The most known option at the time to record a video of what was on your iOS device’s screen was to use the simulator on your Mac. Because video is being used more and more to present an app, Apple and other companies have made it much simpler for us.
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Before we take a look at your options, let’s talk about why you might want to capture footage from your app or game.
WHY RECORD YOUR SCREEN?
There are multiple uses to recording your iPhone or iPad screen.
At apptamin we produce app trailers and game trailers. In a lot of the app store videos and mobile video ads we create, we show the actual app. Because it’s a great way to give a sense to what your app is all about to the person watching the video! So this is something our agency does on a daily basis.
This is especially true for iPhone App Previews (videos on the iOS App Store) because of Apple’s guidelines that state that the videos should be mostly based on captured footage.
If you wonder why you might want to have an app store video (whether an iPhone App Preview or a Google Play Store video), the answer is that these videos (done well) can help you increase your conversion rate and get more downloads. It is part of your App Store Optimization strategy.
There are a couple of other uses to recording your screen: you can show a demo of your app during an internal presentation or to investors, record a video you’re displaying on your phone, etc.
RECORD DIRECTLY FROM YOUR IPHONE OR IPAD (IOS 11)
There was a time where you needed to jailbreak your iPhone or your iPad to be able to do this. But since iOS 11, Apple introduced a way to do this.
First, go to Settings -> Control Center -> Customize Controls on your phone than tap the “+” button next to Screen Recording.
Now open Control Center, and tap the recording button. There is a 3 seconds countdown and after that the screen starts recording (you’ll see the status bar turning to red).
To stop recording you just tap the red status bar at the top of your screen, then tap Stop. Or you can open the Control Center again and tap the (red) recording button.
Several options allow you to define the video/audio format (cannot record system audio), the framerate (on a scale, you can’t actually choose which framerate you’re using) , whether to show “taps” (a circle that highlights where the taps are done) or if the phone is used in portrait or landscape mode.
This is pretty cool. But in some instances you might still want to use QuickTime Player (see below), because you don’t want to display the red status bar (or have it displayed not “formatted” by Apple) or for frame rate reasons. That’s why at our app video agency we still use QuickTime to record iPhone screens.
This option was introduced with iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, and is what we recommend to record iPhone screen or iPad screen. All your need is:
- An iOS device running iOS 8 or later
- A Mac running OS X Yosemite or later
- Lightning cable (the cable that comes with iOS devices)
No need for jailbreak, a third party app or additional hardware.
Here are the steps to do it:
- Connect your iPhone or iPad to your Mac via the lightning cable
- Open QuickTime player
- Click File then select ‘New Movie Recording’
- A recording window will appear (with you in it, most likely). Click the little arrow of the drop down menu in front of the record button, then select your iPhone or iPad
- Select the Mic of your iPhone if you want to record music/sound effects
- Click the Record button. Now perform the tasks on your iOS device that you want to record
- Once done tap the stop button and save the video.
Quick tip: by hitting Cmd + T you’ll be able to directly trim your video before saving it, so you only keep the relevant part of the recording.
If you’re running into any issues (it will happen), update both your iPhone (iOS updated) and your Mac.
ScreenFlow provides a similar way to record your iOS device, like QuickTime does. The bonus is that you can also edit the video within ScreenFlow, instead of having to open another program, like iMovie.
Sometimes, ScreenFlow is also better at capturing video, where QuickTime can be choppy. Since QuickTime is free, you should try that first.
But if that doesn’t work to well, then give ScreenFlow a try.
To get started, simply plug in your iOS device to your Mac with a Lighting cable and open ScreenFlow. It will automatically detect your device and give you the option to record that screen.
Make sure that the Record Screen from box is checked and the right device is selected. If you want to record the audio too, check the Record Audio from box and make sure that the right device is selected.
Then hit the record button and start doing your app demo. Once you are done recording, ScreenFlow will open the editing screen.
Before Apple made it simple to record your iOS device with the QuickTime player, at Apptamin we used one of the Elgato game capture devices which was mostly known to gamers.
Here was the full setup:
- iOS device
- iPhone to HDMI adapter (like this one)
- HDMI cable
- El Gato game capture device
Check out the video below for more information.
We also used the Reflector app at the very beginning, and still use it for specific videos when shooting live.
Reflector 2 currently costs $14.99 and let’s you mirror what’s happening on your iOS or Android device screen on the computer, using AirPlay mirroring or Google Cast . There are Mac and Windows versions.
What’s great about Reflector is that it does not require any cable: just your iPhone (or iPad) and a computer.
Reflector can record your iPhone screen at up to 60fps, lets you include device frames when recording and record multiple devices at the same time. However, it is not possible to record with a resolution as high as you can do with QuickTime player (1080 x 1920 with an iPhone 6 Plus for example).