How to rotate video on your iPhone

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rotate-and-flip empire state
Rotated and flipped, like an iPhone video.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Did you ever shoot a video and have it come out sideways? Maybe you were holding you iPhone at an angle and it got a little confused as to which way was up? Or perhaps you started shooting in portrait orientation, and quickly corrected to landscape, but then the entire video ends up being sideways? Then you need to know how to rotate video and set things right. The good new is, it’s easy.

How video rotation works

When you shoot video or photos on your iPhone, there’s no real difference between portrait or landscape. The camera just captures what is in front of it, and sets a marker telling it how you were holding the phone when it was captured. Then, it displays the photos (or video) depending on that marker. To change the orientation of a video or photo, then, doesn’t require that it be re-saved, or changed in any way. You just have to tell the Photos app to display it differently.

For still and Live photos, this is built into the editing tools in the Photos app. But for video, you need a third-party app to do it for you.

Video Rotate and Flip

Video Rotate and Flip (aka. RotateNFlip) is an app that does just that — it rotates and flips your iPhone and iPad videos. It’s free, and has a $1 in-app purchase for cropping video. There are plenty of video-rotating apps in the App Store, but most of them are junk. The reason I picked Video Rotate and Flip over those is that it has an extension that lets you rotate your video clip right there inside the Photos app.

How to to rotate a video in the iPhone Photos app

The first time you use it, you'll need to enable RotateNFlip's edit extension.
The first time you use it, you’ll need to enable RotateNFlip’s edit extension.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The first time you use Video Rotate and Flip, you’ll have to enable its editing extension. After that, it’ll be ready for you every time.

First, open the Photos app and find the video you want to rotate. You can find all your videos gathered together in the Videos folder. Then, tap the Edit button. You may have to wait for the clip to download from your iCloud Photo Library.

Next, tap the little ellipsis icon (the three dots in a circle). Now we have to enable the RotateNFlip extension. Do this by tapping the More button, and toggling the switch next to the RotateNFlip icon.

In future, you’ll only need to tap the ellipsis and then tap the RotateNFlip button to launch the extension.

Just tap here to open the RotateNFlip panel inside Photos app.
Just tap here to open the RotateNFlip panel inside Photos app.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Next, tap the RotateNFlip icon, and you can flip and rotate the video as much as you like, When you’re done, tap Done, and the rotation will be saved. The app says that it is “exporting,” but no new clip is actually saved1.

Rotated! Rotated!

And you’re done. However, reversing the process is even easier.

How to un-rotate a video clip on your iPhone

Because RotateNFlip uses the standard iOS Photos editing extension, you can revert to your original clip at any time. Just find the video, tap Edit as before, and then choose Revert. You’ll be warned that you’ll looser all your edits, so go ahead and confirm you intention, and your video will be back to before you started messing with it.

Price: Free with in-app purchases

Download: Video Rotate and Flip from the App Store (iOS)

  1. If you use the actual app to do the rotation, a new clip is saved, resulting in a duplicate.