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    iMovie won’t import MP4, why? Sometimes, I can edit MP4 file in it successfully, but it also happens MP4 cannot added into iMovie. What’s the solution?

    PS: I am using iMovie 11.

    iMovie is one of the best video editing tool for Mac. With it, you can beautify your videos simply by cutting, cropping, merging, adding effects etc. to them. It works stable on Mac computer, so it’s loved by millions of users. On the official site, it says iMovie 11 can support DV, MPEG-4, MPEG-2, MOV and M4V file types. According to this, you are enabled to import MP4 to iMovie. Thus, why iMovie 11 fails to recognize some MP4 videos? You’d better to know the reason clearly in order to avoid stumbling upon the same trouble repeatedly.

    First and foremost, I wanna tell you that iMovie only accepts MP4 file which contains MPEG-4 and H.264 codecs. While, the audio, subtitle or other media source that embed in MP4 might have different codecs. In this case, we cannot judge the video format by examining the file extension name only. Then, providing that you want to add MP4 to iMovie, my advice is to convert the video to iMovie preferred MP4.

    Video converter will give you a hand in this task. You can rely on both online converter and third-party software.

    Online tool saves you effort to install applications, let me cite Video Grabber as an example. Click Convert Video File on the homepage, choose the video. Set the output format, then the video will be convert to standard MP4 file. Yes, that’s the whole process. You can try to import MP4 into iMovie now.

    The biggest drawback of online converter is it only works when connecting to Internet. Then, Video Download Capture is the software can do video conversion even when you cannot access the net. Batch video conversion is an outstanding function of it, you can add multiple videos at the same time. And the software facilitates you to convert them automatically. After the tasks finished, a window shows up to remind you.

    Contact me again if you still have any confusion.


    Thanks for your explanation.
    I used the online tool, very easy and effective.
    I add the MP4 video to iMovie immediately.


    Technically, iMovie does import MP4 video. However, iMovie only import MP4 files that are encoded with MPEG4/AAC or H.264/AAC data. And yet, MP4 is a video container format that may contain various audio and video codec (and sometimes even subtitle streams included). If the MP4 file is not encoded with iMovie support codec, iMovie will refuse to import this kind of MP4 video.


    From an article named “Easily Solve the Issue of Failing to Import MP4 to iMovie to Edit MP4 in iMovie 11/10/09/08/HD“, I know the reason why sometimes can’t import MP4 to iMovie:

    Reason One: iMovie only supports importing MP4 formats with MPEG4/AAC or H.264/AAC data, not all kinds of MP4 formats. Some MP4 files from like Sony, Hybrid camcorders and other devices cannot be accepted by iMovie.

    Reason Two: iMovie contains all the essential codecs to read MP4 files. Any different codecs included in audio and subtitle will cause the issue. In the circumstances, we still cannot successfully import MP4 files to iMovie.


    Many guys would meet a similar problem when importing MP4 to iMovie for post production. Actually, this is due to the MP4 files codec: iMovie prefer MPEG-4 and H.264 codecs instead of others. If you got some other codec encoded MP4 video, iMovie won’t work. A good solution I’ve worked out is to convert MP4 to iMovie most compatible format like many people recommend Apple InterMediate Codec. It would quickly solve you issue.


    It seems to be a possible solution for me. Thanks :) It helps me to convert Mp4 to Apple InterMediate Codec for using in imovie smoothly.

    iMovie only support load MP4 files encoded with H.264 or MPEG-4 codec, howevery, MP4 is a container file format which may contain various different video and audio codec such as H.265/HEVC, VC-1, MPEG-1, MPEG-2 that iMovie does not recognize.

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