- When I import a video from Mac to iMovie, I can't hear my audio on iMovie.
- When I export the video, there is no sound in iMovie after export.
- When I play an MP4 video in iMovie, the iMovie audio is not playing.
One of the most common problems when editing videos in iMovie on Mac is the absence of sound. Over the years, there have been users experiencing iMovie no sound problems after import, export, or during the playback of MP4 or other formats. In this post, we're going to solve all the no audio issues on iMovie clips.
Fixes to iMovie Audio Not Playing Issues
1. Check if the audio is DRM protected
iMovie doesn't support audio which is DRM protected. If the video contains copyright-protected audio (or video), there will be no audio when importing to iMovie. For example, when you drag an audio track from Apple Music to the iMovie project, it won't play the audio. Even if you download the Apple Music to the local music library on the Mac won't remove the DRM protection. You will need to get the non-DRM audio for iMovie or remove the DRM (legally).
2. Check if the audio/video formats are supported
If there is no audio wave form in iMovie after you import the video from your Mac, it means the sound is not imported into iMovie at all. This can happen because a specific audio file is rendered in an unsupported codec in the creation or import process. Or the video is recorded by the camera in a format that iMovie doesn't like. Open the video in QuickTime Player and check if the codecs are supported by iMovie. Below are the formats that iMovie can play:
- Video: Apple Animation Codec, Apple Intermediate Codec, Apple ProRes, AVCHD, DV, H.264, HDV, HEVC, iFrame, Motion JPEG (OpenDML only), MPEG-4 SP, Photo JPEG, XAVC-S
- Audio: AAC, AIFF, BWF, CAF, MP3, WAV, RF64, MP4
If the audio or video codec is not one of the above types such as FLAC, HE-AAC, MPEG-1, and even if it's an iMovie format (e.g., iMovie MP4 import no audio), try to re-encode the video to iMovie format like H.264 AAC. You can use MacX Video Converter Pro as it's very powerful to handle any codecs like AV1, VP9, DivX, CineForm, Cinepak, etc.
It also provides a workaround to no sound in iMovie errors: convert the problematic clip to an iMovie supported audio format like MP3, then import both the silent video and the MP3 audio to the iMovie timeline.
3. Check obsolete audio plug-ins
From Apple's help page on iMovie audio not playing errors, you're suggested to find and remove the third-party plug-ins under "/Library/QuickTime/". That's where the QuickTime components and extensions are stored on Mac. When you can't hear sound from iMovie after export/import, you can also check and manually remove any outdated or conflict third-party Audio Units plug-ins from your Mac and restart iMovie. The audio plug-ins are stored in "/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/Components".
4. Delete iMovie preferences
Corrupted preferences can also lead to the iMoive project no sound exporting issues. You can fix this by deleting the iMovie preferences. Here is how you can do it:
- Open iMovie while holding the Option and Command keys together.
- A popup will appear asking "do you want to delete the preferences? Deleting the preferences will reset all application settings to their defaults. Libraries will not be affected." Select it.
- Click Delete Preferences. This will not cause any data loss to your project.
5. Revert to original
There are some users reporting that iMovie has no sound when exporting HD video. The "Revert to original" provided by a user on the forum Macrumoers has proved to be useful to let iMovie export HD video with sound. Here is how you can do it: Double click on the clip that doesn't export audio to bring up the inspector window > select audio and check "Revert to original".