How to use Apple’s new Clips app

These things are going to get everywhere...

Apple, iOS, iPhone, iPad, iPad Pro, video, iMovie, Clips, Social networks

Apple’s clips app has the potential to do for viral social video what desktop publishing achieved for fast food menus – these things are going to get everywhere.

What is Clips?

Developed by Apple, Clips is a free iOS 10.3 app for iPads and iPhones that supports  36 languages. In a sign of what is to come, it is a 64-bit app and it is available now at the App Store.

Simple to use, the app is equipped with a range of interesting features, particularly the Live Titles tool that lets you create animated captions and titles using your voice.

The Sharing tool is also smart – it uses Apple’s facial analysis tools to identify people in your movie and then suggests them as people you may want to share that clip with. You can read Apple’s own Clips page here.

You can mix and match clips from your library, photos from your photo library and freshly captured video clips, and shift their order (or delete them) by tapping and dragging them in the small timeline at the bottom of the window.

Perhaps the biggest criticism of the app isn’t what it does – people seem to be loving it – but what it doesn’t do:  Clips does not (currently) request permission to access your camera and microphone when you first launch it.

Apple has said it intends updating the app regularly, so this may change. We may also see additional filters, effects and other useful tools added to Clips.

How to use it

The app’s very simple to use. It has been designed so that you can create the video you want within a few moments, all you need to provide is the material. Videos are crafted in a square (1,080-x-1,080).

“Clips gives iPhone and iPad users a new way to express themselves through video, and it’s incredibly easy to use,” said Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Apps Product Marketing in a press release announcing the app.

“The effects, filters and amazing new Live Titles we’ve designed for Clips let anyone make great-looking, easily sharable videos with just a few taps.”

Here is the basic workflow:

Capture moments in real time or add video clips or photos from your library.

When you launch the app it will use the front facing camera by default – this is video for the selfie generation. You can swap to between camera views by tapping the camera icon and mute or enable audio using the mic icon.

You will see icons at the top of the screen, these are (from left to right): Live Titles, Filters, Overlays, Posters, and Music.

Live Titles

Press the red bar to record and your words will appear on screen as you speak. What makes this cool is that they appear at the same rate as your speech – pause and they will appear on a new line. You may have noticed the flaw with this when filming a clip: your voice will be recorded as you speak the caption. The way around this is to tap the mic icon to mute it – the caption will still appear but your voice won’t be recorded.


There are eight filters altogether, but Ink and Comic Book appear to be the most used filters. You apply these to each clip you want to use.


Choose between 18 statements and shapes that you can place wherever you like on the screen. If you make a mistake just tap the sticker or emojii you used and then tap the “X” to remove it.

One more thing: If you can’t see an emoji you want to use just add another one, you can then select it to change it using the standard emojii keyboard.


You find a bunch of ending frames, from the prosaic “The End” to “Hello”. To change the text just select it on your screen and type what you want to say. You can preview the poster animation using 3D Touch.


Tap this and you can select from Apple’s own soundtracks or use your own music. Whatever music you do use will automatically work to the length of your clip.


Share the clips using the Share button. You can share your Clip with your contacts using Messages, or through your choice of social network, including YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo and Instagram.


Don’t worry too much if you get stuck using Clips. Apple has created a useful guide to using the app which is available within the app. You get to the Help section by tapping the small question mark at the top right of the front of the app. You won’t see that question mark in project view – you need to tap the downward facing arrow to the top left to get to the index/app front screen.

Editing clips

As you add clips you will see them gather in a small timeline at the bottom of the screen. Tap a clip to select it and you can apply filters and other effects, mute or enable the volume of that item, trash it, or edit its length. To edit length just tap the scissors tool.

You can also zoom in and out of photos and video using the familiar pinch gesture, and adjust the length of time a photo is used within a clip.

You can put together up to an hour length of video in one project, but no clips used in the project can be any longer than 30-minutes in length. 

I hope this helps you get started using Clips.

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