How to Screen Record on Mac: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Screen Record on Mac: A Comprehensive Guide

Are you looking to capture your screen activities on your Mac? Whether you want to create tutorials, record gaming sessions, or simply save important information for later reference, screen recording on a Mac can be a valuable tool. In this article, we will walk you through the process of how to screen record on a Mac, step by step. With our easy-to-follow guide, you’ll be recording your screen like a pro in no time!

How to Screen Record on Mac

Screen recording has become increasingly popular as a means to capture and share on-screen activities. Whether you’re a content creator, educator, or simply want to preserve important information, knowing how to screen record on a Mac is a valuable skill. In this guide, we will cover both the built-in options provided by Apple and explore some advanced screen recording tools and techniques.

Understanding Screen Recording

What is Screen Recording?

Screen recording is the process of capturing the activities on your computer screen and saving them as a video file. This includes any movements, clicks, or interactions that occur on the screen, making it an excellent tool for creating tutorials, demonstrations, and presentations.

Why Do You Need to Screen Record on Mac

Screen recording on a Mac opens up a world of possibilities. Here are some common reasons why you might want to use screen recording:

  1. Create Tutorials: Screen recording allows you to create step-by-step tutorials or instructional videos, making it easier to explain complex processes.
  2. Record Presentations: If you’re giving a presentation or webinar, screen recording enables you to capture the entire session for future reference or to share with others.
  3. Capture Gameplay: Gamers can record their gaming sessions to showcase their skills, create walkthroughs, or share entertaining moments.
  4. Save Important Information: Screen recording is handy for preserving important information, such as online receipts, software demonstrations, or troubleshooting steps.
  5. Collaboration and Feedback: You can use screen recording to provide feedback on designs, software bugs, or user interfaces, making it an effective collaboration tool.
  6. Content Creation: Whether you’re a YouTuber, blogger, or social media influencer, screen recording helps you produce engaging content for your audience.

By understanding the various applications of screen recording, you can harness its power to suit your needs effectively.

Getting Started: Preparing Your Mac

Before diving into the screen recording process, it’s essential to ensure your Mac is ready for the task. Let’s go through a few preparatory steps:

Check Your System Requirements

Not all Mac models support screen recording, so it’s vital to check the system requirements beforehand. Screen recording requires a Mac running macOS Mojave (10.14) or later versions. To verify your system version, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen.
  2. Select “About This Mac” from the dropdown menu.
  3. A window will appear, displaying your macOS version. Ensure it is Mojave (10.14) or a newer release.

Update Your Operating System

If your Mac is running an older macOS version, it’s advisable to update it to the latest release. Apple regularly introduces new features and improvements that can enhance your screen recording experience. To update your macOS, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen.
  2. Select “System Preferences” from the dropdown menu.
  3. In the System Preferences window, click on “Software Update.”
  4. If an update is available, click on the “Update Now” button to begin the installation process. Ensure your Mac is connected to the internet and has sufficient battery power.

Free Up Disk Space

Screen recording generates video files that can consume a significant amount of disk space. Therefore, it’s a good practice to free up space on your Mac before you start recording. Here are some ways to create more room:

  1. Delete Unnecessary Files: Review your files and delete any unnecessary documents, applications, or media that you no longer need. You can do this by dragging them to the Trash or using the “Move to Trash” option.
  2. Empty the Trash: Once you’ve deleted files, remember to empty the Trash to permanently remove them from your Mac. Right-click on the Trash icon on your Dock and select “Empty Trash.”
  3. Use Optimized Storage: macOS offers an “Optimize Storage” feature that can automatically remove movies and TV shows you’ve already watched. To enable this feature, go to “Apple menu > About This Mac > Storage > Manage…” and select the “Optimize…” button.

By optimizing your Mac’s storage, you’ll have ample space to accommodate your screen recordings.

Built-in Mac Screen Recording Tools

Apple understands the importance of screen recording and has included built-in tools in macOS that can fulfill your basic recording needs. Let’s explore two of these tools: QuickTime Player and the Screenshot Toolbar.

Using QuickTime Player

QuickTime Player, a versatile multimedia player bundled with macOS, also serves as a capable screen recording tool. Follow these steps to start recording your screen using QuickTime Player:

Step 1: Launch QuickTime Player

To open QuickTime Player, you can either use Spotlight search or find it in your Applications folder. Once launched, click on “File” in the menu bar and select “New Screen Recording” from the dropdown menu.

Step 2: Start a New Screen Recording

After selecting “New Screen Recording,” a small recording window will appear on your screen. Before you start recording, you have the option to customize your screen recording settings.

Step 3: Customize Your Screen Recording

To customize your screen recording settings, click on the small triangle icon next to the record button. This will open a dropdown menu where you can choose your microphone input, show mouse clicks, and adjust the quality of your recording. Take a moment to configure these options according to your preferences.

Step 4: Start Recording

Once you’re satisfied with your settings, click on the red record button in the QuickTime Player recording window. This will initiate a countdown, after which the screen recording will begin. You can click anywhere on your screen to start recording the entire screen or drag to select a specific portion.

Step 5: Stop and Save Your Recording

To stop the recording, click on the stop button in the menu bar, or simply press the “Command + Control + Esc” keys on your keyboard. After stopping the recording, QuickTime Player will automatically open the recorded video. You can then save it to a location of your choice.

Utilizing the Screenshot Toolbar

macOS also provides a convenient screenshot toolbar that can be accessed from any app or screen. This toolbar includes a screen recording option, making it a quick and accessible method to record your screen. Here’s how to use it:

Step 1: Access the Screenshot Toolbar

To access the screenshot toolbar, simply press “Command + Shift + 5” on your keyboard. The toolbar will appear at the bottom of your screen.

Step 2: Choose the Screen Recording Option

In the screenshot toolbar, you’ll find several options for capturing screenshots and recordings. Click on the screen recording button, which is represented by a small circle within a circle.

Step 3: Start and Stop Recording

Once you’ve selected the screen recording option, the toolbar will display additional options. Click on the “Record Entire Screen” button to start recording the full screen, or choose the “Record Selected Portion” button to specify a particular area of the screen. After making your selection, click on the “Record” button to begin the screen recording. To stop the recording, click on the stop button in the menu bar or press the “Command + Control + Esc” keys.

The screen recordings created using the screenshot toolbar are automatically saved to your desktop by default.

Advanced Screen Recording Options

While the built-in screen recording tools on Mac offer basic functionality, you may find it beneficial to explore more advanced options available through third-party applications. These applications often provide additional features, editing capabilities, and customization options to enhance your screen recording experience. Here are a couple of popular choices:

Third-Party Screen Recording Applications


ScreenFlow is a powerful screen recording and video editing software designed specifically for macOS. It offers a wide range of features, including advanced editing tools, multi-channel audio recording, and the ability to add annotations, effects, and transitions to your recordings. With ScreenFlow, you can create professional-quality screencasts, tutorials, and presentations.


Camtasia is another popular screen recording and video editing software available for Mac. It provides a user-friendly interface and a comprehensive set of tools for screen recording, editing, and sharing. With Camtasia, you can easily capture your screen, add transitions, annotations, and effects, and export your recordings in various formats suitable for different platforms.

Both ScreenFlow and Camtasia offer free trials, allowing you to explore their features before making a purchase.

Enhancing Your Recordings with Editing Software

After recording your screen, you may want to polish your recordings and make them more engaging and professional. This is where video editing software comes into play. Let’s take a look at a couple of popular editing tools for Mac:


iMovie is a free video editing application developed by Apple. It offers a wide range of features, allowing you to trim, crop, add transitions, apply effects, and include text overlays in your screen recordings. iMovie is an excellent choice for beginners and casual video editors who want to make simple edits to their recordings.

Final Cut Pro

For more advanced video editing needs, Final Cut Pro is a professional-grade software developed by Apple. It provides a comprehensive set of tools, effects, and advanced editing capabilities to create high-quality and polished screen recordings. Final Cut Pro is widely used in the film and video production industry and offers unparalleled flexibility and control over your editing process.

Both iMovie and Final Cut Pro can be downloaded from the Mac App Store.


1: How long can I record my screen on a Mac? Can I record for an extended duration?

By default, the built-in screen recording options on Mac allow you to record for an unlimited duration. However, it’s important to consider the available storage space on your Mac as longer recordings can result in larger file sizes. If you anticipate recording for extended periods, ensure you have sufficient disk space to accommodate the recordings.

2: Can I record audio along with my screen recording on a Mac?

Yes, you can record audio along with your screen recording on a Mac. When using QuickTime Player or third-party screen recording applications, you can select your desired microphone input to capture audio while recording your screen. This is particularly useful when creating tutorials, narrations, or presentations.

3: Can I screen record a specific application window on a Mac?

Yes, you can screen-record a specific application window on a Mac. While using the built-in screen recording options, simply choose the “Record Selected Portion” option and click on the application window you wish to record. The recording will be limited to the selected window, allowing you to focus on specific content or interactions.

4: Can I screen record on a Mac and simultaneously use other applications?

Yes, you can screen record on a Mac and simultaneously use other applications. The screen recording process runs in the background, allowing you to switch between different applications or perform tasks while recording. This flexibility enables you to demonstrate workflows, multitask, or provide real-time commentary during your screen recording sessions.

5: Can I screen record in different file formats on a Mac?

Yes, you can screen record in different file formats on a Mac, depending on the screen recording tool you’re using. For example, QuickTime Player allows you to save your recordings in formats such as MOV, MP4, or M4V. Third-party screen recording applications may offer additional format options, allowing you to choose the one that best suits your needs.

6: Can I record my iPhone or iPad screen using my Mac?

Yes, you can record your iPhone or iPad screen using your Mac. This is possible through a feature called “Screen Mirroring,” which allows you to protect your iOS device’s screen onto your Mac and record it using screen recording software. To enable this, connect your iPhone or iPad to your Mac using a Lightning cable and follow the screen mirroring instructions specific to your iOS version.


Screen recording on a Mac opens up a world of possibilities for content creators, educators, and individuals looking to capture and share on-screen activities. Whether you choose to utilize the built-in tools like QuickTime Player and the Screenshot Toolbar or explore advanced options like ScreenFlow or Camtasia, the ability to screen record empowers you to create engaging tutorials, capture important information, collaborate effectively, and produce high-quality content. With the knowledge and tools provided in this article, you’re now equipped to confidently start screen recording on your Mac and unleash your creativity.