The Best Video Editing Software for Mac

Multimedia •  Dec 8, 2023

edit video

Even though preferences vary, most people agree that video editing has become easier. For one, you do not need overclocked desktops or bulky laptops, especially when in the world of Macs. For instance, if you have a MacBook Air with Apple Silicon, you can expect a smooth video editing experience. And it seems to be the case for most of the Macs available today.

Now that hardware has uniformly improved, you just need the most suitable video editor for your Mac. As it happens, you have quite a few options in the market, including free and paid ones. But how do you select the best option for your needs? Of course, you have to factor in usability, performance, and features. Even then, you are left with more than a dozen of options in each category.

Here’s what we have done.

In the past week, we have been testing more than 20 of the most popular video editors on our Mac (to be more specific, MacBook Air M2 13-inch running macOS Sonoma). After many hands-on tests and analytics, these are the best 10.

The best Mac video editing software at a glance

Best Mac video editors for beginners

Did you get your Mac and want the simplest way to edit videos? The following video editors put usability first, offering a seamless editing experience. While there are options to customize what you do, these video editors can help you finish the job in a few minutes.

#1 iMovie

iMovie is undoubtedly one of the best apps built into every Mac. This easy-to-use video editor can help you become a beginner filmmaker in a few minutes. With the latest version, iMovie has also brought better levels of integration to the table. We believe Apple iMovie has what it takes to top this list.

imovie

iMovie follows the same focused UI design philosophy of other Apple software. You can use it even if you do not have sufficient experience with macOS. The impressive part is that you have options for customizability that do not affect the core editing experience.

From transitions to video filters and soundtracks, iMovie offers a lot of editing options. But, if you simply like to stack different clips and export them into a short movie, you can do it as well. As you go further, you will love iMovie features like color grading, noise cancellation, and green screen effects. We also love how many options you get for audio optimization.

Once you have added all the elements, iMovie lets you export the content to the desired format. The exact time for exporting the video may take a few seconds, depending on the Mac you have. Thanks to the power of the Apple ecosystem, you can easily import content from your iPhone. We also appreciate that iMovie uses the same UI design.

Ever-increasing integration with the Apple ecosystem is perhaps the best thing about iMovie. For instance, it can automatically create Magic Movies by selecting photos or videos from your Photos library. Similarly, there is reliable support for different codecs and device profiles. We should also note that iMovie offers the best performance on Apple Silicon-based Macs.

iMovie is currently available for macOS, iPadOS, and iOS. It is completely free of cost and receives regular updates from Apple.

Pros

  • Intuitive User Interface
  • Best-in-class integration
  • Rich editing options
  • A rich library of elements

Cons

  • Limited customization options

#2 Movavi Video Editor

Movavi Video Editor, also known as Movavi Video Suite, is another all-in-one editing app that we can easily recommend for Mac users. This tool is also designed to give a very seamless editing experience, regardless of your technical expertise. Compared to other options, you get more features, though.

movavi

Because it packs a very advanced suite of tools, the user interface of Movavi Video Suite is also impressive. So, when you get started, you can choose between multiple utilities such as Video Editor, Video Converter, Screen Recorder, and AI-based editor. You also have quick access to stock videos and other elements. All its features have been designed in a way that you can create a video from scratch without leaving the app.

During our testing, we mostly focused on the Movavi Video Editor Suite, which is designed for the editing part. That is, you might not have all the AI-powered features in this toolkit, but it is designed to provide a seamless editing experience. There is not anything particularly new about the user interface. Instead, you can drag and drop the files that you want and insert them into the timeline as you wish.

Multitrack editing makes it easy to create complex videos without worrying about how they work. We found it pretty convenient that you can not only drag-and-drop existing videos, but also record the screen or record audio right from the tool. It means relying less on third-party tools and managing everything from the single user interface. The rich collection of intro videos also makes things easy when you are new to it.

The additional features in the Movavi Video Editor package have mostly to do with how it integrates with other features. For what it’s worth, you get an excellent collection of sample videos, backgrounds and intro videos that will make things easier. And the project management system of the tool is also very impressive. And you can easily shift between multiple elements such as filters and overlays.

Movavi Video Suite is available for Mac and Windows. You can get a one-year subscription of the entire video suite for $94.95, and you can also explore additional combinations. All these tools also offer a free trial, where you have access to all core features.

Pros

  • Optimized for professional-grade content creation
  • A richer collection of transitions and overlays
  • Built-in options for multitrack editing
  • It comes with many additional features like AI-based scaling

Cons

  • Free trial has limited features
  • Larger video sizes due to minimal compression

Read our full Movavi review 

#3 Wondershare Filmora

Wondershare Filmora is what you get when you combine powerful editing features, an intuitive UI, and the modernity of AI. This AI-powered video editor brings a lot to the table while consuming only a limited amount of system resources. It means you can save time by letting AI take care of many routine tasks.

filmora

Wondershare Filmora follows the rich user interface design that we have seen from other products from Wondershare. It is pretty intuitive, and you don’t need a lot of technical training to use even the advanced options. Therefore, we would say that the UI is pretty friendly and gets the job done for most users.

You can choose between multiple editing modes when getting started with Wondershare Filmora. For instance, there is an instant mode which gets you a couple of features. There are also options to record your screen or convert text to video. There is also an option to edit by using text commands. AI copywriting and Instant cutters also offer much customization options.

The editing experience is pretty rich because Wondershare Filmora takes care of many routine tasks. You can also quickly access stock media, audio, titles, transitions and a rich library of other elements. We equally loved that you can access content from different parts of your Mac. The sidebar on the right makes it easy to manage aspects like video, audio, color, and speed.

Most of the additional features of Wondershare Filmora has to have to deal with how it integrates artificial intelligence. You can use the power of generative artificial intelligence to make sure that you create a very compelling video. It helps in selecting the templates or finding the content that you want to put on the video, and the transitions and effects are also suggested to make sure that you have a pretty impressive experience.

Wondershare Filmora is available for both macOS and Windows. Though you can get started for free, the Filmora subscription starts at $49.99 per year. You can also get the lifetime or cross-platform plans.

Pros

  • Impressive AI-powered features
  • Navigation-friendly User Interface
  • A great collection of creative assets
  • Unlimited AI credits on paid plans

Cons

  • Most features require account registration

Read full Filmora review

#4 Adobe Premiere Rush

Adobe Premiere Rush is another suitable video editor for Mac if you do not like to spend much time on the technicalities. As you can guess, it is a toned-down version of Adobe Premiere Pro, but you get a refined set of features in the package.

Adobe premiere

We were quite impressed by the flow of the User Interface in Adobe Premiere Rush. From selecting clips to adding transitions, every task is arranged with a workflow in mind. Therefore, you can expect to spend less time on the technicalities and make sure that your content looks good.

As we mentioned, Adobe Premiere Rush offers a premium editing experience for the most part. We also felt that it is as integrated as a native app like iMovie. However, because Rush does not store its elements library locally, you will need a stable internet connection. If that is taken care of, the editing process stays smooth, even as you bring multiple overlays or transitions to the storyboard.

It is also impressive that you get a more professional set of editing elements. Even when you select a rather simple elements, multiple types of edits are available on the sidebar. Similarly, even the basic editing tools have a classy nature. Clearly, Adobe has focused on helping users create an impressive video clip at the end of the day.

One thing we loved about Adobe Premiere Rush is its all-in-one nature. That is, you do not need another tool to complete your content creation journey. For instance, you can easily add video effects or extra graphics to the content. In the end, Rush also offers built-in options to share the video content to popular platforms like YouTube and Instagram. You can also rely on a widely growing community of users.

Adobe Premiere Rush is available for macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android. Core editing features on Adobe Premiere Rush are free to use. However, you need to get a paid subscription if you need access to the rich library of graphic elements and advanced editing options.

Pros

  • Optimized for all-in-one content creation
  • Available for multiple platforms, including iOS
  • A more professional collection of elements
  • A powerful user community that you can rely on

Cons

  • It does not have any AI-centric features

Best Mac video editors for intermediates

Do you already have some experience with video editing? Are you looking for better control and some room for customization? In that case, these intermediate-friendly video editors are the best options. While these apps are optimized for performance, you can go a long way in optimizing your project.

#5 HitFilm Express

When it comes to professional grade editors, HitFilm Express is a new name, but it offers a unique video editing experience without charging so much. So you can use this tool to edit videos for various purposes, including feature films or short films or something that you want to post on YouTube or Instagram.

hitfilm

Probably the best thing about HitFilm Express is that it creates a great balance between professional features and a simple user interface. While you have an option to use pro tools and gain better results, it doesn’t come at the cost of usability. Instead, users have the option to pick the features they want, thanks to the modular design of the tool.

Because it has been designed for experienced editors, the editing process itself is pretty advanced. That is, of course, you have an option to simply add the details and media files to the timeline, but this tool is expected to make the process more refined. We should also add that you need some time to master all the toolbox elements you will find within the UI.

But, once you have gotten used to the user interface, you can basically explore the modular nature of HitFilm Express. For instance, you can make use of ready-to-use presets and various creative assets. There are also options to sync the audio and enable a variety of visual effects into the content. You also have a couple of additional features that you can’t really find in beginner-friendly video editors for Mac.

For instance, you can use a variety of lighting and lens flares that will add depth to your video. Similarly, the color grading and correction options within the app are also great. You also have access to motion tracking and keying options, which add a lot of value to the content. It is also impressive that you can use a variety of plugins to bring 3D objects and camera tracking into the scene.

HitFilm Express is available for macOS. You have multiple options when it comes to the pricing of HitFilm Express. You can use the free version of the tool or pay for a subscription worth $7.99. In the subscription, you get access to premium assets.

Pros

  • Advanced and modular User Interface design
  • A curated collection of transitions and edits
  • It offers compatibility with dedicated plugins
  • Multiple pricing options make things easier

Cons

  • The video editor feels sluggish without internet

#6 PowerDirector 365

We were a little unsure about where to put PowerDirector 365 because it offers a unique combination of professional grid editing options but a rather simple user interface. With the latest update, PowerDirector from CyberLink has also received AI-based features, which improves the editing experience by a long shot.

PowerDirector

As we said, the user interface of PowerDirector 365 for Mac is pretty easy to master. Even if you are looking for basic editing or advanced color grading, this professional grade tool will be enough to help you out. And most of the time, the UI is smart enough to recommend what suits the best. For instance, AI-based features are being added in such a way that you will find them useful while editing the video.

Now, coming to the editing experience, the experience is pretty standard in that you have a very smooth way of attaching media and managing audio and the advanced options for color grading and AI tools are beneficial more often than you think. For instance, when you are creating a video, you can easily remove the background or use object detection to make sure that things are prioritized in such a way.

And when it comes to the core editing options like transitions, titles and video speed, you get maximum control over these things, and you can also use features like trimming, splitting and cropping. And the library makes sure that you have all the things you need, including stickers, styles, effects and everything. Together, the editing experience from PowerDirector 365 makes it easy to recommend this editor to Pro users.

Even when we focus on particular sections such as video effects or content editing tools, PowerDirector 365 offers a good collection of features. Some of them include the background remover, AI motion tracking, chroma keying or green screen support, and masks. You can also fix and enhance the footage that you have, which is helpful when dealing with action camera footage.

PowerDirector 365 is available for both macOS and Windows. The macOS version is available with an annual subscription of around $57, which is a reasonable price. You can also explore additional discounts by choosing to go with combinations.

Pros

  • Professional-grade editing options
  • A simple and straightforward UI
  • An updated collection of elements
  • It requires less time to master

Cons

  • The free version is very restrictive

#7 Lightworks

Lightworks, also known as LWKS, is another impressive video editor that Mac users love. It packs everything you would expect from a standard video editor but remains easy to learn. Therefore, for those who want to step up their editing game on a Mac, Lightworks is a great option.

lightworks

As you can see in the screenshot, the user interface of Lightworks is designed for modularity in focus. It means you have the option to arrange different aspects of the UI in different places according to your purpose. In the center, you can find the sequence section and also the media library on the left side. But on the right side, you get a couple of subsections such as metadata editing, queues and additional settings.

We can’t say that the editing process from Lightworks is simple. Instead, you need time to understand where the user interface has kept which aspects. For instance, because it’s a professional grade system, there are different sections for assembly, editing, VFX and audio. So if you want to focus on making the video content as great as possible, you will have to stick to the edit section.

But when it comes to inserting high quality visual graphics into the content, you will have to move to the other tab. So this tab section where you can actually allocate different tasks makes a difference when it comes to productivity. And this is also where a video editor like Lightworks is better than the previous ones we have talked about.

The additional features of Lightworks include a lot of the professional options that you might be familiar with in each of the devices, each of the Mac editors for professionals. For instance, you can use the transform 3D function to convert something into a 3D image or create a flop effect or transitions with a simple task. And compared to the other tools, there are a lot of optimization options that will be practical.

Lightworks is available for macOS. You can choose between the free, Create, and Pro versions while using this editor on Mac. The subscription options offer access to advanced features and comprehensive tools, respectively.

Pros

  • A modular pro-focused design
  • Rich collection of templates
  • Incredible performance for rendering
  • Cloud support

Cons

  • The free version is quite restrictive

Best Mac video editors for professionals

We recommend these apps only to those who want the best video editing experience out there. The editors on the list below are used by professional filmmakers. But you do not have to be one to master these tools. We should warn you about the heavy investment of time, though.

Note: These video editors are used by professionals, including Hollywood editors. And that level of expertise is required to evaluate the app critically. And we do not claim to do that here. Instead, we want to introduce these apps so that you can consider choosing one of these best options.

#8 Final Cut Pro

Final Cut Pro has been the equivalent of professional video editing for more than a few decades. With the power of Apple computers and the other optimizations that Apple introduces, this video editor is a sure-shot option for those who want maximum control over the editing process.

FinalCutPro

It comes with an entirely insane variety of features, for instance, object tracking, cinematic mode, pro performance and the ability to manage media, audio and other graphics from a single screen. You can even create impossible workflows with this tool. At the same time, the usability aspect apart, it creates such a great opportunity where you can customize any kind of media that you are planning to build.

Final Cut Pro has been the equivalent of professional video editing for more than a few decades. With the power of Apple computers and the other optimizations that Apple introduces, this video editor is a sure-shot option for those who want maximum control over the editing process. It comes with an entirely insane variety of features, for instance, object tracking, cinematic mode, pro performance and the ability to manage media, audio and other graphics from a single screen.

You can even create impossible workflows with this tool. At the same time, the usability aspect apart, it creates such a great opportunity where you can customize any kind of media that you are planning to build. You also get third-party integration that will be helpful at times. Overall, Apple has been catering to the need of professional-grade content creators with FCP

Final Cut Pro is available for macOS and iPadOS. The Mac version of Final Cut Pro is available for a one-time purchase of $299.99, which is expensive.

Pros

  • Completely optimized for macOS
  • High-performance system
  • Better ecosystem integrations
  • Magnetic timeline for easy editing

Cons

  • Platform limitations are a problem

#9 Adobe Premiere Pro

As you can guess, Adobe Premiere Pro is the direct answer that Adobe has been providing for those who need a better editing option on multiple platforms. As you know, Final Cut Pro is not available for Windows or Linux, but then you have an option to use Adobe Premiere Pro as a mighty video editor for film editing.

premiere

However, the good thing is that there are also people who prefer using Adobe Premiere Pro on their Mac to get a different line of workflow. Therefore, if you have already invested in the Adobe ecosystem where you use tools like Photoshop or Lightroom and want to use the additional things without going out of sync, you can use Adobe Premiere Pro for Mac.

This editing tool comes with almost all the features you could ask for, and it has also integrated AI-powered tools to simplify your workflows, and the fast-paced editing options will also be beneficial when you want to create something that stands apart. There are also options to customize the colors and go above and beyond when it comes to how things are displayed on the screen.

When you make this choice, you also decide to rely on a community of users who have been gathering expertise about this tool. For instance, if you want to make sure that the dialogue is clear of all the problems, you can do that with a single click. Similarly, there are ways to remove filler words and a lot to do when optimizing content for the platforms that you are familiar with.

Adobe Premiere Pro is available for macOS and Windows. You can get it as a part of the Creative Cloud subscription, and the prices may vary. There is no option for a perpetual license, though.

Pros

  • Cross-platform compatibility options
  • Instant integration with Adobe CC
  • A powerful community and updates
  • Optimized for collaboration

Cons

  • Only a subscription model is avaialble

#10 DaVinci Resolve

DaVinci Resolve is the dedicated option for video editing from the DaVinci suite. It has been designed for all sorts of video editing needs and offers almost the same set of features as the premium version.

DaVinci

DaVinci Resolve Edit is often called the world’s fastest professional editing software, and it appears to be true for what it offers. We should keep in mind that this professional editing tool is being used by Hollywood professionals and others across the globe. From the basic tasks such as importing quick videos to marking clips, everything works super fine and the editing options are impressive.

Moreover, you can always bring in additional clips or overlays into the system. And the automatic trim and tighten feature is a time saver when you are dealing with a huge number of content. Similarly, you can choose a variety of transitions that are built into the DaVinci Resolve library. And the library gets updated on a really regular basis, offering you not only 2D titles, but also 3D titles.

Finally, the animation options and the soundtrack options are the best that the industry has to offer. Overall, when you are about to export your content, you have an option to choose between different codecs and optimize the content for the platform such as Twitter or something like Dropbox. Last but not least, the level of customization available from DaVinci is out of the world.

DaVinci Resolve Edit is available for both macOS and Windows. You can get the free version of DaVinci Resolve Edit and use it without any restrictions. But if you need some additional features, DaVinci Resolve Studio is available as a paid option.

Pros

  • Rich tools for color grading
  • A limit-free editing option
  • Cross-platform optimized
  • Impressive performance

Cons

  • Limited support for integration

Some free video editor alternatives for Mac

OpenShot: A free video editor for Mac comes with a strong set of features, including format support, animation keyframes, and unlimited tracks. Regular updates enhance its capabilities, despite occasional reliability concerns. The interface, though deemed outdated by some, doesn’t diminish the inclusion of modern tools like transitions and compositing features. While it may have its quirks, OpenShot’s cost-free nature makes it an appealing choice for those seeking a feature-packed free video editor on Mac.

Shotcut: Shotcut stands out as a capable, open-source video editor with a superior interface compared to OpenShot. It supports a wide range of video formats, including 4K, ProRes, and DNxHD, Shotcut excels in audio capabilities, transitions, and effects. Notable features include 5.1 surround sound, three-way color correction, and a variety of filters.

VideoProc Vlogger: Tailored for vloggers and casual users, VideoProc Vlogger is a simplified version of VideoProc, boasting a user-friendly interface and rapid video processing. While suitable for quick edits and basic tasks, it lacks some of the advanced features found in more professional-grade video editors.

InVideo: Ideal for those who prefer cloud-based tools, InVideo offers a hassle-free online editing experience for Mac users. With over 5,000 video templates and a vast media library of 3 million images, it provides a robust platform to create content without watermarks. Whether it’s Facebook templates, YouTube intros, memes, or slideshows, InVideo has you covered. The free edition offers 1GB of cloud storage, automated text-to-speech, and more.

FAQs

What is the best video editing software for Mac?

If you are looking for a free video editor to deal with beginner-level content, you should consider sticking to iMovie. However, as you go further down the lane, you have options like Lightworks, Final Cut Pro, and the renowned DaVinci Resolve. Among these, Final Cut Pro is a premium option, but it offers a lot of value.

Is Mac the best for video editing?

In many ways, Mac offers the best environment for video editing. For one, video editing apps for macOS are optimized for both software and hardware. It seems to be the case with Apple Silicon chips that have become so common in the past couple of years.

Is Final Cut Pro only for Mac?

No, Final Cut Pro is also available for iPadOS, where the editing experience is simple and focused. At the same time, the iPad version of Final Cut Pro offers sufficient control over the process. Therefore, if you do not have a Mac but want the best out of FCP, you can get the iPad version.

Should I use online video editor or offline ones?

While there are many great online editors, performance is going to be a bottleneck, especially if you have a wavery internet connection. Therefore, if you are looking for the best experience and control, you must stick to offline video editors that you can install on your device.

Final thoughts

As we mentioned in the beginning, we intended not to recommend a universal solution. It is impossible to say that a single video editor is the best option out there. Instead, the idea was to see what each editor is capable of. On that basis, we can make some recommendations.

We believe this guide helped you find the most suitable video editing app for your Mac. For instance, most of the beginners can stick with iMovie, which packs many features for how small its package is. But if you want to go for something advanced while easier-to use, you have options like Movavi Video Editor or PowerDirector 365.

But when you are creating content professionally, it makes sense to pay for the features you get. It is equally important to have a community to help you solve issues. In that sense alone, the likes of Final Cut Pro from Apple and Adobe Premiere Pro appear to be the best option.

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