How to Record a Screencast on Your Android Device (Without Plugging It Into a Computer)

Google’s new YouTube Gaming and Google Play Games apps allow you to record your Android device’s screen and create screencasts. They’re designed for recording mobile games while you play them, but you can use them to record any app.

Android actually gained integrated screen-recording features back in Android 4.4, but Google required you connect your device to a computer and start recording with adb for security reasons. These new tools allow you to easily record your screen without all that hassle.

Launch the Screen Recorder

First, install Google’s YouTube Gaming app on your Android smartphone or tablet. The shortcut’s name is “YT Gaming.” Tap the “Go Live” button near the top. Don’t worry, this option isn’t just for live-streaming — it’s also for capturing recordings.

Tap “Next” the first time the Mobile Capture window appears. Select the “Record” option and choose either 720p HD or 480p SD. You could select “Stream” if you’d like to live-stream from your device to YouTube instead.

Remember that everything on your device will be recorded. You may want to disable notifications to prevent them from appearing during the stream. Your device’s microphone will also pick up your voice and other nearby sounds.

Select an app when prompted. Every app installed on your Android smartphone or tablet will appear in this list, so you can select any app to start recording it. Once you begin, you can also leave the app you started from continue recording.

A screen recorder will appear at the bottom-left corner of your screen. You can drag and drop it around to position it where you like, and tap the microphone and camera icons to control whether your voice and face are also captured and included.

To start, tap the “Record” button. Tap the “Stop” button when you’re done.

Upload the Video to YouTube or Use the Video File

The YouTube Gaming app will kick into gear once you’ve hit the stop button, helping you upload the recorded video to your YouTube channel. if you’d like to share your screencast on YouTube, this is fine. Of course, you can also make it a private video to prevent other people from viewing it if you don’t want it publically accessible.

If you don’t want to upload your recording to YouTube, that’s fine. Just back out of the upload screen without tapping the “Upload” button.

The video will be saved to the Movies/Screencasts folder on your device’s internal storage. You can use a file browser app — either the file manager included with Android 6.0 or a third-party one — to access it.

It will also appear in the “Screencasts” folder in your photo gallery. Grab the video from here and you can do anything you want with it — transfer it to your computer with a USB cable, edit it, or send it directly to someone.

Google’s Google Play Games app can also be used to record screencasts of games and other apps. However, the YouTube Gaming app is a bit more convenient for recording screencasts of apps that aren’t games.

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 11/9/15
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