Why Does TikTok Shorten My Clips?

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Written by: Alex Popa

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Why Does TikTok Shorten My Clips?

Does TikTok automatically clip your videos on TikTok without asking for your permission? That usually happens because of several reasons:

  • Your video is too long, and TikTok shortens it to make it better suited for the platform
  • Your video contains copyrighted music, which is only allowed to play for a maximum of 15 seconds
  • Your video contains content that breaches the Terms of Service
  • You haven’t selected the correct video length
  • Your background audio is limited in length

We’ll go over each of these issues and explain why it happens and how you can solve them. Keep reading for more information about this!

TikTok Shortens the Video to Make It Shareable

The first explanation is that TikTok shortens your videos intentionally to make them more shareable and increase engagement.

This may be annoying because the cut content was important for your idea behind the video, and you may want it back.

Solution – Manually crop the video before you post it. If you crop the video, the TikTok algorithm will leave you alone.

I’ll show you how to crop the video in a second but first, let’s go over the other reasons why TikTok shortens your clips!

The Video Contains Copyrighted Music

Did you know that a TikTok video can only have a maximum of 15 seconds of copyrighted music in them?

If your video has more than 15 seconds worth of copyrighted music, TikTok will manually crop the video to make it shorter.

As for why it only accepts 15 seconds of copyrighted music, it’s because they have a contract with music providers that enforce this rule.

They’re avoiding copyright infringement by sticking to this rule.

Solution – Crop your video manually or shorten the music for the clip/stick multiple songs on the same video while keeping in mind to limit every song to 14-15 seconds.

The Video Has Content that Breaches the ToS

Another reason for TikTok cropping your video automatically is that the cropped part goes against their Terms of Service.

This isn’t a guarantee, though. TikTok doesn’t tell you why they’re shortening the videos, so you’ll have to guess.

My best recommendation is to look over your video and analyze the portion TikTok is removing when you try to post it.

See if there’s anything that might be perceived as a breach of TikTok’s Terms of Service and try replacing it with someone else.

Phrasing is often important in these cases!

You’ve Selected the Wrong Video Length

TikTok has multiple video lengths available before you start recording your video. Maybe the one you shot is the wrong video length?

TikTok video recording screen where the different video lengths are highlighted in red
TikTok video recording screen where the different video lengths are highlighted in red

Select between “3m“, “60s“, or “15s“, depending on the desired length, and then start recording. You should be fine if you keep the video below the established limit.

TikTok won’t need to shorten it automatically, most likely. If that still happens, you’ll need to crop it manually to show TikTok that you’re taking care of that.

Your Background Audio is of Limited Length

Did you know that TikTok doesn’t let you post a video if the video clip is longer than the background audio? The two elements have to match.

This means that if your background audio is 20 seconds long, the video clip “must” be a maximum of 20 seconds long too.

You can post a clip where the video lasts 30 seconds, and the background audio only lasts 20 seconds. This only applies to sounds added over the clip.

However, the good thing is that you can crop the sounds too. You can add multiple background sounds over a single TikTok clip and then post it as is.

Of course, you should be careful that neither background sound goes over 15 seconds long if it’s copyrighted music.

How Can You Crop a TikTok Video?

Did you post the video already? Then, you can’t edit it anymore. The only way to crop the video length is before you publish it.

Follow the steps below to learn how to do that:

1. Tap the red checkmark icon

TikTok recording screen with the red checkmark icon highlighted
TikTok recording screen with the red checkmark icon highlighted

Once you fully record a video on TikTok, you should see this screen. You’ll see the editing options on the right-hand side and the red checkmark icon on the bottom right.

Tap the checkmark icon and proceed with the guide!

2. Select “Adjust clips

TikTok video editing screen with the "Adjust clips" option highlighted in red
TikTok video editing screen with the “Adjust clips” option highlighted in red

Once you tap the red checkmark icon, TikTok will redirect you to the next editing screen. You can add stickers, filters, effects, and text and edit the audio here.

What you want now is to select “Adjust clips” on the right-hand side. That’ll let you crop the video to your liking.

3. Select “Edit

TikTok video editing screen where the "Edit" button is highlighted
TikTok video editing screen where the “Edit” button is highlighted

Once you tap “Adjust clips“, you’ll be taken to this page, where you can add a sound or adjust it. To edit the length of the video, select “Edit” in the bottom-left corner.

4. Adjust the video length

TikTok video length editor where the right margin of the video is highlighted to show that you can shorten the video with it
TikTok video length editor where the right margin of the video is highlighted to show that you can shorten the video with it

Once you get to this page, you’ll notice a bar in the lower part of the screen. That bar will show you your video, and you can either advance or return to certain parts of the video.

To shorten the clip, you’ll need to move to the end of the video and use the margin to shorten the video. Hold-tap on the video margin (arrow pointing to the right) and pull it to your left.

At the same time, watch the video time above the clip bar and watch how many seconds you’re cutting from the clip.

To prevent TikTok from manually cropping your video, you can shave off half a second or even a second from your clip.

Conclusion

To summarize, the most likely reason why TikTok is shortening your clip is that your clip is longer than allowed.

There are three video length options available at this time on TikTok:

  • 15 seconds
  • 60 seconds
  • 3 minutes

Rumor has it that TikTok is introducing the 10-minute video limit, but it’s not there yet.

If you select a 15-seconds video and your video is 16 or “even” 15 seconds long, TikTok may shorten it. Ensure your video is 1-2 seconds shorter than the limit to avoid automatic cropping.

Leave a comment below if you have any questions or experiences that may shed further light on this issue!

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Alex Popa

My name is Alex and I have a knack for social media in all its shapes and forms. I’ve dealt with such things for quite some time and I noticed that many people have issues with social media and technicalities.

Unforeseen errors, bugs, and other problems make their use of social media problematic. These things will be discussed amply in the guides on Whizcase.

I'll present the facts as they are, and offer quick and easy solutions for them.

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