Final Cut Pro on iPad is a big deal. Apple’s popular video editing program has been redesigned with a new touch interface that lets you record, edit and share videos all on a tablet. Features like the jog wheel and Apple Pencil hover skim makes editing videos on a touch screen feel as intuitive as working with a mouse and keyboard. And considering its affordable subscription model combined with the relative ubiquity of iPads, more people than ever will have access to Final Cut Pro.
I’ve done light video editing in the past but stopped after Adobe Premiere’s $30 asking price became too high to justify. When Apple announced Final Cut Pro on iPad would cost $5 a month or $50 a year, I immediately thought it would be the perfect way for me to get back into video editing. Not only is it affordable, but I could also connect a mouse and keyboard and external monitor to let me edit videos as I would on my desktop.
I’ve tested Final Cut Pro on an iPad Pro M2 and have been impressed with how seamlessly it functions on a touch screen. I’m not a professional video editor but the program has all the basics I’d need to edit content. In fact, I think Final Cut Pro on iPad is a great way for content creators on platforms like YouTube to bring their projects to life. It’s a real game changer for both novice and long-time creators. I’ll explain why below.
If you’re familiar with video editing programs and are comfortable using tablets, you’ll quickly acclimate to Final Cut Pro on iPad. Dragging and dropping videos, audio, graphics and effects on the timeline with your fingers is as easy as performing the same tasks with a mouse. You can even use your finger to trim clips and make precise edits. All of this feels natural.
The new job wheel is my favorite feature so far. It’s a great way to quickly scrub through media or move frame-by-frame. You can also use the jog wheel to move video and audio frames. Having even a single frame out of place in a video can be frustrating. Thanks to the jog wheel’s precision, you’re able to find and locate unwanted frames. This single feature makes Final Cut Pro truly work on iPad.
You can use the Apple Pencil if you need more precise edits. With the Apple Pencil hover feature, you can skim your timeline without touching the screen. This is a good way to see where you need to make edits before committing. This is another feature I’ve found useful, especially when using my finger isn’t precise enough.
Live Drawing lets you create hand-written titles right on top of your footage. My handwriting is effectively illegible so I probably won’t make good use of this feature. However, if your handwriting is clean and you’d prefer creating your own titles instead of relying on standard fonts, Live Drawing could make your projects stand out.
Portability and power
The best MacBooks such as the MacBook Air M2, MacBook Pro 14-inch and MacBook Pro 16-inch allow you to edit videos while you’re on the go. While these laptops are certainly portable, they’re not as portable as the best iPads. If your backpack is already overstuffed, using an iPad to edit videos instead of a laptop could ease your burden. Final Cut Pro on iPad makes this a legitimate option for busy content creators.
I used a 12.9-inch iPad Pro with an M2 chip to test Final Cut Pro. It took about 16 seconds to export the 32-second 4K sample video that came with Final Cut Pro. The program is also available for the M1-powered iPad Air 5 and iPad Pro 2021, though I’ve not tested Final Cut Pro on those devices to see how fast they render videos. Regardless, the fact I can export a high-definition video so quickly on a tablet is impressive. It’s a testament to the power of Apple’s M-series chips.
Final Cut Pro on iPad should make it easier for busy amateur and professional content creators alike to bring their works to life. The simple-to-navigate User Interface and responsive touch controls make editing on an iPad almost as effortless as on a desktop. Best of all, this version of Final Cut Pro is more affordable than the $200 version on Macs, at least initially. If you own an iPad with an M-series chip, it’s worth checking out the free 30-day trial of Final Cut Pro.
As for myself, I’m going to continue using Final Cut Pro on iPad to become more acquainted with it. Who knows, perhaps I can become a Big Shot YouTuber thanks to this program. I can dream, can’t I? But in all seriousness, Final Cut Pro on iPad is the real deal and worth trying out.
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Tony is a computing writer at Tom’s Guide covering laptops, tablets, Windows, and iOS. During his off-hours, Tony enjoys reading comic books, playing video games, reading speculative fiction novels, and spending too much time on X/Twitter. His non-nerdy pursuits involve attending Hard Rock/Heavy Metal concerts and going to NYC bars with friends and colleagues. His work has appeared in publications such as Laptop Mag, PC Mag, and various independent gaming sites.