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Updated: August 2016

Since 2012, things have changed quite a lot when it comes to recording your iPhone or iPad screens.

The most known option at the time to record a video of what was on your iOS device’s screen was to use the simulator on your Mac. Because video is being used more and more to present an app (whether it’s for an App Preview, a promo video or a video ad), Apple an other companies have made it much simpler for us.

Let’s take a look at your options.

QuickTime Player

 

This option was introduced with iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, and is what we recommend to record iPhone screen or iPad screen. All your need is:

  • An iOS device running iOS 8 or later
  • A Mac running OS X Yosemite or later
  • Lightning cable (the cable that comes with iOS devices)

No need for jailbreak, a third party app or additional hardware.

Here are the steps to do it:

  1. Connect your iPhone or iPad to your Mac via the lightning cable
  2. Open QuickTime player
  3. Click File then select ‘New Movie Recording’
    Quicktime new movie
  4. A recording window will appear (with you in it, most likely). Click the little arrow of the drop down menu in front of the record button, then select your iPhone or iPad
    select iphone to record iphone screen
  5. Select the Mic of your iPhone if you want to record music/sound effects
    record iphone sound
  6. Click the Record button. Now perform the tasks on your iOS device that you want to record
  7. Once done tap the stop button and save the video.

Quick tip: by hitting Cmd + T you’ll be able to directly trim your video before saving it, so you only keep the relevant part of the recording.

ScreenFlow

ScreenFlow provides a similar way to record your iOS device, like QuickTime does. The bonus is that you can also edit the video within ScreenFlow, instead of having to open another program, like iMovie.

Sometimes, ScreenFlow is also better at capturing video, where QuickTime can be choppy. Since QuickTime is free, you should try that first.

But if that doesn’t work to well, then give ScreenFlow a try.

To get started, simply plug in your iOS device to your Mac with a Lighting cable and open ScreenFlow. It will automatically detect your device and give you the option to record that screen.

Start recording with ScreenFlow

 

Make sure that the Record Screen from box is checked and the right device is selected. If you want to record the audio too, check the Record Audio from box and make sure that the right device is selected.

Then hit the record button and start doing your app demo. Once you are done recording, ScreenFlow will open the editing screen.

Easy right?

El gato

Before Apple made it simple to record your iOS device with the QuickTime player, at Apptamin we used one of the Elgato game capture devices which was mostly known to gamers.

Here was the full setup:

 

Check out the video below for more information.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlpzbdR0eJw[/youtube]

Reflector

We also used the Reflector app at the very beginning, and still use it for specific videos when shooting live.

reflector app

Reflector 2 currently costs $14.99 and let’s you mirror what’s happening on your iOS or Android device screen on the computer, using AirPlay mirroring or Google Cast . There are Mac and Windows versions.

What’s great about Reflector is that it does not require any cable: just your iPhone (or iPad) and a computer.

Capture iPhone screen with reflector

Reflector can record your iPhone screen at up to 60fps, lets you include device frames when recording and record multiple devices at the same time. However, it is not possible to record with a resolution as high as you can do with QuickTime player (1080 x 1920 with an iPhone 6 Plus for example).

Apowersoft iPhone/iPad Recorder

Another option to record iPhone and iPad screen is by using Apowersoft iPhone/iPad Recorder. It features iOS screen mirroring, recording and screenshot taking. Without jailbreaking your devices, you can easily do this trick by utilizing Apple’s AirPlay function.

recording-iphone-ipad

Simply set your iDevice and computer (Windows or Mac) under the same network, then you can successfully connect and mirror iOS screen. This application supports recording screen with audio from your phone system, microphone, both or none. You can select the desirable audio input for capturing as you wish.

The software is free to download but if you want the full version it currently costs around $40. Judging from the comments it seems a lot of users experience some lagging.

Record Directly From Your iPhone or iPad

If you jailbreak your iPhone or your iPad, you’ll be able to record your screen without any cable or computer by using the Display Recorder app ($4.99) on Cydia. Even if your device runs iOS 9 (I’m assuming they’ll keep updating the app).

Several options allow you to define the video/audio format (cannot record system audio), the framerate (on a scale, you can’t actually choose which framerate you’re using) , whether to show “taps” (a circle that highlights where the taps are done) or if the phone is used in portrait or landscape mode.

Here is more information.

On older versions of iOS it seems that this could be done with the Shou app as well.

Conclusion

So that’s how it’s done. Choose the method that works best for you and fits your budget.

Now that you know how to record your iOS device, what content should you include in your videos? Our video marketing guidewill give you some tips.

 

We look forward to seeing your videos!

 

What is your favorite way of doing an iPhone or iPad screencast?

 

Sylvain Gauchet

Hi there, I'm Sylvain and I'm one of the co-founders of Apptamin. Apptamin is a creative agency specialized in app videos (video ads, app store videos, etc.) where we find engaging ways to present mobile apps and games so our clients can either increase their conversion rates or improve their user acquisition.

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  1. Quicktime Player is super smooth when it comes to screen recording and super handy tool available readily. I wish they add some very basic editing tools in next version. Thanks for listing other alternatives, will give them a try now.

    Robin

  2. If I use a normal iPhone or iPad charger, will it still work? Or do I HAVE to use a lightning cable? Because they’re basically the same thing. Thanks!

  3. Thank you for these instructions, really helpful!! I cannot get my iPad Air to connect – I don’t see them as an option in the drop down menu on quicktime. The lightening cord works/connects just fine. Any thoughts on what else I could check to fix this? iOS and OS are both fully updated. I used to record my iPhone screen with Acethinker iPhone screen recorder, never had that problem.

  4. Am using QT Player 7.7.6. I do not see drop down menu beside record button, so cannot switch to iPhone. What QT version are you referencing?

  5. I think I’m running iOS 10 on my iPad. It’s plugged into a MacBook Pro with Sierra and I’m using QuickTime 10.4, but I still get problems when I try to record video. Should I try plugging my iPad into my iMac and seeing if that works?

    1. Yes you should give it a try on the iMac but it should be working on the MacBook Pro. I have the same version of QuickTime. Is the iPad one of the newer version (with a lightning cable)?

  6. So I need a good app that will let me record apps while I am on them and/or playing games.I have an iPhone 4 IOS version 7.1.2. and i cannot find an app that can help me…Please help!

    1. Hi Alicia – only way with an iPhone 4 will be do mirror it on a computer, for example using Reflector. Otherwise you have to jailbreak it.

  7. i was recording all of my game play and now i cant record anything nor can i find a app that allows it ever since upgrading my phone to ios 10. does anyone know of an app thats still out there shou doesnt work anymore.

    thanks,
    nicole

    1. Hi Taylor – are you on Yosemite (Mac OS X) or above and which version? Is your phone on OS X or above and which version? Is Quicktime player up to date?

  8. Just want to ask when i follow the steps for the MAC, when i go beside the record button, my iPhone doesnt show there.. Meaning I only can see myself on the Mac Screen. Is there a fix to this?

  9. Hi Sylvain, why is it necessary to jailbreak the phone? Is there a restriction in iPhone to not be able to record the screen? It seems strange that there is no app to directly record the screen from phone. Thanks!

    1. Hi Martin – you’d have to ask Apple 😉 They might not want people recording some things (movies, etc.?). AirShou used to apparently allow to record the screen with no jailbreak, but it seems they have pivoted to mobile game streaming.

  10. Hi Silvain
    This article is really good, so thanks 🙂 and I have already made the first instructions to my students. Do you know if there is a corresponding function on Windows PC?

    1. Hi Peter – what do you mean by corresponding function? To record an iPhone screen on PC you’ll have to use mirroring (with Reflector or Apowersoft for example).

    2. I have downloaded a free trial of Debut video capture, than bought it. It’s very good. They claim it works for iPad but it does not. For windows it’s great.

  11. Recently I’ played a game called BLEK which allows screen recording within the game. so please notify us if there is any app allows screen recording even outside the app.
    Tried the Apowersoft software and experienced some lagging,

  12. Great article!!
    Wondering if any of these options allow you to record you voice along with recording the screen. (Without doing a voice over later)

    1. Well, in my opinion it’s better when the option lets you record the sound from the device. If you want a voice over, you’re going to want a better quality than just speaking over when using the app.

  13. Hi there.

    Love your work

    Do you know some kind of solution where a camera is mounted on the iphone to record both the screen and fingers?! I want to avoud having the camera lying on a table under a camera. I want the ability to move the iphone around while the recording is capturing the same area on the iPhone.

    1. Hi Janus,

      Sorry, I don’t know of anything like that. Even if mounted on the iPhone, there are chances that the camera will move and quality suffers though. We are currently coming up with ways to shoot live video AND have a great-looking screen using screencast, but it requires some more equipment.

  14. Hi, excellent article and potentially has the answers I’ve been after, BUT…does the digital AV adapter mean you can record audio too? The fact that you mention this specifically for Reflection but not the others suggests that it doesn’t?

    Thanks very much,

    Luke

  15. Good solid article. I’d love to use Reflection, sadly… when I downloaded it yesterday 9.14.12, I couldn’t get it to work with Mountain Lion. Too bad. I tried to contact support, no luck. Can’t even reinstall because there hyper-active anti-piracy thinks I’m going to magic rip them off. Too bad. Not willing to throw $15-$45 at something that is buggy. FYI… for those considering it. Don’t bother till you confirm they have their stuff together with 10.8.

      1. That’s not good, eh? Oh well. Ever had any luck using the digital AV adapter through a HDMI adaptor to a mac? Is that even possible? Just seems like such an simple problem to not have a good solution for. Anyway, keep up the good work!

  16. Hi Sylvain, Do you know of any app that will run in the background which shows your fingers gesturs or taps on the screen so that you can record that aswell using the mirror function?

    Thanks

    1. Hello Sylvain, I am looking for a screen recorder.For example, You click record then you play your game while its recording. I dont really care if it glitches i just need one!

  17. Is there an app or any way at all to create a screencast on an iPhone?…

    If you don’t want to jail break your iPhone the best solution is to mirror what’s on your device using the Reflection App for Mac, then record with a program like Jing/Screenr/Camtasia. There are other solutions for quality screencast but it might co…

  18. What’s the best video screencast solution for iPad and iPhone apps?…

    Question is kinda old, but just in case someone is interested there are now several options : Display Recorder (jailbroken iPhone needed), iPhone simulator, Air TV/HDMI, Reflection App, etc. If you’re interested you can find more in the following blog…

  19. Is there an iPhone app that will record a mobile browsing session as a screencast?…

    Hi Tom, There are several different options to do a screencast from your iPhone/iPad. If you really want to do it from an app, there is display recorder. If your open to other solutions, I just finished a post on that here: http://www.apptamin.com/blog


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