How to Record a Video of Your iPhone or iPad’s Screen From Your Mac

By Chris Hoffman on October 27th, 2014

If you have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch and a Mac, you can now record a video of your device’s screen thanks to a new feature in Mac OS X Yosemite. Android users can also record an Android device’s screen.

This feature was designed for app developers, but it can be used by anyone else. Record a tutorial and upload it to YouTube, or capture a video of your mobile gaming prowess and share it with your friends.

What You’ll Need

This is a simple process, but there are a few requirements. You’ll need:

  • An iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch running iOS 8 or a newer version of iOS.
  • A Mac running Mac OS X Yosemite — it’s a free upgrade from the Mac App Store. This feature was designed for iOS app developers, so it requires a Mac, as iOS development does.
  • A Lightning-to-USB cable. Modern iPhones and iPads come with this cable and use it as their charging cable. Your iOS device must also have a Lightning port, so that means devices with the larger 30-pin dock connector — the iPad 3, iPhone 4S, and older devices — aren’t supported.

iPhone with Lightning connector

Connect Your iPhone or iPad to Your Mac

First, connect your iPhone or iPad to your Mac as normal. Use the standard USB-to-Lightning cable you’d use if you were charging your device via your Mac or connecting it to iTunes.

Unlock your iPhone or iPad and open iTunes on your Mac to ensure your Mac can see your iOS device. You may see a “Trust This Computer” alert on your iPhone or iPad — agree to trust your Mac if you’re asked to do so.

Record a Video

The recording feature is part of QuickTime Player, which is included with Mac OS X Yosemite. Apple does make a version of QuickTime for Windows, but this feature isn’t included in the Windows version of QuickTime.

To launch it, press Command + Space to open Spotlight search, type “QuickTime”, and press Enter. Or click the Launchpad icon on your dock, click the Other folder, and click QuickTime Player.

Click the File menu on the top of your screen and select “New Movie Recording.”

A window will pop up, displaying your Mac’s webcam by default. Click the arrow next to the red Record button and select your iPad or iPhone. You can also select your desired microphone here — so you could record a video of your iOS device’s screen while speaking into a microphone connected to your Mac.

Your iOS device’s screen will appear on your Mac. To actually record a video, you’ll need to click the red Record button. When you do, you’ll see the time and file size start to increase. Do something on your iPhone or iPad and your Mac will record a video of it.

To avoid visual distractions, the time on your iOS device will be set to 9:41 am and the name of your cellular carrier will be hidden until you stop recording.

When you’re done, click the Stop button. The QuickTime window will then show the video you recorded, and you can click the Play button to play it back.

Save or Upload Your Video

When you’re satisfied, you can save your video. To save it, click the File > Save menu option and choose a file name and location.

Thanks to the Share features on Mac OS X, you can even click the Share button in QuickTime and upload the video you took directly to YouTube, Vimeo, or other services. On Yosemite, you can share to any application that includes a Share extension.


QuickTime also allows you to easily record a video of your Mac’s screen — just select “New Screen Recording” instead of “New Movie Recording.” And, as you might expect, you can also use QuickTime’s movie-recording feature to record a video from your Mac’s webcam.

Image Credit: Mike Beauchamp on Flickr

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 10/27/14
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