How to Record Your Mac’s Screen (Without Additional Software)

Being able to record your computer screen can be highly useful, like if need to show someone how to do something, or not to do something. If you use a Mac, you can record your screen without the need of any additional software.

We have covered this general topic before, however, today we want to hone in and focus on OS X today. If you’re interested in knowing how to record your screen on other systems, then you might want to check our article on that topic.

In the meantime, the first thing you want to do is open the venerable Quicktime application on your Mac. If Quicktime sounds familiar, then that’s because it’s been around for what seems like forever. Quicktime, unlike its Windows counterpart Windows Media Player (WMP), has continued to evolve and receive updates.

Recording Your Screen with Quicktime

Recording your screen is actually very simple. With the Quicktime application open, select “New Screen Recording” from the File menu, or use the keyboard shortcut “Control + Command + N.”

Here are the screen recorder controls. At this point, you can start staging your screen if need be. If you’re creating some kind of tutorial or demonstration, use this as an opportunity to open any applications or settings or whatever you want to show in your recording.

There are also options you can access if you click the arrow button right next to the red record button. The microphone options let you decide whether your screen recording has sound or not, so you can narrate instructions if need be.

Your choices here will vary, such as if you have another recording device attached to your system or virtualization software installed.

Finally, if you want to record mouse clicks, select the “Show Mouse Clicks in Recording” option. When you record mouse clicks, every time you click anywhere on the screen, a black circle will appear around the pointer, which is helpful for showing people exactly where you’re clicking.

If you’re not using Parallels, then you won’t see an option for Parallels microphone access.

Once you’re done staging and choosing options, click the red record button and you will see some choices. You can drag a box to record a small portion of the screen, or just click to record the full screen. If you change your mind, hit the “ESC” button.

If you want to record a selection, Quicktime will let you resize it until you get it right. Once you’re happy with everything, click “Start Recording” to begin.

When you begin, everything you now do will be recorded until you click the stop button in the menu bar.

Once you stop your recording, Quicktime will automatically open your new video for you to review. If you don’t like your results, or you want to keep it to edit or share, then you can export it (and add tags if you prefer) to your computer or a cloud location.

You can save your videos, but only to .mov format. If you want to save in a different format, you’ll have to convert it.

What you record and how depends on your objectives and imagination. Beyond doing tutorials and demonstrations, you can record game footage, or use your favorite video editor to add in music, captions, and start/end titles.

Upon completion, you can upload your new screen recording to YouTube or pass it along to a friend or family member.

Screen recording with Quicktime is pretty handy and has quite a few practical applications. We hope then that this article has been useful to you. If you’d like to leave a question or comment, please use our discussion forum to share your feedback.

Matt Klein is an aspiring Florida beach bum, displaced honorary Texan, and dyed-in-wool Ohio State Buckeye, who fancies himself a nerd-of-all-trades. His favorite topics might include operating systems, BBQ, roller skating, and trying to figure out how to explain quantum computers.