Final Cut Pro is professional-grade video editing software made by Apple that offers advanced features for editing video, audio, animation, and graphics. Typically $300, many want Final Cut Pro for free to access the high-end tools without the cost.
Fortunately, there are legal ways to get Final Cut Pro for free by using the trial, getting it bundled with an eligible Mac purchase, or using free alternative apps. This guide covers everything about getting Final Cut Pro for free in 2023.
Overview of Final Cut Pro and Why People Want It Free
Since launching in 1999, Final Cut Pro revolutionized pro video editing by offering nonlinear, timeline-based editing combined with processing power and codec support optimized specifically for high-resolution video. It is now considered a standard for video editing and post-production workflows across film, TV, and online media.
The reasons so many users want to use Final Cut Pro for free include:
- Expensive full version – At $300, the Pro version has a high cost just for software. The free options make it accessible.
- Industry standard software – It is the top choice for video editors in Hollywood and beyond. Getting it free allows more users to learn this sought-after editing skill.
- Fully-featured capabilities – Going beyond basic editing, it includes effects, titles, audio tools, animation, and transcoding that compete with software costing thousands.
- Available trial – While there is a 90-day trial, many users want to continue using Final Cut Pro long-term for free if possible.
While the reasons to get Final Cut Pro for free are plentiful, the great news is there are legitimate no-cost options to access this top-tier video editing software.
Can You Get Final Cut Pro 100% Free Legally?
Yes, users can legally get Final Cut fully free through:
- The 90-day free trial
- Free bundled with qualifying new Mac purchases
- Using free alternative video editing software
While pirating software is never endorsed or legal, these three methods allow any user to legally edit video with professional-grade software without paying. Here are the specifics on each method for getting Final Cut Pro for free:
1. 90-Day Free Trial
Apple offers a free 90-day trial via download on their website. This grants full access to the latest version of Final Cut Pro for 90 days. All features are available to try it out before deciding to purchase.
The main limitations are that exports will have a watermark, and it will stop working after 90 days until a license is purchased. But this free trial buys you a month to determine if Final Cut Pro suits your needs before paying.
2. Free with Qualifying Mac Purchases
As an incentive to buy their products, Apple includes a free copy of Final Cut Pro with some new Mac purchases. Currently, it is bundled for free with these models:
- MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023)
- MacBook Pro 14-inch (2023)
- MacBook Pro 13-inch (2022)
- Mac Studio (2022)
Education pricing also often includes Final Cut Pro bundled for free. Beyond students, this is essentially Apple’s way of letting you get their pro software free when you pay for their pro-level hardware. If you’re in the market for a new high-end Mac, look out for ones offering Final Cut Pro included.
3. Use Free Alternatives like DaVinci Resolve
If dropping $300 on software or hardware isn’t feasible, free video editing software alternatives to Final Cut Pro allow basic timeline editing. The best option currently is DaVinci Resolve, which offers similar tools for color grading, effects, and video editing without any cost.
The compromise is losing out on some pro features exclusive to Final Cut Pro. But for new editors doing basic work, alternatives like DaVinci provide a capable starting point for cutting video fully free.
Free Trial Features and Limitations
Since the 90-day Final Cut Pro free trial provides the full software experience, all features editors need are available for the month-long test period including:
Pro Video Editing Tools:
- Multi-track timeline editing
- Unmatched video/audio support
- Precision trimming/splitting options
- Advanced color grading and corrections
Seamless Media Management:
- Organize libraries of media
- Smart tools to manage large projects
- Optimized 4K/8K performance
Creativity & Customization:
- Stunning effect filters and transitions
- Customizable titles, intros, and texts
- Compatible with third-party plug-ins
The only true limitations are watermarked exports and loss of access once the free trial expires after 90 days. All pro-level features remain fully intact and free for the duration of the trial. It essentially serves as a try-before-you-buy with no crippled functionality.
Step-by-Step Guide to Getting FCP Free
Using Final Cut Pro for free, whether through the trial or bundled with a Mac purchase, only takes a few steps:
Download the Free Trial:
- Go to the Final Cut Pro product page on the Apple website
- Click “Start your free trial” button near the top
- Enter Apple ID account info to sign in
- Accept terms and click “Download” on the popup
- Open downloaded DMG installer file and run to install
Get It Free with New Mac Purchase:
- Buy a new qualifying Mac computer model listed above
- Locate and redeem Final Cut Pro download code included
- Sign into the Mac App Store using your Apple ID
- Search for Final Cut Pro and click the “Download” button
Once installed, the software will work free for 90 days or permanently if retrieved through a new Mac purchase. Easy as that!
What Are Potential Downsides to Be Aware Of?
While accessing Final Cut Pro for free certainly has great appeal, there are a few potential downsides to consider as well:
- Free trial expiration – After 30 days, free trials will expire and lock all functionality until a paid license is activated. Projects cannot be accessed until then either.
- Require a qualifying Mac purchase – The only way to get it permanently free is bundled with a new MacBook or Mac desktop. This costs a minimum of $999+ for baseline models.
- Limitations of free alternatives – While free editing software works for basic projects, they often lack niche features exclusive to Final Cut Pro.
As long as you go into using Final Cut Pro free with proper expectations around these limitations, the free options offer immense value despite the noted downsides. Still, they provide functional pro-level software to new and experienced video editors alike.
FAQs and Key Takeaways About Getting FCP Free
To summarize the key details about accessing Final Cut Pro for free covered in this guide:
Does education pricing include Final Cut Pro for free? Sometimes, but not always. Check with your school.
Can I renew or extend the free trial? Unfortunately no. One 90 day trial period is allowed.
What Mac purchases include Final Cut Pro for free? High-end models like MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021 and newer).
- Access Final Cut Pro 100% free either via time-limited trial or permanantly when bundled with select new Mac purchases
- Free alternative editing software works for basic projects
- Full version unlocks powerful tools for pro video editing worth the price
- Getting to test drive it free allows judging if worth the investment
The availability of free access makes Final Cut Pro accessible to aspiring content creators. While considered the gold standard for video editing, high costs have traditionally limited who could use it. Now between free trials, bundles with new Macs, and capable free alternative software, more editors than ever before can experience its professional creative tools regardless of budget.