The Fall 2023 Updates to Apple’s Final Cut Pro Made It Even Better

Apple has just launched the promised new round of updates to its Final Cut Pro for iPad software and Final Cut Pro for Mac and we had the exclusive opportunity to put the changes through their paces.

Final Cut Pro for iPad is the newest of the two programs and while it’s a good start, it has experienced some teething issues. Aimed largely at content creators, at launch it was missing a vital piece of the puzzle that has now been filled. Final Cut Pro for Mac has been around for much longer and continues to evolve for the better.

Let’s cover the latest changes to both of these powerful programs and what you can expect.

Final Cut Pro for iPad Version 1.3

Final Cut Pro is more effective than ever now that it has powerful M2-based iPads that can run it. The beauty of the iPad combines a gorgeous screen with the portability and simplicity of a tablet. With the new M2 chip inside, the iPad handles 4K and 8K video without a hiccup. I very much enjoy using the drawing tool to throw in simple diagrams mid-video, and the soundtrack feature is dead simple for re-timing music to fit your timelines. However, what many creators were clamoring for was some way to add simple voice-over clips right into the timeline.

Final Cut Pro iPad OTS
The iPad interface is simple and straightforward. Now that it has Voice Over control it’s a comprehensive editing tool.

That wait is over because the new update now brings voice-over support to Final Cut Pro. You can easily add your own voice with a handy countdown timer along with full control over mic input and levels.

The other main change was to improve the way Final Cut Pro utilizes the more powerful processors in the latest iPads. Export times are slightly faster after the update, although the difference is minimal, especially with shorter and lower-resolution clips. With the kind of projects most people will be making on the iPad the reduction in export times is counted more in seconds than it is in minutes. Still, it’s nice to see improvement even if it’s minor.

Final Cut Pro for iPad export times
The before and after export times with the version 1.3 update show a very minor improvement on the iPad.

Final Cut Pro for Mac Version 10.7

Final Cut Pro for Mac is already a well-established video editing suite, so you might be wonderinf “What could it possibly improve?”

First, and most importantly, is the addition of a proper scrolling timeline. Previously, you would have to keep advancing the timeline as the playhead cycled along. Now thanks to this update, the timeline can automatically scroll along with action. No more zooming in and out to find your cursor or desperately trying to drag the timeline along chasing the playhead. The waveform and thumbnails will now update as the video plays too, which is far more convenient than the old pause, scroll, and wait method we used to deal with.

Final Cut Pro for Mac settings
The scrolling timeline is a nice feature but the toggle control is buried in the settings.

The addition of the scrolling timeline is a much-needed update but it’s still not perfect. It has to be enabled for any of this to work and, sadly, the toggle is buried in the settings control. It would be far more convenient to have a toggle switch right next to the skimming controls. We hope that will be added in a future update.

Another big change is a much-needed update to the existing tracking functionality. Generally, it was more effective to manually keyframe a clip when trying to maintain a specific composition as the tracking function usually failed in all but the most simple of scenarios. Now, Apple is using deep learning technology to improve how effective and automatic the tracking function is. It works much better and it can now be relied upon to maintain a lock on a moving subject even when it is against a busy background.

Final Cut Pro for Mac timeline
The Mac version of Final Cut Pro is already very capable. Still, there is room for improvement.

Lastly, Final Cut Pro for Mac has also been optimized to reduce export times. It chops a final export into smaller sections and then delegates them to separate GPUs. After processing, the clips are reassembled and the export time is dramatically reduced. This is very similar in theory to what happens with the iPad version, but it is far more effective and reduces wait times.

On the M2 Max powered MacBook, our GFX 100 II review with 100-megapixel images and heavy grading went from 15:30 until completion down to 11:52. That is a substantial improvement indeed.

Final Cut Pro for Mac export times
The improved export times are far more noticeable with larger timelines on the Mac platform.

The Updates Are Live

Check out our video detailing all the changes the new Final Cut Pro updates bring to the table in order to see more detailed samples of what has changed. Apple has since added some new color grading presets, transformations, and tools which were not available for us to test as part of producing that video but they are, however, available now with the launch of Final Cut Pro 1.3. You can grab that update now and enjoy the new and substantial benefits regardless of your Apple platform.