January 12, 2021

How to Record a Screen on a Mac with Sound

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Many Mac users find themselves wondering how to record the screen on a Mac with sound. This is such a common question because the built-in tools that Apple provides for recording video from the screen do not properly record the audio, a fact that isn't immediately obvious when you start the recording process. This has led to more than a few frustrated Mac users getting angry that they recorded an entire video and didn't get any sound. In this post, we'll tell you how to get QuickTime Player to record properly and discuss two alternatives to Apple's solution. After we've broken down how you can use these three products to properly capture audio with your screen recordings, we'll give a brief comparison of them.

How to Record a Screen and Audio at the Same Time on a Mac with QuickTime Player

QuickTime is Apple's media player, since it is built-in to every version of Mac OS X for free, everyone from Macbook users to owners of Apple's most expensive pro hardware has used it at some point. What you might not be aware of is that the software can also record video of your screen. If you are already aware of QuickTime's screen recording capability, then you likely also know that it comes with a pretty severe drawback. You can record audio from the microphone, but by default, QuickTime's screen capture does not record any audio from your computer's default output. If you are trying to capture a streaming video, such as a webinar or online class, you don't want to record the whole thing only to find out that you can't hear anything that was said.

Message boards and support forums are flooded with people wondering how to record the screen and audio at the same time on a Mac with QuickTime. Thankfully, there is a solution, but it requires third-party software, a little technical know-how, and a bit of setup. Soundflower is an open-source macOS system extension that allows applications to pass audio to each other. Let's take a look at how to use it to pass audio to QuickTime's screen capture tool.

Step 1. Install the Soundflower Software

Download and install Soundflower for macOS. The installer will come in a zip file that you'll need to extract before you can run the installer application. On newer versions of macOS, permissions behave differently than when Soundflower was created, so the installation will initially fail. It will get far enough into the process to add an option to your System Preferences, though. After the installation fails, go to Security and Privacy in the macOS System Preferences. You'll see a message that system software by developer Matt Ingalls was blocked from running. Press the Allow button and run the installer again. It will finish installing this time. If prompted to, restart your computer.

Step 2. Change Your Audio Output Device

Soundflower works by rerouting your audio. In order for it to do that, you'll need to set it as your audio output device. To perform this step, go back to the System Preferences window and open the Sound settings. Click on the Output tab to bring up a list of available sound output devices. You will see that Soundflower has been added to that list and that it has two entries, Soundflower (2 ch) and Soundflower (64 ch). The 64 channel version is for more advanced uses. Set your output to the 2 channel version.

Step 3. Adjust the Settings

You are now almost ready to start recording your screen. Open the QuickTime app and go to the File menu. From there, click on New Screen Recording. A new window will pop up with a Record button in the middle of it. Don't hit it quite yet. Look for Options on the right side of the window. Click on that and make sure that your Microphone is set to Soundflower (2ch). Soundflower works by routing your audio output to the microphone input and tricking QuickTime into thinking it is recording from the microphone.

While you are in the dropdown menu, you'll notice that you have two other options that you can set. You can change the quality of the recording and tell QuickTime to show mouse clicks while you are recording. Set both of those the way you want them and get ready to record.

Step 4. Record the Video

To begin the recording process, click the Record button in the QuickTime menu. A dialog may pop up asking you to give QuickTime permission to access the microphone. Agree to that. You may need to press the record button again afterward. It can sometimes take a while for the process to start, so be patient. When it starts, QuickTime will tell you to click a mouse button to record full screen or drag a box around the area you want to record. Once you do one of those, the recording will start.

Step 5. Change Your Audio Output Device Back

When you are done recording, press the Stop button. You are not done yet, though. You need to go back to System Preferences one more time and set the sound output device back to the default value. Otherwise, you will not hear any sound coming out of your computer.

Recording a Screen with Audio on iPad and iPhone with QuickTime

Now you know how to record the screen on a Mac with sound. As a quick bonus, we'll tell you how to record your iPad and iPhone screen using QuickTime. This is actually very easy. Plug your iPhone or iPad into your Mac. From the QuickTime File menu, choose New Movie Recording. Now use the arrow menu to select the iOS device as both your camera and your microphone. Now you'll be able to start the recording process the same way you did above and capture your mobile screen with audio.

QuickTime has a 3-star editor's rating on CNET. You can read the review at the link below:

QuickTime review on CNET

How to Record a Screen with Sound on a Mac Using Movavi Screen Recorder

An easier way to record video and audio on a Mac at the same time is to use a tool like Movavi Screen Recorder. The software was created with ease of use in mind, but the design does not let that get in the way of placing in a ton of great features. With Movavi Screen Recorder, recording live-streaming events while you are away is a breeze because you can schedule your recordings to start and end at a specific time. When you export your video, you'll benefit from Movavi's SuperSpeed tool that greatly accelerates the encoding process. The ability to capture the audio and video streams separately will make editing your recorded videos easy. Editing is further enhanced by easy integration with Movavi's other video production software, which shares the goal of being easy to use without sacrificing power. Let's take a look at the steps involved in recording a video using Movavi Screen Recorder.

Step 1. Download and Install the Program

Download Movavi Screen Recorder from the website and install the app following the on-screen instructions. Once you have finished installing the software, run it. After the program starts up, you'll see a widget appear on your screen that lets you control the recording process.

Step 2. Navigate to the Program You Want to Record

Movavi Screen Recorder will record whatever is on your screen, so once you open the software that you plan on recording, be sure that no other application windows block the view of it while you are capturing your video.

Step 3. Click the Screen Recording Button

On the widget that popped up when you opened Movavi Screen Recorder, look for the Screen Recording button. The icon with the picture of a movie camera on it will be that one for capturing video. Next to it is an icon of a still camera that can be used for taking static screenshots.

Step 4. Drag the Box Over the Area You Want to Record

Once you press one of the screen capture buttons, you'll be presented with the option to click and drag a box over the area of the screen that you'd like to record. If you'd only like to record one window, you can drag it around that. You can also cover the whole screen if you'd prefer to get everything on your desktop in the video.

Step 5. Set Audio and Display Options

When you are done positioning the box where you want it, you will see an additional set of controls pop up. One of them will be a red record button. Hold off on clicking that, as we still have some things to set up. Next to the record button are icons of a Microphone and a Speaker. This will determine whether the video will include audio captured from the microphone or the internal sound, respectively. Set each of those according to your needs.

Movavi Screen Recorder has some options that make certain types of screencasts easier to follow for the viewers. It will allow you to show when the mouse is clicked, show the location of the mouse cursor as you move it around, and display any keystrokes that you make while you are recording the video. You'll find all of these settings in the options box near the one with the Record button on it.

Step 6. Record the Video

You are now ready to record a video of your screen. Press the Record button to screen capture with audio on your Mac. The countdown timer will appear and let you know when the recording will start. After the recording has started, perform the actions you wish to capture. The recording will continue until you press the Stop button in the Movavi Screen Recorder interface.

Movavi Screen Recorder has an average rating of 4.5 stars across 43 reviews on G2. You can read the reviews below:

G2 reviews for Movavi Screen Recorder

Movavi Screen Recorder

The perfect way to record from your screen

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

How to Use the OBS Mac Screen Recorder with Audio

OBS Studio is another Mac screen recorder with an audio option. It is a very robust solution for broadcasting streaming video, with a lot of great features for mixing and combining sources to craft a professional look. However, this power comes at the cost of a much larger learning curve. The software was designed primarily for streamers who need real-time and precise control over every aspect of their video. For push and record situations, it is complicated to use and not as intuitive as most of the other software out there. OBS Studio is free and worth a try if you don't mind a bit of a learning curve and are looking for something with a lot of flexibility.

OBS Studio works with the concept of scenes. Scenes are collections of sources that are arranged in a certain way. Your webcam, screen, and microphone are examples of sources you might use to create a scene. Depending on your project, you may want to use images to create a border, lower-third, or another graphical element in your captured video. By using different borders and input sources, you can create an easy way to quickly switch what is shown in your recorded video. Now we'll take a look at how to use this knowledge to record a video with it. Because there is a little more setup involved with OBS Studio, this section will be longer than the others.

Step 1. Download the Program

From the OBS website, choose the version for macOS.

Download OBS Studio

Launch the installation file and follow the instructions to finish the installation process. Once you have installed the app, open it up to begin recording.

Step 2. Create a New Profile (Optional)

Creating an OBS profile makes it easy to switch between various recording setups. If you find that you are doing a lot of screencasts and want subtle, or extreme, differences between how they are laid out and captured, it is good to create a profile for each of them. To create a profile, go to the menu bar, click on Profile and click New. Give your new profile a descriptive name. Settings you change will be saved to this profile until you switch to a different one.

Step 3. Create a Scene Collection

Just like you'll probably want different profiles for different types of videos, you'll probably want a different collection of scenes as well. Now let's set up a new scene collection. From the menu, go to Scene Collection and click on New. Name your scene collection and click OK. Everything will be cleared, and you'll get a fresh canvas.

Step 4. Add Images (Optional)

To add an image for use as a background or display element of some sort, you can drag and drop the image directly onto your canvas. Once on the canvas, it can be dragged around to resize and position it. You can show and hide sources of all types by clicking the eye icon next to it in the Sources tab. This will come in handy if your image is initially covering up everything else when you first load it in.

Step 5. Configure Your Settings

You can add any type of source by clicking the plus button in the Sources tab and selecting the type of source you'd like to add from the pop-up menu that appears. There are many types of sources in OBS that are beyond the scope of this tutorial. For now, you just need to know that you can record your screen by adding a Display Capture source.

You can add audio sources the same way you added video sources. Common choices here are your microphone or the built-in audio of the computer. When you add an audio source, you'll get a mixer in the window. This allows you to see the volume and check the levels of all your audio sources. You can control each of their volumes separately to mix them as you wish.

Look at the Controls menu on the bottom right of the screen. You'll see a Settings button near the bottom of that menu. Here you can adjust your output resolution, downsampling filter, and frame rate in the Video tab. The Audio tab will let you choose your audio input and output devices. Finally, the Output tab will let you set the video quality and recording format that you want to use for your exported video.

Step 6. Record the Video

The same menu with the Settings button has the button to start recording. Click on Start Recording to start recording your video. The Start Recording button will change to a Stop Recording button while you are recording. When you are done recording, press that.

TechRadar gave OBS a 4-star rating. You can read their in-depth review at the link below:

Review of OBS by TechRadar

Comparison Table

If you were searching for how to record the screen with sound on a Mac, you've found plenty of instructions that will let you do that, using a variety of different software products. To help you discover which of these three products will fit your needs the best, we've created a simple comparison table of them below. Be sure to also read the reviews linked at the bottom of the section for each piece of software.




QuickTime PlayerThe software is built-in to all Macs for freeTo use QuickTime for screen capture with audio, Mac users need third-party software
Movavi Screen RecorderIt has an extremely simple interface with little to no learning curve while maintaining the features you need and wantUsing more advanced features requires the paid version
OBSIt's a flexible piece of software that can handle many needsIt has a difficult learning curve

Frequently Asked Questions

How to screen record on a Mac with sound with QuickTime Player?

QuickTime Player doesn't natively support the recording of your computer's audio with its screen recording functionality. It does, however, let you record from the microphone while you are capturing a video of the screen. By using a free program called Soundflower, you can convince QuickTime that your speaker output is actually input from your microphone. To use it, you must install the software and then set Soundflower as your current audio output device in the Sound section of System Preferences.

Why is there no sound when I screen record on a Mac?

If you are using QuickTime player to try and record the screen and audio at the same time on a Mac, then the answer above will apply to you. If you are using some other software and still not getting any audio, it's possible that the software you are trying to use simply doesn't work any better for recording audio than QuickTime does. To solve this problem, you can download Movavi Screen Recorder. It fully supports recording audio from a number of sources, including your default output audio, and is easy to use.

How do I record my screen with audio?

To record your screen with the audio intact on a Mac, your best bet is to use a Mac screen recorder with audio support already built into it. This will avoid the unnecessary hassle of installed third-party kernel extensions and jumping back and forth between your System Preferences panels. It's easy to record video with audio on a Mac using Movavi Screen Recorder. Simply open the app, press the Screen Recording option, draw the box around the area you like to record, and press the record button.

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