How to Screen Record MacBook: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Learning how to screen record MacBook devices is a valuable skill in today’s digital world. Screen recording enables users to capture visual content directly from their screen and save it as a video file. This can be extremely useful in a variety of situations, such as creating tutorials, presentations, or just sharing an interesting moment from a video game or application with friends. In this article, we’ll look at the different methods and tools available for screen recording on a MacBook, including built-in options and third-party software.

Built-in Screen Recording Using QuickTime Player

1. Launching QuickTime Player

QuickTime Player is a built-in application on macOS that can be used to screen record MacBook devices. To launch the application, use Finder or the Spotlight search feature to look for QuickTime Player and open it.

2. Selecting New Screen Recording Option

Once QuickTime Player is open, click on File in the menu bar and then select New Screen Recording from the dropdown menu. A recording control window will appear.

3. Customizing Recording Settings

Before starting the recording, you have the option to customize a few settings:

a. Capture Entire Screen: By default, QuickTime Player is set to record the entire screen area. If you want to record the full screen, you can simply skip to the next step.

b. Capture a Specific Area: If you only want to record a specific portion of your screen, click on the downwards arrow next to the red record button in the control window. Choose Select Area to Record, then click and drag over the desired area.

4. Recording Audio

If you need to include audio in your screen recording, click on the small arrow next to the record button and select the appropriate audio source from the Microphone section. This could be your MacBook’s built-in microphone or an external microphone connected to your device.

5. Starting and Stopping the Recording

To start recording, click on the red record button in the control window. When you’re ready to end the recording, click the stop button (appearing as a small square) in the menu bar or press the Command + Control + Esc keyboard shortcut.

6. Saving and Exporting the Recording

After stopping the recording, a new window will appear with a preview of your video. If you’re happy with your recording, click on File in the menu bar and choose Save. Select your desired export location and click Save once more.

Using MacBook’s Screenshot Toolbar

1. Accessing the Screenshot Toolbar

In macOS Mojave and later versions, you can use the Screenshot toolbar to record your screen. To access the toolbar, press the Command + Shift + 5 keyboard shortcut.

2. Choosing the Record Entire Screen or Record Selected Portion Options

In the toolbar, you’ll see two options for screen recording: Record Entire Screen and Record Selected Portion. Choose the one that suits your needs.

3. Customizing Recording Settings

Click on the Options button within the Screenshot toolbar to access additional settings, such as the destination folder for your recording and the ability to include or exclude the mouse pointer.

4. Adding Audio (if desired)

If you need to record audio, choose your preferred microphone source from the Microphone section within the Options menu.

5. Starting and Stopping the Recording

Click the Record button in the toolbar to start recording. To stop the recording, click the stop button in the menu bar or press the Command + Control + Esc keyboard shortcut.

6. Saving and Editing the Recording

Once you’ve stopped the recording, a thumbnail preview will appear in the corner of your screen. You can click on the thumbnail to access basic editing features or simply drag it to your desired save location.

Third-Party Screen Recording Software

1. Reasons to Use Third-Party Software

While the built-in options on macOS can be sufficient for basic screen recording, there are several benefits to using third-party software:

a. Additional Features: Some third-party programs offer additional functionality, such as live streaming capabilities, system audio recording, or multiple video sources.

b. Enhanced Editing Capabilities: These programs often come with more advanced editing features, allowing you to produce polished, professional-quality video content.

2. Popular Third-Party Software Options

Some popular third-party screen recording applications include:

a. OBS Studio: OBS Studio is a powerful, free, and open-source tool for screen recording and live streaming.

b. Camtasia: Camtasia is a versatile and user-friendly screen recording program with a comprehensive set of editing features.

c. ScreenFlow: ScreenFlow is a macOS exclusive application that offers streamlined recording and editing tools.

3. Installing and Using Third-Party Software

To use a third-party screen recording application, visit the website of the chosen software, download the installation file, and follow the provided instructions for installation and usage.

Tips for Creating Effective Screen Recordings

1. Planning and Scripting: Before starting a recording, create a plan or script to ensure the content is organized and easy to follow.

2. Using a High-Quality Microphone: Invest in a good quality microphone to capture clear and professional audio.

3. Minimizing Background Noise and Distractions: Choose a quiet environment to record your screen to avoid background noise and interruptions.

4. Utilizing Keyboard Shortcuts: Learn and use keyboard shortcuts to save time and streamline the recording process.

5. Editing for Clarity and Conciseness: Edit your recordings to ensure they are clear, concise, and engaging for your audience.


Now that you have an understanding of how to screen record MacBook devices using various methods, you can explore and find the best option for your specific needs. Remember to plan, utilize high-quality equipment, and edit your recordings for maximum effectiveness. Don’t be afraid to share your creations with a community or on social media as a creative or educational outlet, too. Enjoy the world of screen recording!


1. Can I record system audio on a MacBook?

Yes, but you may need third-party software like OBS Studio, Camtasia, or ScreenFlow to achieve this, as the built-in QuickTime Player does not support system audio recording.

2. How can I increase the quality of my screen recordings?

Using third-party software with advanced settings, investing in a high-quality microphone, and fine-tuning the output settings can help to improve the quality of your screen recordings.

3. How do I record my MacBook screen with audio?

You can record audio by selecting the appropriate microphone source in the settings of your chosen screen recording tool, either built-in or third-party software.

4. Is it possible to screen record on older Mac operating systems?

Yes, older systems can still utilize QuickTime Player or third-party screen recording software as long as the software is compatible with the macOS version being used.

5. How can I compress the size of my screen recording?

You can compress the size of your screen recording by lowering the output resolution or video quality settings within the recording software, or by using third-party video compression tools.

6. Can I add annotations and text to my screen recordings?

Yes, some screen recording software, like Camtasia and ScreenFlow, includes built-in annotation and text tools. Alternatively, you can add annotations during post-processing using video editing software.

7. Are there any free alternatives to paid screen recording software?

Yes, OBS Studio is a popular, free, and open-source screen recording and live streaming software that is compatible with macOS.