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3 simple ways to screen record on MacBook

Explore the easy ways to screen record on any MacBook Air and MacBook Pro: QuickTime Player, Screenshot toolbar, a 3rd-party screen recorder for macOS.

Lucas Seltzer Updated on Dec 30, 2022 5:17 PM
  • You can screen record on MacBook by using the Screenshot toolbar, QuickTime Player, or a 3-rd party screen recording app -Screen Recorder.
  • For a MacBook that has macOS Catalina or newer, press Shift + Command + 5 and use the Screenshot toolbar to take a recording of your screen.
  • If you're running an earlier macOS version, open QuickTime Player and choose File > New Screen Recording.
  • To include audio in your screen recordings, make sure to turn on your MacBook's internal microphone.

Recording a video of your MacBook's screen just takes a second.

There can be various occasions where you might need to record the screen of your MacBook. Whether you're preparing some tutorials for your team or creating a presentation, screen recording is a helpful way to take a video capture of anything on the screen you want to demonstrated.

You can use the Screenshot Toolbar or QuickTime Player that come with your MacBook, but you can do much control with a third-party screen recorder software. Here we will cover in details how to screen record on a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro.

Quick Tip:

  • Both macOS Screenshot Toolbar and QuickTime Player are limited to recording audio from your microphone like voice over for narration or podcast. If you want to record system sound in the screen recording, skip to this part of this article.

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The techniques you'll need to use will depend on the macOS version of your MacBook, and whether or not you want to capture a video of your screen with audio recorded.

What are your options to screen record on a MacBook?

The obvious options are the native QuickTime Player and Screenshot Toolbar utility, which are easy to use and will record MacBook's screen, as well as the audio if the Internal Microphone is turned on. You're given the intuitive buttons to start and stop the screen recording, and a number of basic configurations to choose from.

Since macOS Catalina, Screenshot Toolbar has been charged to recording the screen. Even you use the New Screen Recording function within QuickTime Player, Apple will take you back to the Screenshot menu. For any older MacBook that is running macOS Mojave or earlier, QuickTime Player could serve your purpose.

One thing needed to be noticed is that Screenshot toolbar and QuickTime Player can only record mic's audio. That means anything playing on the MacBook won't be captured in the screen recording. So, if you want to record internal sound while recording your screen, AppGeeker Screen Recorder for macOS is an ideal option for you.

How to record screen using the Screenshot toolbar

Screen recording on a MacBook Pro, Air using Screenshot toolbar requires macOS Catalina 10.15 or newer. Here's the steps you'll need to take.

Step 1- Check macOS version and install the latest version

After click Apple Menu, choose About This Mac. From the window that appears, you'll find your macOS version.

If the macOS is on Mojave 10.14 or earlier, scroll down to the next method of using QuickTime Player for screen recordings on MacBook.

Step 2- Invoke Screenshot Toolbar on your MacBook

On your keyboard, hit Shift + Command +5 to open the Screenshot toolbar.

It's a toolbar presented with multiple controls at the bottom of the screen, allowing you record screen in addition to taking screenshots.

For screen recording on MacBook, there're two icons labeled with a record symbol on the toolbar - Record Entire Screen, Record Select Portion.

As the name suggests, Record Entire Screen will record the full screen, capturing everything on the monitor of the MacBook, whereas Record Selected Portion allows you to select the specific screen area you wish to record and leave out the rest.

Start Screenshot Toolbar by using Command key, Shift key and 5.

Step 3- Settings for screen recording

Clicking on Options on the Screenshot Toolbar should you get a slew of settings that you can configure before screen record video.

Click on Options to access its menu and make your choices for your MacBook screen recording.

  • Save to: Default to Desktop. You can change the location to where macOS saves the new video file once it's finished recording.
  • Timer lets you set the screen to begin record with a 5-second or 10-second countdown as soon as you hit the Record button.
  • Microphone: You need to tick your MacBook's built-in microphone if you'd like to record both screen and audio at the same time, so you can narrate operations if needed be.
  • Show Mouse Clicks: Mouse clicks could be recorded in the MacBook screen recording. Every time you click anywhere on the screen, a black circle will appear around the pointer, which is helpful for showing someone exactly where you're clicking.
  • Show Floating Thumbnail: Enable the feature will get yourself a floating thumbnail on the screen when the recording comes to an end. When you click on it, you could preview the video instantly.
  • Remember Last selection: You can save the last screen record mode or any other mode you used so it's not reset when you next open Screenshot Toolbar.

Step 4- Start the screen recording on MacBook

Choose Record Entire Screen to take a fullscreen recording. Or click Record Selected Portion and then resize the frame until you get the right part of the screen to record.

Once you're done, click Record to start a video recording of the screen. If you change your mind to give up a screen recording, hit the Esc key, but you need to do this before getting start.

Screenshot Toolbar screen recorder will capture whatever on the whole screen or the specific screen area, along with the sound coming from the microphone.

Step 5- Stop screen recording on MacBook

While recording screen in macOS, you may have noticed that Screenshot utility is suspiciously absent. To end your recording on the MacBook, click the Stop icon in the macOS menu bar at the top of the screen. The hotkeys to stop recording are Command, Ctrl, Esc.

The new video will be automatically saved on the desktop in .mov format unless you change the location through the Options menu before initiating a screen recording.

How to screen record MacBook with QuickTime Player

QuickTime Player app comes pre-installed in MacBook with Screen Recording ability, and is able to record the screen and your activities without the need of any additional software. If your laptop is running on an macOS version earlier than macOS Catalina, such as macOS Mojave, it's tough to go wrong with QT Player.

1. Launch QuickTime Player on your MacBook. You can find it in the Applications folder, or use the Spotlight to search it.

2. At the menu bar, click File > New Screen Recording.

Pick "New Screen Recording" option from the QuickTime File menu.

Note: If your MacBook has been updated to a version newer than macOS Mojave, the Screenshot utility will be presented in front of you, and you need to use the steps mentioned above to capture something on your Mac display.

Apple will show you Screenshot toolbar if you have macOS Catalina 10.15 or higher.

3. There's also recording controls you can access if you click the arrow icon next to red Record button. Make your decisions whether or not you need to enable audio recording to include the microphone sound, and show the pointer or clicks while the video is being recorded.

You're given a few options for your recording.

4. Hit the red Record button, then click anywhere to record a video of entire screen, or drag and select an area on the screen to record that particular area. When you're done, click the Stop icon in the menu bar, or press Command + Control + Esc. The recording will be named "Screen Recording date at time.mov". QuickTime Player will open the recording automatically, allowing you play, edit, share it.

Is it possible to record screen with audio in recordings?

This is depending on the sound type to be recorded: microphone audio, system audio.

The Mac screen recorders like the Screenshot toolbar or the QuickTime Player has an audio recording feature that seamlessly records the audio coming in through your MacBook's microphone, which can be your voice or the sounds/ noises around your machine. This is a useful functionality when you're recording screen, but you're also narrating. The steps are:

Enable microphone in screen recording with QuickTime Player:

  • Open QuickTime Player on the MacBook.
  • Click File, then choose New Screen Recording to open the recording control panel.
  • Click the downward arrow to the right of the Record icon to display the settings.
  • Under Microphone, check the Internal Microphone.

Activate microphone within Screenshot toolbar:

  • Press Command + Shift + 5 to trigger Screenshot toolbar.
  • Click Options to expand its menu.
  • Browse to Microphone section, and opt for [your MacBook] Microphone.

As for the system sound during screen recording, it will be muted. Both tools won't work with any internal audio playing back in the MacBook due to the privacy or security reasons.

Some Mac user has reported that installing Soundflower could capture the audio in the screen recording, but there's a little setting up needed. To ease the process, AppGeeker Screen Recorder for macOS might be at your disposal. It's an all-in-one application for recording your screen, system audio as well as microphone on any MacBook.

Skip to the next part to continue reading.

How to screen record on MacBook via a third-party screen recorder

Freeing you from installing an additional audio drive for QuickTime Player and Screenshot Toolbar to take the audio playing from a video in your browser screen, Screen Recorder for macOS system is easy to set up and gives you more flexibility to record what's on the MacBook Pro or MacBook Air screen. You can set your screen recording to include the system sound and microphone audio simultaneously with a simple click, and access more output format instead of just MOV, including MP4, MOV and GIF. This gives it an edge over Mac's integrated screen recording tools.

The software also ships with a sophisticated editing solution, letting you to draw on your footage while recording, trim, add meta information, and so on. All features that can come in handy.

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As for the actual recording part, it couldn't be any easier to use. Select the screen on MacBook to record, choose to strip or include audio, click the REC button and you're off.

Do the following in order to screen record MacBook with internal audio and microphone together.

1. Launch Screen Recorder on the MacBook.

2. On the main interface, choose Video Recorder tab.

3. Select the recording area. The tool is able to record in full-screen mode and partial-screen mode, as well as support audio from your MacBook or a microphone. Assuming that you tend to screen record a YouTube video playing on Mac (for educational purposes), ensure that you turn on the "System sound" option.

4. When you're ready to begin your capture on MacBook, just press the REC button to the right of the interface.

5. Your screen recording should kick off immediately. Everything is handled with a little pop-up window when you start recording. It includes the ability the minimize the bar, pause the recording or stop it completely, capture photos and make some draws or highlights on the recording in real time to make the video more immersive and comprehensive. The toolbar can be moved around the screen as desired.

6. Click Stop icon when you're done. Preview the video, cut the unwanted part, and finally save the MacBook screen recording to any folder of your choice on the computer. You can also add metadata to the video file.

Now, screen recording on a MacBook has been created and saved to your desired format. Not only can you record what your MacBook screen plays, but you'll be able to listen to the audio (microphone & internal computer sounds) as well.


Before your screen begins to record, you can delve into the settings. Click the Gear icon in the Video Recorder interface and there're options to tweak recording settings, output settings related to location, format, code, quality and frame rate, mouse settings as well as the hotkeys. It's got just about everything you could want from a screen recorder on MacBook.

Final Thought

The attempt to screen record on MacBook is nothing to stress about and takes only a couple of clicks if you arm with a correct tool.

You can simply record on MacBook and add narrations using the in-built Screenshot Toolbar or QuickTime Player without downloading anything.

AppGeeker Screen Recorder mentioned in the article might also be your solution of capturing everything on the screen, both video and audio. It streamlines the video recording process so you can record anything you can see on your screen and anything you can hear from the macOS system. This is particular helpful if you're going to capture movies, tutorials, presentations, interviews, meetings and any other type of video for personal use later. Related Article: How to Capture Video and Audio on a Mac

Keep in mind that you might not allowed to record the screen in some apps.

FAQs: MacBook screen record

Q1. Can you screen record on a MacBook (Pro, Air)?

Certainly Yes. Newer MacBook Air & Pro features with Screenshot Toolbar (Command + Shift + 5) letting you capture a video of entire screen or specific portion of the screen, while any MacBook running with macOS Mojave or earlier macOS appoint QuickTime Player to achieve a video creation through File > New Screen Recording.

Right after choosing New Screen Recording under File in QuickTime, hit the Record button at the middle and then take one of the actions below:

  • Click anywhere to get your entire screen captured.
  • Use your mouse and drag to select certain part and then click Start Recording to capture within the selected area.

Q2: How to screen record in MacBook Air M1 with sound?

It seems that MacBook Air M1 comes pre-loaded with macOS 11 Big Sur during its release, and now should come with the new macOS Monterey (or later.)

To screen record in MacBook Air M1, you'll need to use the Screenshot toolbar. To do this:

  • Hit Command + Shift + 5 to invoke Screenshot toolbar.
  • If you need to record your voice, go to turn on the microphone. Click Option and then from its drop-down menu, choose MacBook's Microphone.
  • Pick a recording type as you require: Record Entire Screen or Record Selected Portion.
  • Click Record to start capture the MacBook's screen.

Tip: Not being able to simultaneously record computer audio in screen recording is a big limitation for Screenshot toolbar. This is where Screen Recorder for MacBook comes in.

Q3. How to grant QuickTime permission for recording screen in MacBook?

Apple computers give you options to turn screen recording on and off for apps, and to enable the access for QuickTime Player on MacBook, do the following steps:

1. On your MacBook, choose Apple Menu > System Preference.

2. Click Privacy & Security. On some MacBook, you need to click Security & Privacy and then select Privacy.

3. Click Screen Recording.

4. Locate QuickTime Player from the list and enable the permission on recording your screen. In case you need to turn off the access, simply deselect the checkbox.

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