Major iMovie update arrives for iOS and iPadOS to help create movies in an instant

Apple has announced iMovie 3.0, available from today (April 12), which makes it easier for iOS and iPadOS users to compile photos, movies, and music into a home movie using two new features.

iMovie is a popular app from Apple to quickly create movies and clips on Mac, iPhone and iPad with minimal hassle.

However, both Instagram and TikTok use AI (artificial intelligence) features that make it even easier to create and share great video clips. For example, they can automatically adapt music to video clips. Meanwhile, iMovie was lagging, with users having to line up their music and content manually. But the new update seeks to mitigate that with “Storyboards” and “Magic Movie.”

It deploys on devices (opens in a new tab) running iOS 15.2 or later and iPadOS 15.2 or later. But Apple declined to say whether these features will eventually come to the macOS version as well.

What’s new in iMovie 3.0?

Storyboard functionality on iPad

(Image credit: Apple)

Storyboards are one of two new features where you can choose from 20 templates to fit videos, photos, and audio tracks, and each placeholder describes the type of clip that should be in that section of the movie.

This can be useful for content creators or those who want to test the waters with video editing in general. The feature can walk users through framing their shots and telling a story through their video, then export it to another app.

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When editing a clip that you have already inserted, you can have a voiceover, insert music, trim the clip, adjust volume, adjust speed, add titles, or delete the clip entirely. If you decide to change the template, the titles and transitions will adapt instead of disappearing and forcing you to start the project over.

iMovie 3.0 on iPhone

(Image credit: Apple)

Meanwhile, the Magic Movie feature allows you to select an album of photos and videos and compile them into a movie. You can rearrange and delete clips, and the functionality will adapt while keeping the project theme intact. This feature will analyze your clips for dialogue and motion and arrange them to fit your chosen movie.

There are also helpful descriptions of where to add certain clips, whether for a close-up or something else to help fit the movie.

You can also choose a soundtrack, like a file from Garageband, Apple Music or the Files app for example, and iMovie 3.0 will also adapt to that to match the video, similar to takes from TikTok and Instagram.

It seeks to automate the way you can create a movie in half an hour, without going through many menus to achieve the same result.

Magic Movie reminds us of its trailer feature (opens in a new tab) in iMovie on macOS, where you can create small movie trailer movies with your clips. This appears to be the next step in this feature available on macOS since 2011.

iMovie 3.0 on iPadOS

(Image credit: Apple)

We asked Apple if there would be a way to add live transcripts to clips. We were told it would have to be added in another app, like Final Cut on the Mac, which was disappointing, especially since its Clips app (opens in a new tab) can already do it on iOS.

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Apple also declined to say whether these features will come to the Mac version of iMovie. (opens in a new tab)but he indicated that the reason they are on iMovie for iPhone and iPad versions from today is because of the ease with which users create and manage their media content on these devices.


Analysis: A popular iMovie update

iMovie iOS app icon

(Image credit: TechRadar)

iMovie is something that dates back as far as the iLife suite in the early 2000s, where you would have a suite of applications such as iMovie, iPhoto, iWeb, and iDVD, all to help you create content on your Mac.

But since iMovie appeared on iOS in 2010, followed by an iPad release in 2011, its usage has changed, which makes sense that these new features would come to iPhone and iPad first.

After seeing the features in action, it’s surprising how few taps and clicks it takes to make a movie from start to finish. It looks like an evolution of the trailer feature above, with full movies now taking advantage of it.

But, it’s disappointing that there’s no way to add audio transcripts when editing a clip for a Storyboard or Magic Movie project. With Instagram and TikTok already featuring this feature, it would have made sense for it to come to iMovie 3.0.

However, this is a significant update that will take advantage of the cameras and content that every iPhone and iPad user has access to. And with its ease of use, it has the potential to become a mainstream method for longer movies that you want to share with a social platform, or with your friends and family.

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