Video editing on a smartphone is now more accessible than ever as many free and paid apps tackle every aspect of video editing. Whether it’s editing videos for social media or creating a vlog, our list of best smartphone video editing apps has what you’re looking for.
With only a smartphone and the right video editing app, anyone can be a video editor these days. Internet culture practically demands every participant, be they tech-savvy or not, to learn how to edit video. YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and now TikTok traffic in viral videos that are recorded, edited, and seen on smartphones. It’s no wonder the app stores for both Android and Apple are bursting with video editing apps explicitly tailored for these social media platforms.
Meanwhile, professional video editors have high-end video editing machines that are expensive, heavy, and require years of knowledge to operate. The price alone is enough to bar people from ever picking up the skill in the first place, but the smartphone is the great equalizer. Granted, what a phone can do versus what a dedicated video editing rig can do is night and day. But, a smartphone editing app is lighter, easier to grasp, and mobile.
Whether your goal is home videos or viral TikToks, you need a video editing app that is intuitive, affordable, and easy to pick up. I’ve dug through the bowels of the app stores and scrounged for the best, most user-friendly apps on the market. Should you be interested, the picks are below.
Best to Learn the Basics of Video Editing: Adobe Premiere Rush
If you’re not yet familiar with Adobe’s suite of creative apps, Adobe Premiere Rush is a stripped-down version of Adobe’s Premiere Pro video editing software.
When it comes to video editing, no software is as lauded and widely used as Premiere Pro, but Adobe Premiere Rush is great in its own right. The app doesn’t have all the bells and whistles as its older brother, but it does teach the fundamental principles of video editing. After learning the ropes, you’ll be ready to upgrade to Premiere Pro.
Of course, a smartphone video editing app with as many features as Adobe Premiere Rush isn’t cheap. It costs $9.99 per month to unlock full access, which includes 100GBs of cloud storage and unlimited exports. Also, users who already pay monthly for Premiere Pro or the Adobe Creative Cloud have access to to Adobe Premiere Rush. The free plan, on the other hand, allows users up to three exports per month and 2GBs of cloud access. While the free plan is limiting, users do have full access to the app’s features, which other apps simply don’t offer.
The sleek app works on Android and iOS for mobile; Windows and macOS on the computer. And unlike other apps on this list, you can transfer the project over to Premiere Pro and truly go wild.
If you’re serious about becoming a video editor, it’s useful to know how Premiere Pro works, even if you end up using another video editing software. While you won’t become a professional overnight, Adobe Premiere Rush has enough tools to teach you the basics without being overwhelming.
Cost: Paid version costs $9.99/month
- Fundamental editing features for beginner video editors
- Part of the Adobe Creative Cloud
- Paid version has 100GBs of cloud storage
- Able to transfer project to Premiere Pro
- Works on Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS
Best on iOS: LumaFusion
LumaFusion is the closest thing to a legit video editing software on any mobile device. Unfortunately for Android users, this excellent piece of prosumer — a portmanteau of professional and consumer — software is for iOS only.
If you already know your way around video editing software, then LumaFusion shouldn’t take long to pick up. However, that’s not to say that there is a steep learning curve. Sure, LumaFusion has a smorgasbord of features, but the touch-based UI is straightforward, and tutorials are readily available online. LumaFusion has too many features to list, and it’s one of the few mobile video editing apps on the App Store that looks and acts like its computer counterparts.
In my opinion, it also has the best business model. LumaFusion costs $30 and there’s no subscription plan. So, once you buy it, it’s yours to use on any compatible iOS device. While $30 may sound like a lot, given that most apps these days use a freemium business model, I believe it’s worth the money. While a one-time $30 charge may seem steep for an app, subscription-based apps tend to cost users more in the long-term.
My one complaint is that it may be too finicky to edit complicated videos on a small screen, such as the one an iPhone. Even the larger iPhones lack the screen real estate to edit up to six video tracks and six audio tracks. That’s not to say it would be impossible to edit on a smartphone, but it could become bothersome with larger projects. For the money and features, LumaFusion is a top-notch video editing app for beginner and intermediate users, albeit one with so much going on that it can become tiresome to operate.
Cost: $29.99 one-time purchase
- Multi-track editing
- Chrome Key filter (green screen effects)
- Robust title features
- Works with all major cloud storage services
- Export files up to 4K and 240FPS (depending on the device)
Best for Android: KineMaster
The Google Play Store is rife with video editing apps, though most are lousy. Even the most well-rated video editing apps focus on editing video for social media, such as Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat. While KineMaster can edit video for social media, it also has advanced features that the others lack, and its pricing, while subscription-based, is decent.
It’s not as feature-heavy as LumaFusion or Adobe Premiere Rush, but it has the right combination of features and price, which is why think it’s the best choice for Android devices. Speaking of pricing — $3.99/month or $22.99/year — KineMaster doesn’t lock its best features behind a paywall, but paying for the premium version is the only way to remove the watermark and ads. Additionally, the premium version comes with hundreds of assets and other premium-only perks.
Most other video editing apps have a limit on layers, but KineMaster supports up to ten video tracks — depending on the device — and as many text, image, handwriting, and overlay layers as your phone can handle. KineMaster also supports up to eight audio tracks, which you can record straight into the app. It even has a mixer to refine any audio tracks further. And with chroma key enabled, it’s possible to use a green screen and let your creativity flourish.
Navigating through the app is effortless, and most users will take to it immediately. The wheel on the right side of the screen can access almost everything, and the iconography leaves no doubt to the user. With so many effects, transitions, and other fun layers, using KineMaster is fun, striking a balance between being practical and enjoyable.
Cost: $3.99/month or $22.99/year
- Multi-track video editing
- Chroma key
- Simplified editing wheel
- 4K exports
- Premium version is affordable
- Adobe Premiere Rush
Best for Templates/Instagram Stories: Unfold
Social media is a vehicle for videos, but the method of delivery has evolved. With the rise of Snapchat, other social media platforms implemented Snapchat’s bread-and-butter stories feature, which has worked out well for Facebook and, especially, Instagram. Unfold offers aesthetically-pleasing templates that frame videos in an artsy, wanderlustesque perspective. The minimalist style works particularly well on image or video-based social media platforms.
The Unfold app is free to use and download, and it offers users a variety of templates to choose from. Even if your video looks good, it could benefit from one of Unfold’s templates, which add a touch of that special sauce found in every successful Instagram account.
For $2.99/month, users can access Unfold’s full catalog of templates, which also works well for images. Whether you want to showcase your globetrotting adventures or your latest culinary experience, Unfold’s templates add substance without stealing attention. The app is not only a favorite of social media professionals, but it has been selected as a “best app” by both Apple and Google.
Cost: $2.99/month for Unfold+
- Free Templates
- Simple to use
- Photo and Film Templates
- Text layer
Best for Social: InShot
InShot Inc. has about over two dozen apps on the app store, and many of them are video editing-adjacent. However, their flagship InShot app is the one we’re discussing. InShot specializes in creating videos for social media. The text, effects, and filters are all designed for creating videos that will appear on TikTok, Instagram, or Snapchat.
Despite there being an overwhelming amount of similar apps on the marketplace, InShot stands proudly over the rest, with over 100 million downloads on the Google Play Store alone.
InShot has all the basic video editing features — i.e., trimming, cutting, cropping — but it does much more. While it’s best for creating video stories for social media, it’s also a great app for creating vlogs to upload on YouTube. The filters, stickers, transitions, and audio effects result in amusing, easy-to-create videos.
Aspiring video editors can craft entertaining bite-sized videos from anywhere on almost any device, and it’s free to use. The free version does come with an InShot watermark, and many assets must be purchased, but the premium version, InShot Pro, isn’t too bad on the wallet. InShot Pro costs $2.99/month, but it unlocks permanently for $29.99.
Cost: $2.99/month or $29.99 one-time purchase
- Variety of aspect ratios for major social media platforms
- The paid version is affordable
- Up to 4K exports
- Great for vlogging
- A wide selection of assets
- Vimeo Create
- Filmora Go
Best for Vlogging: Vlogit
Vlogging has exploded in the last few years, partly because its low-budget approach allows creators to push out content quickly, and partly because audiences love a glimpse into their favorite personality’s life. Although, before you spend $1000 or more on a proper vlogging camera, it may be better to try vlogging first on your phone.
Even the front-facing cameras on modern phones are good enough for vlogging, which was unimaginable a decade ago. After you’ve recorded your footage, all you have to do is edit it a little and upload it to your platform of choice. But, there is an easier way.
Vlogit, available on Android and iOS, condenses the whole vlogging workflow into one app. There are other vlogging apps on the app store, but this is one is made by Wondershare, who have tons of experience developing video editing software such as Filmora9 and Filmora GO.
You can record video straight into the app or import existing video and edit it to your liking. You can also add stickers, effects, text, and music. Upon finalizing the edit, you can design an eye-catching thumbnail with Vlogit’s thumbnail editor and export the vlog directly to YouTube, Instagram, or other social media. Here’s the best part: the app is free to use, and there is no watermark.
You record, edit, and publish vlogs from your phone by using a combination of app. But, Vlogit offers it all in one convenient location.
- Streamlined workflow
- 1080p export directly to social media
- Built-in thumbnail editor
- No watermark
- Free music
Alternatives: Vlog Star
Best App for Video Clips: Shutterstock
When working with a small budget, it’s tough to film all the shots you need. The good news is that you don’t always have to. With stock footage, you can choose from an expansive selection of high-resolution videos that can bridge the gap in your videos. Hollywood films, YouTubers, and advertising firms all use stock footage, and Shutterstock is an industry leader when it comes to stock images and footage.
Clips were just recently added to the Shutterstock mobile app, so it’s now possible to download footage straight into your phone without having to transfer from a computer. If you’re editing a video on your phone, you can easily purchase a video download from the Shutterstock app and quickly insert it into your timeline.
Clips on the Shutterstock app come in different resolutions, from standard definition to 1080p and even 4K. All you have to do is create an account, head to the search section, and select the footage tab. There is a wide selection of videos to choose from, with prices starting at $64.99. Once you download a clip from Shutterstock it’s yours to use in your video, and, don’t worry, there is no watermark.
Cost: Depends on the resolution (Starts at $64.99)
- Intuitive mobile app
- Affordable videos
- Videos grouped into categories
Cover image via ideyweb.
Find more tips on shooting and editing video for social media here: