How to record your iPhone or iPad screen on your Mac

iPhoneIconXThere are several ways to capture your iPhone or iPad’s screen on your Mac; however, many of these approaches call for third-party software and setups that you might not have. For instance, you might consider setting up an airplay server to capture the display stream from your iPhone, or install other special software that will capture your iOS device’s output. While these approaches might have their merits, there is an easy way built into OS X to view and record your iPhone or iPad’s screen.


Click this menu to select your iPhone or iPad, instead of your Mac’s other default video devices.

  1. Attach your iPhone to your Mac with its USB cable
  2. Open QuickTime Player (in your Applications folder)
  3. Go to File > New Movie Recording in QuickTime’s menus

When you create a new movie, QuickTime will use your Mac’s built-in HD camera (if available), by default. Now you simply need to change this to your iPhone by clicking the little down-arrow next to the red “record” button on the QuickTime Player controls, where you will see a menu appear containing all of your available audio and video inputs. One of these should be your iPhone or iPad, so select it.

With your iOS device selected, you should now see its view stream to your Mac’s display live. If you rotate your iOS device, the aspect ratio of the display on your Mac should update accordingly.

You now can put QuickTime Player in full-screen mode to present what you are seeing, or you can record the display output as a QuickTime movie. You can use this to record what you are doing, or also open your iPhone’s camera and then record it directly to your Mac (granted features like slow-motion and time-lapse will not work, but it will give you some video options.

You can also use this view to quickly take screenshots of your iPhone, as opposed to pressing the iOS device’s home and power buttons simultaneously to store a screenshot on it, and then have to transfer that screenshot to your Mac. To do this, simply move your mouse out of the window so the QuickTime controls disappear, and then press Shift-Command-4 followed by tapping the Space bar to put your Mac into Window Screenshot mode. Then move your mouse pointer (which should now look like a small camera) over the QuickTime window and click when the window highlights blue. The screenshot will be saved as any other on your Mac, directly to your desktop.

8 thoughts on “How to record your iPhone or iPad screen on your Mac

  1. Bry

    Isn’t available in 10.8.5 — since there are likely tens of millions of Macs still running older versions of OS X, it’d be much nicer if you always qualified which OS X version(s) are applicable, or at least which version(s) you tested with.

    Other ‘n that, you’ve become one of my “daily reads” (especially now that Mac OS X Hints is now “dead”).

    1. Strod

      Doesn’t seem to work with Mavericks (10.9) either. Apparently this is Yosemite-only.   🙁

      But… I think that the workload of checking every hint against several older versions of he system would be too much for Topher. In my opinion it is up to us, the commenters who still work with older systems for some reason (or two, as Topher would say), to point out what works and what doesn’t.

      On the other hand, I believe Topher reads all the comments. Perhaps he can add tags like “verified on 10.8.5” or “fails on 10.8.5” to the artivle as he runs into comments pointing these things out. And perhaps in the future he can add a search feature that takes these tags into account.

      1. Gary

        Yeah, this is definitely a new feature which requires Yosemite.

        One solution, which has been available for “years”, for users still with older versions of OS X is Reflector. I believe there a competitor came out, but I can’t recall its name, but I think it was pitched at a similar price.

  2. CurtisC

    OSX 10.10.1 and iPhone 4S, quicktime doesn’t show option to record iPhone screen in dropdown – boo 🙁

  3. Cesar

    It won’t work with my iPad. It shows there in QuickTime but when I select it says “cannot use iPad stop any action using the iPad and try again”. I had disabled all the auto syncing, so I am pretty sure there was no app using the iPad on my Mac.

  4. Max

    iPhone 4S with iOS 8.0.2 + OS X Yosemite the method described doesn’t work. There is no iPhone in drop down menu.

Comments are closed.