How to screen record gameplay on your Mac

Serenity Caldwell typing on a MacBook Pro
Serenity Caldwell typing on a MacBook Pro (Image credit: Rene Ritchie / iMore)

"Hi Guys! Lory here with some tips on how to record your Mac screen." If that sounds familiar, than you've been watching too many gamer videos. It's time you made your own.

The Mac comes with a very easy to use screen recording program built in. It's called QuickTime Player and it is the perfect way to get started in the business. If you've completed your training and are ready for a screen recording program with more features, we've got some recommendations for you, too.

How to record your Mac's screen using QuickTime Player

QuickTime offers the fastest, easiest way to quickly get to screen recording without any fuss or muss.

  1. Launch QuickTime Player on your Mac (The easiest way to find it is to search with Spotlight).
  2. Click on File from the App menu on the left side of the screen.

  1. Select New Screen Recording from the drop-down menu.
  2. Click on the caret next to the red button to select your audio options.

  1. Select your Microphone. If you aren't using an external mic, choose Internal Microphone. If you don't want to record audio, choose None.
  2. Select Show Mouse Clicks in Recording to display a dark circle that appears when you click on the screen.
  3. Click on the red record button to begin recording your screen.

  1. If you want to record your entire screen, click anywhere on your screen, then click the prompt.
  2. If you want to record a portion of the screen, drag your cursor from one corner of the section to the other, and then click record when prompted.
  3. Click the Stop button in the Menu bar on the left side of your screen when you're done recording.

How to record a higher frame rate using QuickTime Player

Anyone that's tried to use QuickTime to record fast-paced action games will know that the frame rate is not very good. QuickTime usually records at 30 FPS, which will look choppy when you're playing fast-paced games.

There is a little trick that will increase your frame rate when recording with QuickTime. It is possible to improve the recording speed to as much as 60 FPS.

  1. Click on the Apple menu icon in the upper left corner of your Mac's screen.
  2. Select System Preferences from the drop-down menu.

  1. Click on Displays.
  2. Select the Display tab.

  1. Tick the Scaled option.
  2. Select Larger Text.

Click Scaled, then click Large Text

  1. Click OK when prompted to confirm that you want to scale the resolution of your screen.

This isn't an official way to increase the frame rate when recording your screen with QuickTime, but it seems to work pretty well most of the time.

Best advanced editing screen recording apps for Mac

If you want to do more with your gaming sessions than just record and publish them, there are a few programs out there that will let you do some extra stuff, like edit before publishing and the like. These are the best one's for the Mac.


Capto is a solid screen recording app that works with full HD, in full screen, and at 60fps. It also works with your iPhone or iPad so you can record on any screen you want. It has a handful of editing tools so you can trim and crop videos, as well as annotate clips. When you've finished editing your screen capture video, you can push it to all the social things with just a click right from Capto.

When you're ready for the next step in editing your gaming sessions, Capto is the perfect advanced-beginner program

iShowU HD

ShinyWhiteBox has been building recording software for the Mac for years. iShowU has grown into a feature rich program that gives you tons of recording options, including connecting to your Mac's camera if you want to build in a little personality. You can even record your keyboard and mouse activities to help your viewers to know what to do next. It has automatic full screen recording detection that will switch to full screen recording as soon as you switch to full-screen gaming.

If you're looking for a program that lets you do more than just record your screen, iShowU HD has all the goods. You can download a free trial version to see if it's the right program for your needs.

Screenflow 6

ScreenFlow is probably the most versatile and robust screen recording program that also has an intuitive and easy to use interface. You can record your Mac screen, iPhone or iPad, and capture your Mac's camera image, all at the same time. You can also edit videos with an editing program that looks a bit like GarageBand. You can even produce animations and motion graphics and add closed caption subtitles.

ScreenFlow has all the important recording and editing tools you need and presents it with a clear and understandable interface. You can download a free trial to see if you like it before you buy.

OBS Studio

Open Broadcast Studio is an open source software program for videos and capturing real-time screen recording. It has a lot of helpful tools for setting up the perfect recording ahead of time and includes audio mixing tools to help you adjust your sound for those moments you yell with glee (or anger). It's a little complicated, and takes some getting used to, but it's free and works really well. It's got more recording and set up options than QuickTime, but won't cost you any money to use.

Any questions?

Do you have questions about recording your Mac's screen using QuickTime Player? Put them in the comments below. If you have suggestions for great screen recording software for the Mac that we didn't mention, we'd love to know about it, too.

Lory Gil

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).