How to Fix iMovie Won’t Export: The Operation Couldn’t Be Completed

Have you edited a video on iMovie only to be greeted by an error message saying “The Operation Couldn’t Be Completed” right after you export it?

iMovie is yet another application developed by Apple for its enthusiasts to enjoy. It is a video editing app that is available on macOS and iOS with lots of functionality that lets you create cinematic films on the go. 

While the app offers a lot of positives to its users, there have been reports from Apple Support Community regarding various issues with the app. One of these problems is when the videos that you have edited on the app simply refuse to be saved and export from your device.

 

 

Luckily, there is a dedicated page on Apple Support that tackles the issues regarding iMovie. In this guide, we are going to walk you through the different methods that you can try to fix the issue with iMovie won’t export the videos that you have created. 

Let’s get started. 

 

 

1. Restart Your Mac. 

It may seem that a simple restart of your computer doesn’t do anything at all, but a simple restart of your computer would allow your operating system (macOS in this case) to reload all of its resources which may have encountered a temporary glitch during your use. 

Before doing this, make sure that you save all your progress on iMovie first to avoid losing your work. 

Now, to restart your Mac properly, check out the steps below:

  1. On your computer, click on the Apple logo located at the upper-left corner of your screen. 
  2. After that, click on Restart.

mail crashing on Mac

 

  1. Lastly, wait for your Mac to finish restarting. 

On the other hand, you can also restart your Mac computer by holding the Power button until the options menu appears on your screen. Now, click on Restart or press the R key on your keyboard. 

Once your computer has restarted, go back to iMove and try to export the video that you want to see if the error would still occur. 

 

 

2. Update iMovie. 

There are a lot of problems that can occur if you are running an outdated version of any application on your computer or other devices. An outdated version of iMovie may cause compatibility issues with your operating system that can affect the performance of the app. 

To fix this, make sure that you are running the latest version of iMovie before editing or exporting videos from the app. 

  1. First, click on the Apple logo located at the top of your screen. 
  2. Next, click on Apple Store

mail crashing on Mac

 

  1. Inside the Apple Store, click on the Updates tab. 
  2. Lastly, Apple Store would automatically scan for any update available to all the apps installed on your Mac. If available, press the Update button beside iMovie to install the update. 

iMovie Won't Export

 

After updating iMovie on your Mac, restart it and try to export the video on iMovie once again to see if the ‘won’t export’ error message would still occur on your computer. 

However, if you are still having issues with iMovie after the update, you can try doing the next method below to address the problem. 

 

 

3. Update macOS. 

As mentioned above, even outdated versions of operating systems can also cause incompatibility issues with iMovie and other applications. It is possible that there was a recent update with iMovie and it no longer supports the current version of macOS installed on your computer. 

To fix this, simply update your macOS to the latest version available. 

If you are using macOS Mojave or later, you can check for an update by doing the following. 

  1. On your Mac, click on the Apple logo at the top of your screen and select System Preferences
  2. Inside System Preferences, click on Software Update

iMovie Won't Export

 

  1. Lastly, click on the Update Now button if available. 

iMovie Won't Export

 

For earlier versions of macOS, you can check for an update using the Apple Store, which is discussed in Method 2.

Once the update is installed, restart your Mac once again and try to export the video on iMovie to see if the error message saying ‘The Operation Couldn’t Be Completed’ is already fixed. 

 

 

4. Boot in Safe Mode. 

Booting in Safe Mode on Mac allows your operating system to repair itself and clear system caches that may affect the performance of several applications on your computer, including iMovie. 

Try running iMovie while in Safe Mode to see if the error message would still appear while exporting a video. 

  1. First, turn off your computer completely.
  2. After that, press on the Shift key on your keyboard and hit the Power button. 
  3. Continue holding the Shift key until your Mac boots up completely. 
  4. Lastly, open iMovie and try to export the video. 

If you have exported the video successfully while in Safe Mode, restart your computer and exit Safe Mode. Now, try exporting another video to see if the error message would still occur. 

 

 

5. Check the Name of Your Export. 

iMovie does not allow special characters and symbols on your export file. In this case, you can try verifying if there are any special symbols or characters included on the file name of your export and remove it. 

Once you have removed any unallowed characters on the export file, try to export it once again to see if it will be successful. 

Alternatively, if you still want to include special characters on the export file, you can just rename it after the export is done. 

 

 

6. Check Your Export Settings. 

For some unknown reasons, the H.264 codec of iMovie is having issues when you export using “Best Quality” multipass encoding. In this case, you can fix the issue by tweaking a few settings on your export preferences. 

Follow the guide below to know exactly what you need to change:

  1. On iMovie, click on the Share button. 
  2. After that, export the video using QuickTime

iMovie Won't Export

 

  1. Next, click on Options, then Settings. 
  2. Lastly, change the following options: 

Compression Type     : MPEG-4 Video

Key Frames                 : Auto

Date Rate                   : Auto

Compressor Quality  : High

Now, try to export the video that you are having problems with to see if the error message would still occur on iMovie. 

 

 

7. Try Exporting Another Project. 

If you are still having issues exporting a specific project, it is possible that its library files got deleted or corrupted on your Mac which causes the error on your computer. 

To rule this out, try to create another project and add a short video in it and add a couple of effects. Once done, try to export the new project on your computer to see if it will go smoothly. 

If the new project has been exported successfully, this means that the problem is with the specific project that refuses to export. Try to check all the videos used in that project and make sure that none is missing or corrupted. 

However, if you are having problems exporting any project on iMovie, you can try doing the final method below to fix the issue on your computer. 

 

 

8. Reset NVRAM or PRAM. 

Resetting your NVRAM or PRAM would reset certain system preferences settings and configurations that you may have changed unknowingly which causes iMovie to malfunction and refuse to export any project on your computer. 

To reset your NVRAM check out the steps below:

  1. First, turn off your Mac computer. 
  2. Next, locate the Option + Command + P + R keys on your keyboard but don’t press it yet. 
  3. Lastly, press the Power button on your Mac and immediately hold the Option + Command + P + R keys on your keyboard and continue holding it for 20 seconds.

Allow your computer to reboot normally afterwards and try to use iMovie in exporting a project once again to see if the error message is already fixed. 

This sums up our guide on how to fix iMovie won’t export any project on your Mac computer. If you find other solutions that may help others in dealing with this specific issue, kindly share it in the comment section below, and we would give you credit for the solution once we update this article. 

 

If this guide helped you, please share it. 🙂

 

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