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How to Fix iMovie Isn't Working on Mac?

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Jun 23, 2021• Proven solutions

If you are a Mac user, then you might be familiar with iMovie, which is its inbuilt movie editor. Even though iMovie is extensively used for video editing, it can malfunction at times. For instance, the iMovie not working on Mac is a common issue that can be triggered due to different reasons. In this post, I will discuss the possible reasons for issues like iMovie does not have enough disk space or iMovie is not showing videos with some smart solutions that anyone can implement.

Part 1. Why is iMovie not Working on Mac: The Possible Reasons

Since there could be different instances when iMovie seems to malfunction, let’s quickly consider some of them. In this way, you can understand what could have caused the iMovie issue you are facing:

  • Chances are that the project might not be loaded correctly on iMovie.
  • You might be trying to import files in a format that is not supported by the app.
  • The iMovie app could have been corrupted or outdated.
  • There might be an issue with the iMovie library that you are working with.
  • Users also get the iMovie not enough disk space error when there is a lack of free space on Mac.
  • There could be a problem with the iMovie cache or log files on the system.
  • A background process or app can also cause conflict with the working of iMovie.
  • Any other firmware or app-related issue can cause iMovie to not work on Mac.

Part 2. The Best Alternative to iMovie for Mac: Wondershare Filmora

Before you try to fix the iMovie not working on Mac issue, you can consider using a better alternative, like Wondershare Filmora. A sophisticated video editing tool for Mac, it will meet every editing requirement of yours without any hassle.

  • Using Filmora, you can easily add, merge, split, crop, resize, and perform all kinds of tasks on your videos.
  • There are dedicated options in Filmora for features like scene detection, pan and zoom, motion tracking, reverse playback, and more.
  • You can readily use the extensive range of filters, presets, transitions, media stock, captions, and other resources on Filmora.
  • Filmora will also help you meet all the advanced video editing needs of yours related to keyframing, audio ducking, green-screen effects, video stabilization, color grading, etc.
  • It is extremely easy to use Wondershare Filmora and the application fully supports the import/export of files in different formats.

Part 3. How to Fix the iMovie Not Working on Mac and Other Issues like a Pro?

As I have mentioned above, there could be all kinds of problems like the iMovie project won’t play in the viewer or the iMovie export got failed. Therefore, you might try to implement a few of these solutions to fix the iMovie not working on Mac issues.

Solution 1: Relaunch the iMovie Application

If the iMovie app has not been loaded properly on your Mac, then it can cause the iMovie not showing the video issue. The easiest way to fix the iMovie not playing video issue is by closing the app and relaunching it.

To do this, once the app is launched, you can go to the Finder and click on the “Force Quit” button. Alternatively, you can also press the Option + Command + Esc key combination to get the Force Quit window. From here, just select the iMovie app and force quit it to stop it from running in the background.

Afterward, you can launch it again and check if the iMovie app is still not working on Mac or not.

Solution 2: Restart your Mac

Apart from the iMovie app, chances are that there could be an issue with your Mac as well. In this case, you can just restart the system to fix the iMovie not working on Mac issue. All you got to do is go to the desktop and click on the Apple icon from the top-left corner. You can now click on the “Restart” button, confirm your choice, and wait for your Mac to be restarted.

Solution 3: Update iMovie or your macOS version

If you are running an old or outdated version of iMovie on your Mac, then you can encounter some of these issues. The easiest way to fix this is by going to the App Store and updating the iMovie app.

Similarly, you can also update the firmware on your Mac to fix all kinds of issues on iMovie. Just go to its System Preferences > Software Update to check the available version of the newest macOS. From here, you can click on the “Upgrade Now” button to update macOS and fix the iMovie not playing video issue.

Solution 4: Work on a New Project with Compatible Files

If the iMovie export has failed, then chances are that you have included incompatible files in the app or would like to export it in any other unsupported scheme. To check this, you can just save changes on your existing project and open a new one from its File menu.

You can also go to its File > Import Media button to load videos to your project. Just make sure that the videos you are loading on iMovie this time are 100% compatible with the application.

Solution 5: Reinstall the iMovie application on Mac

At times, even updating the app might not fix the iMovie not showing video issue. One of the easiest ways to fix this is by reinstalling the iMovie app on your Mac.

To fix the iMovie not working on Mac, you can just go to Finder > Applications and locate the iMovie app. Now, right-click the app icon and choose to move it to the Trash to uninstall it.

Once the iMovie app has been uninstalled, you can go to the App Store and install it again. Beforehand, try to get rid of all the iMovie data from the Mac to make sure you get a clean installation.

Solution 6: Reset PRAM or NVRAM on your Mac

NVRAM (stands for Non-volatile Random Access Memory) is responsible for holding vital information about the system, related to its overall processing. Though, you can easily reset the NVRAM (or PRAM) on your Mac that might fix the iMovie project won’t play in the viewer error.

To reset NVRAM on your Mac, you need to first turn the system down and wait for at least 15 seconds. Now, press the Power key to restart your Mac. As your Mac would restart, press and hold the P + R + Option + Command keys at the same time. Make sure that you hold the key combination for at least 20 seconds and wait as it would reset the NVRAM on your Mac.

Solution 7: Reset the iMovie App

If you think the iMovie app is not working on Mac due to a corrupt resource or preference, then you can simply reset it. To do this, close the iMovie app from running on your Mac. Now, launch the iMovie app again on Mac while holding the Option + Command keys at the same time.

This will launch the following pop-up, asking you to delete the existing preferences in iMovie. Just accept the prompt and wait as it would reset iMovie and launches it on your Mac.

Solution 8: Get Rid of iMovie App and Library Data

Lastly, if you are getting the iMovie not enough disk space error, then you can try to manually remove some of its data. For instance, you can just launch Finder and browse to the ~/Movies/ folder on your Mac. From here, you can browse the iMovie folder and manually delete the Render Files, Library Files, or any other kind of unwanted data.

This will make more available space on your system, fixing the iMovie not enough disk space issue.

By now, you would be able to fix all kinds of issues like iMovie not working on Mac or iMovie not showing a video. Since there could be all kinds of problems related to iMovie, I tried to include different ways to fix these issues here. Though, the best way to overcome them is by using an ideal iMovie alternative like Wondershare Filmora. It is a user-friendly and advanced video editing tool that would come in handy to you on numerous occasions.

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Liza Brown
Liza Brown is a writer and a lover of all things video.