video plays. You will end up with a recording of the cropped video content.

Crop Video in QuickTime through Screen Recording

Crop Video on Mac with iMovie

Apple's built-in video editing app, iMovie, offers a user-friendly interface for cropping videos. Import your video into iMovie. Drag the video clip to the timeline. Click the Crop button (looks like a rectangle with diagonal lines) located above the viewer window. Adjust the cropping handles to define your desired area. Export the cropped video.

iMovie Crop Video on Mac

Crop Video on Mac Using the Photos App

The Photos app allows basic video cropping. Open your video in the Photos app, click Edit, and then the Crop button. You can then drag the corners and sides of the crop rectangle to define the area you want to keep.

Crop Video on Mac Using the Photos App

Third-Party Video Editing Software to Crop Videos

Numerous paid and free video editing software options offer advanced cropping functionalities. Popular options include Aiseesoft Video Converter Ultimate, Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, HitFilm Express, DaVinci Resolve (free version with limitations), and Kapwing. These applications provide precise cropping tools, allowing you to select specific areas within the frame and adjust the crop dimensions freely.

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Video Cropper

When cropping, keep the final video format in mind. Some social media platforms have specific aspect ratio requirements. Cropping your video beforehand ensures it fits the desired format without distortion. If you plan on cropping and editing your video extensively, consider starting with high-quality source footage in this video cropper. That minimizes quality loss during the editing process.

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Part 4. FAQs of Cropping Videos in QuickTime

Can QuickTime resize a video?

No, QuickTime cannot directly resize a video in terms of changing its dimensions. That means it can't alter the overall frame size of the video.

Is there an alternative to QuickTime on a Mac?

There are several alternatives to QuickTime on Mac for both video playback and editing purposes. You can use VLC Media Player, IINA, or MPlayerX to play various media files on your Mac. For video editing, you can turn to iMovie, the Photos app, or third-party video editing software like Aiseesoft Video Converter Ultimate, DaVinci Resolve, or Final Cut Pro.

Is QuickTime the same as MOV?

No, QuickTime and MOV are not exactly the same, although they are closely related. QuickTime is a media player application developed by Apple. It is pre-installed on Macs and allows you to play various video and audio formats. MOV stands for QuickTime File Format. It is a specific type of container format used to store video and audio data. MOV files are often opened with QuickTime by default because they are designed for the QuickTime framework on Macs.


While QuickTime doesn't offer a direct cropping function, you can get similar results using the built-in trimming feature. This article explores the limitations of QuickTime for cropping and dives into alternative solutions for precise video cropping on your Mac and Windows PC.

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