Two New Options for Recording Your iPad Screen

When recording my iOS tutorials my setup has consisted of mirroring my iPad to my Mac with the Reflector app, then using the Screenflow app to record the mirrored iPad display. For audio I use a Blue Snowflake mic. This setup works well and I get the added benefit of an iPad frame around the mirrored display for a nice aesthetic.

With Yosemite, I have two more options for recording my iPad screen. First, I can select the iPad as a camera source in QuickTime Player. To create a new recording of your iPad screen with QuickTime:

  1. Make sure you have your iPad connected to your Mac with a Lightning cable.
  2. Launch QuickTime Player.
  3. Select File > New Movie Recording.
  4. Select your iPad as the camera from the pulldown menu to the right of the Record button.
    iPad selected as camera source in QuickTime Player.
  5. Perform the actions you wish to record on the iPad.
  6. Press Stop in QuickTime Player on your Mac.
  7. Choose File > Export and select your desired resolution. Another option is to choose File > Share (or the Share icon to the right of the QuickTime controls) to upload your iPad recording directly to a site such as YouTube or Vimeo.

This workflow will work well in situations where you are not able to use AirPlay to connect to Reflector or another mirroring app (I also use Air Server on occasion).

With the release of Screenflow 5, TeleStream has built on this support for recording the iPad screen in Yosemite. As with QuickTime Player, you can now choose the iPad as a camera source when configuring a new Screenflow recording session.
iPad selected as camera source in Screenflow new recording pane.
Screenflow adds a nice touch (literally): you can add touch callouts that show many of the iOS gestures (taps, swipes, zoom gestures) at specific points in your video recording. This is helpful for pointing out where a user should tap or perform a gesture while you demo apps and built-in features on the iPad.
Touch callouts menu in Screenflow.

Along with the other editing features included with Screenflow ($99 or $34 to upgrade from a previous version) I think this makes it the ideal solution for those who need to record the iPad screen on a regular basis (educators, app developers who need to demo new apps, or anyone with a passion for teaching on a public forum like YouTube or Vimeo).

 

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4 thoughts on “Two New Options for Recording Your iPad Screen”

  1. Thank you for the “how-to” record the iPad via Quicktime. I have been recording iPad functionality and demonstrations through the Reflector App’s own software. The biggest reason is that my iPad 2 does not connect via Thunderbolt.

    1. I use Reflector too (with Screenflow for recording). I like the iPad frame that it adds to the recording. I will use Screenflow to add the tap touch callouts. I think that is helpful for those watching to see exactly where you are interacting with the device. I really wish Apple would just build a cursor during mirroring so that we don’t have to spend time putting it in afterwards.

  2. Luis – I wanted to pick up from our conversation on Facebook. I’m curious to know if you’ve experienced any bugs with recording your iPad screen via QuickTime or ScreenFlow. Here are the two main bugs I experienced in both apps.

    1. When saving the iPad screen recording in landscape orientation, the output is 1200 X 900, regardless of configuring a higher resolution. This is fine for app previews, but the native resolution would be nice for tutorials posted to YouTube or Vimeo.

    2. Recordings in their entirety are not always being saved. For example, I recorded a video for approximately 1 minute, but the saved recording was only 20 seconds! I noticed this issue more in QuickTime, but I also observed it in ScreenFlow.

    I contacted Telestream support regarding ScreenFlow, particularly in regard to issue #1 above. I was told that it’s an issue that Apple needs to fix, as they use the same technology for mirroring as Apple.

    – Eric

    1. No bugs for me so far. I still prefer to use Screenflow just to record my mirrored screen from Reflector or Air Server. It’s nice to have the option with QuickTime but usually a takes a couple of versions before new features like this one are solid enough that I would rely on them for my production work.

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