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Best Free Video Editing Software for Mac in 2021

Last Updated on Sep. 1, 2021 – by David Morgan
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Best Free Video Editing Software for Mac

The best free video editing software that doesn’t break the bank and lets you create pro-level videos.

Searching for a free video editing software?

Maybe this is your first time editing video and you’re not ready to invest in expensive software. Or perhaps you want to create professional look videos or add cool effects without paying for pricey programs like Premiere Pro.

Video editing can be a casual hobby or a full-time career. With so many different needs and reasons to edit there are lots of free programs to choose from.

But beware, with so many options out there a lot of the free choices can be hit-or-miss; some only offer the most basic of features, while others provide the same or better tools than expansive programs.

With that in mind, we have crafted a list of the best video editing software available for free on Mac. Learn the pros and cons of each to help you determine which option is best for your video editing needs.

The Best Free Video Editor on Mac for 2021

1. PowerDirector Essential: The Best Free Choice Overall

PowerDirector offers the functionality and features of an advanced, paid program without the hefty price tag. You can get most of its features for free and subscribe if you would like to take full advantage of all its creative design packs and a full range of export formats. Its intuitive interface and design will make you feel like a pro.

2. iMovie: The Best Free Choice for the Absolute Basics

iMovie Interface

If you’re a Mac user looking for free video editing software, you can’t go wrong using iMovie, which comes pre-installed on most Mac desktops. The program is simple, easy to use, and includes a wide range of basic features, making it one of the best bare-bones video editing software programs for Mac.

3. DaVinci Resolve: The Best Free Choice for Experts and Professionals

DaVinci Resolve Interface

There is no denying DaVinci Resolve is an incredibly powerful video editor. Designed best for working with Blackmagic camera footage and specially designed DaVinci hardware this is a great choice if you are willing to put in the time and have the dedication to learn it.

Best Free Video Editing Software for Mac

1. Cyberlink PowerDirector Essential - Best free video editing software overall

PowerDirector Mac Interface

Free version: PowerDirector Essential is a free editing suite with all the basic and advanced features you’ll need to create a professional video.


  • Simple, easy-to-navigate audio and video editing
  • Wide selection of essential editing tools
  • Several choices of editing style
  • Designed for all experience levels, beginner to professional


  • Exported videos include a watermark
  • Limited free export formats

If you’re new to the video editing world, you will appreciate the comprehensive free features that PowerDirector Essential offers.

This free version introduces you to the mechanics of the program and lets you dive into fundamental video editing tools before investing in the premium option. If you want to add basic effects or transitions to videos without paying for hundreds of advanced features, you will find that PowerDirector suits all your video editing needs.

The free version of PowerDirector includes features such as:

  • Timeline interface
  • Video Collage Designer
  • Speed Controls
  • Chroma Key
  • Masks and Blending Modes
  • Special effects
  • Overlays
  • Titles
  • Transitions

Download the free video editing software:

2. iMovie

Best free video editing software for the absolute basics

iMovie Interface

Free version: iMovie is preinstalled on most Macs.


  • Simple design
  • High-quality audio editing tools
  • Already installed on most Macs


  • Limited advanced features

Why not use what you already have? iMovie should be pre-installed on your Mac which makes it an easy choice. It includes a set of easy-to-use audio and editing tools that can produce polished videos for free. It is a fantastic editor for basic video projects.

iMovie includes quality features such as:

  • Automated video editing
  • Audio adjustment tools
  • Effects, transitions, clipping, and splitting options
  • Background music/soundtrack

3. DaVinci Resolve

Best free video editing software for experts and professionals

DaVinci Resolve Interface

Free version: Free download on the website


  • Intelligent color correction
  • Multi-user collaboration
  • Quality post-production audio tools


  • Requires time to learn
  • Needs a powerful computer to run

DaVinci Resolve is a clean, intuitive program that you would never guess is free. It offers a wide range of advanced features, including intelligent color-correction tools that let you edit skin tones, eye color, and lip color at the touch of a button, along with quality audio-editing software.

DaVinci features:

  • Fairlight audio-editing tools
  • Color correction
  • Motion graphics

4. Lightworks

Great free video editing for Professionals

Lightworks Interface

Free version: Features a wide range of tools and effects


  • Professional-level editing
  • Access to tutorials


  • No 4K export with the free version
  • Tricky to master

If you’re looking for a free program that professionals use, Lightworks is one of your best options. It has been around for years and the professional edition was used to edit box office hits like Pulp Fiction, 28 Days Later, and Congo. If you’re willing to put in the work to learn this software it’s a great choice.

Lightworks features:

  • High-precision video trimming
  • Export to 720p
  • Multicam support

5. Shotcut

Free video editing software for intermediate editors

Shotcut Interface

Free version: Free download on the website


  • Multi-platform compatibility
  • Open-source program


  • Little support for advanced projects
  • Unusual interface takes time to learn

For editors who have moved on from base-level editing software like Movie Maker or iMovie, Shotcut is an excellent next step. This program is open source, so once you download it, you will have access to all of its features and can customize your interface to your liking. Shotcut offers advanced effects and filters that will help you produce a high-quality video for free.

Shotcut features:

  • 4K HD resolution
  • Timeline editing
  • Video and audio editing

6. Movie Maker Online

Best free video editing software for online use

Movie Maker Online Interface

Free version: Always free online


  • Access from any computer
  • Automated features
  • Library of songs to use


  • Includes ads
  • Unusual interface

One of the biggest perks of Movie Maker Online is right in the name: unlike other editors in this list, Movie Maker runs in your browser. You can edit videos through the program on any desktop device and pick up where you left off at any time.

Movie Maker is also the best video editor for laptop use, as it doesn’t have a RAM requirement or a specific operating system to run.

Movie Maker Online features:

  • Royalty-free content
  • Variety of editing tools

7. Openshot

Free video editing software for beginners with some advanced features

Openshot Interface

Free version: Free download on website


  • Similar interface to iMovie
  • Unlimited layers
  • Open-source


  • Few video tutorials

Openshot is free video editing software that simplifies advanced features you would see in more expensive programs. The program is open-source, so anyone can use and adapt the program to meet their needs.

Beginners will find the built-in templates, real-time previews, and advanced timeline features helpful to learn the ropes of editing, while intermediate users will appreciate the unlimited layering options.

Openshot features:

  • Real-time previews
  • Advanced Timeline
  • Variety of title effects

8. Hitfilm Express

Free video editing software for advanced editors

Hitfilm Express Interface

Free version: The basic version is free, but you can pay for add-ons.


  • Customizable user interface
  • Professional tools
  • Direct uploading to YouTube


  • A complicated interface that takes time to learn

Hitfilm Express offers all of the advanced, professional features that editing enthusiasts need for free. The option to add on features starting at $9 each lets you up your game without breaking the bank.

Hitfilm Express features:

  • 180+ editing effects
  • Wide range of import formats
  • 2D and 3D video support

Best Free Video Editing App for iPhone and iPad

Looking for a video editor you can use on the go. Here are our 3 top choices. For a full in-depth look at each check out the Top 5 Video Editor Apps for iPhone & iPad.

1. PowerDirector

There’s no doubt about it: PowerDirector is the best, most versatile editing app for iOS on the market. This editor includes a wide range of editing tools, special effects, and export options that you just can’t find in other apps.

2. LumaFusion

LumaFusion offers a range of advanced features at a reasonable price. The app is good for quick social media post and when you need to film and edit videos from their mobile devices rather than on a desktop.

3. iMovie

Good choice if you're looking to make base-level edits and don't have much editing experience. Though basic it does include effects, animated titles, picture-in-picture options, and a library of free soundtracks.

Best Free Video Editing Software FAQ

What is video editing software?

Video editing software is a program that allows you to cut and trim videos in order to combine them into a longer video. It can be used to modify and manipulate footage in a wide variety of ways.

You can use it to add text, images, special effects, sound design and color correct your videos.

What is the best video editing software for beginners?

The best video editing software options for beginners are built on easy-to-use platforms that users can learn quickly. PowerDirector has the most intuitive platform and offers dozens of tutorials to help beginners learn the ropes.

Does Mac have a free video editor?

Yes, Macs come with iMovie, a basic video editor, that allows you to trim video clips, add text, music, and simple effects. Look in your Applications folder to find it.

When is the best time to buy video editing software?

Typically, around the end of the year, during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, is the best time to buy software. However, you can find great deals year-round. For example, CyberLink, the creators of PowerDirector, have sales on their website through out the year. It is always a good idea to check a product’s website before purchasing to see if you are getting the best price. If you’re interested in PowerDirector definitely check out CyberLink.com’s home page before purchasing to make sure you are getting the best deal.

How do you use video editing software?

Here are the most basic steps to video editing. If you need more help check out our article on how to edit YouTube videos

  • Step 1: Create a project
  • Step 2: Import your footage
  • Step 3: Cut, trim, splice and arrange your clips
  • Step 4: Add text
  • Step 5: Add transitions and effects
  • Step 6: Add audio like voice over and music
  • Step 7: Save your project and export your video

What features should I look for in an editing software?

Here are a few essential things to look for:

Does it support your operating system?

Does it read and write in the video, image and audio formats you need to use? It should support the most common formats like MP4, MP3, and WAV.

Is it a program appropriate for your skill level? Getting a professional level video editor when you have never used a video editing software can cause you a lot of trouble. Look for software that caters to your level so you don’t waste time trying to use a software you aren’t ready for.

Does it include the kind of effects you want to use in your videos? For example, you will need chroma key if you want to create videos using green screen.

Does it include templates to make editing easier?

Final Thoughts

Dozens of free video editing software options exist on the market today, but not all of them offer the same features and high-quality results. Thankfully, because these programs are free, you can try them all out for yourself to find the one that suits your needs and expertise.

Check out CyberLink PowerDirector or our other free editing programs today to begin editing incredible videos.

Get PowerDirector Mac for Free

PowerDirector for macOS is available for free download on the CyberLink website and the Apple Mac Store. Choose how you download the app - 100% free and secure.

Prefer to download from the Mac App Store? Visit the store to grab the free video editor.

Get PowerDirector Mac for Free

Available for free download on the CyberLink website and the Apple Mac Store.

Prefer to download from the Mac App Store? Visit the store to grab the free video editor.

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