How to Stop Screen Recording on a Mac [5 Quick Ways]

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Edited by Ben Jacklin
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In this guide, we explore how to stop screen recording on a Mac. It may be confusing if you’re recording a screen for the first time. Read on to learn available solutions you can try to stop recording a screen on your macOS computer.

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There are certainly a lot of reasons why you may want to choose Movavi Screen Recorder, including the fact that it has an easy-to-use interface. Movavi Screen Recorder is intuitive, with keyboard shortcuts and a button to stop recording. It allows you to record in HD, annotate the recordings while you are making them, and even edit the end result. Overall, it’s a great choice for both beginners and experienced users.

Key features:

  • Easy-to-use app with comprehensive controls and hotkeys
  • System audio and microphone sound capture
  • Keystrokes and mouse movement
  • Recordings in HD and 4K in any popular file format
  • Real-time drawing and annotating
  • Built-in scheduler for pre-planned recording sessions
  • Direct upload to YouTube and Google Drive

How to stop QuickTime screen recording with hotkeys

If you are looking up how to end screen recording on a Mac, there is a strong chance you are using Mac’s inbuilt software, QuickTime Player. There is a simple way to stop the recording using your keyboard.

To learn how to stop QuickTime screen recording, follow the instructions below:

  1. Open QuickTime Player, which you can find by searching from Launchpad or in your Applications folder.

  2. Open the File menu and then choose New Screen Recording in the main menu.

  3. A Screen Recording prompt shows on the screen with a Record button. Specify the recording settings.

  4. When ready, hit the Record button to start recording.

  5. Press Ctrl + Command + Esc buttons to stop the recording straight away.

How to stop screen recording in QuickTime with the Stop button

Wondering, how do I stop screen recording in QuickTime? The Stop button is still a great option for stopping the recording, especially if you are going to trim your video at the end. The Stop button also happens to be the most reliable of the QuickTime methods to ensure that your recording gets saved safely on your hard drive.

To start and end QuickTime screen recording using the Stop button, do the following:

  1. To start recording, open QuickTime Player by searching from Launchpad or in your Applications folder.

  2. Next, in the top menu, click File and then New Screen Recording to start the process.

  3. When you are ready, hit the Record button to start recording your Mac screen.

  4. When you want to stop the recording, you can hit the Stop button in the toolbar at the very top right of your Mac screen.

How to end QuickTime screen recording: Force quit

Sometimes in QuickTime Player, as with any program, things can go wrong. If there’s no Stop button visible, or the program turn off in any of the usual ways, then try to force quit the app. You can use this function to close the program, and this will also stop the QuickTime recording.

If you can’t stop recording in QuickTime Player, follow these steps to force quit the app:

  1. Make your screen recording in the same way as described above, and if you find that there are any issues with the recording, it is time to opt for the Force Quit button.

  2. You can open the Apple menu at the very top left of your screen, the icon is the Apple logo. Then click the Force Quit button.
    If you can’t open this menu or your Mac has frozen, use the shortcut Ctrl + Command + Esc to force quit.

  3. Either of the above methods will bring a list of programs. Select QuickTime Player and then press the Force Quit button. This will exit the software altogether and end the screen recording. It is possible that you will be able to recover the recording.

How to end screen recording on a Mac with Activity Monitor

Activity Monitor is another way to check which software is open on your computer and to force QuickTime to quit, therefore ending the screen recording. It is usually used if you are worried about why your Mac is being sluggish or wondering which software is taking up the most memory usage. It’s also a way to stop programs from running, including QuickTime.

To force quit the app using Activity Monitor, just follow the steps below:

  1. Open Finder, then go to Applications. Open Utilities and then select Activity Monitor to launch the program.

  2. On the list of processes, you need to select QuickTime Player and then hit the Quit button to close the software. Keep in mind that this might not save the recording reliably.

How to record a screen with Movavi Screen Recorder

Movavi Screen Recorder makes it simple and intuitive to make HD screen recordings with audio, and then to easily edit and share them afterwards. Starting and ending your recording is very easy with hotkeys or buttons in the program interface. 

To use Movavi Screen Recorder to capture your Mac screen, follow the instructions below:

Step 1. Install the screen recorder

Download the installation file and install Movavi Screen Recorder following the on-screen instructions. After the program is installed, launch it.

Step 2. Specify the recording settings

Open the Settings menu, where you can check the recording parameters. You can add screen effects for mouse and keyboard, schedule your recording, and more.

Step 3. Record your screen

Start recording by hitting the REC button. The software counts down three seconds and then begins recording. Hit the Stop button to stop recording when you’re ready.

Step 4. Edit and save your video

After you’ve finished recording, you can edit the recorded video. To do this, click the Scissors icon. Make a cut and click the Trash Can icon. When you’re done editing, click on the Export button and select the saving settings. You can choose an output format and folder for your file. From here, it is simple to share the recording or upload it on any video-sharing platform.

5 quick ways to stop screen recording on a Mac

  1. Use hotkeys – quickly exiting the screen recording
  2. Hit the Stop button – reliable saving
  3. Force quit – when QuickTime Player has frozen
  4. Use Activity Monitor – best for checking if QuickTime is slowing down your system
  5. Use Movavi Screen Recorder – intuitive controls


There are a few different options to take screen recordings on a Mac, and many of them don’t make it obvious how to stop the recording once you have started. It’s frustrating when you go through the whole screen recording, get to the end, and have some silence because you don’t know how to stop it. One of the solution is to use a reliable screen recorder. With Movavi Screen Recorder, the controls are very simple and straightforward. On top of that, it is easy to edit the recording when you are done and share to a variety of different platforms.


Best for

Quickly exiting the screen recording

Reliable saving

Frequently asked questions

Where is the stop button on QuickTime screen recording?

The stop button on QuickTime screen recording will appear at the very top toolbar of your Mac screen, towards the right-hand side. This button is often near the battery indicator. It will appear as a “button” style icon.

What is the keyboard shortcut to stop screen recording on a Mac?

You need to hit Ctrl + Command + Esc if you are using QuickTime to make a screen recording, which forces it to quit. But different software has its own different set of controls and shortcuts you can use to stop recording.

Movavi Screen Recorder

The perfect way to record anything from your screen

Disclaimer: Please be aware that Movavi Screen Recorder does not allow capture of copy-protected video and audio streams.

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