May 20, 2021

How to record a video on a Mac

15 min

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Videos are so important in the modern world, and countless people, from educators to content creators, need to find ways how to record a video on a Mac. Fortunately, there are quite a lot of programs, apps, and even built-in tools that can help you record video on Mac devices.

In this guide, we'll be covering five different ways how to video record on a Mac, as well as showing how to record video calls and videos from social media and YouTube, and going over how to edit and share your recorded videos on iTunes. You'll also find a comparison table of all the video capture apps and methods to help you find the easiest and best choice for screen recording on your device.

How to record a video on a Mac with QuickTime Player

Best for: Convenience and simplicity

QuickTime Player is a multimedia program that is actually developed by Apple and included with all Mac devices, built-in with the macOS platform, so you don't need to do any extra downloading or installing in order to use Quicktime when you want to take a video of your screen.

Pros:

  • Built-in with your device
  • No need for extra downloads or installs
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Lacks options

Here's how to record a video using QuickTime Player:

  1. Either launch QuickTime Player from an existing shortcut or type QuickTime into the launchpad to find it and launch it.
  2. Once the program is open, click on the File button and then select New Screen Recording.
  3. Click on the arrow to configure your recording settings; you can record with your microphone if you want sound on your video, and you can also choose to show mouse clicks if you want clicks to appear in the recording too.
  4. When you're ready to start, press the Record button and select a recording method – QuickTime allows for both full-screen and partial screen recording.
  5. When you're ready to finish recording, press the Stop button in the menu bar, just to the left of the WiFi symbol.
  6. Press File and Save to save your new recording in a location of your choice.

How to video record on a Mac using hotkeys

Best for: Recording quickly and urgently

When looking at how to record videos on a Macbook Pro or Air, you can also simply use some key combinations on your keyboard to start recording in mere seconds. This is a useful method when you need to start a recording very quickly or urgently.

Pros:

  • No installs or downloads required
  • Quick and convenient
  • Great for screenshots

Cons:

  • Can be difficult to remember the key combinations

Check the guide to learn how to record a video with hotkeys:

  1. Press the Command + Shift + 5 keys at the same time to make the screenshot toolbar appear.
  2. On the screenshot toolbar, click either Record Entire Screen or Record Selected Portion and choose the portion of the screen you'd like to record.
  3. Click the Record button to start the process and the Stop button when you're finished to stop recording.
  4. Right-click on the recording file, which should appear in the bottom right of the screen, and then use the menu to save it wherever you want or delete it.

How to record a video on a Macbook Pro, Air, and any other device

Best for: Versatile offline and online screen recording

One of the best methods for capturing videos on a Mac is to make use of desktop apps. These apps are downloaded and installed on your device, ready to be used whenever you need them. You can use them both online and offline, and they usually have the most features and functions of any screen recording tool or service.

Pros:

  • Works offline and online
  • Lots of features
  • Great for editing and sharing

Cons:

  • Have to be downloaded and installed

Best for: Recording various screen activities and simple editing

G2 rating: 4.5/5, 44 user reviews

Movavi Screen Recorder is a versatile video capturing solution that doesn't take up too much space on your device and can run on a wide range of systems without any issues. It allows you to record anything from video chats to flash animations to video game playing and conference streaming too, with high-quality results and up to 60 frames per second.

Pros:

  • Very accessible for beginners
  • High-quality videos
  • Available in many different languages

Cons:

  • Additional software needed for editing

Here's how to record a video on your Mac using Movavi Screen Recorder:

  1. Download the program, open the installation file, and follow the instructions.
    Download Movavi Screen Recorder for Mac
  2. Launch the program. In the control panel on the right, click the Screen recording icon. You can capture the whole screen, a single window, or a specific area.
  3. After you choose what to record, new panels will appear next to your frame. By default, Movavi Screen Recorder captures your system sounds: the System Audio icon is displayed in green. If it is gray, just click the icon to activate the option. To record your video with voice and/or webcam overlay, hit the corresponding icons and make sure they also turn green. When all the parameters are set, click Start recording to start.
  4. You can control the recording process by clicking Pause to take breaks or Stop to finish and save. You can also use the hotkeys: ⌥ ⌘ 1 to pause/resume the recording and ⌥ ⌘ 2 to stop it. After clicking Stop, you’ll see a preview window in which you can review and trim your recording.
  5. Trim your recording if needed. To save your video, click Export, adjust the parameters in the export window, and hit Save.

Best for: Professional-grade editing

G2 rating: 4.5/5, 45 user reviews

OBS Studio is a pro-level video recording app that is designed with intermediate and advanced users in mind. It has a highly customizable interface, advanced audio mixing, and many different editing effects and features that users can play around with to not only record videos but adjust and enhance them too.

Pros:

  • Professional-level quality
  • Lots of editing features and transitions
  • Advanced audio mixing

Cons:

  • Not very beginner-friendly

Best for: Informational and educational videos

Mac App Store rating: 4.4/5, 252 user ratings

Capto is a screen recording, capture, and editing app that can be useful for taking screenshots and making videos of whatever is on your screen at the time. It offers lots of useful editing options like allowing you to add shapes, icons, arrows, text, and numbers to your screen, making it helpful for creating informational or educational videos.

Pros:

  • Regularly updated to add features and fix bugs
  • Designed with the Mac OS X platform in mind
  • Many useful editing features

Cons:

  • Some users report bugs and problems

Best for: Free video recording

Trustpilot rating: 4.1/5, 47 user reviews

ScreenRec is a completely free screen recorder without any limitations, watermarks, or restrictions. It lets you capture screenshots and videos with just a single keystroke and share them with your friends or store them securely in the cloud.

Pros:

  • Very easy to use
  • 100% free
  • No ads or watermarks

Cons:

  • Lacks editing features

How to capture a video on a Mac online

Best for: Screen recording without any downloads or installations

Another option you have when looking at how to capture a video on a Mac is to use online apps that don't need any kind of download. These apps all run in your browser without the need for installation, but they do sometimes have limits in terms of file sizes and video duration.

Pros:

  • No downloads
  • No installations
  • Compatible across browsers

Cons:

  • Some limitations and restrictions

Best for: Ease and convenience

Trustpilot rating: 4.6/5, 109 user reviews

Screencapture.com is a popular online recorder tool you can use without the need to download or install it. It works in all major browsers and languages, is very simple to get started with, and has strong security features to prevent anyone else from viewing or downloading your videos without permission.

Pros:

  • Very easy to use
  • Works across all major browsers
  • Strong security

Cons:

  • Watermark will appear on your videos

Follow these steps to record a video using this tool:

  1. Head to the official Screencapture.com site.
    Go to Screencapture.com
  2. Choose your settings if you want mic or cam recording.
  3. Press the Start Recording button to begin.
  4. Your browser will ask you for permission to record, so click the Allow button to grant this permission.
  5. Press Stop when you're done recording and save your file.

Best for: Editing while recording

TechRadar rating: 4.5/5

Apowersoft's screen recorder is a simple to use web tool that focuses heavily on editing recordings as you make them, so it has a lot of appeal for gamers and streamers. It allows you to add annotations and icons to your clips, as well as coming with useful share features to upload to sites like YouTube and Vimeo at the click of a button.

Pros:

  • Great sharing options
  • Many file formats to choose from
  • Excellent on-the-fly editing

Cons:

  • Requires an installer

Best for: Screencasting in many formats

AceThinker rating: 4/5, 121 user reviews

Acethinker Free Online Screen Recorder is another simple tool for people who want to screencast on my Mac. It allows you to save in popular formats like AVI and MP4, and it also functions with webcam and mic recording too. It's a popular choice with people who want to make a tutorial and how-to videos.

Pros:

  • Instant publishing to YouTube
  • Many file formats
  • Works with mic and cam

Cons:

  • Requires a launcher download

Best for: Recording short clips

ScreenApp.io is a fully free screen recorder that demands no registration, payment, download, or installation. It can let you record and save videos to your device in seconds, working across major platforms like Mac, Windows, and Linux. You can record the full screen or individual tabs and windows, and you can use basic editing to trim your clip before saving it.

Pros:

  • Completely free
  • No downloads or installs
  • Very simple for beginners

Cons:

  • Lacks editing and advanced features

How to take a video of your screen with browser extensions

Another option you can use is to install extensions to your browser for making videos of your screen. This is a quick and easy method, and it can work across many different devices, but these extensions have some limitations.

Pros:

  • Simple and fast downloads
  • Minimal system resources required
  • Works across many browsers

Cons:

  • Some restrictions
  • Won't record system audio

Best for: Chrome users

Chrome Web Store rating: 4.7/5, 10,069 user ratings

This Chrome extension requires only 6 megabytes of space and is used by millions of people for recording videos on one of the world's most popular browsers. It's very simple to use and offers basic editing to trim clips and add call-to-actions.

Pros:

  • Simple setup
  • Very lightweight extension
  • Basic editing features

Cons:

  • 5-minute limit on free videos

Follow the steps below to learn how to use this extension:

  • Download and install Loom for Chrome.
    Download Loom
  • Click the purple icon to open the Recording menu.
  • Choose your recording option, configure the settings if necessary, and press Start Recording to begin the process.

Best for: Drawing over videos

Chrome Web Store rating: 4/5, 11,568 user ratings

Screencastify is another useful extension for Chrome that stands out for its real-time editing. It allows the user to draw over videos as they make them, which is really useful when making troubleshooting guides or software tutorials.

Pros:

  • No registration required
  • Useful drawing tool for on-the-fly editing
  • Easy uploads to YouTube and other platforms

Cons:

  • Can't customize capture area

Best for: Taking screenshots

Chrome Web Store rating: 4.6/5, 14,424 user ratings

Nimbus Screenshot & Screen Video Recorder is a versatile extension you can use for both still images and videos of your screen. You can customize the capture area as desired, and all videos and shots can be edited and annotated. It's also helpful for making GIF files, but many features are premium only.

Pros:

  • Straightforward user interface
  • Useful for making GIF files
  • Good for screenshots

Cons:

  • Free trial is very limited

Best for: Business collaboration

Chrome Web Store rating: 4.3/5, 258 user ratings

CloudApp is one of the most-used screen recorders on Chrome, helpful for capturing screens and webcam feeds and offering basic editing and instant sharing too. All content is uploaded with either a public or private URL you can share with your friends or colleagues, making this a good tool for business.

Pros:

  • Great for business
  • Easy sharing
  • Simple editing

Cons:

  • Some users report bugs and crashes

How to record a video call

You might want to capture a recording of a video call you makeover services like FaceTime or Skype on your laptop or computer, and this is also possible in a few different ways. On Skype, the best way is to use the app's built-in recording feature to capture the call. To do this, press the Options button and then click on Start Recording in the drop-down menu.

You can also use any of the apps listed above to record your calls as you make them on different platforms, and you can choose to either record the whole screen or just sections of it. Using apps won't let the other person know that you're recording though, so it's recommended to let everyone know before you start and make sure that they're comfortable with being recorded.

How to record screen videos for publishing on social media and YouTube

Many people like to make video content for social media platforms such as Facebook or video sharing sites like YouTube. A lot of apps for screen recording on Mac actually have social features built-in that will allow you to quickly and easily share your screen videos on major social media sites.

You can also make use of different apps to help with this process. The IM+ app, for example, lets you manage all of your social accounts from one simple window, easily sharing videos across platforms with your contacts and followers. IM+ can also be used to share videos straight to your Instagram feed.

If you're more of a Facebook user, you can use Elmedia Player to quickly record new Facebook videos or even save existing Facebook videos onto your device, and if you like to use WhatsApp, the ChatMate for WhatsApp app lets you record and upload videos directly with a single button press, being more powerful and rapid than WhatsApp's own built-in video maker.

How to edit recorded videos

After recording your videos, you may want to edit them, trimming unnecessary parts of each clip, adding annotations, adjusting the colors, and so on. There are several apps you can use to do this.

Best for: Beginner editing

G2 rating: 4.3/5, 289 user reviews

iMovie is a multifunctional video app for Mac that can be used for viewing, sharing, and editing your clips. You can add titles, transitions, and various other effects, as well as trimming clips, and making great quality videos with ease, as everything has been designed to be beginner-friendly. The only downside is that it takes up a lot of system space

Pros:

  • High-quality results
  • Lots of editing options and features
  • Built-in sharing capacities

Cons:

  • Requires a lot of system space

Best for: Content creators and advanced editing

Trustpilot rating: 4.6/5, 9,844 user reviews

Movavi Video Editor Plus is a free download video editing program for Mac that offers lots of different features for content creators. You can use ready-made intros, animated titles, stickers, slow-motion, reverse, green screen-style background effects, and much more. You may also save your videos in multiple formats like MOV, AVI, and MP4.

Pros:

  • Straightforward and accessible for beginners
  • A huge range of editing options and features
  • Works with all major movie formats

Cons:

  • The free version has limited features

Best for: Business editing and animation

Capterra rating: 4.7/5, 574 user reviews

A good choice for business and professional editing, Blender is a high-end video editing program with GPU and CPU rendering, modeling, sculpting, and simulation features, in addition to standard video editing functions.

Pros:

  • Professional-level features
  • High-end editing
  • Good for business use

Cons:

  • Quite intimidating interface for new users

How to share recorded videos

Once your video has been recorded, edited, and saved to your Mac, you may want to share it with friends, family, or your fans and followers online. Many apps on this list, like QuickTime, come with their own built-in sharing features you can use. This allows you to simply click the Share button in the app itself and then send your videos off to different social networks or via email.

How to upload recorded videos on iTunes

After you've recorded a video on your Mac using one of the many methods listed above, you may want to add it to your iTunes library for quick and convenient access later on. To do this, a good method is to make use of an app like iFlicks.

This app lets you convert videos on your device into iTunes-friendly formats, as well as letting you add tags and descriptions, and then press the Add to iTunes box to send the videos to your iTunes library.

Comparison table

App

Pros

Cons

Quicktime Player
  • Built-in with your device
  • No installing or downloading
  • Easy to use
  • Lacks options
    Hotkeys
  • Very quick
  • Convenient for urgent recordings
  • Useful for screenshots too
  • Can be hard to remember
    Movavi Screen Recorder
  • Very accessible for beginners
  • High-quality videos
  • Many language options
  • Additional software needed for editing
    OBS Studio
  • Pro-level quality
  • Advanced audio options
  • Great for advanced editing
  • Not suitable for beginners
    Capto
  • Works on all Apple devices
  • Useful editing features
  • Regularly updated
  • Some bugs and issues
    ScreenRec
  • Completely free
  • Very simple to use
  • No ads or watermarks
  • No editing options
    Screencapture.com
  • Easy to use
  • Many languages
  • Works across browsers
  • Watermarks
    Apowersoft Free Online Screen Recorder
  • Great editing while recording
  • Many file formats
  • Useful for gamers
  • Requires an installer
    Acethinker Free Online Screen Recorder
  • Instant YouTube uploads
  • Works with cam and microphone
  • Various popular file formats
  • Requires an installer
    ScreenApp.io
  • Free
  • No downloads
  • Simple and straightforward
  • Lacks features
    Loom
  • Very straightforward
  • Lightweight
  • Simple editing options
  • 5-minute limit when using free version
    Screencastify
  • No registration
  • YouTube integration
  • Helpful drawing tool
  • Can't customize capture area
    Nimbus Screenshot & Screen Recorder
  • Good for screenshots
  • Can make GIFs
  • Good user interface
  • The free trial has limitations
    CloudApp
  • Good for business use
  • Easy sharing
  • Straightforward editing
  • Some bugs

    Frequently asked questions

    Is it possible to record a video on my Mac?

    Yes, it is possible to record videos on a Mac. You can choose from a wide range of methods, programs, and tools to do this, including programs like QuickTime Player, hotkeys, desktop apps, online apps, and browser extensions.

    How do I record video and audio on my Mac?

    1. Search for QuickTime Player in the launchpad and launch the program.
    2. Click File and then New Screen Recording.
    3. Press the Record button and choose either full-screen or partial screen recording.
    4. Press the Stop button when you're done.

    How do I record my Mac screen without QuickTime?

    You can use various other tools and applications to record your Mac screen without using QuickTime. Examples include desktop apps like Movavi Screen Recorder or even hotkeys for instant recording on the fly.