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You can upload a video from iMovie to Instagram if you export it to the MP4 file format. Exporting in this format can be tricky, as it requires a few tweaks that reduce the quality of your video. To retain the original video quality, you may have to use another program to convert the file to MP4.

Can You Upload an iMovie to Instagram?

You can only create iMovie videos on your Mac, and you can only post to your Instagram on your smartphone. When you send an iMovie to your iPhone, however, it doesn’t save to an accessible location for Instagram.

The primary reason this happens is quite simple. iMovie files automatically save with a file extension that Instagram doesn’t support. Unless you convert the video to something that Instagram can decode, the problem will persist.

Instagram will let you upload files with the MP4 file extension almost every time, but files with the iMovie MOV file extension are less supported. Unfortunately, there is no way to select what file format you want the video to be, or is there?

Technically, iMovie won’t let you select one, but you can always export in MP4 if you want. This involves some tweaks that might have some effects on the overall quality of your video.

Before getting into how an MP4 export from iMovie can impact your video’s quality, let’s look at how to do it. Follow the steps below to export a file from iMovie to the MP4 file format that Instagram supports fully.

Click on the Share button to export the files.

Unlike regular video editing programs where you export a video, iMovie doesn’t have a dedicated export function. Instead, you’ll need to use the share function, which will first export the file, and then share it to a specific platform.

The share button is universal across all Apple devices and is located at the top right corner of the iMovie interface. Click on it and select the “File” option to export the video to a file that you can view on your computer.

Make adjustments to force iMovie to export as MP4.

Here is where most of the work comes in. iMovie will display some export functions, but it can’t compare to the plethora of functions you’ll find on a typical video editing software.

You can only change the resolution, quality (best, low, high, etc.), compression rate, and format (video or audio). While these are all useful functions, you’ll notice that none of the options lets you choose if you want to export in MOV or MP4.

To get an MP4 video, however, you must change the resolution to 720p from the default 1080p. You should also set the compressed value to faster and the quality to high. You can keep the format value as “Video and Audio.”

That way, you’ll get a drastic reduction in export file size, as well as a file that you can export to Instagram. You may have realized why this may not be the best idea, but we’ll tell you why anyway.

When you export a video file this way, you can only go as high as 720p. If the video packs a lot of detail, it will see a quality reduction, ruining the overall look of the video. That explains why some Instagram videos have potato quality when you’re scrolling through Instagram on your computer.

If you’re aiming for the best quality video, there is a better way to go about it. You’ll learn how to get an MP4 file format for an iMovie video while retaining the 1080p image quality in the next section.

How Do I Convert iMovie to Instagram?

If you’ve already exported your iMovie to the Instagram unworthy iMovie MOV file format, you can still make it viable for Instagram. The same goes for people who aren’t willing to sacrifice their video quality to make it Instagram-worthy.

There are multiple ways to convert your iMovie MOV file to an Instagram-worthy MP4 file, and we’ll go over some of the most common ways to do that in this section.

Using another video editing program.

Many dedicated video editing programs will let you upload a MOV file and retain its original quality. You can use these programs to convert your file to an Instagram-worthy format, preferably MP4.

One great video editing program to fix your iMovie video files for Instagram is Apple’s own Final Cut. If you have access to this premium software, you can import your MOV file and make a few tweaks to export it as an MP4 file while retaining its excellent quality.

If you haven’t paid for Final Cut yet, this isn’t enough to justify its $300 price tag. There are alternative free video editing programs on the internet if exporting to MP4 at 1080p is all you’ll ever want.

Use a dedicated video converter.

If you find yourself trying to export to MP4 at 1080p from iMovie frequently, you should consider getting a video converter. This becomes necessary if you don’t have access to a video editing program to quickly convert the videos.

One of the best video converters for creating MP4 files from iMovie videos is Wondershare’s Uniconverter. You can either use the limited free version or get the paid version for about $35 on one of their very frequent sales. Without a sale, the paid version costs $50.

How Do You Size an iMovie for Instagram?

If you’re uploading videos to Instagram, sizing them correctly will make them look better for all Instagram users. Also, Instagram recommends videos following their guidelines more, expanding your reach and consequently helping your business.

When editing a video for Instagram, there are recommended sizes and aspect ratios that will make your videos look just perfect. Since most people don’t care to read Instagram’s fine print, I can help by providing the sizes.

If you’re posting a video to your Instagram story, it should measure 1080×1920 pixels. While that is a pretty unusual resolution, it creates the perfect vertical video for a vertical full-screen view. This rule applies even more strictly if you’re creating Instagram Reels.

The regular feed videos should have an aspect ratio of 4:5, creating a video that looks almost square. This aspect ratio also applies to carousel posts with a recommended resolution of 1080×1350 pixels.

If your video isn’t the correct resolution for the type of content you’re creating, you have a few options. Here are some of the best ways to resize a video from iMovie to Instagram’s desired size.

Resizing with Kapwing

Kapwing is a popular free online video editor that also allows you to resize videos. From the website’s homepage, you can click on the “Tools” option to bring up a list of all the video editing tools. From there, you can import the video from your Mac to resize it for Instagram.

There are presets for different kinds of Instagram content, and you’re to select the one that works best for you. While you may notice little distortion on the video, it’s the price to pay for picture-perfect Instagram videos.


Given that InShot was specifically created to cater to diehard Instagram users, it’s no surprise that it has a feature to resize videos. InShot has preset to help you create videos for IGTV, Instagram Stories, and Instagram Reels without even trying.

In addition to that, you can also do some basic editing in Inshot. Since we assume that you’ve done most of the editing in iMovie, you shouldn’t need anything other than the video resizer.

InShot is available as a free app for your iPhone or Android smartphone. It is worth keeping on your phone if you think you’ll be needing it quite frequently for Instagram video edits.