How to record your iPad screen using QuickTime Player on your Mac [UPDATED]

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While I was surfing around the internet the other day, I came across a procedure that allows you to record the screen of your iOS device using QuickTime Player on your Mac.  As someone who could really benefit from this feature for demonstrative purposes, my curiosity was definitely piqued.  Add to that the fact that it is built into every Mac running Yosemite and that it’s completely free, and I knew that some of you, too, would really appreciate knowing how it works.  Here’s a quick tutorial based upon Aaron Douglas’ Blog post on The Dangling Pointer.

Benefits of using Yosemite & iOS 8 to record your iPad screen

  • QuickTime is already built into your Mac
  • High quality recording since you are hard wired
  • Capable of recording audio

How to record your iPad screen using QuickTime

iPad Screen recording 04-06-15, 10.50.43 PM

  • Make sure you have iOS 8 installed on your iPad and OS X 10.10 on your computer
  • Open the QuickTime Player application on your Mac
  • Select “Done” in the window that opens
  • Now choose File–> New Movie Recording. Your computer camera (iSight, FaceTime) will open, so don’t be surprised when you’re looking at yourself
  • Select the arrow to the right of the record button, and choose the camera (iOS 8 device) that you want to record from

Napkin 04-07-15, 1.11.46 AM

  • Once selected, you will now be able to view your iPad screen.  If you turn your iPad to portrait mode it will also rotate on the screen
  • Since you also have the ability to record sound, too, you can also select which microphone you would like to record that sound
  • To begin recording, simply click on the red record button
  • After your recording is complete you can either export the file (File–> Export–>choose video type/size) or share it using your Yosemite extensions

Screen-recording-share-extension 04-07-15, 1.34.33 AMLimitations to using QuickTime to record screen sharing on your iPad

  • Files can become vey large–so try and keep recordings short
  • You won’t be able to see where your fingers touch the screen–however, apps that are selected go through the same animations that you visualize on your iPad, so actions like opening apps and settings are still visible
  • I noticed a slight lag, but it wasn’t too bad.  Aaron suggests making sure you’re watching the iPad screen when talking to ensure your audio explanations match what is being watched.

Good luck!  Let us know in the comments section below if you are having any issues, or would like to add to the discussion on any way.


[UPDATE: 4/8/15, 5:37 PM EST]

Unfortunately, it looks as though support for this utility is restricted to devices with a lightning connector, as I was unable to bring up an iPad 3 in the camera choices.  That means the oldest iPad that will work is the iPad 4. Sorry for any confusion this may have caused.  Thanks for the heads-up, Ian!


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12 thoughts on “How to record your iPad screen using QuickTime Player on your Mac [UPDATED]”

  1. Doesn’t work at all. There’s no such menu, with alternative video sources – only the camera at all times. You completely neglect to mention how you are connecting the iPad. I can only assume from the give-away line “…since you are hard wired” that you are connecting using the conventional 30-pin iPad connector cable. And yet what you say will happen doesn’t happen.

    1. Hi Ian–sorry you are having trouble with my tutorial. I am certain that this process does work, because those pictures that are in the post are from me going through the process to set it up. Let’s see if we can troubleshoot and figure out what the problem is for you.

      You are correct when I said “hardwired” I was referencing the charging wire that you use for your model iPad. Sorry if that wasn’t clear. May I ask what model iPad you have? I am using an iPad 4 for this exercise which uses a lightning connector. Perhaps you have an older model that uses the 30 pin dock connector as you mentioned and that could be the issue. I will try to verify this later today with a 30 pin connector and see if that’s the problem. Stay tuned.

  2. I believe another issue may be the age of the Mac. For example, I am using a mid-2010 MacBook Pro onto which I recently installed OS X 10.10.3 (Yosemite). I did so specifically to acquire the ability to capture video from my iPad rather than pay for a software tool such as X-Mirage. But now that I think about it, AirPlay services aren’t offered on the MacBook Pro until the mid-2011 version, one year newer than my own. So in retrospect, it makes sense to me that my MBP does not show up in any list of devices in QuickTime. Sad and annoying, but that’s the way it is.

    I wonder why the X-Mirage method works well, but the AirPlay method does not?

    1. Hey U-man! This process doesn’t use Air Play. You connect your iPad to your Mac and open QuickTIme on your Mac. The video source you’re looking for is your iPad or iPhone that you have connected to your Mac. The iPad/iPhone screen will appear on the Mac. I have a late 2008 MBP–an even older computer than your mid-2011 and it works just fine as long as you are using a iPad or iPhone with a lightning connector (iPhone 5 or newer and iPad 4 or newer).

      Tell me more about how you are attempting to set this up so I can try and figure out why it isn’t working for you.

      1. Well THAT would explain everything. I knew I should have tried sleeping prior to installing Yosemite. LOL! Thanks for reminding me that this is NOT a wifi feature, but requires the Lightning cable. All is working well now, both on my old MacBook Pro, as well as on my Late 2013 iMac.

          1. It sure is! It’s exactly what I need to record tutorials for classes, as well as individuals I help out with learning the iPad. It’s simple, and FREE. The other option I’d previously been looking at was purchasing X-Mirage, which is actually a great utility, and which actually produces movies that seem to be of smaller file size. But Yosemite’s new feature here will do nicely.

  3. The screen capture from my iPhone has the colors inverted even though the iPhone itself does not. Inverting the colors on my iPhone doesn’t change anything. There isn’t a setting in Quicktime to invert the colors of a recording and there doesn’t seem to be a reason why Quicktime is doing this. Any thoughts?

    1. Hmm–not off the top of my head. I have not encountered inverted screen colors who capturing my iPad or my iPhone 6. Just for the sake of asking–what model iPhone are you using?

      I’ll dig around some and see if I can find a reason why this might be happening to you. In the meantime, let us know if you discovered the issue on your own, too, please.

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