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How to edit videos on Android to get them YouTube, TikTok, or Instagram-ready
Video editing has become an essential skill with the continued focus on video and digital content on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and more. You don’t have to be a professional editor to make social media-ready videos, though. Smartphone video editing apps won’t be as capable as what you can do on a PC, but there are plenty of options available to help you quickly edit and post videos online. Here’s how to edit videos on Android.
Read more: The best video editor apps for Android
To edit videos on Android, you can use native apps like the Samsung Gallery app or Google Photos. These apps have basic video editing features like trimming, cropping, adjusting settings like brightness and contrast, and adding text, video filters, and music. For more feature-packed Android video editors, you'll need premium apps like Kinemaster and FilmoraGo.
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Apps for editing
While it’s possible to create all kinds of videos on your phone, you should edit anything that’s even semi-complicated with multiple video and audio tracks, and graphics, on a computer. But video editing apps on your phone are more than enough for you to create videos for YouTube and social media.
There are plenty of excellent apps for video editing, with options varying from basic editors to those that rival PC video editing software. Check out our roundups for the best video editing apps for Android and iOS, but Kinemaster is my top pick. If you pay for the Adobe Creative Suite, you should check out Adobe Premiere Rush. I also like Filmora Go, but you’ll need a premium subscription (or make a one-time purchase) to make the most of it.
Kinemaster is one of the best video editing apps you can get for Android. The free version is as feature-packed as the premium option as far as video editing goes. But you’ll want to splurge on the monthly or annual subscription to remove in-app ads and the watermark and access premium templates and assets.
You can access hundreds of video templates that can be edited or “Mixed” quickly. You’ll find templates for Instagram, TikTok, YouTube intros and outros, and more, so you don’t have to worry about creating these from scratch. Switch to the Create tab to build and edit videos on your phone. The app will access your phone’s gallery and show you all the images and videos to make a video. If you are splicing together multiple videos, you might want to set up a folder in your phone’s gallery for easy access.
Kinemaster also lets you set the aspect ratio of the video beforehand, so you don’t have to worry about unnecessary cropping when you post the video on different platforms. You can set the aspect ratio for YouTube videos, TikTok, YouTube shorts, Instagram, and more. You can also preset the default duration for photos and transitions.
The app lets you easily split, trim, speed up, pan, zoom, rotate, mirror, and add video filters, text, and graphics. Kinemaster also has many audio features, including a sound mixer, special effects, and the ability to record voiceovers. Forgot to record something you need? You can do it directly in the app itself.
Features of native apps that let you edit videos on Android
You’ll need a premium video editor for more detailed editing, but your phone’s Gallery app or Google Photos is more than up to the task if you want to edit single video files. Using the Google Photos video editor, you can trim and crop videos and adjust the brightness, contrast, and highlights. You can add filters from a set of basic options and markup videos with text or use the pen or highlighter tools.
You might see more options depending on the phone you have. The OnePlus Gallery app (on a OnePlus phone running Android 12) offers more than the Google Photos editor. You can trim and crop videos and add video filters and text. But you can also layer in a soundtrack, video effects, and a watermark, and speed up or slow down the video. Samsung’s video editor adds the ability to add face effects and stickers to a video, apart from everything else the other native apps can do.
I will use Google Photos for the guides below and refer to the Samsung Gallery and OnePlus Gallery apps if they offer different features. This is to show all the possible video editing with the free apps. For more complicated tasks, you’ll have to use premium apps like Kinemaster and FilmoraGo.
Trim and crop videos
Open the video you want to edit and tap Edit at the bottom of the screen. This step to open the editor works with Google Photos and the OnePlus Gallery. On the Samsung Gallery app, tap the pencil icon to launch the video editor.
To trim videos, go to the Video tab or scissor icon and use the two slider bars at the beginning and end of the video to cut it. OnePlus Gallery and Samsung Gallery make it a little easier to trim videos, as you can see a timestamp of the start and end points. Google Photos is less precise, as you’ll have to rely on visual references to trim videos.
Switch to the Crop tab to crop your video. The aspect ratio cropping is set to “free” by default. Use the four-dot rectangle on the video screen to adjust the size to what you need. You can also set the aspect ratio to specific options like 1:1, 4:3, 3:2, and more. Use the dial to rotate the video by a particular angle or tap the rotate button to turn it by 90-degree blocks.
Google Photos has the option to crop a video in odd non-rectangular shapes as well. Tap the icon next to the rotate button and use the dots to adjust the crop zone. The Samsung Gallery app has a button to mirror the video and the ability to crop and rotate the video along a horizontal or vertical axis instead of turning the entire image (where you will lose content).
How to splice videos together
Once you’ve trimmed and cropped your videos, it’s time to put it all together. Go to the Library tab, tap on Utilities, and select Movie. Google Photos will use its AI smarts to create preset movies using your photos and videos. Or you can start from scratch by tapping New film. You’ll see a list of all your photos and videos, and you can use the search button to find specific clips.
You can trim the added videos, switch between portrait and landscape, and add more photos and videos to the movie. Long-press on a clip and drag it up and down to reorder your timeline. You can add a music track from your music folder or choose one of the available themes. You don’t have any control over the audio track, though. You’ll find your movie by going to the Search tab and scrolling down to Saved creations.
Add text and graphics to videos
The native apps aren’t the best option for adding text and graphics to videos beyond the most basic features. Google Photos lets your markup videos with text, a pen tool, or a highlighter tool. But it appears for the entire video and doesn’t include animations. It’s not the best tool if you’re looking to add a text edit to your videos on Android.
The Samsung Gallery app has better features in this regard. You can mark up a video with a pen tool or text and set the duration for how long the text appears. It also automatically includes an animation that looks great.
For more complicated text and graphics, you’ll need an app like Kinemaster. Tap on Layers and select Text or Handwriting. Write the text and set it on the timeline. You can easily adjust the duration and location of the text in the video. You also have plenty of options for in-and-out animations and overall cinematic animations.
How to add music to videos on Android
Unlike the OnePlus Gallery app, Google Photos and the Samsung Gallery app don’t have a way to add music to videos directly. In the case of the former, tap on Soundtrack in the video editor, select a track from your music folder or the available options, and add it to the video. With Google Photos and Samsung Gallery, you will have to create a movie using the abovementioned steps. Tap on the music note icon to add a background music layer. You can’t adjust the audio with native apps, though.
You’ll need to turn to premium apps for anything beyond background music. Kinemaster lets you layer multiple audio tracks and record voiceovers using the app. Tap on Audio to add music and special effects, and tap the mic icon to record a voiceover.
How to use video filters
Filters are a great way to edit your videos on Android and make them look good with a tap. The native apps and Google Photos have plenty of video filters to choose from. Go to the Filters tab and select one of the many options. You will see a preview of how the filter works. The app will apply the filter over the entire video. If you want to change things up, you’ll have to first cut the videos, apply filters to the separate pieces, and splice them together. But if you’re doing any complicated video editing on your phone, I recommend buying a subscription to a premium app.