How to remove sound from a video file with iMovie on Mac

By , Jun 16, 2016

Audio and Video Separate in File

If you’ve ever wanted to remove all sound from a video file, you will be happy to hear that Apple’s iMovie app for the Mac is 100% capable of doing just that, and it’s done in just a few simple steps.

That’s right; paying 300 bucks for Final Cut Pro X isn’t a necessary step to do this, and in this tutorial, we’re going to show you how it’s done.

Why to remove audio from a video file

I have a dash cam in my vehicle, and sometimes I want to be able to share what I see on the road without the person I share it with listening to my personal conversations with my passengers or listening to my jam on the radio. To get around this, I remove the audio from my video files so that people can see what I see, but not hear what I hear.

There are other scenarios too where you may want to remove audio from a video file, but they’re going to be unique depending on the person. Some other things I can think of include:

  • Removing profanity from a video to make it appropriate
  • Removing vocals to hide a person’s identify from a video
  • Removing music to keep videos copyright-friendly

Nevertheless, this article isn’t about why to do it, but rather how to do it, and if you found this article, you’re probably more interested in the meat and potatoes of the process than why to do it in the first place.

You can remove audio from a video file on your Mac with Final Cut Pro X or with iMovie. Personally, I would rather use Final Cut Pro X, but since it’s an expensive piece of software and iMovie is a free download from the Mac App Store for people who have bought a Mac in recent years, making a tutorial on iMovie just made more sense for the average Mac user.

How to remove sound from a video file on your Mac

Start by downloading iMovie from the Mac App Store, if you haven’t already, and then follow these steps:

1) Launch iMovie from your Applications folder on your Mac, then open the Projects tab in the app.

iMovie App Projects Tab

2) Click on the large Create New button to make a new project within the iMovie app.

3) Next, click on the Import Media button in the iMovie interface. A Finder window will launch and let you select a video file from your Mac.

iMovie Import Media button

4) After you choose and open a video file from your Mac, iMovie will load it into its interface. Click and drag to move the file into the iMovie timeline:

iMovie Video Loaded Click and Drag

5) The file is loaded into the iMovie timeline:

File loaded into iMovie timeline

6) Right-click on the file from the timeline, and click on the Detach Audio option:

Detatch Audio in iMovie

7) Take note as the once-attached blue audio clip becomes a detached green audio clip:

Detached Green Audio Clip in iMovie

8) Right-click on the green audio clip, and choose the Delete option from the menu.

Deleting the Detached Green Audio Clip in iMovie

9) What you have left now is a video clip with no audio. Take note of the missing audio clip in the timeline:

Video Clip No Audio

10) Now you can export the audioless video file as a new video file and save it on your computer. To do that, go to File > Share > File… in the Menu Bar.

File Share File Menu Bar iMovie

11) From the next interface, just click on the blue Next… button, as you really don’t need to change anything:

Exporting audioless video in iMovie 1

12) Next, you’ll be asked to give your new video file a name and choose a save location. Fill it out and then click on the blue Save button.

Exporting Audioless video in iMovie 2

13) Now, check the folder you saved the video to, and open it. When you play it, you shouldn’t hear any audio, but you should still be able to watch the video.

Audioless Video File on Desktop

That’s all there is to it! You now have a video file without any audio that you can still watch.

What to keep in mind

You should probably keep the original video footage just in case. There is no way to re-add the audio to the new video file once it is created, so if you delete the original video file source, the audio is gone forever. If you’ll never need the audio for any reason, you can delete the original video file source to save Mac storage space.

This process has significantly fewer steps in Final Cut Pro X, and that’s why I personally like the process in Final Cut Pro X more, but for the purpose of an everyday Mac user, this will do just nicely.

Wrapping up

iMovie is a powerful tool that is often under-used by Mac users. When you want to remove audio from a video file, it works wonders, and can be useful for an array of different needs.

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If you found this tutorial useful, let us know in the comments below!

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  • Anonymous

    I am going to assume that this will work with live photos as well? I currently can trst it till i get her me today.

  • ramirez6131

    Are you an Uber or Lyft Driver ?