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Editing Timelapse On iPhone

Smart phone filming time lapse video

There are a lot of choices when it comes to creating and editing timelapse on iOS devices. Many programs are designed to capture and compile a timelapse, but with limited editing functions – some will simply allow you to adjust playback speeds, while others will give a large latitude of control. Check these apps out.

Options For Capturing and Editing Your time-lapse:

First Option, shoot in Built-In time-lapse mode

If you open the camera, and swipe through the shooting modes, there is a time-lapse mode on the iPhone. Open the Camera app, then select the Time Lapse shooting mode. Adjust exposure to how you would prefer, and set the focus like a still image. You are likely going to want to tap and hold in order to lock the focus and exposure for time-lapse. Once you have these things set, tap the red shutter button.

Once you are finished shooting your time-lapse, push the shutter button again. Your time-lapse will save in the Photos app on the phone.

Built-in time-lapse functionality has the benefit of simplicity – it’s already there, installed and ready to use. No messing about installing apps and transferring/importing photos.

The downside with this is that you don’t have much control. You can not change frame-rate or playback speed. The program determines the number of frames captured each second. You can however, edit the video in iMovie on iPhone, which I will go into later…

Second Option, A time-lapse-specific App

You will be able to take advantage of a wealth of added features and functionality by installing an app to your smartphone.

Hyperlapse From Instagram

The key feature of Hyperlapse from Instagram is the built-in stabilization. The app does allow control over the speed of playback varying from 1-12x the capture duration. There aren’t many more features here, but if you want to create a timelapse quickly and simply, this is something you should consider. Stabilization is something that can be very helpful.


Lapse-It is a time-lapse specific program that offers the user control over framerates in capture as well as playback. It has some video filters that can be applied to your time-lapses as well. It is simple, and the ability to set frame rates is valuable, and it also allows you to import video or photos to be compiled and edited in Lapse-it. It does allow some pretty dramatic control over playback speeds as well.

More Advanced Options


iMotion is another time-lapse capture app for iOS. It gives control over exposure, white balance, orientation and more. There is a manual mode to allow more control over focus and the app can be used as a wireless remote (when paired with Apple Watch).

You can shoot time-lapses at up to 10FPS – meaning the camera will take up to 10 photographs a second. The framerate of playback can be set as well, giving you more freedom when creating your time-lapses. iMotion also allows you to reverse your time-lapse sequence. iMotion also has the ability to export to 4k.

iMotion can import photos to be compiled or incorporated into a time-lapse or stop-motion, so you can use iMotion to do basic editing of a time-lapse series of photographs that weren’t created within iMotion. You can also export your time-lapse as a video, series of photographs or an animated GIF. This is a well-featured time-lapse editing and capture app.

Timelapse for iOS

Timelapse is another time-lapse capture app, but with dedicated editing tools exceeding any of the apps mentioned previously. It offers controls like saturation, brightness, contrast and exposure. It also allows you to capture frames in RAW and export/record in 4k. The RAW support is quite useful, as is the 4k support. The program allows virtually any frame rate for capture and playback, and also offers speed adjustments.

Time-lapse for iOS also has deflicker capabilities to keep even brightness throughout the video, something unique to this software. Adjustments can be made to a degree which simply isn’t available in competing software. Tilt-shift simulation is available. Frame by frame editing is possible. The sequencer and editor in the app allows you to import images you have already taken to compile a professional-looking time-lapse. This truly is a time-lapse editor and an app to capture time-lapse stills. One issue with this program is the fact that there hasn’t been an update in several years. Despite this, it is still the most feature-rich iOS time-lapse app available.

Additional Editing

iMovie for iOS

Once you have your time-lapse, you may want to add titles, transitions, additional or new audio or filters. You may want to stabilize the video. If you are working with an iPhone, iMovie for iOS is a good option. You could add multiple time-lapses together with transitions between them, voice over your time-lapse, add music, titles, etc.

There are other options as well for editing video on iOS, but iMovie is very well-featured and stands out as the best solution to add any finishing touches to your time-lapse video.


Can I Slow Down Time-Lapse on an iPhone?

This is a common question. If you have a time-lapse video in your iPhone, but it plays too fast, then you might want to ‘stretch it out’ so that the footage doesn’t flash past too quickly.

The software we recommended above may help you do this to an extent, causing the video to play over a longer timeframe, however it cannot add in new frames that weren’t there before. What you will end up with is duplicated frames, causing each frame to stay longer on the screen.  This may or may not be what you are after, so my recommendation would be to give it a go and see how it turns out!

Can I Change The Time-Lapse Speed On iPhone?

Depending on the amount you’d like to change the speed of a time-lapse video, you can stretch or compress it using smartphone apps. You’re not going to get as good a result as if the video was shot correctly in the first place, however this may not matter in practice. When compressing a video, the framerate will increase as a result. However if you set the correct framerate during rendering, then this should be corrected.

When stretching a time-lapse video, the framerate will decrease. Setting the framerate when rendering won’t have the same effect as frames will be repeated.

The best thing to do is give it a go and see if the results you get are good enough for your needs.

6 Replies to “Editing Timelapse On iPhone”

  1. I’m a Nooby. Even though I shouldn’t be. But it answered my question on where to start making a time lapse video with an iPhone

  2. I can’t figure out how to take a time lapse PHOTO with my I phone. All I can do is videos. My old i phone was simple to do A time lapse PHOTO. Please tell me how. Thanks

  3. Pingback: Top 6 how to combine time lapse videos on iphone | Zailzeorth's Blog

  4. Pingback: Can I turn a video into a time-lapse? - Pro-Lapse

  5. Pingback: 5 Essential Time-Lapse Apps - Pro-Lapse

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