How to Rotate Video on iPhone & iPad

May 9, 2016 - 14 Comments

How to Rotate Video on iPhone

Many people record video on the iPhone or iPad and have the device oriented vertically, and while there is nothing inherently wrong with that, a side effect is you end up capturing vertical videos with large black bars on the sides. Fortunately there’s an easy way to rotate movies in iOS with little effort, which means you can fix a vertically aligned video by converting it to horizontal, go the other direction by rotating a horizontal video to vertical format, or even flip a video upside down.


To rotate the video we’re going to use the iMovie app in iOS, which comes free on new iPhone and iPad devices. If you have an older device, you can download iMovie from the App Store. And yes this works to rotate any video type, whether the movie is 4K, slow motion, regular speed, time-lapse, and whether it’s your own video or someone elses on your device.

How to Rotate or Flip Video on iPhone and iPad with iMovie

You can rotate any movie on your iOS device 90 degrees, 180 degrees, 270 degrees, or if you feel like going back to the default view you can rotate the video 360 degrees as well. This isn’t particularly obvious, but it’s easy, so here’s how to do it:

  1. Open iMovie on the iPhone or iPad
  2. iMovie for iOS icon

  3. Choose the video you want to rotate from the video selection list, then tap on the ‘Share’ / action button, it looks like a box with an arrow flying out the top of it
  4. Select video to rotate on iPhone

  5. Choose “Create Movie”
  6. Create a new movie using video to rotate on iPhone

  7. Place two fingers about an inch apart on the video in iMovie, and rotate them like you’re turning a dial to the direction you want to flip or rotate the video to, a little white rotate image will appear on the display
  8. Rotate the video to rotate on iPhone

  9. When the video has been rotated to the orientation you’d like to keep, tap on the “Done” button in the upper left corner
  10. Done rotating video on iPhone

  11. Now tap the Sharing button again (it’s the box with the arrow flying out of the top)
  12. Save the video to rotate on iPhone

  13. This time choose “Save Video” (optionally, you can share it on Facebook, YouTube, iCloud, etc, but we’re saving the rotated video here)
  14. Save the video to rotate on iPhone

  15. Select the video resolution you’d like to export the movie as: 360p, 540p, 720p, or 1080p
  16. Choose resolution for video rotated on iPhone

  17. When finished, iMovie will alert you the video has been saved to your Photos Library, so you can open the Photo app to look at your rotated video
  18. Rotate completion, video done

That’s all there is to it, your video has now been rotated and saved as a separate movie file onto your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

And yes, your iPhone and iPad videos are stored in the Photos app, not in the Videos app. This leads to a lot of confusion for newcomers to the iOS platform, but given that both are typically recorded with your own camera, it makes some degree of sense. You can make it easier to locate your videos within the photos app by using the Videos album to display movies only in iOS, otherwise just launch the Photos app and you will find the movie you just saved.

The Photos app iOS icon

By the way, we also covered how to rotate videos on the Mac using QuickTime, which offers a super simple desktop based solution to reorientate videos if you’re in Mac OS X or have copied the videos to your computer. Similar offerings are available on Windows too.

If you find yourself rotating videos constantly, a great recording tip is to just reorient the camera yourself and turn the iPhone or iPad sideways when recording video, that way you won’t end up with the vertical video to begin with.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks

14 Comments

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  1. John Galt says:

    Nice one, thanks!

  2. Bill Jones says:

    I’m sorry, but this tip is stupid/bogus.

    The video is NOT rendered to a different orientation, which is what most people want. It is just physically rotated.

    A video shot vertical and viewed rotated will is not usable? Are we supposed to turn our head 90 degrees to see it properly?

    iMovie and other tools, at least on the Mac, can truly rotate the video and re-render, but that means the image has to be cropped or zoomed up to fit the frame and the result is usually not what anybody wants.

  3. Louis says:

    Nice, thank you. Those who need it will understand how useful this tip is :-)

  4. Randall King says:

    Ridiculous that this is so hard to do for a company that is supposed to be about making technology simple for the everyday man. Jobs had a good eye for catching things like this and fixing some of the ease of use items before the product got out of the gate. It’s something Apple misses since his passing. Seems like nobody is filling that QA role well.

  5. Chris Quirk says:

    Why not take it the ‘right’ way round in the first place?

    How many monitors and TVs are set up in portrait orientation? That’s right, only advertising ones.

    Videos that are shot vertically frankly just look stupid.

    • James Garvin says:

      Agree on the vertical video. You can see how silly it looks if the video happens to make it onto the news. I’ve had at least one instance of a video shot landscape yet the video is rotated by the phone. That’s what caused me to research how to correct it, as neither Photos nor Lightroom offers an obvious way to do it.

  6. NoVerticalVideos says:

    Personally, I think Apple should have an option that allows you to capture horizontal video regardless of phone orientation. There is no reason why this can’t be done by appropriate cropping of the very large sensor area. You probably can’t get 4K video when holding the phone vertically, but you should easily be able to get normal HD video resolutions. There is something “inherently wrong” with capturing vertical video. It should NEVER be allowed! (even if it’s more convenient to hold the phone vertically..)

    • PB says:

      I agree with this, the vertical video issue is basically a software problem that Apple hasn’t addressed. There is little reason to have vertical videos, and little need to rotate them, the camera should be smart enough to adjust it automatically. The hardware has the resolution, the software needs to fit.

      • Chris Quirk says:

        So what you are saying is that Apple should cater for the fact that people are too dumb to turn their phone through 90 degrees…

        Technology for the sake of it?

        • NoVerticalVideos says:

          Not sure what PB is saying, but I don’t think it’s a matter of catering to “too dumb”. It is a fact that holding the phone vertically is more natural (since this is the way you hold it almost ALL the time..), and even for people who understand about VVS, sometimes mistakes are made. If the device has a mode which prevents this mistake, it is a clear feature. It makes it easier to use properly. Another minor advantage of this mode is that you can use vertical orientation to give narrower field of view. Or even provide auto-horizon leveling. There is actually an app out that does all this (“Horizon”), but it suffers from degraded image quality when filming in vertical orientation. This is because it does not crop at the sensor, but at the video frame level. Since Apple would have complete access to sensor data, they could provide something similar in standard “Camara” app with fewer compromises.

  7. Ramon says:

    Thanks for the tutorial. Worked great on a video my wife took.

  8. Rade Martinović says:

    There is a simpler way if you have iOS 10 installed.

    Go to Photos, choose clip you’d like to rotate, tap Edit (icon with sliders), then in edit mode tap three dots icon for extensions, choose iMovie extension, then rotate video using two finger method. Go back, Done and Done.

  9. Amanda Sugrue says:

    This worked perfectly! Thank you!

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