Windows 10 native Photos app is a better video editor than you might think

Source: Windows Central

You might think that the built-in Photos app on Windows 10 is just for photos, but despite the name, the Photos app has a handy built-in video editor. We first reviewed this video editor just over two years ago, giving it a 4/5 rating thanks to its ease of use and free price. Two years later, the Photos app has some new features, but nothing that I consider revolutionary. Are these changes enough to make a noticeable difference? We’re taking a look at our 2020 review of the Photos app as a video editor.

The Photos app is free and built into Windows 10. If you want to know how to use the Photos app as a video editor, check out our new guide.

Simple edit

Windows 10 photo app

Application of photos

To free

At the end of the line : Windows 10’s built-in Photos app has a handy video editor that works seamlessly with touch or a mouse and keyboard. It won’t replace Premiere Pro, but it’s a nice video editor to use.


  • To free
  • Support touch and mouse and keyboard
  • Works well with OneDrive content
  • Easy to use
  • Ability to save and duplicate projects

The inconvenients:

  • Lack of fine-tuning controls
  • Lacks a timeline
  • Mostly stagnant in terms of functionality
  • Loss of ability to sync metadata between devices

Simple creation

Video maker for the Photos appSource: Windows Central

The main functionality of the Photos app video is the same as it always has been. You can import content from your PC, your content collection from OneDrive, and the web. You can start a new project and create a video from scratch or use the app’s auto video feature to create a video from a collection of images and videos. If you create a video automatically, then you can edit it using the same features as a video you created from scratch.

The video editor arranges the clips separately, which allows you to trim and divide them to fit your video. You can also add effects such as text, 3D web effects, and filters. These tools are fine, but I would like Microsoft to expand the video editor feature library. You still can’t add transitions, and editing the audio to sync with the video is a problem.

Creating and editing videos is easy to do with touch or a mouse and keyboard. It’s convenient for 2-in-1 devices like the Surface Pro. Many video editors adapt to mouse and keyboard layouts, so a touch option is a nice change. You lose the fine-tuning controls of an app designed for advanced video creation, but that’s okay. The Photos app is not intended to compete with professional editing apps. Instead, it’s for the average person who wants to put together clips from their vacation or video edit their kids.

I wanted to test the video editor with a meaningful project that I think the Photos app’s video editor is designed for. The highlight coil above does not include advanced graphics or anything that would require a professional editor. Instead, I used the Photos app to cut 60 clips, pick the best ones, and rearrange them to fit the custom music. I could easily see myself using the Photos app to create simple highlights like this in the future. I could go further with text and other effects, but I didn’t go that route for the final version of this video.

I think for projects like the one above this is a handy video editor. I happened to make this video with a mouse and keyboard, but it could easily have been done on a touchscreen.

Standing still

Photos app video optionsSource: Windows Central

When the revised video editor first arrived in the Photos app a few years ago, it was an impressive editor, at least for a free add-on. But Microsoft hasn’t done much of it since. In fact, it has lost some functionality in two years. Earlier this year, the app lost the ability to sync metadata between devices. To Microsoft’s credit, the app can now save and duplicate projects, which is a great addition. The app can also use hardware acceleration when exporting video. But overall I feel like the app is standing still.

In the software world, an app that stays pretty much the same for two years is usually a bad thing. There are exceptions, such as an app that “just works” and doesn’t need to be touched, but the Photos app’s video editor doesn’t fall into that category.

A few specific changes and continued effort to improve the app would do this video editor good. I would love to see transitions, improved audio control, and a steady stream of new features from Microsoft. I don’t expect this video editor to ever replace a professional or paid app, but adding significant features at a reasonable rate would be very helpful.

General thoughts

Photo app edit videoSource: Windows Central

The Photos app is a good editor, especially since it’s free. While I would like Microsoft to add a few more features, this is a simple editor that works well with touch or mouse and keyboard. I think it’s a great tool for people who don’t want to have to learn how to use a professional video editor just to make simple videos.

out of 5

My main letdown with Photos in this review is that it’s pretty much the same as before. While some apps are nearly perfect and don’t need a lot of updates, the Photos app video editor could really benefit from a few simple additions and improvements. In my mind, if you mostly stay still, the rest of the software world is moving forward and you’re going to fall behind. As a result, the Photos app’s video editor loses half a star from last time.

Simple edit

Windows 10 photo app


Integrated edition

Free on the Microsoft Store

The Photos app has a built-in video editor which is surprisingly pleasant to use with a touch device. It’s not a professional editor, but it’s a great way to create simple videos.

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