The biggest missing features from Final Cut Pro for iPad at launch

After years of rumors, Apple has delivered and shipped a professional video editing suite on the iPad. While the app is incredibly full-featured, there are some big holes for a professional workflow.

Final Cut Pro on the iPad Pro

We tested the initial release of Final Cut Pro on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with M2 system. It’s an ideal device for video editing, and we were very impressed with how smooth and natural Final Cut Pro felt.

Apple includes a sample project for you to try out, though we created our own based on a recent trip to Iceland. Here’s what was missing when we set out to adjust our production.

Full back and forth support

Unlike Logic Pro, Final Cut Pro lacks full support for trips back and forth with the Mac. Round trip, which is the ability to move a project seamlessly between multiple platforms, makes it less tedious when working on a project.

The project can be exported from your iPad and transferred to your Mac, but it’s not as easy the other way round. If you start a project on your Mac, it can’t be easily migrated and opened on your iPad.

This poses workflow issues for many editors, and you need to make sure that you start your project on the iPad rather than the other way around if you plan to work on both devices.

Export your Final Cut Pro project for iPad to move to Mac


There is a rich third-party marketplace for Final Cut Pro users with tons of professional plug-ins that can provide various effects, animations, text, and more.

On the iPad, this does not exist. For now at least.

Third-party content will soon be available on Final Cut Pro for iPad

Apple says on its Final Cut Pro microsite that “third-party content” from “leading developers” is coming soon, but there are few details on the types of content.

Since Apple pre-populated the app with many of its own titles, transitions, effects, backgrounds, and sounds, it’s easy to see third-party plug-ins live here, too, though we won’t see the same in-depth plug-ins we see on the Mac.

Transitions, texts and effects

As we said, Apple has a lot of media pre-installed for users. For example, there are over 40 title effects to use. On the Mac, Final Cut Pro has so much more than that.

Background effects and transitions in Final Cut Pro for iPad

The same is true for Effects, Transitions, Stuff, and Objects. All of which are lacking in their Mac counterpart.

What comes with the iPad version isn’t a bad choice, but without the ability to add more — either from Apple or third parties — it feels limiting.

Other advanced features

There are some features in the mobile version of Final Cut Pro, but to a lesser extent.

In any video, you can open the inspector and add color adjustment. There is a wide range of adjustments that you can choose from to adjust saturation, exposure, highlights, and other things.

Color adjustments in Final Cut Pro for iPad

For Mac users, there’s a full color palette and more granular control. We’ll be fine doing basic color grading, but professional color grading will require a different application.

The same goes for object tracking. There is keyframe animation on the iPad, but object tracking is a no-go.

Compatibility with the latest iPads

Apple has packed a lot of professional features into Final Cut Pro for iPad. Features such as multi-camera support, color grading, and automatic background removal without a chromakey background.

To pull it off, you need a strong silicone inside. This means that only select iPads can run Final Cut Pro.

Final Cut Pro requires an M1 or M2 processor to run, which means only the latest generation iPad Air or iPad Pro models 5th and 6th generation.

Other newer generation iPads such as the 6th generation iPad mini will not support Final Cut Pro.

iPad exclusive features

While it lacks some notable features, Apple Final Cut Pro for the iPad has given some tablet-specific features that the full-size version omits.

Apple Pencil with Final Cut Pro for iPad

You can easily use the Apple Pencil to scroll through the timeline to preview where you’re clicking, the touchscreen-friendly scroll wheel slides in from the side to allow for easier control, and you can write directly on your video to add handwritten titles.

Camera app in Fianl Cut Pro for iPad

One of the best iPad exclusive features is the Pro Camera mode. You can capture professional-quality footage directly from Final Cut Pro and bring it into your project.

The Pro camera includes audio and time monitoring, and manual controls for aspects like white balance and exposure, and can be captured in Apple ProRes when using the latest iPad Pro.

Apple clearly has great ambitions for Final Cut Pro on the iPad and the initial release has a lot of great offering. Hopefully, future updates will fill in some of the remaining gaps.

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