The 12 Best Free Video Editors for Your Mac
Apple computers have long targeted creative professionals, particularly when it comes to photo and video editing. Unfortunately, industry-leading packages like Adobe Premiere, After Effects, and Apple’s own Final Cut Pro aren’t cheap.
But all is not lost. There’s a selection of capable, free video editing apps for Mac to sink your teeth into. Some are made for beginners, while others will satisfy seasoned video editors thanks to the impressive feature sets on offer.
These are our favorite free video editors for Mac.
Summary: A free, consumer-grade video editor for Mac computers. It’s well-optimized for Apple hardware and suitable for most personal projects.
iMovie is free for anyone who owns a Mac. Plus, the iOS version is free for all iPhone and iPad owners. The software targets consumers who want to quickly create videos with footage stored in their Photos library. To facilitate this, iMovie uses a simplified timeline editor that doesn’t allow for multi-track editing.
Despite the linear editing and basic UI, iMovie is a highly optimized application that can handle 4K video and green screen compositing. It lets you generate titles, drag-and-drop transitions, and add motion graphics like 3D globes or travel maps. It also supports picture-in-picture video and slow-motion/fast-forward effects.
The app has built-in music and sound effects that are ready to go. It can generate Hollywood-style trailers using footage that you supply. Additionally, the app allows you to export directly to YouTube and Vimeo at up to 4K resolution. So, if you were looking for an all-in-one, free video editor for your Mac that’s simple to use, this is it.
Download: iMovie (Free)
2. DaVinci Resolve
Summary: A powerful, professional-grade video editor that unfortunately lacks the color-grading tools the developers are famous for.
The Studio version of DaVinci Resolve costs $295, but the basic version is completely free, which still includes the same high-quality image-processing abilities as the pricier version. You get a powerful video editor, some of the best color correction capabilities around, and even support for external hardware panels to enable faster editing.
There are limitations, of course. The main one is that Resolve can only output in SD, HD, or Ultra HD, although that is likely more than enough for most users. Also, the app places limits on some advanced grading and tracking tools. However, these restrictions are mainly in place to convince professional users to upgrade.
The app might have a pretty steep learning curve, but DaVinci Resolve is one of the most powerful video editing suites on the planet, and you get a lot for free. See our comparison of DaVinci Resolve and HitFilm Express for more on how it stacks up.
Download: DaVinci Resolve (Free)
Summary: An open-source video editor for Mac with an impressive feature set. However, the interface is outdated and may put some users off.
OpenShot is a cross-platform, open-source tool that has been around since 2008. It was built to provide a stable, free, and accessible video editor. The project receives several major updates yearly, in line with the expectations for an open-source project with a small team.
OpenShot’s feature list has grown over the years to include great support for various formats, animation keyframes, and unlimited video or audio tracks. It also packs in transition and compositing support, titles, and a heap of extra features you’d expect from a modern video editor.
Past criticisms have panned OpenShot’s reliability, but it’s still worth a shot for free.
Download: OpenShot (Free)
Summary: A capable, open-source editor with an interface superior to OpenShot.
Here’s another free, cross-platform, open-source video editor. Shotcut’s feature list is just as impressive as OpenShot, but Shotcut features a prettier interface. It more closely resembles a pro-tier application than a free one.
The app supports a wide range of video files and formats, including 4K, ProRes, and DNxHD. Shotcut also includes great support for working with audio, an impressive list of video effects (including compositing and transitions), and a flexible UI.
Of note are support for advanced features like 5.1 surround sound, three-way color correction, and a huge number of video and audio filters. There’s even a complete set of official video tutorials on Shotcut’s website you can watch to get up to speed with the editor.
Download: Shotcut (Free)
Summary: A powerful, free tool despite not being a purpose-built video editor.
Blender is a free 3D modeling and compositing app used in some high-profile productions. Yet, many don’t realize Blender is also a capable non-linear video editor, provided you’re willing to take the time to learn how to use it.
You can use Blender to cut and splice video, mix and sync audio, or apply adjustment layers, transitions, and filters. You probably won’t edit a whole film together in Blender, but for basic editing tasks, it might suffice.
Blender isn’t the easiest system to learn, but underneath the hood is a powerful non-linear video editor.
Download: Blender (Free)
Summary: A powerful editor with plenty of features, but some seriously restrictive output options make the free version feel more like a trial.
Lightworks is one of the most powerful apps on this list. We’d happily recommend it above all the other packages if it wasn’t so restrictive for free users. The free version includes video effects, multi-cam editing, titling, and the usual multi-layered timeline approach you’d expect from a comprehensive editor.
Unfortunately, rendering (exporting your project) is limited to 720p output for both Vimeo and YouTube. You can also render to Lightworks Archives, but you’ll lose H.264, MP4, and even DVD export options.
So, while the toolkit is vast, Lightworks isn’t a very appealing free editor for Mac users unless you’d like to thoroughly try it out for free and upgrade later.
Download: Lightworks (Free, premium version available)
Summary: A capable freebie that lacks in polish and features.
Avidemux also made our list of the best Linux video editors. Though it’s a basic program, it works well for simple editing tasks. The app supports a wide variety of input and output formats. The project also undergoes several updates a year, with development continuing at a steady pace.
Thankfully, the team maintains parity among all three major versions, so you won’t miss out on any features if you opt for the Mac package.
Avidemux is best reserved for simple tasks like cutting a video down to size, applying video or audio filters, and transcoding. If you’re willing to dig a little deeper, you’ll find a capable script editor to automate many of these common tasks.
Be sure to check out the Avidemux Wiki for learning materials, and the Avidemux forum can help in case you get stuck.
Download: Avidemux (Free)
8. HitFilm Express
Summary: A free video editor for Mac with over 500 effects and presets, 2D and 3D compositing, and many more features.
HitFilm Express is a free video editing software for Mac and Windows machines. It comes in two versions. We’ll focus on the free version, HitFilm Express, which you can use to manage all your basic editing needs.
The tool is suitable for beginner and mid-level editing. The software’s home interface gives you all the top industry news and a slew of tips and tricks for using the tool. You can drag videos, images, and music files to the software panel to get going right away. The built-in clipper is bound to come in handy as well.
Even better, it also offers VFX editing. But what if the free version doesn’t have a particular functionality? Yeah, they’ve got that covered, too. You can buy the additional features right from the home workspace. So, if this free editing software for Mac piques your interest, you can learn more about it from HitFilm’s website.
Download: HitFilm Express (Free, premium version available)
Summary: A free online video editor that can hold its own against any offline tool.
InVideo is the Canva of video editing. For the uninitiated, Canva is a free online graphic design tool. So, this essentially means that you can edit your videos right from your browser and avoid all the tussle and clutter that comes with offline tools.
With over 5,000+ video templates and over 3 million images in the standard media library, this is one beast of a free video editing program for your Mac. Also, did we tell you that the videos will be watermark free?
You can create a lot with InVideo: Facebook templates, YouTube intros, memes, slideshows, and more. With the free edition, you’ll get perks like 1GB of free cloud storage, automated text-to-speech, and more.
If working on the cloud is your thing, you can’t do much better than InVideo. All you need to do to get started is create an account on the official website.
Register: InVideo (Free, premium version available)
Another open-source tool that makes it to our list is Kdenlive, a free video editing app for Mac that makes the entire editing process a breeze. The app is based on huge libraries like DKE and Qt, making it perfect for running almost all audio and video formats.
Apart from basic editing, Kdenlive packs a punch of other editing features as well:
- Design features like color, shadows, and gradients.
- Template support.
- A host of transitions and effects for your videos.
- Audio and video scopes.
- Auto-backup protects you against abrupt data loss.
- Themable Interface lets you choose between various light and dark themes.
While the macOS version of the app was only released in October 2021, it lacked support for Apple silicon Macs. Since 2022, however, the app now also supports the M1 and M2 Macs. So if you like to use open-source tools, you can’t go wrong with Kdenlive.
Download: Kdenlive (Free)
11. Cyberlink PowerDirector
Summary: A powerhouse for all your Mac video-making needs.
Cyberlink PowerDirector, as its name suggests, is a powerful video editing software for your Mac.
When we first encountered it, what caught our attention was the wealth of solid features packed with this tool—most of them available for free.
This Mac moviemaker houses more than 3,000 effects and templates, and to top it off, it has around 6.4 million stock videos and photos.
A host of other features that deserve a special mention include:
- Support for 4K video resolution
- Audio Denoising
- Monitor Tracking
- Compatibility with a massive list of video formats
- Video Collage Designer
- PiP Designer
- Speed Designer
These features are just the tip of the iceberg, as there’s so much more to explore in PowerDirector. Our only gripe with it—if we had to nitpick—would be the watermark with the free version. But really, would it be fair to ask this much from a freeware version? Probably not, and that’s why it also made it to our list of best video editing apps for YouTube.
Give PowerDirector a run and see if it floats your boat. If it does meet your expectations, you can buy the full version straight from the app itself (from the shopping cart icon in the top-right corner).
Download: Cyberlink PowerDirector (Free, premium version available)
12. Final Cut Pro
Summary: An easy-to-pick-up tool for video editing beginners and pros alike.
Final Cut Pro is seen as the natural progression for an iMovie user, or at least those in the Apple ecosystem. Although it’s a paid tool, Apple offers a whopping 90-day free trial period. That’s about three months, give or take. So, we decided to add it to our list at the end here as a bonus of sorts.
For those of you who are just stepping into the world of video editing or just have a few projects you need to take care of, the Final Cut Pro free trial could be your best option.
There’s a basic drag-and-drop space, a slew of editing effects, and a powerful media organization tool with Smart Collections and Auto-Analysis. It also supports 360-degree content and has functionality for the best VR headsets.
All in all, Final Cut Pro is another piece of beauty from Apple that celebrates artists and their creativity.
Download: Final Cut Pro ($299, free trial available)
These Are All the Best Free Mac Video Editors
So, which is the best free video editing software for Mac? If you’re just dipping your toes in the video editing space, iMovie will probably suit you best: it’s free, easy to use, and carefully optimized for Apple hardware.
There are plenty of features in iMovie to satisfy beginners and mid-tier users. However, it lacks the raw power to compete with Final Cut or Premiere Pro.
That said, if you’re looking for a simple video conversion app instead of a full-fledged video editor, there are plenty of video converters for macOS to discover.