Save or Transfer an iMovie Project

Although iMovie makes it easy for beginners to create a movie, saving a copy of the project to keep with you or open on a different computer isn’t exactly intuitive. This tutorial is specific to using iMovie on a computer, and does not apply to iMovie for iPhone or iPad. Instructions were written based on the assumption that the project is being saved to OR a USB drive. However, steps are the same whether you use or other cloud storage such as Google Drive, and whether you use a USB drive or other physical storage such as a portable hard drive.

Create your movie as usual. Follow the steps below to save a copy of your project. This allows you to open the project on other Macs and continue working on it next time.

  1. In iMovie, click File > Open > New Library.
  2. Choose Desktop as the location for your new library, and name this library DU (or other unique name).
  3. Check your desktop; you should now see a file with the name DU.imovielibrary.
  4. In iMovie, click on the Projects button (top left). You’ll be prompted to name your movie if you haven’t already done so.
  5. In the Projects window, locate your movie, and click on the icon underneath (three dots inside a circle).
  6. Select Move to Library > DU.
  7. Close iMovie.
  8. If you are saving to a USB drive (or other external drive) instead of to, skip to step 11.
  9. Open your account at, and navigate to where you want to save your video project.
  10. In, click Upload (top right), and select DU.imovielibrary. Skip to step 13.
  11. Connect your USB drive and a few seconds later, you should see an icon for your USB drive to appear on the desktop.
  12. From the desktop, drag the DU.imovielibrary file onto your USB drive. Double click the USB drive icon and check to ensure your file is successfully transferred.
  13. You may notice that the DU.imovielibrary file now appears as a folder. DO NOT rename or reorganize any of the contents in this folder. Your project is now saved, and you can exit out of iMovie and continue with editing your project later and/or on a different computer.
  14. When you are ready to reopen your project for editing, drag the entire file (or folder) named DU.imovielibrary to the desktop of the computer you are working on, then double click on the DU.imovielibrary icon from the desktop. iMovie should automatically open, and your project will populate into the program. Continue editing as needed.
  15. When you are finished, simply quit iMovie. The program has been auto-saving the entire time, so there is no need to click File > Save before quitting the program. (Also, in iMovie, there is no such thing as File > Save.)
  16. Repeat steps 7-13 to ensure you have the most recent version of your project saved to or your USB drive.