There are essentially two ways to edit mobile videos: directly on your mobile device, or on a computer or tablet after you upload the video content from your phone.

The Video for Change guide on creating video on an Android does a good job of highlighting basic, intermediate and advanced mobile editing tools. A summary is posted here and you can consult the links in the table below for hands-on lessons in using the various applications.

First, ask yourself if you want to edit on your mobile device or elsewhere. While most editing apps use the clips stored on your phone’s drive or your SD card, some recent ones edit in the cloud. This means you upload your video clips to an online server and your edit takes place there.

This should enable you to edit the same project on any machine (desktop or mobile), as long as it is connected to the internet. You would no longer need to worry about lack of memory on your device.

In reality, for this you need an absolutely reliable internet connection (so wifi, not 3G or 4G) and a speed of at least 1mb/sec. Even with a good internet connection, video file sizes should be kept low, or you can wait a long time for your clips to be uploaded to the cloud server. Also, storage in the cloud may cost a monthly or annual fee.

Remember, if you are not going to upload the video directly from your handset, use the highest resolution and quality settings your phone offers when you are shooting. You can later compress the video on your computer. And, shoot everything to the same resolution and frames per second (fps).

Editing programs and apps find it difficult to deal with changing formats. If you do have varied formats, you’ll need to compress the video first, but this should be avoided if at all possible as it reduces the quality of your video and audio.

Finally, check that your mobile device is recording to an SD card, not the internal memory. We suggest you invest in a 32GB or 64GB SD card.

Here are suggested tools, from the creating video on an Android guide:


Editing Tool


AndroVid Trimmer

Level: Basic

Device: Android

Good for: Trimming clips. It offers clip splitting and frame grabs.

Lesson:Using AndroVid Trimmer

Similar tool: Snip Video Trimmer


Level: Intermediate

Device: Android

Good for: Adding titles, effects, and soundtracks, trimming clips and moving them around.

Lesson:Using Andromedia

Similar tool: MovieStudio


Level: Intermediate

Device: Web and Android versions

Good for: A slideshow editing program for sequencing still images. The web version permits video. On mobile, you can add music and enhance with other effects.

Lesson: Using Animoto


Level: Advanced

Device: In the cloud

Good for: More advanced editing, including frame-accurate editing, cut-aways (picture overlays to stitch together two pieces of sync audio), and multi-track timeline.

Note: It’s clunky, but feature-rich. You get 30 minutes of storage for free.

YouTubes Video Editor

Level: Basic

Device: Web

Good for: Basic clip trimmer and combiner, you can add a single mixable music track. All music comes from YouTube’s library. Also offers subtitling and annotation.

Similar tool: For subtitling, a better solution is the Participatory Culture Foundations Amara, which does not have the same restrictions and allows users to download the text file to edit or translate it.

External Video Editors

Good for: For any detailed or extended editing work, the appeal of a laptop or desktop computer is great because of its large keyboard and better interface.

Commercial tools: Closed source, commercial software is dominated by Adobe Premiere for Windows and Final Cut Pro for Mac. Both can be costly.

Free, open source alternative:KdenLive