How to Add and Insert Music Tracks to Videos in iMovie Editor

iMovie is a popular video editing software that comes pre-installed on Mac computers and iOS devices. It provides an easy way for beginners to edit videos by adding music, transitions, titles, and more.

Adding music is one of the most common ways to enhance videos in iMovie. The right background music can set the mood, emphasize emotions, and make your videos more engaging. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to add and insert music tracks in iMovie:

Getting Music Files

Before you can add music to iMovie, you need to have the music files downloaded and accessible on your device. Here are some ways to get music for your iMovie projects:

  • Import from iTunes Library: If you have an iTunes music library with purchased or ripped songs, you can access these files directly in iMovie.
  • Download Royalty-Free Music: There are many sites that offer copyright-free music downloads for a fee or for free, such as These can be used in videos without worrying about copyright claims.
  • Purchase Songs from iTunes Store: You can buy individual songs or albums from the iTunes store and use them in your videos. Make sure you have the rights to use the music commercially.
  • Record Audio: You can record your own audio tracks, vocals, or sound effects using the built-in mic on your device and import them into iMovie.

Adding Music on Mac

Here are the steps to add a music track from your files to an iMovie project on Mac:

  1. Open an existing iMovie project or create a new one
  2. Click the Audio button at the top next to My Media
  3. In the sidebar, select Music to view songs from your iTunes Library
  4. You can also select GarageBand for Apple Loops or Sound Effects
  5. Locate the song you want to add and double click to preview it
  6. With the song selected, drag and drop it into the timeline

The music track will be added to the beginning of the project timeline by default. You can drag the clip left or right to reposition it.

Adding Music on iPhone/iPad

Adding music on iOS devices is very similar:

  1. In the iMovie project, tap the Add Media button (the + icon)
  2. Select Audio
  3. Choose the source for your music: My Music, Soundtracks, or Sound Effects
  4. Browse the available tracks and tap one to preview it
  5. Tap the Add button next to tracks you want to add to the timeline

The music clips will be inserted at the start of the project. You can edit the length, position, and volume like other clips.

Inserting Music at Specific Points

Rather than adding tracks that play from start to finish, you may want to insert short music clips at certain points:

  1. Import Music File: Add the song you want into the iMovie browser as covered above
  2. Position Playhead: Move the timeline playhead to the exact point you want the music inserted
  3. Drag and Drop: Select the music file in the browser and drag it directly onto the playhead in the timeline

This will insert the music at that timestamp and it will play from that point. You can always extend the length by dragging the edges of the clip.

Adjusting Audio Levels

Once you’ve added music tracks to your iMovie project, you may need to adjust the volume levels:

  • Each audio clip has a volume slider which you can use to turn it up or down
  • The general project volume can also be adjusted in the viewer window
  • Use keyframes to dynamically change volume over time
  • Overlapping music and video clips will mix together
  • Make sure volume levels are balanced across your project

Adding Themes

iMovie includes several themes that provide pre-made music beds and titles tailored to different video styles. Using a theme is an easy way to add background music:

  1. With a project open, click Themes in the sidebar
  2. Mouse over a theme to preview the music
  3. Click on one to add it to your project

The theme titles and music will be added to the timeline. You can customize it further or swap themes later.


Learning how to properly import, insert, and adjust music is an essential iMovie editing skill. With the music tracks synced to the video clips, you can set the right mood and pacing for powerful videos. Experiment with what works best for each of your projects.

The key is getting clean music files, dragging them into the timeline at the right points, adjusting audio levels, and using tools like themes. Mastering music in iMovie takes some practice, but these tips should help you quickly enhance your videos.