How to Separate Audio from Video in iMovie: A Step-by-Step Guide


Ted Stinson

Separating audio from video in iMovie is a handy trick that allows you to edit soundtracks or remove unwanted background noise from your clips. To do this, all you need is the iMovie app on your Mac and a few simple steps. After reading this paragraph, you should have a basic idea of how to accomplish the task!

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Separate Audio from Video in iMovie

Before we dive into the steps, let’s understand what we’re about to do. When you separate audio from video in iMovie, you create an independent audio track that you can edit, delete, or move around without affecting the video.

Step 1: Open your project in iMovie

Open the iMovie app and select the project you want to work on from the "Projects" tab.

iMovie is a user-friendly video editing software that comes pre-installed on all Mac computers. If you’re working on a project, it’s likely already in your project library. If not, you can easily create a new project and import the video clip you want to work with.

Step 2: Select the video clip

Click on the video clip in the timeline that you want to separate the audio from.

Make sure you have the correct clip selected. The clip will be highlighted in yellow when it’s selected.

Step 3: Right-click on the selected video clip

Right-clicking on the video clip will bring up a menu with different options.

When you right-click, make sure you do it on the clip itself, not on the empty space in the timeline.

Step 4: Choose "Detach Audio"

From the menu that appears, click on "Detach Audio."

After clicking on "Detach Audio," you’ll see the audio track appear beneath the video clip in the timeline. It will be highlighted in blue to indicate it’s now an independent element.

After completing these steps, you’ll have a separate audio track that you can edit as you please. You can move it around, cut sections out, or even delete it entirely if you want to replace it with a different soundtrack.

Tips: How to Optimize Your Audio Separation in iMovie

  • Make sure the clip you’re detaching audio from is not linked to any other clips. This could cause synchronization issues.
  • Use the "Undo" function (Command + Z) if you make a mistake.
  • Consider using headphones while editing audio for more precise adjustments.
  • Use the "Fade" tool to create smooth transitions between audio clips.
  • Experiment with the audio equalizer in iMovie to enhance the sound quality of your detached audio.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I reattach the audio to the video after separating it in iMovie?

Yes, you can simply drag the audio track back under the video clip in the timeline to re-sync them.

Will separating audio from video affect the quality of my audio?

No, separating the audio does not alter its quality. However, any further edits you make can potentially affect quality.

Can I separate audio from video on iMovie for iPhone or iPad?

Yes, the process is similar but may vary slightly due to the touch interface.

What formats does iMovie support for audio and video files?

iMovie supports most common video formats like MP4, MOV, and M4V, and audio formats like MP3, WAV, and AAC.

Can I add a new audio track to my video after separating the original audio?

Absolutely! You can drag and drop any compatible audio file into the timeline to add new sound to your video.


  1. Open your project in iMovie
  2. Select the video clip
  3. Right-click on the selected video clip
  4. Choose "Detach Audio"


So there you have it, the ins and outs of separating audio from video in iMovie. Whether you’re a budding filmmaker, a content creator, or just someone looking to spruce up their home videos, mastering this simple technique can help elevate your projects. Remember, audio plays a critical role in storytelling. It sets the mood and can dramatically impact the viewer’s experience. By separating the audio from your video, you have full control over this powerful tool.

iMovie is a fantastic platform for beginners and intermediate users alike, offering a range of features that are both accessible and sophisticated. As you gain confidence in your video editing skills, don’t be afraid to experiment with the various audio editing tools available. Adjust the levels, play with the balance, and see how different sound effects can change the narrative of your footage.

If you ever feel stuck, remember that there are countless resources online to help guide you. From forums to tutorial videos, the iMovie community is vast and generous with their knowledge. So go ahead, give it a try, and unleash the full potential of your creative audio-visual projects with iMovie.