How to Record iPhone Screen with Mac OS X and QuickTime

Feb 15, 2016 - 15 Comments

How to Record iPhone Screen from a Mac

If you would like to capture and record the screen of an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you can easily do so thanks to QuickTime, the video app that comes with every Mac. This offers a simple solution for recording the screen of an iOS device for demos, presentations, tutorials, and much more, and it’s remarkably simple to use.

To get started capturing a video of an iPhone or iPad screen with QuickTime, you’ll need a USB cable, and want to be running a modern version of OS X on the Mac, and a modern version of iOS on the iPhone or iPad. Specific requirements and an alternative approach for older versions are discussed further below. But since most users already have all that is necessary on their Mac and iPhones right now, let’s jump right into recording the devices screen.

How to Record an iPhone / iPad Screen on Mac OS X with QuickTime

  1. Connect the iPhone (or iPad / iPod touch) to the Mac with a USB cable
  2. Launch QuickTime Player in OS X, as found in the /Applications/ folder
  3. QuickTime Player application icon

  4. Pull down the “File” menu and choose “New Movie Recording”
  5. How to record an iPhone screen from Mac with Quicktime

  6. At the video recording screen, hover the mouse over the active window so the record and volume controls are visible, then click on the little arrow next to the red record button to show the camera and microphone recording options – from this list choose the name of the connected iPhone for ‘Camera’ and for ‘Microphone’*
  7. Set video to record from iPhone screen and iPhone microphone

  8. You’ll now see the Movie Recording screen turn into the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch screen, unlock the iOS device as usual and the Home Screen will display on the Mac screen ready to record, when you want to start recording the video click on the red Record button
  9. Start recording iPhone screen

  10. To stop recording the iOS device screen, you can press the Stop button in the upper right menu bar of the Mac, or hover over the video and choose the Stop button (what the record button turns into)
  11. If desired, trim down the video in QuickTime, otherwise save the screen recording by going to the File menu and choosing “Save”
  12. Save the iPhone screen recording

That’s all there is to it, the saved iPhone screen recording will be a .mov video file. Opening the .mov file will default to launch in QuickTime, but you can edit the video in QuickTime, iMovie, Final Cut, convert it to another video format, upload it to share online, embed in a presentation, or whatever else you want to do with the screen capture.

The iPhone screen has been recorded and saved as a video file

* If you want to record the audio directly from the iPhone, choose the iPhone as the ‘Microphone’ source input as well, otherwise the video capture will come from the iPhone screen but the microphone will record from the Macs built-in mic.

The brief video embedded below demonstrates a sample of an iPhone screen recorded through the Mac using QuickTime as described here, the video is :

The screen video captured on modern devices is high resolution, on new iPhones that is 1080 × 1920 resolution in vertical mode, and 1920×1080 in horizontal.

For longtime Mac users, you may recall that it’s also possible to record the Mac screen with QuickTime too, a handy feature that has been available in OS X for quite some time. The introduction of the ability to record connected iOS device screens is much newer, however, and it’s sort of a hidden feature that is often overlooked. There’s even a built-in audio recording feature in QuickTime if you just need to capture some audio, even audio from the iPhone or iPad microphone.

The tutorial demonstrates mirroring and recording an iPhone 6S Plus screen with iOS 9.3 on a Mac with OS X El Capitan 10.11.4, but it will work with any other iOS device or Mac as long as the basic system requirements are met. The iOS device must be running a modern version of system software at version 8 or newer, and the Mac must be running a modern version of OS X at version 10.10 or newer. If you do not meet these system requirements or are running prior versions of system software on the Mac or iOS device, older iOS devices can record their screens using Reflector, a third party app covered here, which is a viable alternative and works great for older hardware. Of course, newer devices and newer Macs have no need for third party solutions as the wonderful QuickTime Player app more than meets the need for recording high quality video of any connected iOS device screen.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

15 Comments

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  1. Wharf Xanadu says:

    Another great use of this is as a presentation, without recording screen but just for displaying iPhone screen big on a Mac. Can mirror iPhone display and connect to hdmi easy. Great solution. I use for recording screencasts of iPhone as well.

  2. Kurt says:

    Fun Fact #27_1492 … I remember them all 🖖🏻

  3. Man, that will be really helpful for QA testers for bug reports that involve motion. I have an elaborate way of doing this on Android that involves a bunch of outboard equipment. This is WAY easier, and until now I had not satisfying way of doing it at all. Thanks.

  4. Luke L. says:

    This is actually really useful for repairing iPhones. I just wish it didn’t disable the sound on the iPhone when you start it.

  5. Pilgrim says:

    Would it be possible to use this to record phone calls?

    • Sarno says:

      Try it out and let us know. Do remember that recording phone calls is illegal in many jurisdictions without notifying the parties being recorded, which is why “this call may be recorded for quality assurance” is so common on call lines.

      • Frank Herbert says:

        OK so I tried exactly this, it works to record a phone call as long as you pick the iPhone as you play it in speakerphone and the Mac microphone, or pipe in the Iphone microphone. The problem is when you do that, you can’t hear the audio on the call, as it routes the audio output from the iPhone directly into Mac audio input, but the entire conversation and phone call is recorded anyway. Interesting. Maybe there’s a way around that little hiccup, have microphone play both, or you can record the audio call from the iPhone with speaker phone too but you can do that with a generic ‘new audio recording’ and it’s not as clean of an audio catch. Interesting stuff though, if anyone figures it out let me know.

  6. RM says:

    Great tip – thank you!

  7. CJ says:

    This is exactly what I need but how did you get the iphone screen on your mac?

  8. jingga says:

    i’ve tried this but it didn’t come out my “iphone” in the camera list. it just the Facetime HD camera. do you know why?

  9. agtd536 says:

    Is there a way to get the iphone camera to not show the onscreen buttons? I’d love to be able to record video directly to quicktime instead of saving it on my iphone, which has limited storage. But when the camera app is on, the onscreen buttons display and get captured on the QuickTime video.

    Is there a way to just get a clean video with nothing else on the screen, like when I’m watching something? Or another app that uses the camera but doesn’t overlay button graphics? I can’t seem to find any way to get just the camera feed on the screen and nothing else.

  10. Krazyyy says:

    Hello i have got the recording to work but while i am recording i cannot hear any audio coming out of my phone :/ Is there a way to fix this problem???

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