Your iMovie Crashes When Importing? Here’s the Fix

If you’re annoyed because your iMovie keeps crashing when importing, you’re not alone! This is a common problem that many iMovie users face. It is so common that by now, you are probably wondering why it hasn’t been solved. Video editing using iMovie can be a nightmare because of this.

At one point, I thought there was no solution. I researched places like Quora and, Reddit, even the Apple app store. I even tried to change my system preferences, and still, it took me a long time to fix iMovie. At some point, I even considered changing my video editor program. Luckily, I was able to find a solution to my problem.

Keep Learning: iMovie Review – Best Video Editing Tool?

That is why in this post, I will teach you how to fix iMovie, so you don’t have to go crazy trying to find a solution. I will first share with you some of the most common causes for when iMovie keeps crashing when importing project files, and I will later discuss some solutions that will surely help you.

Why is Your iMovie Crashing When Importing?

I’m an Apple MacBook Pro user at heart, and although I love their products, I get frustrated every time I try to import a video to iMovie. More often than not, I will get an error report, or iMovie will crash. At first, when this started to happen, I thought the problem might be because of iCloud, so I decided to change my library folder. However, the problem persisted.

I continued to do different tests trying to get to the root of the problem. I ended up identifying some important reasons why iMovie was crashing.

Here are the possible motives:

  • The most obvious one: the file you are trying to import is corrupted, so the iMovie crashes. In this case, you need to work with a different file.
  • A similar situation occurs when you try to import a video whose codecs are not supported by iMovie. Video codecs allow for video files to be compressed and decompressed, so if the file codec is not supported, well, iMovie does not know what to do with it and you get a file codec problem.
  • One of the most common problems is when the version of iMovie you are using is not compatible with the macOS version you are using. This is an easy fix, as it only requires you to update to the latest version of your OS. First, find out what macOS version you have. It might be High Sierra, macOS Mojave, Mountain Lion, or another one.
  • Other common mistakes like run-time errors and compile-time errors can also occur during the conversion process. If this is the case, then you might be in for a rough ride. Hopefully, this is not your case.

Aside from the last item in the list, there are solutions to each case. Keep on reading to find out more details.

iMovie Import Solutions

Here are some solutions for when your iMovie keeps crashing when importing files:

  • If the file you are working with is corrupted, make sure to use a different one. Sometimes this is not possible. To avoid this, make sure to keep different copies of the file. Redundancy with file management is a good idea if you are working with critical files.
  • For the cases where you face an incompatible video codec or an outdated version of your iMovie or macOS, you can try to update to the latest version or install the right codec. This Apple guide might be useful.
  • If the problem is a run-time or compile-time error, you will have to wait until a new version of iMovie is released. iMovie often originates from a software bug, so it is up to the development team to solve it.
  • On some occasions, you only have to delete preferences. To do that, first, activate safe mode, and then while on iMovie, press one of the command keys while holding down the option key until you see the dialogue box that allows you to delete preferences.

Why Does iMovie Not Let Me Import?

By now, you have hopefully identified your problem, and you are no longer asking yourself why iMovie won’t let you import project files. Try all of the suggested solutions and find one that works. If that is not the case, I recommend talking to an actual expert or directly to Apple support. If your iMovie keeps crashing when importing, you can solve it with the practical solutions I mentioned.


Don’t despair if you feel frustrated. More likely than not, a solution always exists and has been shared by someone. I hope you found this article useful and most importantly, I hope you were able to solve your iMovie issues when importing files so that you can continue with your video editing.

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Nathan Gotch

Nathan Gotch is an SEO professional with over 10 years of experience. He's the founder of the #1 SEO business training program in the world, Gotch SEO Academy. And the author of The SEO Entrepreneur. Nathan's SEO expertise is featured on Semrush, Ahrefs, and Search Engine Journal.