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How to Capture iOS Device Video in Yosemite

Although most of us don’t need to do so regularly, it is occasionally useful to make a movie of actions taking place on an iPhone or iPad screen. Happily, with iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 Yosemite, Apple has us covered. The key is the slightly misnamed QuickTime Player 10.4 and its File > New Movie Recording command, which has long enabled you to make simple movies with your Mac (not to be confused with the File > New Screen Recording command that you use to record actions on your Mac’s screen).


When you choose New Movie Recording, QuickTime Player fires up your Mac’s FaceTime camera and displays a video controller you can use to start and stop recording. Even if you’ve used this feature, you may not have noticed that the controller has an unobtrusive pop-up menu beside the record button: click it and you can choose input sources other than your Mac’s camera. Here’s what’s new: in Yosemite’s QuickTime Player 10.4, when you connect a device running iOS 8 to your Mac with a Lightning cable, those input sources include both the iOS device’s audio and its screen.

You can mix and match input sources: for example, you can record video from the iOS device and audio from your Mac’s microphone simultaneously. To shoot the movie, just choose your inputs, click the red button, and capture away. Then, to finish the recording, click the red button again, and you end up with a QuickTime movie (named “Untitled,” but you can change that). Like any other QuickTime movie, you can edit the movie with QuickTime Player itself, iMovie, or any other video editing tool.

Interestingly, the capture is not quite faithful to reality. As you can see in the movie linked above, QuickTime Player replaces the status bar shown at the top of your iOS device’s display with a generic one, a display that shows perfect cellular reception, a perfect Wi-Fi signal, no cellular provider, a completely charged battery, and a clock that always registers 9:41 AM (the time of day when Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone).

With version 10.4, QuickTime Player, which is simple, free, and available on every Mac, has become a great solution for those who occasionally need to record what’s happening on an iOS device’s screen. However, those who need to make professional-level screencasts of iOS apps should still look into a more powerful capture solution, such as Telestream’s ScreenFlow. Version 5.0, due out within weeks, will also be able to record directly from iOS devices, and ScreenFlow has numerous features to improve the screencast quality.

My only complaint with QuickTime Player’s convenient iOS video capture feature is that it doesn’t let me capture still images of my iOS screen as well. Maybe it will someday; for now, though, I guess I’ll still need to use one of the many other less convenient approaches for moving screenshots to my Mac.


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Comments about How to Capture iOS Device Video in Yosemite
(Comments are closed.)

John D. Bartram  2014-11-01 09:09
Like you, I'm more interested in a still image of the IOS screen. For my last project, I did a Home-Lock button screen capture on my iPad, connected to my iMac with a USB cable, waited a second or two for Dropbox to pop up a window with the new Camera Uploads and then dragged the new entry into my Pages document. I found this easier than using iCloud Photo Streaming which took longer and involved more steps.
I use DeskConnect for sending iOS screenshots (and URLs / files) to other devices

The best part: it works over IP — i.e., I'm not forced to screw around with enabling WiFi on mobile devices in order to send / receive.
Jack Rodgers, Jr.  2014-11-15 10:20
Open the Photos app and select a photo. Use the Box with the up arrow to send that photo in an email

Or create an email in IOS and append the photo
I can highly recommend AppShow from TechSmith. It's free and works great with Camtasia for Mac. There's just one thing I miss: automatically apply of gestures.
Daniel Foster  2014-11-03 10:14
Thanks for the kind words about TechSmith AppShow, Axel!

So far, there's no good way to automate the visualization of gestures because the iOS device can only output screen content and not metadata about interactions. But hopefully that will change in the future if Apple continues to develop their over-the-cable streaming technology.

One other thing...we created a video that shows step-by-step how to record your iOS device using QuickTime Player:

And info about AppShow can be found at: