Video Editing

Looking to Change Aspect Ratio in iMovie? Here is a Clear and Simple Way

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

  • hello text text
  • hello two

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Apple products are the no.1 choice of many for their elegance and wide-ranging functionalities. iMovie, Apple’s video editing software is known for its top features like adding text, splitting and cropping a clip, and adding music, etc. Some claim that it gives your videos Hollywood-level production quality.

Whatever the merits of this claim, it cannot be denied that this tool has its share of limitations like limited support for changing aspect ratio. If you are looking to change the aspect ratio in iMovie, you’ll be better off using an alternative to solve this particular problem.

This blog is all about how to change aspect ratio in iMovie (step-by-step guide) and why you’ll be better off changing aspect ratio in Keevi, iMovie’s best alternative. 

How to Change Aspect Ratio in iMovie

The first thing you have to know about changing the aspect ratio in iMovie is that you have only two options. 

Modern aspect ratios come in different forms to create square-shaped and vertical videos. iMovie, however, only offers you 4:3 for standard TV videos and 16:9 for widescreen videos.

If you simply want to change between these options, import your video into the app and go to File at the top of the editor. Then click Project Properties.

You will see a window with all the information about your video, along with the current aspect ratio. 

Click the drop-down button on the Aspect Ratio option to choose between 4:3 and 16:9. Note that the latter is the better option if you want a widescreen look.

However, this is only applicable to iMovie versions below version 10. Apple has removed the option to change aspect ratio project properties for iMovie 10 and above.

For a different aspect ratio, a useful workaround is the crop tool. It works about the same way you would crop a photo in an editing app. The thing is, it requires some technical know-how, and you will lose parts of your shot.

If none of this bothers you, here is how to change the aspect ratio in iMovie.

STEP 1 - Import the Video

Launch the application and start a new project. If you have an existing edited project and want to change its aspect ratio, open it. Import the project file and drop the video on the timeline.

STEP 2 - Crop the video to your preferred Aspect Ratio

Once the video is in the timeline, the editing process can fully begin. Above the timeline, there is a crop tool at the top of the editor with other editing tools.

Click on the Crop icon to launch its controls. Underneath the panel, you will see Crop Style, with options like Fit, Crop to Fill, Ken Burns. Select Crop to Fill.

It will reveal a rectangle with crop handles you can drag to set the video size.

Ensure to move the rectangle around as necessary across each frame to guarantee the most relevant parts of the shot remain in the video.

When you finish, click the blue button beside Reset to apply the crop.

How to Change Aspect Ratio in iMovie on Mac

Alternatively, you can use Keynote, Apple’s presentation software, to change the aspect ratio in iMovie on a Mac device.

To use this method, complete every other edit on iMovie and export the video. Then follow these steps.

STEP 1 - Launch Keynote

After exporting the edited video, launch the Keynote app. When the app is open, choose the White theme.

Afterward, create an entirely blank page by removing the default text in the slide.

STEP 2 - Drop the iMovie video into the Slide

When the slide is blank, drag and drop the edited iMovie video into the slide. 

After doing this, navigate to the top right corner of the screen and click Document. It will open the Document settings.

STEP 3 - Set Custom Slide Size

In Document settings, select Slide Size to reveal the drop-down menu with Standard, Widescreen, and Custom Slide Size options. Select Custom Slide Size.

Once the Custom Slide Size window is open, set the width and height numbers. You can use this online aspect ratio calculator to determine the exact values for your desired aspect ratio.

STEP 4 - Export the Video

After setting the values, go to File and choose Export. Then select Quicktime among the list of export options.

You will see a list of export settings like Playback and Format.  Choose a high-quality video format, preferably 1080p. Then click Next.

Once the export is complete, use Quicktime to check out the video’s final look. It will be in your custom aspect ratio.

How to Give Widescreen Video Effect in iMovie with iPad/iPhone

The aspect ratio on iMovie for versions 10 and later is immutable. As a result, when a frame is smaller than the video size, the software auto-adds the pillarbox or letterbox effect to keep the video at the fixed aspect ratio.

This is not ideal if you want a full screen in your preferred aspect ratio, but it is a simple way to create a cinematic look for your video.

Here is how to use it on iPad or iPhone.

STEP 1 - Import the Video

Launch the iMovie on your device and click the Plus icon to start a new project. The app will present two options for the new project, Movie and Trailer. Click Movie to import the video you want to edit.

STEP 2 - Enable Cropping

After importing the video, tap the video and select the magnifier icon to enable cropping.

Using the magnifier, zoom into the video until you are satisfied with the focused frame.

When you finish, click Done and Save Video to export the edited video with the effect. 

Downsides of Changing Aspect Ratio in iMovie

As mentioned earlier, changing the aspect ratio in iMovie is complicated though not impossible. These limitations make it a less than ideal tool to achieve this task due to the following reasons: 

  1. Only two aspect ratio options

Due to smartphones and social media apps there are several standard aspect ratios for different platforms. Creating video content in these ratios boosts engagement and leads to high conversions.

Unfortunately, iMovie offers two aspect ratios only, 16:9 and 4:3. If you want to create a square (1:1) or vertical video (9:16), it is not ideal for the job.

  1. Involves lengthy process

Marketers and content creators need to publish content consistently at a fast pace. Because of this, changing a video’s aspect ratio for each medium should be a seamless process—something achievable with a few clicks or less.

This is not the case for iMovie. While there are workarounds to create different aspect ratios, the editing process is long and inefficient.

  1. Requires tech savviness

Applying the workarounds requires understanding video editing tools like Zooming and Cropping. Additionally, for Mac, you also need to be familiar with the Keynote app.

This can be a barrier for entry-level users. That is why you should consider using a more effective alternative to change your video’s aspect ratio.

Keevi Video Editor: Easier & Faster Way to Change Aspect Ratio

Keevi Video Editor is a powerful web-based content repurposing tool that lets you change the aspect ratio of your videos in a few clicks. It is accessible via web browsers with no software installation necessary.

The editor offers multiple presets of video sizes applicable to every major social media platform. Just select one, and your video transforms automatically.

What’s more, there are several customization features to help you brand the video and tailor it to the visual style of each platform. 

How to Change Aspect Ratio using Keevi

To change the aspect ratio of your video with Keevi, click this link to upload video to launch the editor and follow these steps.

STEP 1 - Import the Video

Drag and drop the video you want to edit into the editor to get started. You can also use the Browse option to select the video through your system folder.

Alternatively, if you want to change the aspect ratio of a YouTube video, simply paste the link in the address bar. The editor will automatically import the video. 

STEP 2 - Select the Aspect Ratio

Once the video import is complete and successfully in the timeline, move your mouse to the top of the editor and click the Settings tab.

You will see a list of settings options, including format, video output quality, and background color. Click the drop-down menu on Select Format, as shown below.

change aspect ration imovie

The Format option consists of several preset aspect ratios that include -

  • Twitter and Facebook Landscape (5:4)
  • YouTube (16:9)
  • Twitter and Facebook Portrait (4:5)
  • Square (1:1) for Instagram
  • Stories (9:16)

Select the relevant aspect ratio for the platform you want to publish the video on by clicking the titled option. With that, you have successfully changed the aspect ratio of your video in a couple of clicks. It is that simple and easy.

To remove the black bars, you can change the background color to one that matches your video.

STEP 3 - Resize the Video (optional)

Alternatively, instead of changing the background color, you can resize the video to fit the entire screen using the crop handles.

To resize the video, click on the video in the preview window. It will open the video settings with editing options like Rotation, Volume Control, and Video Transformation. 

It will also reveal the crop handles in the main window.

Once you can see the handles, drag each side until the black bars are gone. You can also use this to zoom into the video and reframe parts of the video to bring the crucial shots into focus.

Also, the handles can be used with other features to apply different crop effects such as split-screen, animated text, and fun transitions.

Alternatively, you can remove the black bars using the Fit on Screen and Fill the Screen options under Video Transformation.

STEP 4 - Export the Video

After changing the aspect ratio, you can apply other Keevi customization features like stickers, music, and subtitles to improve the production quality.

Otherwise, simply head to the top right corner of the editor to export the video.

Clicking the button will begin the rendering process. Once rendering is complete, you can save the video to your device or share it directly to your preferred social media platforms.

Ideal Aspect Ratio Formats for Social Media Platforms

Once again, besides creating engaging content, getting the aspect ratio right is essential when creating video content for social media. 

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to social media platforms and aspect ratios. Each platform has its unique aspect ratio to display videos and images to users.

If you are changing the aspect ratio with iMovie or Keevi, use the size that elevates your audience’s viewing experience.

Here is a detailed list of the aspect ratio of all major social media platforms.

YouTube Video

Aspect Ratio: 16:9 

Recommended Resolutions: 240p, 360p, 480p, 720p, 1080p, 1440p, and 2160p


Aspect Ratio: 9:16, 1:1 (with letterboxing)

Recommended Resolutions: 1080 x 1920

Twitter (Ads)

Aspect Ratio: 16:9, 1:1 (recommended)

Recommended Resolutions: 720p and 1280p


Aspect Ratio: 9:16, 16:9

Recommended Resolutions: 720p


Aspect Ratio: 16:9, 1:1, 4:5

Recommended Resolutions: 1080p (minimum)

Other aspect ratios to note include -

  • YouTube Ad

Aspect Ratio - 16:9. Pillarboxing if 4:3

Recommended Resolution - 240p (minimum), 2160p (maximum)

  • LinkedIn

Aspect ratio - 1:2.4 or 2.4:1

Recommended Resolution - 144p to 2304p

  • LinkedIn Ad

Aspect Ratio - 16:9, 1:1, 9:16

Recommended Resolution - 360p to 1080p (landscape), 360p to 1920 (square), 640p to 1920p (vertical)

  • Instagram Stories and Reels

Aspect Ratio - 9:16

Recommended Resolution - 1080p

  • IGTV

Aspect Ratio - 9:16

Recommended Resolution - 720p

  • Facebook Ads

In-feed - 9:16 to 16:9, 1080p

Carousel & Collection - 1:1, 1080p

Instant Experience - 9:16, 720p

Slideshow - 16:9, 4:5, 1:1, 720p

Stories - 1.91 to 9:16, 1080p

  • SnapChat

Aspect Ratio - 9:16 (supports 16:9 for long-form ads)

Recommended Resolution - 1080 x 1920

Final Word

iMovie is not ideal for creating vertical or square videos if you want high-quality productions across social channels. But having taken you through the step-by-step guide, you now know how to use it to change aspect ratios.

For something more efficient with multiple aspect ratio options, try Keevi Video Editor. You can change aspect ratios in a few clicks and create high-level effects.

Hammad Akbar
Hammad Akbar
September 29, 2021