How to Screen Record on Mac [3 Easy Ways!]


There may come a time when you need to record your screen. It could be to demonstrate something, create a tutorial video, or even show a tech support agent a problem you’ve been having recently. No matter your reason, you’re probably here asking, “can you screen record on my Mac?”

The answer is yes. It’s possible to screen record Mac computers, and you can do it all right from your machine, thanks to some of the built-in utilities. However, although these built-in utilities are pretty handy, they may come with some limitations that can get frustrating — and fast.

Luckily, many free and paid third-party apps can help you break past those limitations and create the screen recordings you need.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to screen record on Mac and answer a few related questions. Ready? Let’s get started!

How to Record System Audio

Sometimes, you might need to record your screen while providing a narration by capturing your microphone’s audio. Other times, you might also need to be able to record your computer’s audio, especially if it’s vital to the recording itself.

If you want to screen record on Mac and include your system audio, we will discuss the ways you can do that in each method below.

How to Stop Screen Recording on Mac

Just like there are many different ways of screen recording Mac computers, there are also varying ways to stop or end your screen recording. For this reason, we will discuss how to stop recording in each of the methods below.

How to Screen Record on Mac: 3 Easy Methods

Screenshot Utility

You probably already know that your Mac has a built-in screenshot utility tool. This handy screenshot utility tool allows you to take a screenshot of your entire screen and save it directly to your desktop. You can also take a cropped screenshot and copy it into your clipboard, ready for pasting wherever it’s needed.

But did you know that you could also create a screen recording on Mac computers using the same utility? That’s right — you don’t need to install anything at all if you want to make a simple screen recording.

If you’d like to learn how to screen record on a Mac using the built-in utility, simply follow the steps below. Note that this method will work whether you’re learning how to screen record on a Macbook Pro, Air, or even an iMac.

  1. Press the shortcut cmd + shift + 5 to bring up the screen capture bar, as seen below.
How to screen record on Mac using the built in recorder bar
  1. The buttons on the bar allow you to configure the recording. The first three are for screenshots (capture full screen, capture selected window, capture selected portion), and the last two are for recording your whole screen or only a portion. Select the setting you prefer.
  2. The Options will allow you to set a timer, choose where to save your Mac screen recording, and select your microphone if you want to record your voice too. You can also choose whether to capture your mouse cursor.
Options for screen recording on a Mac
  1. The last thing left is to Click Record!

How to Record System Audio Using Screenshot Utility

Unfortunately, Screenshot Utility does not allow you to record system audio natively. You can download Soundflower for free and install it, then follow the steps in this tutorial.

How to Stop Recording Using Screenshot Utility

Stopping your recording is as simple as clicking the stop icon on your top menu bar. It’s easy to miss, but you’ll find it on the right-hand side of the top menu.

Alternatively, you can press cmd + shift + 5 to bring up the screen recording bar and end your recording there.

You can also press the keyboard shortcut cmd + ctrl + esc.

Benefits of Using Screenshot Utility

It’s a good idea to learn how to record on MacBook laptops and other Apple computers using the screenshot utility because it is the easiest and most accessible way to make a screen recording. Just remember the shortcut cmd + shift + 5.

QuickTime Player

Speaking of free, built-in utilities, we’ve established that you can use the screenshot utility to record your screen. But can you screen record on Mac using the preinstalled QuickTime Player?

Although QuickTime Player is a media player (much like VLC or Windows Media Player), it can make screen recordings when necessary. Here’s how you can do just that:

  1. Navigate to QuickTime Player via the Launchpad or Spotlight search (by the magnifying glass on the top right of your menu bar or by using the cmd + spacebar shortcut). Open QuickTime Player.
  2. Once open, move your cursor to the top menu bar and click on File > New Screen Recording.
Start a new screen recording on a Mac from QuickTime
  1. A bar containing screen recording options will appear upon starting a new recording. It looks like the screenshot below (and looks exactly the same as the Mac screenshot utility!).
How to screen record on Mac using the built in recorder bar
  1. The first three buttons are settings for taking screenshots (capture whole screen, capture selected window, and capture selected portion). The fourth and fifth buttons are for recording the entire screen or just a section. Click on your choice, then click Record (or capture if you’re taking a screenshot) to begin.
  2. Click on Options to choose where you want to save your recording. In options, you can also decide whether to show your mouse cursor. If you want to record your microphone, you can select which microphone you want to use in this menu.
Options for screen recording on a Mac

How to Record System Audio Using QuickTime

Unfortunately, QuickTime does not allow you to record system audio natively. You can download Soundflower for free and install it, then follow the steps in this tutorial.

How to Stop Recording Using QuickTime

Stopping your recording is as simple as clicking the stop icon on your top menu bar. It’s easy to miss, but you’ll find it on the right-hand side of the top menu.

You can also press the keyboard shortcut cmd + ctrl + esc.

Benefits of Using QuickTime

QuickTime Player is free, easy to use, and usually already comes pre-installed on your Mac. It’s a no-hassle recording experience with slightly more control than the screenshot utility.

OBS Studio

If you’re wondering how to screen record Mac computers and also record stream audio and your mic in the process, try OBS studio. This software is used by streamers, podcasters, and other content creators for streaming and video recording.

Here’s how to make a macOS screen recording using OBS studio:

  1. Download, install, and open OBS Studio. It should look like the screenshot below.
Edit scenes from a screen recording for MacOS
  1. You can capture your screen by going to the Sources panel (on the bottom) and clicking on the + icon. Then, click on Display Capture. When the next window comes up, select “Create New” and click “OK”.
Options from the sources menu
  1. Your display will now show up on OBS. It might get a little overwhelming here because your screen will repeat itself over and over, but that’s normal. If your display capture is too large for your OBS capture, right-click anywhere on the canvas then go to Transform > Fit to Screen.
A gif showing how to fit to screen
  1. Then, when you are ready to make your recording, click “Start Recording” and proceed as normal. By default, your recording will save in your Videos folder.

How to Record System Audio Using OBS Studio

To record your on OBS studio, go to Sources > + > Audio Input Capture. Select “Create New”, click OK, then select your mic from the dropdown menu before clicking OK.

To capture system audio, you’ll need a third-party app. Install it, then follow the instructions in this tutorial.

How to Stop Recording Using OBS Studio

Stopping is as simple as starting — just click “Stop Recording” in OBS.

Benefits of Using OBS Studio

OBS is extremely flexible. You can use it for screen recording and streaming, and you can add a variety of sources to decorate your screen and make a more complex recording. It’s also relatively easy to learn, thanks to the countless tutorials available online.

Other Third-Party Tools


Use loom for screen recording

You’ve learned how to screen record on MacBook computers above. But what if you want a simpler solution? Loom offers all that and more — you can record your screen and your camera/microphone, then share your recording via a link. It works on any device (not just your Mac) using Loom’s mobile or desktop apps. You can try it for free or unlock more features with a subscription starting at $8/user/mo.

CleanShot X

CleanShot X for macOS

CleanShot X is a fantastic third-party tool that you can buy for a one-time purchase or access with a subscription. If you’re looking for how to screen record on a MacBook without paying a fee every month, this app is one to consider! CleanShot X offers more than just screen recording. Just check out its main features in the screenshot below!

Options for CleanShot X

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Do Screen Recordings Go on Mac?

The location where screen recordings go varies depending on which method you use. For example, if you use the built-in screenshot/recording utility, the file will go to your desktop (although you can also change the saving location using cmd + shift + 5, then options > save to). If you use external tools, you will likely need to select where your finished recordings go when you save them.

Can I Record My Screen on Mac for Free?

Absolutely! You can use the built-in Mac screen recorder or QuickTime, which are both free to use. You can also try using OBS Studio or Streamlabs Desktop (another broadcasting and recording app built on OBS’ open-source code) to record your screen and audio. Loom is another free option you can consider.

How to Screen Record With Internal/External Audio on Mac?

The MacBook screen record experience is now much more convenient thanks to all the options available. The tools mentioned in the article above each have their own methods for capturing internal or external audio alongside your screen recording. To check how to record audio with your chosen method, check out the guide above.


There was a time when you would have needed special software to record your screen on any machine. Fortunately, those in tech have realized just how vital a screen recording feature is — and that is why you have the built-in utilities today. With your Mac’s built-in utilities or a few third-party apps, making a screen recording is simpler and more convenient than ever. Whether you’re figuring out how to screen record on a Macbook Air, Pro, or even an iMac, the methods above will work!

We hope that this guide on how to screen record on Mac has helped you figure out how to create your recordings exactly how you need them. Do you have a favorite method? Let us know in the comments below!

Need to record a phone call? Check out this guide on recording a phone call on your iPhone!


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