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How to Transfer iMovie videos using iTunes?

Posted In iMovie - By Techtiplib on Sunday, July 13th, 2014 With No Comments »

Use iTunes on your Mac to add clips and share your videos from iMovie. Movie editing on your iPad is great fun, but if there’s one hiccup in the process it’s getting your videos onto the device in the first place. Of course, if you use your iPad’s camera to record footage live, this isn’t a problem, but for many users with videos recorded elsewhere, putting everything together can be awkward.

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Thankfully, there is a simple solution that implements iTunes as an intermediary platform, and best of all it works both ways. For videos that you have saved on your Mac, you can plug in your iPad and transfer your videos in both directions, so you can focus on editing and sharing your fantastic creations. We’ve detailed the process across the next two pages, giving you all the information you need. iMovie

Step-by-step: Import and export via iTunes 

1. Hook it up

First, you’ll need to connect your iPad to your Mac, either with a Lightning cable or using

wireless syncing. Open iTunes on your Mac and click the iPad button in the top bar. 

2. File Sharing

Click the Apps tab in the syncing window and scroll down until you find the File Sharing

section of the page. Here you can transfer files between Mac and iPad instantly. 

3. Add

Choose iMovie from the menu on the left, then click Add in the bottom-right. Find the files you want to import to your iPad and click Add in the menu to select them.

4. Find the files

On your iPad, open iMovie. If a pop-up showing the import doesn’t appear automatically, navigate to the Projects screen and tap the Import button in the top-right. 

5. Use the videos

When you import the videos, you will be asked which project you want to use them in. Pick New Project and iMovie will put together a video using the clips immediately.

6. Edit and finish

You can trim the clips in the timeline, change the music or completely alter the video, adding new clips and photos. When you’re happy, tap the back arrow in the top-left. 

7. Share

In the Projects view again, tap the video you have just edited to open up its options. Tap the Share button next to the preview to open up the Sharing menu.

8. Send to iTunes

In the second row, you’ll see that iTunes is an option. Tap this and then connect your iPad up to your computer once again to enable your Mac to access the file.

9. Save to Mac

Back on your Mac, head into the File Sharing section of iTunes once again and you’ll see the project is in the iMovie area. You can drag and drop it onto your Mac to save.

iTunes Transfers Explained: Understanding How iTunes Can Help You With Transfers

Formats explained

When you add movies from your Mac to your iPad, you may get an error message explaining that the videos aren’t compatible with iMovie for iOS. The iPad is rather fussy about the video files it can play, so it’s best to try and use .MP4 files wherever possible. If iMovie can’t play a file, try opening it with QuickTime Player, then choosing File>Export and picking the iPad option.


If you export a project from your iMovie app, you’ll get an editable file rather than a finished video – to get a watchable clip, you’ll need to save the video into the Photos app on your iPad and import it from there.

Clip sharing

Unfortunately, you can’t export clips in the Video section of iMovie via iTunes. To save a video clip to your Mac from your iPad, open up the Image Capture app on your Mac and import from there.

Any file

You can share different file types through the File Sharing section of iTunes. Try adding photos directly into iMovie or iPhoto from your Mac, or importing PDFs into a third-party PDF viewing app, for example.

Move between devices

The file you save from your iPad is in .MobileMovie format. This means that if you use iTunes to add the file to other iOS devices, you’ll be able to keep editing them later on. 

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