Comparison: Windows Movie Maker vs iMovie

Last updated on October 18, 2019 by Roland Goodman

Video editor software serve a wide audience today as people naturally have the desire to give their clips a prettier look and add some cool effects before uploading to one of the popular video sharing sites. With managing the way a video clip is cut or with the use of effects uploaders may give their audience a fuller experience. There are two basic video editors, Windows Movie Maker and Mac iMovie in the market that can be considered the most widespread programs in their category. They may have limited features compared to their “big brothers” but both editors wish to keep usability and effectiveness their leading traits.

Navigation of Contents
Windows Movie Maker

windows video makerWindows Movie Maker is a perfect choice if you are a general user wishing to spice up your trailers, home movies or educational material, as it is easy to use program accessible to everyone. Windows movie maker is originally included in Windows with the desire to provide a simple, easy-to-use movie maker for the average user.


The interface of Windows Movie Maker is split into 4 different parts based on their functions before: the menu bar and the toolbar, the timeline and storyboard, the monitor, and the collection displaying your clips. The interface has been significantly simplified, making the learning curve of the program as short as possible. Adding videos, audios and voice records are incorporated on the “Menu Bar” as shown in the picture


Ease of use:

The main advantage of Movie Maker is that it is widely available. Basically, any Windows computer purchased will come free with Movie Maker and you can always download the newest version online. And since Movie Maker thus reaches such wide audience, the designers made sure that any user group can use it easily, even if they are beginners.


In terms of video editing performance, Movie Maker does not require advanced system requirements (1.5 GHz processor, 256 MBs of RAM and runs smoothly once opened, but importing videos can take a long time and occasionally there are minor crashes.

Output video quality:

The quality of the output video will never be as good as a premium video editor’s as Movie Maker is available for free but you do have the ability to choose from various qualities and presets depending on what device you wish to watch the output video on. Movie Maker offers recommended settings that will optimize your video’s quality and size to match your device’s specifications.



Movie Maker is preinstalled on all Windows machines and all its features can be accessed for free. You can always download the newest version free of charge as well.


Movie Maker promotes simplicity and usability with tools like zoom control, clip trimmer and splitter and clips can be re-inserted anywhere by a simple drag-and-drop method and basic operations for video editing can be reached through the tabs in the top of the screen. With Movie Maker, you will also be able to create stunning photo slideshows to which you can also add music from your computer. Moreover, Movie Maker boasts over 130 effects, animations, and transitions, which is a pretty large collection considering that the program is absolutely free.



Many users are frustrated by the fact that Movie Maker is not as stable as they expect it to be. Do not be surprised if your project crashes every now and then or you suddenly get an error message for your imported clips that seemed to be working just fine 2 minutes ago. So saving your work often is a must with Movie Maker. Another drawback of Movie Maker is that its editing options are only very basic and their built-in effects are overused to an extent that some people might consider videos edited with Movie Maker somewhat amateur. Although you will not be making Hollywood productions with this piece of software, it is still the best Movie Maker app for Windows to put together short home movies that do not require advanced editing.


imovie logo iMovie is Apple’s very own video editor and is pre-installed on every newly purchased Mac computer. The concept behind iMovie is somewhat similar to that of Movie Maker; to provide beginners with an intuitive, easy to use interface and a decent set of tools to enhance their home movies recorded on any device.


The interface of iMovie is built up of 6 core elements: the toolbar, the project pane, the event library pane, the event browser pane, the viewer pane and the small pane in the bottom right corner. Learning how to use these elements just takes a bit of trial and error but you can also find a great number of good tutorials on how to use iMovie.


Ease of use:

Creating smooth flowing transitions is particularly easy to learn with iMovie. It is not hard to create impressive video clips and intros by turning your footage into classy films and include super-cool effects like adjusting the time to make a section faster or slower. With iMovie, video editing will be hassle-free and at the same time fun.


Video editing performance:

Video editing performance wise, since you are editing with real-time playback, iMovie is going to need a large amount of free RAM on your computer due to the size of video files.


Output video quality:

You can select from three different output resolutions when exporting your videos. Ultra High Definition (4K) is also available but exporting in such high quality will produce files with large sizes and lengthy exporting duration. Keep in mind that you can only export in high quality if your original video is also in HD.



Mac computers come pre-installed with iMovie so you do not have to pay for downloading it, and small upgrades are also free of charge.

Other features:

iMovie’s built-in Green screen effect can be used to cut out the subject of a clip that has been recording in front of a green screen and place the figure in different backgrounds. Another great feature of iMovie is that it includes a number of Hollywood style movie templates that you can customize to your own movie.


iMovie is renown for its intuitive and simple, yet professional interface. It has come up with a simple way of cutting and merging videos. Insert clips anywhere to the timeline by dragging them there. The neighboring videos will be joined and marked by a line. You do not have to worry that the colors will not match because with the “Color match” option it is possible to unify the color and the atmosphere of the videos shot at different places. Another advantage is that with iMovie importing and sharing videos will be more convenient than ever as most Apple devices can be synced. This applies to editing as well as it can be continued at another device any time. For example, having started in iOS you may finish the project on your desktop.


Just like Movie Maker, iMovie has also been reported of as crushing way too often and these stability issues continue to frustrate users who are in the middle of a project that has not yet been saved. Another drawback of iMovie is that not all of the most common audio formats such as the widespread MP4, and not all video formats are supported. One more negative factor with iMovie is that except the three-pane interface for video editing nothing else is standard with iMovie when we come to studio work. Instead of track divisions, we have to drag clips to the timeline where they would extend and show their running time. With iMovie only two video tracks are available and the standard number for this is 100-plus and this is what we get from most PC video editors out on the market.

Windows Movie MakeriMovie
Where to find?Included in Windows Essentials but you have to install the whole packageIt’s available for free from the Mac Apple Store
Unique FeaturesVoiceover recording, anti-shakeiMovie has most elements, filters, and effects available of the consumer editor programs available in the market
HighlightsSimple interface with tabsBuilt-in color matching for unified looks, powerful audio-editing tools
WeaknessesNot enough effects and filters, history window not available, poor lightning control, there is no new windows movie makerOnly two video tracks available, tools are not organized as well as in Movie Maker, no multi-cam or motion tracking
NotificationsMore integrated, the iOS 11 lock screen, as well as the notification center turn into one.Two steps need to hold unread notification icon at application to open content
DevelopmentThey have stopped developing Movie MakeriMovie is up-to-date with 4K compatibility
CompatibilityAvailable for WindowsAvailable for Mac
Pricefree for Windows usersfree for iOS and MacOS users
Quality of output videosOptimizes the quality to best fit your PC, highest available resolution: 1080pHighest supported resolution is 4K (UHD)
Output sharing optionsYouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, OneDrive, FlickriTunes, YouTube, Facebook, iDVD
Create slideshows from photos?YesYes
Record narration/voiceoverYesYes

The tables above shows some more differences in the two programs. It might be good to start examining one’s needs before choosing a certain software because the features that are offered in the market are quiet extensive and all video editor softwares give us a certain handful of these editing options. Media Player is still the best movie maker app for Windows but since Microsoft has stopped developing it iMovie has been becoming more and more up-to-date compared to it. Having included 4K video support and with its marvelous sharing options it is among the best movie making programs in its category. If you have Apple devices is difficult to find a better and more simple video editing tool for novices but iMovie alternative for Windows is no option.
That’s it for the comparison! Both of these tools are awesome video editors, but in case you are interested in having the best solution for yourself, you can also have a look at AceThinker’s Video Master solution that is among the best tools available on the market and it will sure to give you some even more advantages than these two solutions could to help you!

Get Free Trial Now

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (based on 110 ratings) Thanks for your rating!

Article Center

Category - Editing video tips

Comparison: Windows Movie Maker vs iMovie

March 9, 2018

Post By Roland Goodman to Video Editor

Last updated on October 18, 2019

Back to top
Contact Us