Top-10 software for screencasts on Mac for free

Edited by Pat Bitton

May 25, 2021

Here are the three best software to screencast on Mac:

Screencasting is a handy tool for many types of presentations. Mac screencasting is the perfect way to present a video project, business pitch, or class lecture. This form of production cuts out the need for wires and cords or a medium to store video, making the process simple and hassle-free.

Best of all, you can run a screencast from a Mac for free. This article will present the best screencast software for Mac in three categories: desktop software, online tools, and extensions.

Best desktop software for Mac screencasting

One easy option to make a screencast on a Mac is to download a video recording desktop app for OSX. The following programs are the best choices to create professional-level videos for screencasting.

Best for: easy high-quality screencasting

Rating: 4.5/5 stars, 44 reviews

Movavi Screen Recorder features a highly intuitive interface that makes recording your Mac screen easy. This app provides the option to record the entirety of the computer screen or the portion of your choice. The control panel is straightforward and small, keeping it from being a distraction. An especially useful feature allows the user to schedule recordings ahead of time to begin and end with the opening and closing of an event.

Pros:

  • Convenient recording
  • User-friendly interface
  • Option to record portion of the screen or the entire screen
  • Multiple export options
  • Compact panel minimizes distraction
  • Easy video editing
  • Schedule recording start and finish times
  • Drawing on videos while recording
  • Editing screenshots

Cons:

  • The free version does not offer all features
  • The free version is watermarked

Best for: Apple fans

Rating: 3.6/5 stars, 169 reviews

QuickTime is Apple’s entry in the screencasting field. This program is automatically included on every Mac and offers video recording and editing. Its sleek, stylish appearance and user-friendly screen recording and streaming line up perfectly with the Apple aesthetic. QuickTime offers options to input audio from multiple sources and automatically reconnects if disconnected, both very handy features.

Some users have complained that this app can interfere with other programs and, in some cases, has a tendency to crash after an OSX update. QuickTime also does not support some common file formats.

Pros:

  • Offers video recording and editing
  • User-friendly screen recording and streaming
  • Automatically reconnects if disconnected
  • Stylish appearance
  • Already installed on Mac
  • Options for input from multiple sound streams

Cons:

  • It can interfere with other programs
  • It does not support some common file formats
  • Sometimes crashes after OSX updates

Best for: experienced users

Rating: 4.4/5 stars, 45 reviews

OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) offers a variety of impressive features at no cost. These features include custom backgrounds, an array of plugins for added functionality, and easy export to most live-streaming video platforms like YouTube Live and Facebook Live. The user can also set the video quality and FPS as needed.

While this option for screencasting offers plenty of features for free, it is not as user-friendly as some of the other programs on this list. It also takes up a considerable amount of CPU space.

Pros:

  • The free version includes all features
  • Easily exports to most live-streaming video platforms
  • 20+ plugins to expand the functionality
  • Custom backgrounds
  • Easy and rapid slide duplication
  • User can choose quality settings

Cons:

  • Not as user-friendly as other programs
  • It uses a lot of memory space

Best for: short recordings

Rating: 4.1/5 stars, 21 reviews

Icecream Screen Recorder is another free tool for screencasting. This program is known for its user-friendly interface and high-quality video results. Icecream offers both video recording and editing.

Some users report that the audio distorts at times. The free version is also watermarked and limited to five minutes of recording at a time. The program also offers a limited number of video format options.

Pros:

  • User-friendly interface
  • Offers video recording and editing
  • Produces high-quality video

Cons:

  • Audio sometimes distorts
  • Limited video format options
  • The free version limits the use to 5 minutes and includes a watermark

Best for: how-to videos

Rating: 4/5 stars, 50 reviews

ScreenRec offers free screencasting with no watermark or time limits. It features single-click recording, instant sharing capability, and automatic encryption for added security. ScreenRec recordings are also easily shared through private messages or posting to popular video-sharing sites.

However, ScreenRec does not offer any video editing capabilities; videos shot with ScreenRec will have to be edited using alternate software.

Pros:

  • The free version has no watermark or time limits
  • Single-click recording
  • Sources from external and internal audio
  • Instant sharing capability
  • Automatic encryption

Cons:

  • No video editing capabilities

Best screencast software for Mac: online options

Another option for screencasting on Mac is to use online software, eliminating the need to download any programs. The following are the best options for online screencasting software for Mac.

Best for: beginners

Rating: 4.6/5 stars, 122 reviews

In addition to free video recording for screencasting, Screen Capture also offers an online tutorial explaining how to screencast on Mac using this software, making it ideal for first-time screencasters. The interface is very accessible for inexperienced users. However, the free version includes a watermark.

Pros:

  • Very user-friendly
  • Tutorial for beginners
  • HD videos

Cons:

  • Glitches may result in lost videos
  • Watermark on the free version

Best for: educators

Rating: 4.1/5 stars, 75 reviews

Panopto Express is another extremely user-friendly online program for screencasting. This program was designed specifically for use in schools and universities. Its interface is very accessible. This program produces HD videos up to 1080p and offers easy sharing through multiple formats. It also minimizes buffer delays for smoother video.

Several users report that the automatic closed captioning function is not very accurate. Some also identified bugs that affected the quality of the screencast.

Pros:

  • Very user-friendly
  • HD video up to 1080p
  • Easy sharing of videos
  • Minimizes buffer delays

Cons:

  • Automatic closed captioning is underwhelming
  • Some users report bugs that affect video quality

Best Google Chrome extensions to make a screencast on Mac

The third option for screencasting is to use a Chrome Extension. These extensions record and broadcast video directly from your Google Chrome browser, avoiding the need to download a desktop or navigate to an online recording website. The following are the best Google Chrome extension options for Mac screencasting.

Best for: Google fans

Rating: 4/5 stars, 11K reviews, 10M users

Screencastify is a video recording Google Chrome extension that can be used for screencasting. Its operation is very user-friendly, and the videos it produces are easily saved to Google Drive. It offers a handy picture-in-picture option and some editing tools in its free version.

Other editing tools are only available in the paid version of the extension, however. The free version also limits users to a five-minute recording limit. Some users have reported issues with customer service, as well.

Pros:

  • User-friendly operation
  • Picture-in-picture option
  • It offers some editing tools
  • Easily saves to Google Drive

Cons:

  • Some users have had issues with customer service
  • Five-minute recording limit on free service
  • Some editing tools only included in the paid version

Best for: professional settings

Rating: 4.7/5 stars, 10K reviews, 5M users

Loom is a screencasting extension specifically designed for the workplace. This program is straightforward to use and offers easy sharing options. It also provides comprehensive tutorial videos covering every aspect of using this tool. Videos are exported as links rather than files, which many users find convenient.

Loom does not offer HD video recordings, and the audio quality is inconsistent. The quality of its recordings is subject to the internet connection speed on which it is accessed. Free users are also limited to 198 videos.

Pros:

  • Comprehensive tutorials
  • Simple to use
  • Easy sharing options
  • Exports as links rather than files

Cons:

  • Audio quality is inconsistent
  • High resolution is not available
  • Free version limits users to 198 recordings
  • Quality of recordings is subject to internet connection speed

Best for: freelancers

Rating: 4.6/5 stars, 14K reviews, 1M users

Nimbus is primarily a note-taking extension, but it can also be used for screencasting. The note-taking nature of this program makes it perfect for freelancers who may want to share videos from multiple projects in one stream. One-click recording and user-friendly sharing options make this a very easy extension to use for such tasks. Nimbus also offers keyboard shortcuts, video editing capabilities, and the use of the webcam for screencasting.

Some users have reported crashes that result in lost data. Saving the recorded files also takes an extremely long time.

Pros:

  • Includes use of webcam
  • Provides video editing capabilities
  • User-friendly sharing options
  • One-click recording
  • Offers keyboard shortcuts

Cons:

  • Some users report crashes and lost data
  • Saving recorded files takes a long time

Comparing screencast software for Mac

Software

Best for

Pros

Cons

Movavi Screen RecorderEasy high-quality screencastingRecord portion or the entirety of the screenSome editing features unavailable on the free version
QuickTimeApple fansAlready installed on MacInterferes with other programs
OBSExperienced usersThe free version includes all featuresNot user-friendly
Icecream Screen RecorderShort recordingsHigh-quality videoDistorted audio
ScreenRecHow-to videosNo watermark or time limits on the free versionNo video-editing capability
Screen CaptureBeginnersTutorials for beginnersGlitches may result in lost videos
Panopto ExpressEducatorsMinimizes buffer delaysInaccurate closed captioning
ScreencastifyGoogle fansOffers picture-in-picture optionIssues with customer service
LoomProfessional settingsExports as links rather than filesInconsistent audio
NimbusFreelancersKeyboard shortcutsCrashes and lost data

Pat Bitton

A web text editor and content creator with over 30 years of experience in the technology business. She graduated from the Polytechnic of Central London (now the University of Westminster) with a diploma in commercial languages (French and German). She’s worked with a number of software companies, including Symantec, AVG, Avast, Trend Micro, and Agnitum. Pat has published several articles in the Times-Standard and other newspapers in her home town in Northern California.

Movavi Screen Recorder

The perfect way to record from your screen

Frequently asked questions

How do you do a screencast on a Mac?

Screencasting on a Mac is easy with Movavi Screen Recorder. In just a few steps, you can broadcast your Mac screen wherever you want.

  1. Download Movavi Screen Recorder. Download the program, then follow the installation process – your Mac will prompt you with instructions. When the installation is complete, launch the program.
  2. Record the screen. Get ready to record your screencast: switch to the webpage, program interface, or other screen activity that you want to demonstrate. Hit the Recording icon and fine-tune the position of the capture frame. Then, you'll see the main recording panel with settings. To enable recording from your Mac’s speakers and/or microphone output, check the System Audio and Microphone icons – they should be green.
  3. Edit your screencast. If your recording contains any unwanted sections, you can quickly delete them. Select the video file on the timeline, hit Split (the scissors icon), and place the markers at the point where you want to do the cuts. Now click Delete (the trash can icon).
  4. Save the result in any format. Once you’re finished editing, click the Export button. Pick the appropriate video format from the list, choose the folder in which to save the file, type in the filename, and click Save.

What is the best screencast software on Mac?

Screencasts can be created using three different types of software: desktop apps, web-based programs, and Google Chrome extensions. We have rounded up the best free options in each of these categories.

The best free desktop apps for screencasting on Mac:

  • Movavi Screen Recorder
  • QuickTime
  • OBS
  • Icecream Screen Recorder
  • ScreenRec

The best free online options for screencasting on Mac:

  • Screen Capture
  • Panapto Express

The best free Google Chrome extensions for screencasting on Mac:

  • Screencastify
  • Loom
  • Nimbus

Can I use Screencastify on Mac?

Yes, you can. Screencastify is specifically designed for professional workspaces and is compatible with any desktop version of Google Chrome. All desktop computers, including Windows and OSX, will support this version of Google Chrome.

In addition, some tablets support the desktop version of Google Chrome. Screencastify is compatible with those tablets, as well.

iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and Android phones do not support the desktop version of Google Chrome, so Screencastify cannot be used on these devices.