Have you ever wanted to video the screen while something is happening on your Mac? Perhaps you are watching a video, and want to grab a clip; maybe you are trying to show someone how to do something, and a video would make it so much simpler; you might like to preserve a FaceTime call for safekeeping; or maybe you need to record some strange behaviour if an app or website isn't working as you would expect.

You may also be hoping to record some video that's playing on your Mac (from YouTube or Netflix, for example) and wondering if its possible, or even legal. Or you might be wondering why your attempt to record video didn't also record the sound.

Luckily it's easy to record what is happening on the screen of your Mac - here is where we show you how. 

Note: You can also use a record screen feature in iOS to record the screen on your iPhone or iPad, and anything that is playing, including YouTube video, you can find out how to do this here: How to record your iPhone screen.

Screen recording in macOS Mojave

Screen recording in macOS Mojave

Screen recording became a whole lot easier in macOS Mojave when it arrived in September 2018.

Instead of using QuickTime - which is the method we outline below - there is a Screen Record tool built right into the new screenshot toolbar.

Here's how to take a screen recording in Mojave: 

  1. Open the screenshot toolbar by pressing Command + Shift + 5.
  2. You can Record Entire Screen, or Record Selected Portion. Pick the one that you require.
  3. If you select Record Entire Screen just click on the Record button that appears beside Options.
  4. If you have more than one screen click and hold on the Record button and you will see the option Screen 1 and Screen 2. 
  5. If you want to record a portion of the screen, click on the Record Selected Portion option. You can select that area you want to record before triggering the recording, or just drag the box over it. Record screen Mojave
  6. When you are ready click Record.
  7. The only indication that the recording is happening is the small Stop button that appears in the menu bar at the top of your screen. When the thing you wanted to record has finished, click that Stop button that appears in the Menu bar (beside the timer), or press Shift+ Command + 5 again and press the stop button in the menu that appears. record screen mojave
  8. The recording will appear in the bottom right corner of your screen. Click on it to open the video in Quick Look. Alternatively you'll find the video recording on your Desktop.
  9. To edit your video clip, click on the trim button that appears beside Done.  Record screen Mac
  10. To trim the video clip, click on the yellow hold points at the beginning and end of the recording and drag them inwards. Record screen mac
  11. Click Done.

If you found that the audio didn't record make sure that before you start recording the microphone is selected. You can access this setting by clicking on Options > Built-In Microphone

If you haven't yet installed Mojave - or can't install Mojave because your Mac isn't supported - you can still record video on your Mac screen, read on to find out how...

How to record screen on a Mac using QuickTIme

How to record screen on a Mac using QuickTIme

If you can't run Mojave or don't want to install it, you'll be glad to hear it's still easy to record what is happening on the screen of your Mac; all you need is QuickTime Player, which comes free with your Mac.

  1. Open QuickTime Player. To locate and open the app, press Command+Space to trigger Spotlight and start typing QuickTime... 
  2. Select New Screen Recording. The simplest way to do this is to right-click on the QuickTime Player icon in your Dock and choose New Screen Recording from that menu. Record screen Quicktime
  3. A Screen Recording box will pop up on your screen.
  4. Click on the white down arrow to see more options, such as the opportunity to use the built-in microphone or an external microphone for audio. Record screen Quicktime
  5. For example, you might want to use your iPhone headphones to record yourself speaking, for a voice over. In that case, plug in your iPhone headphones and choose External Microphone.
  6. Note, you will not be able to record audio from videos playing on your screen this way. (We will cover capturing video from YouTube and other sources in a separate article. You can find out you can find out how to download YouTube video to your iPad here.)
  7. There is also an option to choose whether your mouse clicks should show up during the recording. This is off by default.
  8. Once you are ready to record, you can choose to record part of the screen or the whole screen. If you just want to record part of the screen click the red record button. You will see a message that tells you to drag to record part of your screen, so drag a marque across the area you want to capture. Once you have the area selected, click the record button again. Record screen Quicktime
  9. Alternatively you can record the whole screen. Just click on the red record button and then click the screen anywhere to begin recording.
  10. Once you are ready to finish recording, right click on the QuickTime icon in the Dock and choose Stop Recording from the menu.
  11. Once you are ready to finish recording, right click on the QuickTime icon in the Dock and choose Stop Recording from the menu. 
  12. Save the QuickTime movie.

You'll be able to use this footage in iMovie and Final Cut Pro, and even share it straight to YouTube.



ScreenFlow 8, Telestream

Available on the App Store, £129.99

If you need something a little more feature-packed, perhaps to create computer-based tutorial videos with accompanying narration, or record a game play through for your YouTube fanbase, Screenflow might be a good option. 

This tool lets you record your screen and edit the result.

ScreenFlow also allows you to capture video from your FaceTime camera while it records screen activity - a clever inclusion that lets you connect visually with your audience rather than exist only as a disembodied voice.



Camtasia, TechSmith

Free Trial, or £229.78

Camtasia is a full capture and edit solution that not only captures the action on your screen, but also (optionally) captures video from a built-in FaceTime camera at the same time.

Once captured, you can edit your production directly in Camtasia, theoretically taking your project from start to finish using just one application.



Capto: Screen Capture & Record, Global Delight

Available on the App Store, £28.99

Capto (based on Voila but rebuilt from the ground up) handles not only screen capture, recording, and annotation, but also basic video editing in up to 4K resolution.

Unlike some other programs, Capto can record stereo audio and gives you a choice of frame rates. You can do simple trimming of videos in the editor, but it’s as full-featured editor as Screenflow or Camtasia.

Read next: How to take a screenshot on a Mac