How to Take Screenshots and Record Screen on Your Mac/iPhone/iPad?

By Vivian | Posted to Howto on October 11th, 2020 |

Summary: This page is a complete guide to screenshot and record screen on Mac, iPhone, and iPad. The contents include shortcuts, snipping tools and screen recorders on Mac, common problems like screenshot not working, as well as explain where the captured screenshots and videos are saved on your Mac. Hopefully, you can take screenshots and record screen on Mac with no fuss.

Many newbies, who just switch from Windows to Mac like me, don't know how to capture or record the screen on Mac. Different from the Windows PC keyboard, there is no Prt Sc key to print the entire screen on Mac. So, using my MacBook Air (running macOS Mojave), I conduct this roundup of screenshot and screen recording guide.

It should also work for other Mac models like Mac mini and MacBook Pro. Two bonus parts for iPhone and iPad are waiting for you as well.

take screenshots and recordings on Mac

Specifically, this post will walk your through these aspects to help.

Table of contents
1. Take Screenshots on Mac (Everything You Want to Know)
2. Take Screenshots on iPhone or iPad (for Any Models)
3. Two Ways to Record Screen on Mac
4. Guide to Record Screen on iPhone or iPad
5. Screenshot Not Working on Mac, How to Fix?
6. Screen Recording Has No Sound on Mac, How to Fix?
7. Top 5 Snipping Tools for Mac
8. Top 5 Screen Recorders for Mac
9. Where to Find Screenshots & Screen recordings on Mac?
10. Change the Formats of Screenshots from PNG to JPG (or Others)
11. How to Recover Lost/Deleted Screenshots & Video Recordings on Mac?

I prefer to do the easiest thing first. So, let's get started by taking screenshots on Mac.

How to take screenshots on Mac computers?

As for me, occasionally, I have different expectations when taking screenshots on Mac. Sometimes, I'd like to share a full screen or just a portion of the whole window with my friends. When browsing a web page, I often take a scrolling screenshot of the full webpage when I want to extract information or just for a local bookmark.

For whatever reason you want to take a screenshot on the Mac, the following part would do a favor.

Take screenshots on Mac using keyboard shortcuts

1. To screenshot a full screen on Mac

Step 1: Open the window of your Mac that you want to print.

Step 2: Press and hold these three keys on the keyboard together: Command + Shift + 3.

shortcuts to take screenshots on Mac1

Step 3: The screenshot will be made after you hear a camera shutter sound. And then the captured screen will show as a thumbnail at the lower right corner of your screen.

Step 4: Before it's automatically saved, immediately right-click on the screenshot to decide where you want to save it, which program you hope to open it, or whether you just want to delete the screenshot.

2. To capture a selected part of the Mac screen:

Step 1: Make sure the screen is in the interface of the target application, window, or menu bar that you want to capture.

Step 2: Press and hold the hotkey of Command + Shift + 4 to take a screenshot.

shortcuts to take screenshots on Mac2

Step 3: Drag the crosshair to select the area on the screen to capture.

Step 4: The captured portion will appear at the corner of your screen for your next movement as well.

If you are using a mouse, choose the selection by holding the left-click button and moving your mouse.

If you are using a Trackpad, choose the selection by pressing and holding the Trackpad with one finger, and simultaneously tapping and moving the selection with another finger.

2. To print the screen of a single window or menu

It helps when I open several apps or windows but just like to screenshot one of them.

Step 1: Open the window or the menu that you'd like to capture.

Step 2:Press and hold the key combinations: Command + Shift + 4 + Space bar.

Step 3: You'll see a camera icon replacing the pointer on the screen. Simply move the camera and click on the window or menu that you want to capture.

Step 4: The screenshot will appear at the corner of your screen for seconds, and then will be automatically saved to your desktop.

Except for the three ways mentioned above, another way to bring up the screenshot toolbar of your Mac is pressing and holding Command + Shift + 5 on your keyboard.

shortcuts to take screenshots on Mac3

The toolbar provides 3 options for taking screenshots on Mac:

  • Capture Entire Screen will take a full-screen screenshot of your Mac.
  • Capture Selected Windows brings a camera icon for selecting a target window or menu.
  • Capture Selected Portion gives you an example area for screenshot before you edit the crop line.

If you are using a MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, capturing screen on your Mac only takes you two simple taps if you set it properly.

3. To take screenshots on MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

Step 1: Click the Apple log at the upper left of the Mac and choose System Preferences.

Step 2: Click the Keyboard option from the menu and choose the Customize Control Strip button at the lower right.

Step 3: Then you'll see a list of features that can be complete via the Touch Bar. You need to select and drag the Screenshot button down, and off the screen to the Touch Bar.

Step 4: Release the Screenshot icon when it's in the Touch Bar and then tap the Done button to finish.

Step 5: The next time you want to take screenshots, simply tap the camera icon and you'll see three types of screenshots and the location where the screenshots are saved on your Mac.

After the screenshot is taken, here comes my favorite part. I can directly drag the picture to any app or window that I want to edit from or share with on my Mac. The benefit is that it won't leave a redundant file on my desktop taking space.

Copy and paste screenshot from Mac clipboard

Sometimes, I would rather the Clipboard than the Share feature on Mac. Fortunately, I can directly copy and paste the screenshots to a chat window or to a document like Microsoft Word. It requires a little more tricks when I use the keyboard shortcut to print the screen on Mac.

This works whether you capture a full screen, a portion of the screen, or a single window or menu of an application.

Step 1: First you need to hold down the hotkeys (e.g. Command + Shift + 4) to bring up the screenshot selection tool.

Step 2: Hold down the Control key while you are moving your mouse to select the area.

Step 3: Release the Control key once the screenshot is taken.

Step 4: Switch to the window or document that you want to paste the screenshot, and then simply press Command + V like you usually do on Mac.

Take a scrolling screenshot on Mac for web pages

The general shortcuts to take screenshots on Mac can't satisfy my need for a scrolling screenshot. But I do need such a feature when I'm reading a web page. Here are two ways I found to take a full screenshot for a web page.

Method 1: Save the entire page as a PDF document in Chrome

Step 1: Visit the web page that you want to save as a picture, and click the File option at the upper left.

Step 2: Select Print from the context menu.

Step 3: Adjust the specifications of the document, like saving the PDF file to the local Mac or to Google Drive.

Step 4: Click the Save button to export the page into a PDF file that can be viewed directly with the Preview app.

Method 2: Capture a scrolling screenshot in Chrome with Command

Step 1: Make sure you are on the web page that you want to take a full screenshot, and then right-click your mouse.

Step 2: Choose the Inspect button from the menu, which brings up the developer tools of Chrome.

Step 3: Press and hold the shortcuts Command + Shift + P to open the command menu.

Step 4: Type in "screenshot" and then select the option Capture full size screenshot. In this way, I got a full and scrolling screenshot on Mac using the command line.

Capture a scrolling screenshot in Chrome

Edit or crop a screenshot on Mac

Not all screenshots are perfect once taken. There are some situations that I want to edit or simply crop the screenshot. As the screenshots will be saved to the desktop by default if no change is made, here is what I do to edit the screenshots on my Mac without third-party software.

Step 1: Find the screenshot that you need to edit on the desktop and then right-click on it.

Step 2: Select Open with and choose the default option Preview (if no other installed software).

Then I can edit the screenshot in Preview, including rotation, adjust size, crop, etc.

  • To rotate the screenshot on Mac, click on the Rotate button at the top toolbar. Each click brings a 90 degrees rotation.
  • To markup the screenshot on Mac, click the View option at the upper left, choose Show Markup Toolbar button to show the toolbar. Then, I can edit the screenshot by adding text, comments, signing documents, highlighting text, etc.
  • To crop the screenshot, drag to select the crop area, then choose Tools > Crop.
  • To adjust the color of the screenshot, choose Tools > Adjust Color, then drag a slider to make an adjustment.
  • To change the size of the screenshot, choose Tools > Adjust Size, enter the desired dimensions, then click OK.

Capture Mac screen without shadow effect

By default, screenshots on my Mac will have a nice drop shadow, which is is a skeuomorphic effect making the window floating visually. But when I need to put this screenshot in a document or align it to a webpage, the surrounding shadow effect of the screenshot is like a round peg in a square hole. How to get rid of the drop shadow? Here is what I did.

Step 1: Press one of the four shortcuts aforementioned to take screenshots.

Step 2: When you are selecting the area to capture, at the same time, hold the Option key.

In this way, the result of the captured screen won't have the annoying drop shadow effect.

Bonus Part 1: How to take and edit screenshots on iPhone or iPad?

Speaking of screenshots, taking screenshots on iOS devices like iPhone and iPad also interests me a lot since they all from Apple family. So, here, as a bonus part, I'd like to show you how to capture, edit, and markup screenshots on iPhone and iPad.

But due to Apple's product upgrades, some of the iOS devices are famous for the home button using Touch ID while some are home-button-less using Face ID instead. This brings a little difference when taking screenshots.

Let's figure it out one by one.

Guide to take screenshots on iPhone

take screenshots on iPhone

If the iPhone is with a home button (a circular button at the bottom), namely, earlier than iPhone 8 and iPhone SE in 2020, you can follow the steps below to take screenshots.

  1. Press the power button which should be on the top or right hand side of your device.
  2. Simultaneously, press the Home button.
  3. After hearing a camera shutter sound, you'll see a thumbnail of the screenshot at the lower left of your screen.

Then, you can give a simple tap to that screenshot to edit or share it.

If there is no Home button for your iPhone, including iPhone X, XR, XS, XS Max, 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, grab the screen in this way.

  1. Press the power button and the volume up button at the same time.
  2. Screenshot will be taken when you see the thumbnail on your iPhone.
  3. You can choose where and what types to save this screenshot on your phone.

Tips: If you have jumped to the new iOS 14, you'll be able to take screenshots by double tapping on the back of your iPhone.

Guide to take screenshots on iPad

take screenshots on iPhone

Similar to other Apple products, iPad also is built in with screenshots feature that allows you to grab anything on your screen. The ways to do this could vary from different generations of iPad.

  • To take screenshots on iPad with Touch ID, simply press the top button and the home button at the same time.
  • To take screenshots on iPad with Face ID, simply press the top button and the volume up button at the same time.
  • To take screenshots on iPad using Apple Pencil, swipe the Apple Pencil from the bottom corner on either side of your iPad screen.
  • To take screenshots on iPad or iPhone using AssistiveTouch, first enable this feature by Settings > General > Accessibility > AssistiveTouch to turn it on. And then tap the AssistiveTouch menu button floating on your screen, choose Device, click More, and choose Screenshot to capture your screen.

Guide to edit and crop screenshots on iOS devices

Once the screen is captured from your device, it will show as a thumbnail in the lower-left corner. If you don't need to make any change on it, you can wait for seconds or directly swap it away, which will automatically save the screenshot in your Photos app.

If you want to edit this screenshot to make it better, you can give a simple tap on the thumbnail before it disappears from your screen to open the edition interface. It allows you to graffiti with multiple pens and colors, add text annotations, signature, magnifier, depth of transparent, and different shapes.

To crop the screenshot you just taken, directly drag the edge of the picture to select the target area.

A Detailed guide to record screen on Mac

Except for taking screenshots, I have to say, recording the screen is another thing that I frequently encounter in my work. For example, I might need to record the screen for a how-to tutorial, in video or GIF. So, I also want to share a detailed guide to make screen recordings on Mac.

1. Record screen on Mac

Here are two ways available on Mac to record the screen. One is to use the built-in software QuickTime Player, and another way is to use shortcuts.

Method 1:Record Mac screen with QuickTime Player

Step 1: Press Command + Space bar to bring up the Spotlight Search box. Then type in "quicktime player" to find and open this app.

Step 2: In QuickTime Player, click on the File option at the top left menu.

Step 3: Choose New Screen Recording from the context menu.

Step 4: Hit record to record the whole screen or drag your mouse cursor to record a portion of your screen.

Method 2:Record Mac screen with shortcuts

Step 1: Switch your screen to the window that you want to record, then press and hold Command + Shift + 5.

Step 2: In QuickTime Player, click on the File option at the top left menu.

Step 3: Click the Record button to start.

2. Stop screen recording on Mac

When I finished recording my screen, it took a lot of time for me to find where I can stop recording. Fortunately, I eventually find where I can stop recording my screen.

No matter which way you choose to record your screen on Mac, the QuickTime Player or shortcuts, you can stop recording by clicking the Stop icon at the top menu of your screen.

3. Trim a screen recording or a video clip on Mac

Step so far, the screen recordings have been taken and it should be listed at the lower right corner. Then, you are allowed to click to preview it. Using shortcuts to record screen, what I like most is that I can click the Trim icon at the upper right of the preview window, which allows me to edit the clip by dragging the yellow handles in the trimming bar. It helps a lot when I accidentally recorded some unwanted screen but I don't want to start over again.

There are options for trimming a video or clip using QuickTime Player as well.

Step 1: In QuickTime Player, open the video that you want to edit in Finder or you can newly record a screen by File > New Screen Recording.

Step 2: Choose Edit in the upper left or you can press and click Trim (or press Command + T) from the menu.

Step 3: Drag the yellow handles at the bottom, and the greyed part outside of the yellow handles is the area that will be trimmed. You can click and hold the handle to make more precise edits, which would be more precise in time.

Step 4: After you confirm the point of starting and ending, you can click on the Trim button to complete.

Bonus Part 2: How to take and edit screen record on iPhone or iPad?

Having discussed taking screenshots on iOS and iPadOS devices, I have to mention the way of screen record on iPhone and iPad. I occasionally need to produce iOS apps tutorials and reviews, which requires the actual screen record on my device. Also, I'm a mobile game (like Fate/Grand Order) player out of my work, so I'd love to share screen videos when I got a wonderful moment.

Hence, as a supplement, the following part is how to record screen on your iPhone and iPad.

Guide to take a screen recording on iPhone

Step 1: In iOS 11 or later, go to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls.

Step 2: Find and tap the green Add icon next to Screen Recording, which makes sure you can access this feature directly through the Control Center.

Step 3: Open Control Center on different models of iPhone:

  • On iPhone X, XR, XS, XS Max, 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, swipe down from the top right-hand corner of your screen to open Control Center.
  • On an iPhone SE (2nd generation), iPhone 8 or earlier, or iPod touch, swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen to access the Control Center.

Step 4: Start recording the screen.

  • If you want to record screen without sound from your microphone, simply tap the circular icon to start recording after a three-second countdown.
  • If you want to record screen with sound from your built-in microphone, deeply press and hold the Record icon and you'll see a hidden list, tap to turn on the microphone.

Step 5: Finish recording by tapping the red status bar at the top.

Guide to screen record on iPad and iPad Pro

In addition to recording screen from the Control Center as you did on iPhone, there is one more option. That is to record screen using QuickTime Player, which is a screen recorder on Mac computer.

Here are ways to take screen recording on iPad.

Method 1:Screen record on iPad without software

Step 1: Enable the feature of screen recording in Control Center by Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls > Add Screen Record.

Step 2: Get ready for screen record by starting the app or hang on the screen that you want to make a video clip.

Step 3: Access the Control Center by swiping down from the top-right corner of the screen.

Step 4: To start, you can either give a quick tap on the Record button with the microphone turning off by default, or you can give a long holding to enable the microphone, recording your iPad screen with sound and narration.

Step 5: To stop or finish this recording, tap the top red status bar on the screen, then tap Stop. Or you can open the Control Center again and tap the (red) recording button. Both operations to stop recording will be captured in the clip.

Method 2:Screen Record on iPad using QuickTime Player

The way of screen recording aforementioned has an obvious shortcoming. That is the annoying red status bar at the top of the screen. In this case, mirroring iPad screen to Mac QuickTime Player is a good option to screen record.

Note: This trick works for any iOS devices, including iPhone, iPad and iPod.

To do this, get ready with:

  • Update the system software of your iPad to iOS 8 or later.
  • Make sure you got a Mac computer that is running OS X Yosemite or later.
  • Prepare a Lightning cable that you used to connect the iOS devices.

And then, follow these steps to record your iPad screen on Mac.

Step 1: Connect the iPad to your Mac computer using the Lighting connector.

Step 2: Press Command + Space bar to search for QuickTime Player on Mac.

Step 3: Open QuickTime Player and click File at the top menu bar.

Step 4: Choose New Movie Recording or press shortcuts Command + Option + N to create a new file.

Step 5: A recording window with yourself on it will appear (I was shocked by my face though) because it uses the built-in FaceTime HD Camera.

Step 6: Then, you need to click the little arrow to expand the drop-down menu next to the record button, then select your iPhone or iPad device as a camera and audio resource.

Step 7: Click the record button to screen record what's displayed on your iPad.

Edit screen recordings on iPhone and iPad

Here comes my favorite part, edition after recordings are taken. But the built-in feature on iPhone and iPad is restricted to daily use. The screen recordings will be automatically saved to the album, from which you can tap on the Edit button at the right top to make changes.

It allows you to trim the start and end point of this clip with the yellow handle. My iPhone is using iOS 13 (Yes, I am not updating it to the newest iOS14 yet), and I can add filters, change specifications like exposure, highlights, shadows, contrast, brightness, black point, saturation, vibrance, warmth, tint, sharpness, definition, noise reduction, and vignette. Also, I'm able to rotate, flip, and crop this video clip.

That's it. Those features are enough for me in daily life to edit the screen recordings, but for more advanced features, I need to click on the More option at the upper right. There are options like iMovie and third-party apps that can finish this task.

Note: If you have dedicated software installed on your Mac computer, you can Airdrop to send this video to your Mac for more edition.

Screenshot not working on Mac, how to fix?

I admit that the screenshot feature of Mac makes work and school easy and convenient. But this is not true when the shortcuts to screenshot is not working on my Mac. I searched for solutions like restarting the Mac and resetting the NVRAM, which are not helpful in my case (though they still deserve trying).

What works for me is to check the shortcut settings. I don't know why but the default shortcuts were changed. Here is how to check and re-enable shortcuts to take screenshots on Mac computers.

Step 1: Click on the Apple logo at the upper left and choose System Preferences.

Step 2: Click Keyboard and shift to the Shortcuts tab.

Step 3: Click Screenshots in the list on the left of the Shortcuts tab.

Step 4: Check if the shortcuts to take screenshots are disabled or changed.

Step 5: If so, turn on it again and set it properly.

In some cases, if a camera shutter sound appears while you can't find the screenshots on the desktop, it doesn't mean it's not working. Instead, I'd advise checking where the screenshots are saved on your Mac.

Screen recording has no sound on Mac, how to fix?

It might sound foolish, but it did cause a problem for me that my screen recordings with QuickTime Player have no sound! The internal microphone seems not working at all. Of course, audio options like Soundflower would be a solution in some cases.

Here are some tricks I found, which hopefully can help you if you are facing the same problems.

Step 1: Go to QuickTime Player > File > New Screen Recording.

Step 2: Click the little down arrow next to the record button to chooses the audio source.

Step 3: Change the default option None to Internal Microphone (or other software options you've authorized) to record both the screen and your voice.

Step 4: If the internal  microphone is not collecting your sound as screen recording, you should go to System Preferences > Sound to test and check for sound input and output.

If you use Command + Shift + 5 shortcuts to grab your screen, such settings are also available to check by the Options button > Built-in Microphone. Then, you'll be able to record your Mac screen with audio.

Besides the built-in tools to screenshot and screen record your Mac, some advanced users are expecting for paid products for more features.

Though the built-in feature to take screenshots on Mac is good enough for daily use, there is no denying that paid tools are more attractive in advanced features. As for me, a great part of my work, taking screenshots and recordings make my posts easy to understand and instructional. Over years, I've been benefited from the Windows snipping tool before I change to this MacBook Air in 2015. And I've tried several snipping tools on my Mac which definitely are uneven in quality.

I picked the 5 best snipping tools and screen recorders for Mac, including both paid and free software, for your reference if you are looking for such software.

Top 5 snipping tools for Mac

1. Snagit

Mac snipping tool Snagit

It's acknowledged that Snagit is the best tool to capture screen on Mac. Personally, I've been using this software on my MacBook Air since 2018, and I never have any issue with it. It's more than a snipping tool following with powerful ability to edit the images and videos, but also an incredible screen recorder for Mac. What surprises me are the features of color filters, callouts, arrows, blur, Eraser, Selection, etc. I can even change the picture's background to transparent with this software.

To use Snagit to take screenshots and recordings on your Mac, press and hold Command + Shift + C (shortcuts can be modified by yourself) to capture full screen, selected screen, scrolling screen, and videos. The screenshots can be edited with the features I mentioned above, and the video clips can be trimmed and changed to an animated GIF file.

Though I need to pay $50 after a 15-day trial, the average Mac user will take to Snagit as a duck takes to water. Snagit is powerful in these aspects:

  1. Take screenshots on Mac in a full screen, a portion of the screen, or a scrolling screen.
  2. Edit screenshots and other images on an advanced scale.
  3. Capture video, screen recordings, and create animated GIFs from the captured screenshots.
  4. An enriched resource of stamps, shapes, and emoticons, etc.

Pros

  • Easy and powerful features.
  • Large library of aesthetic resource.

Cons

  • Expensive price for full access.
  • No featured options for video edition.

2. CloudAPP

Mac snipping tool CloudApp

Another one I thought is a good snipping tool is CloudApp that's recommended by many designers, developers, executives, and marketing professionals. As it goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. My first impression on it is a straightforward tool for screenshotting, GIF making, video taking, and screen recording.

It shares the same shortcuts with the Mac built-in app, Command + Shift + 5, to take screenshots. I can capture the full screen by a simple click on anywhere of my screen, or select a portion. Once the picture is created, a link to this image will be created, upload, and opened on my browser, so that later it can be copy-pasted, viewed or add annotations by my colleagues if I authorize. Annotations include shapes, texts, crops, symbols, etc.

CouldApp is powerful in these ways:

  1. Add annotations and highlights for screenshots and videos.
  2. Share the captured or recorded screen as a link on cloud drive to free up space of the computer.
  3. Drag and drop a piece of the screenshot to target document or any email client.

Pros

  • Professional snipping products for Mac with an excellent support team.
  • Integration with a huge suite of applications (including marketing, sales, development, design, support, and productivity) through the Cloud.

Cons

  • A limitation on screen capture and recording in free version.
  • Not so easy to save images, videos, and GIFs to the desktop.

3. Lightshot

Mac snipping tool Lightshot

This snipping tool for Mac is also recommended by many people as well, praised as one that you can't simply forget about. So, I download and tested it on my Mac, finding that it makes screenshot as easy as a pie. It's more like the Prt Sc program on Windows as all I need to do is to press the hotkeys Command + Shift + 9 to drag and select the screen that I want to pint. After the screenshot is taken, I can add markups like shape, text, etc.

Minimal but not simplify, this tiny snipping tool offers several features to users, including:

  1. Display and search for similar images on Google once you capture a screenshot.
  2. Make screenshots more interesting and beautiful with image enhancements tools.
  3. Print screen one after the other in a quick succession

Pros

  • Easy to install, use, and lightweight.
  • Completely free snipping tool for Mac.
  • Quick access, share, upload images to social media and the cloud.

Cons

  • Require social media or Google account.
  • Use their own cloud space rather than iCloud or OneDrive.

4. Monosnap

Mac snipping tool monosnap

When it comes to taking screenshots on Mac, Monosnap is a software that has to be mentioned. Monosnap is a free screen snapshot tool for Mac though it offers an in-app purchase option. Like most apps, I can capture a selected area by pressing Command + Shift + 5 (adding a simple click for a single window), or the full screen with Command + Shift + 6.

The captured screen can be edited with arrow, rectangle, line, shape, text, blur, crop, and resize. What's more, I can directly change the format of the screenshots to PNG or JPG as I like. A convenient feature is that I can add another screenshot in the same file, which makes it easy for me to form a step-by-step guide.

But more than that, here are some inspirations for this app:

  1. Customizable hotkeys like the built-in screenshot feature on Mac.
  2. Use not only crosshairs but also a little zoomed-up area to show the exact coordinates.
  3. Allows copying a hex code for developers and artists.
  4. Several features like blur, crop, annotations, resize

Pros

  • Enhanced image edition features.

Cons

  • Pushy upgrade and purchase advertisements.
  • Not easy to access the captured files locally.

5. Skitch

Mac snipping tool skitch

Actually, before Snagit, it's the first snipping tool I used on my Mac due to its simplicity and intuitiveness. Skitch focuses more on annotation, shapes and sketches, just like the built-in screenshot tool on Mac. It allows me to add text, shapes, arrows, highlights, color, draw on your image, and blurs.

Pros

  • Simple and intuitive interface.
  • Free snipping tool for Mac.

Cons

  • Limited features.

A sum-up

All 5 snipping tools for Mac are good options. But among the paid ones, Snagit, which I have been using for over two years, is the best one in my opinion. And for the free snipping tool, I would recommend Lightshot for its resources.

Top 5 screen recorders for Mac

Inevitably, my work involves how-to recordings and video tutorials, while the built-in QuickTime Player and shortcuts way can't finish advanced tasks. Sometimes, the built-in apps just won't work. Fortunately, similar to snipping tools for Mac, there are third-party screen recorders on the market with excellent features as well.

I would recommend top 5 screen recorders for Mac if you have advanced requirements on video edition.

best Mac screen recorder

1. Camtasia

Both Snagit and Camtasia are developed by Techsmith and they both are powerful in screen recording on Mac. Different from Snagit's quick recording and exporting, Camtasia put more attention on professional tasks in video editing, which makes it worthy of $250 around.

Recording starts from selections of the region, camera, microphone, and system audio resource. To screen record the Mac, I select the Color LCD for my MacBook Air and preset 720 HD 1280*720 (other options are available for sure) before I click on the Start Recording button.

A captured screen record will be previewed right away in its video editor. Its interface looks a little complicated at first, but I soon find it's really powerful and sophisticated by adding clicks, keystrokes, spotlights, and zooms to make my tutorials clear enough for my readers.

Specifically, Camtasia smooths the process of video recording and editing by the features:

  • Record screen on Mac with audio using the internal or external microphone.
  • Allows sending recordings from a mobile device for edition directly.
  • Plenty of assets and resources to flourish the recordings or videos, including annotations, callouts, annotations, transitions, animations, cursor effects, and more.

Pros

  • A fully featured video editor and screen recorder for Mac.

Cons

  • A complex interface for beginners.
  • A tad expensive price for full access to this screen recorder.

2. TinyTake

This screen capture & video recording software is recommended by my colleague. What wins my heart is the interface of TinyTake that looks like Microsoft PowerPoint. Similar to Snagit, this paid screen recorder would be recommended if the videos are used for online customer support, customer documentation, educational tutorials.

TinyTake covers those features to make it better:

  • Edit screenshots and video recordings with a crop, numbered steps, eraser, magnifier, highlighter, watermark, annotations.
  • Captures could be saved to the local computer, share online, or upload to a cloud server.

Pros

  • Intuitive and user-friendly interface.
  • Generally support screen capture and edition

Cons

  • Free version limits the time of recording (less than 5 minutes) and the cloud storage space.
  • Too many ads in the trial version

3. OBS Studio

OBS Studio is a free and open-source software recording screen and live streaming for gamers. I have to admit that it's a little bit difficult for me to pick up from scratch, as its real-time source and device capture, scene composition, encoding, recording, and broadcasting.

Spending almost a week, though still not fully skilled at it, I realize that OBS studio is not a good option for quick video clipping or screen recording. I first was required to add a screen resource. For example, if I want to record the screen of Microsoft Word, I need to select Microsoft Word from the list of windows, and then adjust the area to capture.

However, it's definitely an amazing professional video recorder and capture tool for Mac if you want to broadcast your game streams to platforms like Twitch and YouTube.

In detail, it helps capture screen on your Mac in these ways:

  • Advanced video recording and live game streaming.
  • Provides multiple sources including window captures, images, text, webcams, scenes, transitions, etc.
  • Allows scenes and sources preview and voiceover noise reduction.

Pros

  • Advanced and full-featured screen recorder and producer.
  • Free and open to the public.

Cons

  • Not so easy for newbies.

4. ScreenFlow

What comes before the last finalist is ScreenFlow. Though the most impression on this app is its price tag, I still want to test why it deserves that. How do I think? Well, since it's in the list of my top 5 screen recorders, you know the answer. ScreenFlow is a wonderful selection to record and edit video in macOS!

Let's see the reasons:

  • Captures actions on Mac desktop screen
  • Allows importing clips, photos, audio files into this app as a project.
  • Edit the recordings by rimming, rearranging, adding callouts, and annotations, effects and filters, and re-timing clips.
  • Screen grabbing feature with options of Mac desktop screen, audio from internal microphone, video from the FaceTime camera, and voice from external input devices.

Pros

  • A full-featured video editor and screen recorder for Mac.
  • Collections of internal and external resources.

Cons

  • Not worthy if no extension features are needed.

5. TechSmith Capture (Previously called Jing)

I have to admit that Techsmith is doing a really amazing job in screen capture technology because the Jing is another product from this company. Jing now is updated and replaced by TechSmith Capture, a same screencasting software to record screen on your Mac. But compared to the same series of products, it's more simple and easy to handle with.

I can press and hold Command + Shift + 1 and start recording my Mac screen in a selected or full screen. When it's finished, I can either preview the video or simply press cancel to permanently deleted this screen recording.

Pros

  • Allows webcam while recording a screencast video.
  • Easy-to-use screen and video recorders.
  • Free recording tool for Mac

Cons

  • No video edition option.

A sum-up

Among the applications I've tested, many of them are able to take screenshots and record screen on Mac with edition feature, such as Snagit, CloudApp, Apowersoft, etc. They are enough for daily use, while if advanced and professional features are required when making videos, for the paid tool, I would recommend Camtasia, and for free screen recorder for Mac, OBS studio is more comprehensive.

How to find screenshots and screen recordings on Mac?

Step to so far, the part of making screenshots and screen recordings are completed. Nevertheless, from my experience of taking screenshots on Mac, another problem would occur. Where do my screenshots go? I know that on my iPhone, the captured screenshots will be saved to the Photos by iOS and I can find them under Screenshots. But this is not the same on my MacBook Air.

Then, where the screenshots and recordings are saved on Mac? Can I change the location?

Let me explain one by one in the following part.

The place that screenshots and recordings are saved on Mac

By default, once you hear the camera shutter sound, the captured screenshot will then be automatically saved to your Desktop folder unless you change this. You'll be able to find the saved picture by Finder > Desktop, or you can simply access the thumbnail of the screenshots on the desktop.

If you use QuickTime Player to cast the screen but you forget where you saved your recording, then try to create a new recording by QuickTime Player > File > New Screen Recording. And when it's finished, you'll be asked to choose where to save the new screencasting. Then, you'll see the default option of your Mac to save screen recordings.

In my case, it's saved to the QuickTime Player iCloud folder. And I can access it through Finder > iCloud Drive > QuickTime Player.

If you accidentally call a halt during recording due to power outage or system crash, then the screen recordings would be automatically saved in a folder called Autosave Information under this application. To access it, open Finder, click the Go button at the upper left of your Mac, choose Go to Folder, and type in:~/Library/Containers/com.apple.QuickTimePlayerX/Data/Library/Autosave Information

Note: If you use Command + Shift + 5 to record the screen, you can find the default location to save recordings under the Options button (desktop is the default option).

Change the path to save screenshots on Mac

Of course, you can either permanently change the location to save all screenshots or just one case.

To create a folder for saving all captured screenshots on Mac permanently:

Step 1: Create a new folder named "Screenshots" or what else you like.

Step 2: Open the Terminal program by Launchpad > Other > Terminal.

Step 3: In the Terminal prompt, type in the following command and follow with an Enter hitting:

defaults write com.apple.screencapture location

Step 4: Drag the folder you just created to the Terminal window, and it will automatically convert to the folder path.

Step 5: Hit the Enter key to confirm this operation and then quit Terminal.

From now on, all your captured screenshots will be saved to this newly created folder.

To change where screenshots are saved on Mac for once:

If you take screenshots with Command + Shift + 3 or Command + Shift + 4, you can change the location before it's vanished from the corner of your Mac by right-clicking on it. From the right-click context menu, 3 locations are provided: Desktop folder, Documents folder, and the Clipboard.

If you take screenshots with Command + Shift + 5, you can change the location by the Options button on the toolbar. Several paths are available like Desktop folder, Documents folder, and the Clipboard, Mail, Message, and Preview.

How to Change Default Screenshots File Format from PNG?

The default format of screenshots taken on Mac is .PNG. However, for reasons like file size and resolution, you might want other formats like JPG, TIFF, GIF, and PDF.

Here is how to change the default format of screenshots on Mac.

Step 1: Find and open the Terminal program in the Utilities folder.

Step 2: Type in the following command and then hit Enter. You can replace jpg with tiff, gif, or pdf according to your requirements.

defaults write com.apple.screencapture type jpg

Step 3: Quit Terminal and then restart your Mac to check if it has been modified to the format you want.

How to recover lost/deleted screenshots and video recordings on Mac?

So far, the processes of taking, saving, finding, and editing screenshots and recordings are all finished now. I'd like to mention one more thing about this issue. That is to recover screenshots and screen recordings after it's deleted or lost.

This is quite important. For me, I often take screenshots to make featured images for our posts. Also, recording my computer for video tutorials or GIF files is a necessary part of  my work. So, those screenshots and screen recordings are so critical resources for my work that I can't imagine what if I lost them for some reason.

Just in case, back up them if those files are vital for you as well. If unfortunately, you lost or deleted those images and videos while you don't have any backup, use data recovery software to get them back.

Verdict

This is what I have known about taking screenshots and recording screen videos on Mac. Basically, the shortcuts to invoke the built-in programs are enough for my daily use, while paid snipping tools for Mac and screen recorder absolutely have their advantages. Therefore, it varies from person to person to decide which product is better, especially when it comes to our budget. But anyway, you should always back up the captured files, in case all efforts to take them are in vain until they are recovered by image and video recovery software.