I have an iPad 2 running 5.0.1 and I want to transfer a video file from my iMac to edit on the iPad with iMovie. The movie was filmed on my friends iPhone 4S and I imported it to my iMac, then used iTunes file sharing to put it on my iPad. When I go to iMovie on my iPad and create a new project, there are no video files there for me to use, but the iPad says iMovie has 600MB worth of documents and data in the usage screen(I don't have any other clips in iMovie). Why can't I edit the video, and how should I transfer video in the future?

3 Answers 3


Bare in mind only footage shot with an iDevice can be edited on iMovie for iPad. That being the case, it's just a matter of finding the correct format.

Wired has dedicated a whole article to this specific matter.
Basically it comes down to convert the video to a specific MP4 with the H.264 codec. You can do this by following these easy steps.

  1. Convert your movie to .mp4 on your Mac (if it isn't already in this format)
  2. Convert your movie to an iMovie movie with the 264 codec
  3. Use iTunes to transfer you movies to your iPad

Normally your files should appear in the iMovie project dashboard.


I've done this by putting mp4 h264 video files into Dropbox to get them onto the iPad. Then in the Dropbox app on the iPad you tap the ... menu where you can Export the file into the Movies folder. At that point iMovie can use it.

It feels ridiculous that there isn't a way to just plug the iPad in via USB and drag and drop files to accomplish this.


You could turn on photo stream on your mac and ipad (use the same apple id) and then transfer the video to the ipad. Then open it in iMovies on the ipad.

  • 1
    PhotoStream doesn't upload videos... That's why it's called PHOTOstream...
    – Michiel
    Sep 20, 2012 at 5:41

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