How to add music to an iMovie project on mobile or desktop

creative professional editing video on desktop computer
There are a few different ways to add music and sound effects to your iMovie projects.

  • You can add music to iMovie from a variety of different sources, depending on the device you’re using.
  • iPhone and iPad users have the option to add soundtracks and sound effects via the iMovie app.
  • Mac users can also add music from their computer’s sound library or GarageBand.
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iMovie may be free for Apple users, but there’s a bit of a learning curve when you start using it. If you don’t know where to look, something as simple as adding music to your project can seem daunting – but it doesn’t have to be.

Once you’ve opened your project, here’s what you need to know to add music to your video on an iPhone, iPad, or a Mac.

How to add music to iMovie on an iPhone or iPad

There are a couple ways to add music to iMovie on mobile devices, depending on whether you’re trying to add a soundtrack or sound effects.

How to add a soundtrack

1. Tap the plus sign “+” icon.

iMovie on iPhone plus sign icon
Tap the plus sign icon on the left.

2. Select Audio.

iMovie on iPhone plus sign options list
Tap “Audio” from the list of options.

3. Choose Soundtracks. To preview a soundtrack, tap on it.

Audio add options, iMovie on iPhone
Tap “Soundtracks.”

4. Once you’ve decided which soundtrack to use, tap it and then tap the plus sign “+” icon next to the desired soundtrack to add it to your project.

iMovie on iPhone, choose a soundtrack
Tap the plus sign to select a soundtrack.

How to add sound effects

1. Drag the video to place the white vertical line where you want to insert the sound effect.

2. Tap the plus sign “+” icon.

iMovie on iPhone plus sign icon
Tap the plus sign icon on the left.

3. Select Audio.

4. Choose Sound Effects.

iMovie audio options
Select “Sound Effects” from the list of audio options.

5. Tap through the effects to play them.

6. Once you’ve selected the one you want to use, tap it and select the plus sign “+” icon to insert it into your project.

iMovie select a sound effect page
Tap the plus sign to choose an option.

How to add music to iMovie on a Mac

Although adding music on a Mac is still simple, the process is different than using a mobile device.

1. Click Audio in the top toolbar of the iMovie window.

iMovie on Mac audio tab in toolbar
Select “Audio” at the top.

2. On the left, select the source you want to use for your sound: Music, Sound Effects, or GarageBand. The Music option will give you compatible tracks from your iTunes library, while GarageBand will give you audio clips you’ve made in the GarageBand app.

3. Hover your cursor over each sound clip or song to reveal the play button, and click it to listen to the clip.

how to add music to iMovie 8
Click the play button to preview a sound effect.

4. Click and drag the desired sound to the editing bar at the bottom of the iMovie window, below any video clip you’ve uploaded (try to place it where you want the sound to begin playing alongside the movie).

iMovie editing bar with sound clip
Drag the sound clip to the editing bar.

From there, you can press the spacebar to play the video and sound as they exist within the software. Then, you can decide if you want to change anything.

If the music you want doesn’t appear when you click Music, it might be saved somewhere that iMovie doesn’t look by default. Luckily, you can still add it.

To add music files from anywhere on your computer, click File at the top of the screen, and then Import Media. A Finder window will open, which you can use to select and add audio files from anywhere on your Mac.

If you want to add songs from a CD, insert your CD and then select Audio CD from the list of audio options. Click and drag the desired track onto your project.

Lastly, if you want to record music or a voiceover from a microphone: Hook up your mic to your computer. Then click the microphone icon, located in the bottom-left corner of the video preview and select the Voiceover Options button (located to the right of the red record button). Next, select your mic from the Input Source drop-down menu. Finally, hit the red record button to start recording, and press it again to stop.

How to edit music in iMovie

Once you have the music added to your video, here’s how to start editing:

  • Adjust the volume: Click and drag the line going through the center of the track. Up indicates higher volume, and vice versa.
  • Fade the music: Click the circle that appears on either end of the track and drag it to the right or left to create a fade-in or fade-out effect respectively.
  • Auto-enhance the sound: Click the speaker icon above the video preview (located in the upper-right corner of the screen) and then click Auto.
  • Reduce background noise: Click the noise-reduction button (which looks like lines of varying heights) in the toolbar above the video preview, then check the box next to Reduce background noise and then use the slider to customize the effect.
  • Use an equalizer preset: Click the noise-reduction button and select an option from the drop-down menu next to Equalizer.

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