Recording screen of iOS device without 3rd party software

By | 31/07/2016

CameraWere you wondering how to record screen of your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch? It’s possible even without jailbreak. You won’t need extra expensive software, all you need is Mac and its QuickTime Player. And of course iPhone/iPad/iPod touch itself. So if you want to create videos from iOS, for example for study or gaming records, or want to record a tutorial or just something for fun, it’s possible without 3rd party apps. But don’t forget, this native way of screen recording does not work with all OS X versions and your iOS device must be supported too. So what I exactly need?

For first, you need a Mac with OS X Yosemite or higher. QuickTime is built-in, so no extra apps needed.

But with iOS devices, is little more complicated. You need iOS 8 or higher. And now it comes – your iOS device must have Lightning connector, so some iOS 8 capable devices – iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and iPad 3 – are not supported.

Now connect your iOS device to Mac via Lightning cable and launch QuickTime. Select “File” and then “New Movie Recording”. After this don’t click on record button, first click on small arrow near recording button, where you will see menu:

  • Camera: choose your iOS device, no FaceTime camera
  • Microphone: here you can choose if you want to record sound from your Mac’s microphone or sound played from your iOS device. I will explain differencies: if you record with Mac’s microphone, you can record your voice, but iOS device will be quiet. If you are for example playing music or game on iOS device, it will be muted. If you choose iOS device’s microphone, your Mac’s microphone will be muted and in final video you will hear only sounds played in iOS device. Don’t worry about quality, it does not use sound recorded by Mac’s microphone, it uses iOS device’s sound processing hardware so sound in final video will be at fine quality. If you are unsure what I’m saying – when you are copying music file (like mp3) from iOS device to Mac, music file is same on both iOS device and Mac. It does not work in way “Mac’s microphone hears mp3 from iOS device and then save that mp3 into your Mac as record”. You are copying raw data.
  • Quality: here you can choose quality. Higher quality uses more space on your disk, but video is more cleaner. With video converting apps you can record original in highest quality and then compress it to lower quality for example for publishing on web without affecting original high-quality record for later uses.

Final video will be in MOV format. In these videos, time on recorded iOS device’s screen will be always 9:41 AM or 09:41 (based on using 12 or 24 hour clock on your iOS device), wi-fi and Bluetooth signals are full and battery is shown as fully charged.

One hint: turn off screen rotating, because when screen rotates, video recording will be suspended.

Update 1st – 30. June 2018: since iOS 11, you can record your screen of iOS device directly on your iOS device via new icon in Control Centre. If no icon is present, then look at Settings app -> Control Centre -> Customise Controls and then enable “Screen Recording”.

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