3 Ways to Put A YouTube Video in iMovie on Mac or iPhone

Connie Wisley
time October 27, 2022 Preview 43.8K
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iMovie is the bundled application of MacOS to turn photos or video clips into movies, it is a free video editor to personalize your videos. And sometimes, you will need to put a YouTube video in iMovie for personal use. To make this, here we introduce 3 ways to import YouTube videos on iMovie on Mac or on iPhone.


Basic Knowledge

Before going to the detailed solution of getting a YouTube video into iMovie, here are some basic knowledge our users should learn first.

iMovie Formats

In fact, iMovie supports virtually all mainstream image, video, and audio formats. So, it is quite easy to import a YouTube video in iMovie if you have the YouTube resource.

Image Formats: JPG, PNG, TIFF, BMP, GIF, etc
Video Formats: MPEG-2 MPEG-4, MP4, MOV, M4V, etc
Audio Formats: MP3, AAC, WAV, M4A, AIFF, etc

Go to more details about iMovie formats.

Tool Needed

To import YouTube videos into iMovie, the first step is to download YouTube videos with a YouTube Downloader.

A YouTube Downloader is the program helping users to download videos from YouTube website or others, also export the videos as preferred formats (including iMovie formats). With such a tool, we will save a lot of time and effort to put a YouTube video in iMovie for editing.

How to Put A YouTube Video in iMovie on Mac?

#1 Easiest Way to Put YouTube Video in iMovie

The fast and easiest way to put a YouTube video in iMovie is always finding yourself an expert---a YouTube Video Downloader.

Cisdem Video Converter is a powerful video tool to download YouTube or other videos, to edit and convert videos on Mac. Its built-in YouTube Downloader allows users to get online video in original quality and in batch, fast and well.

Main features:

  • Download YouTube and other videos online
  • Convert videos and audios
  • Edit/merge videos
  • Watch downloaded videos via built-in video player
  • Rip DVDs easily

Steps to Put YouTube Video in iMovie

Step 1. Download and install Cisdem Video Converter on Mac

Free Download

Step 2. Launch the program, go to the “Download” interface.

download interface

Step 3. Open YouTube and copy the YouTube video URL, then paste into the address column in the program.

download youtube videos mac

Step 4. Click the “Download” icon and start downloading the YouTube videos.

Step 5. After downloading, your video will be compatible with iMovie, Just launch iMovie, then drag and drop the YouTube video to iMovie.


  • Convert YouTube videos to other iMovie formats

Videos downloaded from YouTube will default to MP4 format. You can directly convert them to other formats supported by iMovie. This software has already listed iMovie video formats that are widely used.

list of imovie supported formats

  • Edit YouTube videos

If needed, you can use Cisdem Video Converter to edit the downloaded YouTube video.

edit youtube videos

How to upload re-edited videos to YouTube

If you video are short you can just upload it directly to YouTube by Click on the export button iMovie and select Youtube in the drop-down menu. Sign in to your YouTube account and add the all the information it required. Then, Your movie will be ready for your readers to enjoy!

If the video is large and in high resolution, you can use the 720p or 1080p timeline it will be much smaller than 4K and it also gives good quality.

#2 Put YouTube Video to iMovie Online Free

If you don’t require high on video quality, or need to manage videos very often, you can import YouTube video to iMovie online free.

y2mate is an online free program enabling users to download YouTube videos in video, mp3 or audio format that supported by iMovie. The videos can be output in different resolutions, 1080p, 720p, 360p, 240p and 144p.

Steps to Import YouTube Video to iMovie

Step 1. Go to y2mate.

Step 2. Open YouTube website, copy and paste the YouTube video URL to y2mate.

y2mate download

Step 3. Click “Start” and choose the format & resolution to download.

Step 4. Drag and drop the YouTube video to iMovie for edting.

#3 Put YouTube Video in iMovie with Only A Mac

Also, with only a Mac, you can put YouTube video in iMovie without any software installed, or without any online service. First, we need to use Mac QuickTime Player to record the YouTube video, then import the recorded video to iMovie.

Step 1. Open the YouTube video you want to put in iMovie. Load the video online and pause it.

Step 2. Go Finder>Application>QuickTime Player, launch it and choose the output path, then click “Done”.

Step 3. Go to File>New Screen Recording.

quicktime player 01

Step 4. Open the YouTube page again, and then click the red button of QuickTime Player.

quicktime player 02

Step 5. Choose to record full or partial screen.

quicktime player 03

Step 6. Click “Start Recording” to record the YouTube video, and play the YouTube video immediately.

Step 7. Once ready, click the circle to quit QuickTime Player.

quicktime player 04

Step 8. Then drag and drop the recorded YouTube video to iMovie for editing.

How to Import A YouTube Video to iMovie on iPhone?

Since iMovie is also available on iOS device, many users are wondering how to import a YouTube video in iMovie on iPhone. Similar to put YouTube video in iMovie on Mac, there are also 3 ways to achieve this.

#1 Import YouTube Video in iMovie from Mac to iPhone

If you are a Mac users at the same time, you can sync the YouTube video from Mac to your iPhone, then add the video to iMovie for editing.

Step 1. Download YouTube Video on Mac.
You can go to the 2nd part “how to put a YouTube Video in iMovie” and use 1 of those 3 methods to download a YouTube video first.

Step 2. Open the “AirDrop” both on your iPhone and Mac.
On iPhone: go to Settings>General>AirDrop.
On mac: go to Finder>AirDrop or right click on the video to share via AirDrop.

airdrop mac


Step 3. Drag and drop the YouTube video to your Mac AirDrop, and sync to your iPhone.

Step 4. Launch iMovie on iPhone, and tap “Add to Project” button to import YouTube videos to iMovie.

#2 Import YouTube Video to iMovie on iPhone Free

To put a YouTube video into iMovie on iPhone for free, we can utilize the free iOS app---Documents by Readdle, a program allowing users to view, store, collect and manage various files on iPhone. Also, there is a built-in browser in Documents allowing users to view and download online videos or others.

Step 1. Go to App Store and download Documents (designed by Readdle)

Step 2. Open the YouTube video you want to import to iMovie, copy the URL.

Step 3. Open the built-in browser of Documents, go to “https://y2mate.com/”

Step 4. Then paste the YouTube video URL into y2mate and click “Download” to get the YouTube video.

Step 5. Once the downloading finishes, save the file to Documents;

Step 6. Go to Download Folder and find the YouTube video;

download folder


Step 7. Open iMovie and add the video to the program for editing;

#3 Import YouTube Video to iMovie on iPhone without Software

If you have updated to iOS11, you can import YouTube videos to iMovie on iPhone without software installed.

There is a free screen recorder comes with iOS 11, users can utilize this tool to record videos or audios played on the iPhone screen.

Step 1. Enable Screen Recording. Go to Settings>Control Center>Customize Controls, turn on the Screen Recording button;

enable screen recording

Step 2. Open the YouTube video page, load the file and pause the playing;

Step 3. Swipe up from the bottom of iPhone screen and tap Screen Recording;

airdrop iphone

Step 4. Now play the YouTube video and quit the recording once finishes, the recorded YouTube video will be saved in your Photos;

Step 5. Then add the YouTube video to iMovie on iPhone for editing;

Extended: How to Put YouTube Music to iMovie

Sometimes, we just need to extract the music from a YouTube video, then add to our own videos in iMovie for personal use. In this case, a video tool integrating the features to download and convert videos is the best solution.

Here we take Cisdem Video Converter as an example to show how to put YouTube music to iMovie fast and easily, still with good quality.

Step 1. Download and install Cisdem Video Converter on your Mac.
Free Download

Step 2. Go to the “Download” interface, copy and paste the YouTube video URL to Cisdem.

Step 3. Go to the “Convert” interface and drag & drop the YouTube video you have downloaded to the program.

Step 4. Choose output as MP3, then click OK.

youtube music

Step 5. Once ready, drag and drop the MP3 to iMovie.

music to imovie

Can I import YouTube Shorts to iMovie?

Many people don't know how to edit verticle videos like YouTube shorts with iMovie, but here we'll show you how:

1.Download the YouTube Shorts video with Cisdem Video Converter.

2. Lauch iMovie on Mac and create a new movie project. 

3. Add the vertical video to iMovie.

4. Add the video to timeline and the key here is to rotate the vertical video to arbitray angles. 

5. Edit YouTube shors video 

6. In the top-right corner choose export,

7. Open QuickTime Player, in the menu choose edit to rotate the video.

and here is how to edit YouTube Shorts with iMovie on iPhone:

1. Download the YouTube video you need edit with Cisdem Video Converter.

2. Sync the video to iPhone and in Photos rotate the video 90 degrees. 

3. Now, open iMovie and click +for New Project. 

4. Navigate and select the roated video from camra roll.

5. Do the iMovie editing the way you like. But do not add text at this time.

6. Click save and it will save the video back to camera roll.

7. Then in Photos click edit and rotate video to verticle. 

8. Click done. 


The difficult part of putting a YouTube video in iMovie lies in how to get the YouTube videos. If you have found a powerful video tool, this can be quite easy. So, that’s why you are recommended to turn to an expert, such as Cisdem Video Converter.

Connie Wisley
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Connie has been writing for Mac productivity and utility apps since 2009. Each review and solution is based on her practical tests, she is aways energetic and trustworthy in this field.

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  • carat

    I watched this article by accident. But it did solve my issue on exporting YouTube video to iMovie. Tried the first tool mentioned in the article and followed the steps as it said, it works fast for me and is really easy to operate for a software novice like me.

    0 months ago Reply

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