How to Screen Record on a Mac, Step by Step With Photos

Screen Record on a Mac

How to Screen Record on a Mac, Step by Step With Photos

Key Points

  • Always check system requirements before recording.
  • Macs using macOS Mojave or later versions should use the “Screenshot Toolbar” accessible through command+shift+5.
  • Earlier versions of Macs (before Mojave) should use QuickTime Player app for video recording.
  • You can use third-party tools like Loom, Screen Capture, or EaseUs if you want more control over your recording settings.

Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to show someone how to do something on their Mac, let’s say, record a tutorial? Or maybe you just wanted to capture a moment of your favorite game or something funny on the internet? Unfortunately, for most people, the intimidating nature of Macs and the lack of a dedicated “Screen Record” button often make this process daunting.

Fortunately, Mac computers have built-in tools that easily let users capture the screen display. Macs using macOS Mojave and later versions can use the Screenshot Toolbar app, whereas Macs running on prior versions can use the QuickTime Player app. Apart from Apple’s dedicated tools, we also have third-party tools that offer similar functionality.

This step-by-step guide will show you how to screen record on a Mac using Apple’s built-in recording feature. We’ll also cover how third-party software solutions can help you achieve the same result, so let’s get started.

How to Use Screenshot Toolbar to Record on a Mac

Remember that this is an Apple-native tool only available on macOS Mojave and later versions. To check which macOS version your Mac is running, go to “About This Mac” in the Apple menu.

Now let’s see how to use the Screenshot Toolbar to record on Mac:

Step 1: On your desktop, simultaneously click the “Command + Shift + 5” buttons to open the Screenshot Toolbar.

You’ll see a toolbar popup at the bottom of your screen. This toolbar has several icons, but the ones you want have a solid circle (record symbol) at the bottom right corner. One of these icons lets you record the entire screen, and the other lets you choose a specific area on your display.

Screen Record on a Mac
Look for the toolbar at the bottom of the screen.


Step 2: Pick the one you want.

If you want to record a portion of the screen, pick the dotted rectangle or incomplete rectangle icon with a solid circle. If you’re going to record the whole screen, click the solid rectangle icon with a solid circle.

Screen Record on a Mac
You have two options to choose from.


Step 3: Record the screen

Now that you know your options click the record symbol to start recording. For full-screen recording, you don’t have to do anything else. Just click the record button, and the tool will capture the entire screen.

If you’re looking to record a portion of the screen, you’ll have to select the area you want to record before clicking the record button.

The tool lets you highlight the part of the screen you want to record. You can use the cursor to adjust the size and position of the highlighted area.

When happy with your selection, click “Record” to begin capturing. If you want to stop the recording, click the stop icon on the top menu bar. You can also click the Esc key at the upper left corner of your keyboard.

Screen Record on a Mac
Click on the Record button.


More About the Screenshot Toolbar

Below are some noteworthy features of the Screenshot Toolbar that you should know:

  • Once the recording is complete, the tool will automatically save the video as .mov files. You can change how you save the files by clicking on the options section of the toolbar.
  • This tool also comes with a timer. The timer lets you choose whether to start recording the video immediately after you hit the “Record” or if you wish to set a timer and start recording after the countdown. You can set a timer delay for five or ten seconds.
  • You may see a floating thumbnail of the video you recorded on your screen. You can click the thumbnail to open up a preview of the recording and share it with others. This feature also lets you rename the video or delete it if you don’t want to keep it.
  • If you have preferred settings for the recording, you can save them for future use. Remember the last selection option allows you to save the settings, so you don’t have to input them again.

The Screenshot Toolbar is also excellent if you want to take screenshots of your computer screen. You’ll see a toolbar with five icons when you click on the command+shift+5 key combination. We’ve already discussed the two recording icons; the other three buttons let you capture the entire screen, a window, or record a portion of the screen.

Pick the appropriate button, and the tool will take a snapshot of your computer screen. The screenshot will save as a .png file.

Screen Record on a Mac
Click the appropriate button on the toolbar.


Check out the video below for more information on how to screen record with this method and to see it in action.

How to Use QuickTime Player to Screen Record on a Mac

If your macOS is running an earlier version than Mojave, you can use QuickTime Player to record a video of your Mac. Here’s how to do that:

Step 1: Open the QuickTime Player Select File > New Screen Recording on your desktop.

Go to your Applications folder and look for the QuickTime Player. You can search for it on the search bar if you want. Open the application to launch it. The menu bar has several options. Select “File” and “New Screen Recording” to launch the recording window. You’ll see a dark gray window with a red record button.

Screen Record on a Mac
Access the Quicktime menu.


Step 2: Select the recording area and start recording.

Click anywhere on the screen if you want to record the entire display. However, if you’re going to record a specific part of your screen, click and drag the mouse cursor to select the area you want to capture.

Once you’re happy with your selection, click the red record button to start recording. The QuickTime Player will start capturing your Mac’s display.

To screen record with audio, click the down arrow next to the record button and click on the “internal Microphone.” You’ll find it under “Microphone.”

Screen Record on a Mac
To screen record with audio, click on the “internal Microphone.”


Using Third-Party Apps to Screen Record on a Mac

If you want a dedicated screen recording app for your Mac, there are several third-party software that can help. Many apps have more advanced features than the macOS tools discussed above, such as editing functions, annotation tools, etc.

When choosing a screen recorder for Mac, make sure to check the system requirements and compatibility. Some apps may only work with certain versions of macOS, so it’s best to double-check before you purchase or download any software.

Also, while most of these tools are free, some may require you to purchase a subscription or pay a one-time fee. It’s worth understanding the features and cost of the app before making your selection.

Some excellent examples of third-party screen recorders for Mac include the following;

  • Loom: Loom is a screen recording and capture software for Mac, Windows, and Chrome. Its dual-mode recording feature allows you to record your screen and camera simultaneously. Users can also record over a custom background, an excellent feature for filming tutorials.
  • Screen Capture: An all-in-one video and audio recording software for macOS. It’s free to use and comes with various capture modes and editing options. You can schedule recordings, draw on videos, and add text and transitions to your recordings.
  • OBS: OBS is a free and open-source streaming software many gamers and streamers use. It also doubles up as a screen recording app for Mac. OBS captures your screen in excellent quality, but it’s a bit more complicated than other tools.
  • Monosnap: Monosnap is a full-featured screen recording tool for Mac. Besides taking screenshots and recordings, you can also edit images, crop videos, and more.
  • EaseUs: Another Mac screen recorder, EaseUS lets you screen record with audio and video. You can use it for Zoom meetings and tutorials and export the video in multiple formats. It’s not a free tool, though.


Screen recording on a Mac is straightforward. If you’re running macOS Mojave or later, you can use the macOS Screenshot Toolbar to record your screen. For earlier operating systems, use QuickTime Player to capture your screen. We also have third-party tools like Loom, Screen Capture, OBS, Monosnap, and EaseUS if you’re looking for more advanced features.

Whatever you choose, make sure to:

  • Check system requirements and compatibility
  • Understand the features and cost of the app
  • Check if you need permission to record video or audio

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I record my Mac screen without QuickTime?

Using third-party software is the best way to record your Mac’s screen without QuickTime. For example, you can use Loom, OBS, Monosnap, EaseUS, and many other screen recorders for Mac. If your laptop’s macOS is Mojave or later, you can use the macOS Screenshot Toolbar to record your screen.

Where do screen recordings go on Mac?

The default location of screen recordings on Mac is the Desktop. Your screen recording will be saved in .mov format, and you can change its name before saving it. You can also save your recordings to any folder by clicking File> Export As > Other…

What is the best free screen recorder for Mac?

OBS is a popular free and open-source screen recorder for Mac. It stands out as one of the best screen recorders due to its extensive features and customization options. Because it’s free and open-source, you can trust it to be secure and reliable.

How do I record my screen and audio on QuickTime?

To record your screen and audio on QuickTime, open the app and select File> New Screen Recording. Then, click on the right arrow next to the recording button and select Internal Microphone. This will enable audio recording as well as video recording. When you’re done, click Stop Recording and save your File.

Can you screen record on Mac iMovie?

You can use iMovie to record your Mac’s screen. The iMovie app has a built-in screen recording feature that you can use to capture your desktop or other screens connected to your Mac. Its editing tools are also perfect for creating video tutorials or presentations.

Can you record your screen without lag?

Yes, with the right software, you can record your Mac’s screen without lag. Some apps can help reduce lag by using hardware acceleration and other latency-reducing features. Loom, OBS, and Screen Capture are some of the most recommended tools for making lag-free recordings.

Can you pause and resume screen recordings?

Many popular Mac screen recorders allow you to pause and resume recordings. The macOS Screenshot Toolbar also has this feature. To pause and resume recordings, click on the Stop icon and select Pause. To continue, click Resume Recording.

Can you screen record a video with sound on Mac?

You can record videos with sound on Mac. Some of the best tools for this are Loom, OBS, Monosnap, and EaseUS. These tools allow you to record audio and video with your Mac.


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