The best ways to screen record on Mac

7 min read

Sometimes a chance to show somebody how things are done proves more effective than having to come up with lengthy instructions. This is often true for educators, developers, IT support, YouTubers, online businesses, and teams working from different locations and even different time zones. 

Taking a video of your actions as they happen on the screen of your Mac is called screen recording. (You can record your entire screen, a selected portion of the screen, or an app window.)

Learning how to screen record on Mac can help you a great deal with: 

  • Visualizing your point
  • Explaining a problem or a process 
  • Creating tutorials, how-to guides, and hands-on video instructions
  • Recording technical bugs and issues
  • Sharing game videos with live commentary
  • Technical assistance

The best Mac screen recorder option for your Mac

A great comprehensive all-in-one tool for screen recording Mac users can rely on is Capto. 

With Capto you get to not only record your screen with real-time voiceover and webcam feed, but also edit your video and audio tracks, add text or speech bubbles, and share instantly from the app:

  • Capture a specific app window, a browser, your whole screen, or select an area of any size with any number of windows in it
  • Hide desktop while recording 
  • Take screenshots
  • Edit video and images: crop, cut, fade in and fade out for audio 
  • Add annotations
  • Share to Dropbox, YouTube, Facebook, and all possible shared storages, including FTP/SFTP servers

screen record on mac using capto

How to record your screen on Mac using the Screenshot toolbar

If you’re wondering, “Can I screen record on my Mac with a native macOS utility?” the answer is — yes. Apple has its own built-in screen recording feature called Screenshot that lets you capture video of whatever’s happening on your screen (with real-time audio, should you choose to). 

You can use the Screenshot toolbar for taking both screenshots and video recordings of your screen (for video choose from the last two screen icons with a dot in the lower right corner).

To record with Screenshot:

  1. Press Shift + Command + 5 to open the toolbar
  2. Choose Record Entire Screen or Record Selected Portion (you’ll be able to drag and resize the frame of the screen area you want to be recorded, if you choose this option)
  3. Go to Options and choose microphone settings, decide where you’d like to save your recording to, or set a countdown timer 
  4. Click on Record to start the recording 
  5. Click on Stop Recording menu bar icon when you’re done

How to record audio in screen recordings

When you think about how to screen record on MacBook, it’s important to also understand how to include sound in your videos. 

As we have already discussed, your native Mac screen recorder allows you to capture audio from your Mac’s built-in microphone, but if you’re looking for more advanced capabilities (like creating and editing voiceovers or learning to record your Skype meetings), you can find out more from our dedicated article on how to record your screen on Mac with sound.

How to screen record on Mac using QuickTime

Another option to record a screen Mac users can try is QuickTime Player. We know this app for playing media files, but it can also be used for recording your screen and sound. 

To use QuickTime Player as a Mac screen recorder, simply launch it from Applications and choose New Screen Recording from the File menu. This will open the Screenshot toolbar that lets you configure and start your recording.

The only difference with Screenshot is that with QuickTime Player, once you’re done recording, your file will automatically open inside the app and you can edit it right away.

record screen on mac via quicktime

How to screen record for collaboration 

Another great tool for asynchronous screen sharing is  CleanShot X. It’s a simple screen recording macOS app that comes with a rich toolkit, allowing you to capture your screen without desktop icons, record as MP4 or GIF, trim video, annotate, and keep your recordings saved on CleanShot’s cloud for free — all a few clicks on the menu bar icon away.

How to record a screen with OBS Studio 

Another popular contender for Mac screen recorder of choice is OBS Studio.

OBS Studio is a free open-source app used for both streaming and screen recording by many content creators. It’s known for a variety of advanced features, but can also be easily used by beginners.

Understanding how to screen record on Mac with OBS Studio starts with the basics:

  1. Download (, install, and launch the app
  2. Set up video: Sources ➙ + icon ➙ Display Capture ➙ name the source ➙ OK
  3. Set up audio: OBS Studio is set to capture audio from the built-in microphone on your Mac by default — you can add external audio sources or apps for capturing system sound in Sources
  4. Choose where you want to save your recorded files: Controls ➙ Settings ➙ Output ➙ Recording ➙ Browse ➙ OK
  5. Choose Start Recording under Controls to begin screen recording Mac
  6. Press Stop Recording when you're finished

screen recording on mac using obs

If you’re also looking for an advanced app to help you edit your recordings, check CamerBag Pro. It’s a powerful photo and video editor that allows for professional adjustments and offers pro-quality preset filters to add style to your creations. 

How to record your screen on Mac and have an impact?

Being able to clearly get your point across even if you aren’t in the same room with your audience or colleagues is very important. Having a video recording to illustrate it — is priceless. Learning how to screen record on Mac is, without a doubt, a useful skill, and you can master it in no time with Mac’s built-in Screenshot and QuickTime Player or a more advanced OBS Studio screen recording setup.

If you’d like an effective tool that lets you both record and edit your videos from the same app on Mac, opt for Capto or CleanShot X (if you also like creating GIFs). And, finally, for advance editing and pro quality image adjustments arm yourself with CamerBag Pro to present your ideas with style.

Be sure to try Capto, CleanShot X, and CameraBag Pro for free with the seven-day trial of Setapp, a platform of high-performance, best-in-class iOS and macOS apps. Learn how to screen record MacBook and check out more than 240 other options to boost productivity.


How to record screen and audio at the same time on Mac

All the above mentioned methods of screen recording Mac users can choose from allow for recording audio from Mac’s built-in mic: you can capture your voice commentary, as well as any sounds playing at the moment (music, app sounds, etc.) 

How can I record my screen on Mac with sound but without a mic?

All Macs have an internal microphone built-in, so you don’t have to have an external microphone for capturing sound when screen recording Mac.

Where does screen recording go on a Mac?

The answer differs depending on the app you choose for recording your screen:

  • Mac’s native Screenshot utility saves recorded files to Desktop (you can choose a different location in Options ➙ Save to)

  • QuickTime Player automatically opens the video after you hit Stop Recording, and you can then choose where to save your file (File ➙ Save)

  • OBS Studio lets you locate recordings using the File menu (File ➙ Show Recordings)

  • Apps like CleanShot X save your files to your free in-app cloud account

What is the recording shortcut on Mac?

Use Shift + Command + 5 to start screen recording Mac.
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