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The best video editing apps in 2021

Best video editing apps
(Image credit: Tim Douglas from Pexels)

The best video editing apps are make it easy to edit your footage on the move, whether you're a professional film-maker, a YouTube creator, or just someone who wants to make their holiday videos look better. 

Video editing apps are available for Android and iOS, as well as both smartphones and tablets (see our best tablets for video editing if you need a new one). Yes, they're not normally as powerful as the the best video editing software for desktop. But by the same token, because they're so lightweight they're often faster, more efficient and more intuitive. Which makes them the perfect option for quick editing tasks, as well of course as editing on the move.

But with so many apps out there, it can be difficult to know where to start. To help you out, this article pulls together the best video editing apps available today, including free, freemium and paid-for options. And we'll give you the information you need to pick the right one for your needs. 

Meanwhile, if you need more options for video editing kit, check our guides to the best computer for video editing, the best monitor for video editing and the best MacBook for video editing.

The top 3 video editing apps

The best video editing apps in 2021 in full

Premiere Rush screenshot with Rush logo in the top left corner

(Image credit: Adobe)

01. Adobe Premiere Rush (cross-platform)

The best video editing app overall

Specifications
Platform: iOS, Android, Windows, MacOS
Multi-track editor: Yes
Export directly to YouTube: Yes
4K support: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Cross-platform +Useful export options+Free starter plan
Reasons to avoid
-Full version needs subscription

Aimed squarely at the YouTube generation, Premiere Rush is a cross-platform, video editing app that's purposely much easier to use than Adobe's more complex desktop tools, such as Premiere Pro, After Effects and Audition.

Instead, Premiere Rush focuses on making it easy to process your clips quickly and upload them to social media. For example, it automatically converts your videos to the specific aspect ratios and quality levels required by each platform.

Premiere Rush is not just useful for YouTubers, though. It's also one of the best video editing apps for professionals, as it allows you to take content you've been working on in Premiere Pro, and make further tweaks to it on a phone or tablet. You can then upload that content to the cloud, continue working on it in Premiere Pro, and so on.

The app's interface is nice and simple with large icons and panels, making it very straightforward for standard video editing tasks, such as dragging-and-dropping footage onto the timeline, correcting colour, mixing in music or voiceovers, or adding titles and transitions. 

There's a one-minute tutorial when you first open the app, but actually, the app is so simple to use, you might not need it, making it one of the best video editing apps for beginners. See our Premiere Rush review for more info.

How do you get Premiere Rush? Well, if you're a subscriber to the Creative Cloud, you'll already have it. Alternatively, you can subscribe separately for $9.99 / £9.99 a month or as part of a limited free starter plan. 

Other options include subscribing to Premiere Rush bundled with Premiere Pro for $20.99 / £19.97, or as part of the entire Adobe suite: check out Adobe Creative Cloud discounts for the best current price. 

Whichever option you go for, you'll get constant updates to the app without having to pay extra. For instance, latest update in April 2021 (version 1.5.58) means iOS users can now tap a clip to bring up a context menu that allows you to split, delete, duplicate, or separate audio from it. The update also added support for Samsung Note 20/20+ Android phones.

Quik screenshot on phones plus the Quik logo

(Image credit: GoPro)

02. Quik (cross-platform)

The best video editing app for GoPro users

Specifications
Platform: iOS, Android, Windows, MacOS
Multi-track editor: Yes
Export directly to YouTube: Yes
4K support: No
Reasons to buy
+Easy interface+Sync songs to footage+Horizontal levelling
Reasons to avoid
-Doesn't work with all phones

Quik is the new name for the official GoPro app, which was rebranded in March 2021 with a fresh look, and incorporating the music-sync editing tools of the original Quik app.

This video editing app is focused on two main things: allowing you to remotely control your GoPro device, and edit your GoPro footage. It automatically imports your action footage, and makes it easy to do things like sync your clips to music, add photos, titles and timelapse sequences, and include graphs based on your stats.

We especially love the Horizon Levelling editor, which tweaks the angle of your scene to correct things if your camera wasn't mounted in line with the horizon. We also appreciate being able to go through your footage frame-by-frame to find standout still images. Once your photos and videos are ready, you can directly upload them to Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and more, or share them via text or email. 

The latest update (July 2021) added the ability to take frame grabs from videos captured on your phone. GoPro also introduced a more streamlined workflow for editing phone content in Quik and released five new GoPro Original music tracks for video edits. However, it's worth noting that a number of older phones from Huawei and Xiaomi don't seem to work with Quik.

This app is free, but with in-app purchases you can get extra themes and filters, as well as the ability to autoupload photos and videos to the cloud. 

LumaFusion screenshot and logo

(Image credit: LumaFusion)

03. LumaFusion (iOS)

The best video editing app for iPhone and iPad users

Specifications
Platform: iOS
Multi-track editor: Yes
Export directly to YouTube: Yes
4K support: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Advanced features +Thunderbolt 4 support+No subscription needed
Reasons to avoid
-iOS only

LumaFusion is an iOS app that's commonly used by journalists, filmmakers, and video producers to capture and edit video on the fly. Produced by the creators of Pinnacle Studio, this app for iPhone and iPad gives you six video/audio tracks for photos, videos, titles and graphics, along with an extra six audio tracks for narration, music and sound effects. 

The interface is pretty similar to Final Cut Pro X, with its magnetic timeline. One of LumaFusion’s most impressive features is that any effect can be keyframed, as can clip animation, allowing precise adjustments to your project. 

Other advanced tools on offer include insert/overwrite capability, colour correction, a fully featured audio mixer, lossless export, support for vertical video, advanced title creation tools and slow motion/fast motion (forward and reverse). 

The latest version, v3.0, launched this June and pushed things further in terms of sophistication. The big highlight here is the MultiCam Sync feature, which allows you to sync and edit clips from multiple camera and audio sources. Plus, if you have the latest iPad Pro, you can take full advantage of your Thunderbolt 4 port for faster download and upload speeds.

Once you're done, there are endless sharing options and exporting options. For instance, you can export at different resolutions, qualities and frame-rates, as well as exporting audio and video separately. The app even supports for XML export to Final Cut Pro X. 

At one-off fee of $29.99 / £28.99, this all represents something of a bargain, and makes it one of the best video editing apps for professional creators out in the field. For more details, read our full LumaFusion review.

KineMaster screenshot and logo

(Image credit: KineMaster)

04. KineMaster (Android, iOS)

The best video editing app for Android

Specifications
Platform: Android, iOS
Multi-track editor: Yes
Export directly to YouTube: Yes
4K support: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Advanced features +Multi-track editing+Precision control
Reasons to avoid
-Watermarks on free version

KineMaster is one of the best video editing apps for professional use. With high-end features such as blending modes, chroma keying, and audio mixing, this advanced app allows you to shoot, edit and export your footage on your phone or tablet via a mult-layer interface. It's available for both iOS and Android.

This is one of the best video editing apps for trimming clips and layers with frame-by-frame granularity. Audio clip timing can be adjusted, too, with sub-frame accuracy.  You can upload multiple layers of video (on supported devices), images and text, as well as multi-track audio. Beyond that, Kinemaster is packed with advanced features, including instant edit previews, precise volume envelope control, colour LUT filters, speed controls, chroma key compositing and 3D transitions. In short, while this is not quite Premiere Pro on a mobile device, it's not far off.

The app is free to download, but note that it adds watermarks to videos, which you have to take out a subscription to remove. A subscription also allows you to export at 1080p or 4K, and get access to over a thousand premium assets. Find out more in our KineMaster review.

iMovie screenshot on an iPad and iMovie logo

(Image credit: Apple)

05. iMovie (Apple devices)

The best free video editing app for iOS

Specifications
Platform: iOS, Mac
Multi-track editor: Yes
Export direct to YouTube: Yes
4K support: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Free for Apple users+Easy to use 
Reasons to avoid
-Not the most feature-rich -Not the most powerful

If you have an iPhone, iPad or Mac, you'll have iMovie, as it's automatically included with your hardware. This consumer app is a long, long way from being a pro tool like LumaFusion or Kinemaster. But if you're a beginner who wants to get started editing video, and add titles, music, voiceovers and photos to it, it's got everything you need.

iMovie supports 4K on modern devices, and as you'd expect, integrates beautifully with the Apple ecosystem as a whole. So for example, you can save your clips to the iCloud drive or stream them to an Apple TV via AirPlay, and everything plays nicely with Apple Photos, Mail and Messages too. Read our iMovie review to learn more.

iMovie doesn't get big updates often, but at least Apple pays attention to fixing bugs; so for example, the latest July 2021 update (10.2.3) solved an issue that means the Mac app can now import videos from the mobile app.

Filmora Go screenshot and logo

(Image credit: Filmora)

06. FilmoraGo (Android, iOS)

The best free video editing app with no watermarks

Specifications
Platform: Android, iOS
Multi-track editor: No
Export direct to YouTube: Yes
4K support: No
Reasons to buy
+Free +Themed filters and effects
Reasons to avoid
-No multi-track editing -No 4K support

FilmoraGo is a free app for iOS and Android made by Wondershare that lets you edit online HD videos without a steep learning curve. Thanks to its themed filters and effects, it can help even newbies make their videos look impressively professional. 

Some in-app purchases are available, such as songs and effects, but your videos can work perfectly well without them. And yes, there are internal ads, but they aren’t especially intrusive. So while it's quite a basic app – for example, there's no multi-track editing or 4K support – it's still one of the best video editing apps around that's properly free. Note, though, that's it's only available on iOS for iPhone, not iPad.

Tried FilmoraGo and didn't like it? It might be worth having another look, as in June 2021, makers Wondershare launched a new version (6.0) which features a brand new user interface, as well as an AR camera and light and dark modes. Plus you can now choose to splice videos in the same picture, there's an extensive range of templates in categories such fashion, food and travel, and you can use masks not only on the main track but also on the PIP track.

For more advanced software from Wondershare, see our Filmora X review.

Apple clips on iPhones and Clips logo

(Image credit: Apple)

07. Apple Clips (iOS)

The best video editing app for family videos

Specifications
Platform: iOS
Multi-track editor: No
Export direct to YouTube: Yes
4K support: No
Reasons to buy
+Free +Fun for families 
Reasons to avoid
-Not a “serious” app

The best video editing apps are sometimes overkill, if all you want is to edit your family videos for fun. So if you're an iOS user, it's worth checking out Apple Clips. This free app allows you to create and send video messages, or tell video stories with filters, animated text, music, emoji, and stickers. 

Primarily aimed at children and families, Apple Clips is pretty lightweight stuff: it's not even as powerful as iMovie. That said, with each successive update, it is getting a little closer to becoming a serious video editing app. In the last big update in October (3.0), for example, it got a refreshed interface, support for vertical and horizontal video, and HDR recording. More recently, in version 3.1 (April 2021), Apple added AR Spaces, an augmented reality feature available to iPhone 12 Pro and iPad Pro users.

For more information, read our Apple Clips review.

Filmmaker pro screenshot on iPad plus logo in top left corner

(Image credit: Tinkerworks)

08. Filmmaker Pro (iOS)

Freemium video editing app with some unique features

Specifications
Platform: iOS
Multi-track editor: No
Export direct to YouTube: No
4K support: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Video grading +Green screen support 
Reasons to avoid
-No multi-track editing-Best features not free

Filmmaker Pro is another one of the best video editing apps for your iPhone. This  app is primarily aimed at consumers but (as the name suggests) comes with some nice pro features too, including 30 filters, 17 transitions and Audiometer assisted voiceovers. 

You also get video grading, a superb green screen support, nearly 200 different fonts for your text overlays, and some advanced tools such as chroma keying. A big update in July 2021 update added a key frame animation tool, which lets you add multiple custom transforms to an animation stack that's applied to a layer.

Note that, like many apps on this list, Filmmaker Pro is free to download, but you won't get the full feature set and you'll have watermarks on your videos too. So it's best to consider this as a paid-for, subscription-based app, and treat the free download as basically a free trial version.

InShot screenshots on mobile plus logo

(Image credit: InShot)

09. Inshot (cross-platform)

Free app for making social videos

Specifications
Platform: iOS, Android
Multi-track editor: No
Export directly to YouTube: Yes
4K support: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Easy to use+Free
Reasons to avoid
-No advanced features-Pay to remove watermarks

If you want a video editing app for your social media needs, then Inshot is a good choice. It's specifically geared toward creating clips for social media, and is one of the best video editing apps for that purpose. For example, it comes with pre-built canvas sizes for everything from IGTV to TikTok.

With a clear and easy to use interface, Inshot makes it smooth and easy to import, trim and edit your clips together, then add filters, stickers, captions, emojis, and other fun things on top, as well as free music and sound effects. 

The app is free, but comes with ads, and your videos will be watermarked. Both can be removed with a small monthly subscription. There are also one-off purchases for more advanced features.

CyberLink ActionDirector

(Image credit: CyberLink)

10. ActionDirector

Android video editing app for action footage

Specifications
Platform: Android
Multi-track editor: No
Export directly to YouTube: Yes
4K support: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Free version+Slow and fast motion effects+Supports 4K
Reasons to avoid
-Basic editing only

Available for Android, ActionDirector's focus, as the name suggests, is squarely on capturing and editing action video footage. So as well as being a basic video editing app, it also offers some nifty action effects to apply to your shots. 

For instance, you can slow down or speed up video segments with precision, to create eye-catching slow-motion or fast-motion scenes. You can also highlight specific sections of your video to replay or rewind. 

Beyond that the app also makes it easy to add titles and text, mix in music, and share video via social networks. ActionDirector is free, with in-app purchases for certain features.

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Tom May

Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specialising in design, photography and tech. He is author of Great TED Talks: Creativity, published by Pavilion Books. He has previously been editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine.