The Best Screenshot Apps for Mac (Free and Paid Options)

Utilities • Updated on April 4, 2024

screenshots

We see that you are looking for a great screenshot app for Mac. We also take it that you are not so happy with the built-in screenshot utility. Well, you are at the right place.

At TheSweetBits, we heavily depend upon screenshots, especially for preparing the best how-to content and reviews for our readers. It also means we have to use the best screenshot apps available for macOS. And we thought we should recommend some of these tools to those in need.

Quick Insights:  

  • CleanShot X is the best all-in-one screenshot and screencast app for Mac.
  • Xnapper offers a quick way to turn screenshots into share-worthy images.
  • LightShot is a great free screenshot app that packs standard features.
  • Snagit for professionals who need screenshots and video recordings.

Read along if you want to know how exactly these apps made it to the top!

Built-in macOS screenshot.app

Again, you can access the native screenshot utility on Mac using some keyboard shortcuts.

  • You can press Shift + Command + 3 to capture a screenshot of the entire screen.
  • You can press Shift + Command + 4 to capture a screenshot of a select area.
  • You can press Shift + Command + 4 + Space Bar to capture the screenshot of a specific window.

The Good

By default, macOS will save the screenshots to the Desktop. But, of course, you can change the location through the Screenshot app settings. You can also use the app to record a video of the screen. Apple has integrated a timer into the Screenshot app as well. So, it’s all a piece of cake.

The Bad

Despite all these standard features, the native screenshot utility is not enough when you want to take better screenshots. For instance, there are no options for enhanced annotation or editing. You cannot customize the entire workflow and enable the cloud-sharing, either.

The Worse

Also, you cannot use the native screenshot utility everywhere. For instance, it does not let you capture the content from Apple TV. These issues might come your way if you have to take professional screenshots regularly.

On the bright side, most third-party screenshot apps can help you overcome these issues! They also offer multi-device syncing, scrolling screenshots, and advanced editing tools.

But you should know what’s best for your needs.

Top screenshot apps to snip on Mac

We tested over 20 screenshot apps for Mac and chose the best four options (Read the full rundown of how we select tools to feature on TheSweetBits blog). More importantly, we have recommended the best apps for particular needs. For instance, if you need ultimate editing options, we have one recommendation. On the other hand, if you want something straightforward, there is something else.

#1 CleanShot X — Best overall screenshot app

Even after years, CleanShot X remains the best overall screenshot app for Mac. It packs all the core features you would expect from a screenshot/screencast utility. By any level of comparison, CleanShot X is way better than the built-in macOS screenshot app.

cleanshot

Accessing CleanShot X is a breeze, either through the menu bar or keyboard shortcuts. You can capture screenshots in various modes, including area selection, full screen, individual windows, and scrolling shots. A built-in timer helps schedule your captures precisely. We regularly use the options for OCR screenshots as well as screen recordings.

Editing is effortless with CleanShot X’s extensive annotation tools. Crop, highlight, redact, draw, mark, and add shapes and text to tailor your screenshots perfectly. Sharing is equally convenient – upload with a single click and copy the link to your clipboard. Advanced features like team management and self-destruct control ensure secure and efficient collaboration.

It is also impressive that you can customize almost every aspect of a screenshot. For instance, you can select the background for the image or how it interacts with other graphical elements. We use CleanShot X as an annotation utility for images from other apps as well.

Pros

  • An intuitive and productive UI
  • It integrates so well with macOS
  • It offers advanced editing options
  • Suitable for content creators

Cons

  • Many features are limited to the paid version

Pricing: You can use the basic features of CleanShot X for free. But the paid version costs $29 (one-time payment) or $9.99 per month per user (Setapp subscription).

Read also: A Content Creator’s Perspective – Mastering Mac Screenshots With CleanShot X

#2 Xnapper: Best for quick and beautiful screenshots

Xnapper is probably one of the most underhyped screenshot apps for Mac. It allows you to capture stunning screenshots and share them in a jiffy. While doing it, you do not have to worry about how it looks on target platforms, either.

It packs many features that make our lives easier. For instance, you can use automatic balancing to get optimized screenshots in a click. Similarly, social media templates can save time when preparing screenshots in bulk. We loved how you can use multiple presets to save your preferences for later. Once done, you can select a preset to make specific changes.

We also loved the annotation tools from Xnapper. Even though some of these features are in the beta stage, you can count on them. In the end, you can easily annotate the screenshots based on your needs. For us, it is convenient to add tutorial elements like highlights and instruction graphics. It also brings the standard set of features for drawing and markup.

An area where Xnapper needs improvement is sharing. Unlike CleanShot X, Xnapper does not offer options for built-in sharing. It does not have a cloud storage option, either. Considering how share-worthy Xnapper screenshots are, we would love to see such features in the package.

Pros

  • Instant, share-worthy screenshots
  • Plenty of social media templates
  • Auto-balancing and presets

Cons

  • No built-in cloud sharing options

Pricing: While a free trial is available, unlocking the full potential requires a one-time purchase of $24.99, or $9.99 per month per user from a Setapp subscription.

Read our full Xnapper review 

#3 LightShot: Best free screenshot app for Mac

LightShot is the best free screenshot app for Mac by all means. Before I shifted to CleanShot X, LightShot was my go-to option for great screenshots. So, if you do not want to spend money on a screenshot tool, you can check out LightShot.

LightShot

Setting up and using LightShot does not take more than a minute. You can capture screenshots of the selected area with just two clicks. Once you have captured an area, you can access the annotation/editing tools from the integrated widget.

Though not a lot, the editing tools from the LightShot package are sufficient for most users. You can add a variety of elements and annotate the screenshot. You can also add text boxes and shapes to the image. It also features an integrated sharing interface that helps you instantly upload and share screenshots with ease.

You will receive a notification once the file has been uploaded. Then, you can copy the link and share it with others. Unlike Snagit, LightShot does not consume a lot of system resources. So, you can use the screenshot function even while running heavy-duty apps. Once you have set up the hotkeys, you won’t even know the presence of LightShot.

Pros

  • A simple and lightweight design
  • It does not consume many resources
  • You can easily upload and share screenshots
  • You get standard editing options

Cons

  • It lacks multiple screen capture modes.

Pricing: LightShot is free to use and does not contain any ads. You can download it from the official website, and the app is also available for Windows, Chrome, Opera, and Firefox.

#4 Snagit: Best for screenshot & screen recording

Snagit is often called the best screen capture software for professionals. We think this fully-fledged tool from TechSmith deserves a place on this list. We recommend you consider this app if you need advanced editing and screen recording capabilities.

snagit 1

Snagit’s core features are designed for optimal results. For example, you can record video and audio when you capture the screen — a suitable approach for recording tutorials and presentations. Beyond standard all-in-one and scrolling screenshot options, Snagit offers support for creating animated GIFs and recording screens from your macOS and iOS devices.

Despite its feature set, we found the editing options on Snagit to be smarter and easier to use. For instance, the ‘Step Tool’ simplifies creating informative tutorials, while the ‘Grab Text’ tool seamlessly extracts text from screenshots. Additionally, pre-made layouts and templates expedite the creation of polished videos and GIFs.

You can easily share your screenshots with other platforms as well. For instance, Snagit easily integrates with Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Word. By the way, you can also capture screenshots or record videos from most apps.

Pros

  • Snagit enables a professional workflow
  • Advanced features for editing videos
  • It supports video and audio recording
  • Excellent tech support and community

Cons

  • It does not offer a free version

Pricing: You can purchase Snagit 2024 for a yearly subscription of $39.99, which is reasonable enough. You can explore education/enterprise discounts as well.

Read our full Snagit review here.

#5 Droplr: Best for cloud-based workflows

Droplr is a comprehensive screenshot tool compatible with both Mac and Windows. It primarily caters to business and enterprise users, offering high-resolution screen capture capabilities along with cloud storage and enhanced security features, all available through a monthly subscription. It seamlessly integrates with platforms such as eBay, Mailchimp, Intercom, Slack, and more.

droplr

Once your screenshot or recording is complete, it’s automatically saved to your Droplr cloud account, with a link conveniently copied to your clipboard for instant sharing with your team. While it offers the option to record videos in 4K resolution, there are limited video editing capabilities, primarily limited to trimming the video length.

Pricing: Droplr is starting at $6/month. A free trial is available.

#6 Monosnap: Best for business use

We recommend you check out Monosnap if you are looking for additional features for sharing screenshots within your business. Even though it packs the standard editing/annotation features, the better focus is on how easily you can create a workflow with screenshots.

Monosnap

Though Monosnap does not have as many features as CleanShot X, there are ample ways to annotate or edit your screenshot. You can use tools like highlighter, blurring, shapes, and text. You can also export the image to your desired photo editor app.

You can do more with the enterprise plan from Monosnap. It will give you access to awesome features like team management, quality control, custom sharing, and enterprise-grade security. You can also get tailor-made workflows.

Pricing: You can get a limited free version, which gives you 2GB of cloud storage and supports most formats. If you want additional features, the non-commercial and commercial plans cost $2.50 and $5, respectively.

Free options worth considering

#7 Gemoo Snap: Best multipurpose screenshot app

Gemoo Snap is a new, free and easy-to-use snipping app for taking quick screenshots for any kind of project. It can also recognize text (OCR) for grabbing unreadable text from the image.

snap

We love the Screenshot & Beautify feature as it allows us to capture screenshots and beautify them by adding annotations, arrows, text, shapes, and numbers. The core editing tools from Gemoo Snap still save more time for video creators, marketers, and project managers. It is impressive that you can set up hotkeys for almost all types of screenshot needs.

Pricing: Gemoo Snap is free and it is compatible with both Mac and Windows OS. There is also a Chrome Extension that helps take screenshots from the web page.

#8 MarkupHero: A free option for markups

MarkupHero is another free screen capture and annotation tool for macOS. You can use the app on not only Mac but also Windows, Linux, and Chrome. As its name suggests, the app delivers an experience focused on annotating your screenshots.

MarkupHero

We also love how integrated MarkupHero is with the web platform. It means you can share your annotations and ideas with others. Furthermore, you can edit your notes on the go. The app offers some collaboration-oriented features in the enterprise plan.

Pricing: You can get a free version of MarkupHero, which is excellent.

#9 Shottr: Free & lightweight screenshot App for Mac

Shottr is a killer choice if you have an old Mac! The app weighs only 1.5MB but delivers several cool features. For instance, you can get scrolling screenshots and markup screenshots on your Mac. In addition, the app lets you zoom in on pixels as well.

Shottr

What’s more, you get advanced options like OCR and M1-optimized performance. It even comes with a color picker, a feature we have not found elsewhere. Overall, the package looks okay. However, it could use better integration with macOS.

Pricing: Shottr is a free app, but it is regularly maintained and updated.

#10. Skitch: For simple and straightforward

Skitch is a straightforward screenshot app for Mac, and it comes from Evernote. So, if you use Evernote for your note-taking needs, Skitch will easily integrate with your workflow. The User Interface is simple, and you can quickly add shapes and text content to the image.

skitch

More importantly, you can share your screenshots with Evernote with a single click. But, of course, there are options to share the screenshot with third-party apps. However, we thought the performance aspect could be better.

Pricing: Skitch is available for free, though.

Bonus option: TextSniper

If you have been looking to capture a small portion of the screens to save text, images, videos, and files that are impossible to copy-paste, then the TextSniper app is worthy of mention here. TextSniper is a Mac snipping tool that helps capture and copy text from images, PDF files, videos, or any other digital sources that contain text.

The app is quite simple and easy to use, it uses OCR technology, you simply select ‘Capture Text’ from the menu bar,  and the text inside the selection will be quickly recognized and copied to the clipboard. This is a convenient and effective technology that extracts and recognizes any text that is non-editable and non-searchable on your Mac’s screen. Read our full review of TextSniper here.

Pricing: TextSniper starts price at $7.99, you will have a 7-day money-back guarantee, and you can also download and give the app a try.

Choosing the best screenshot-taking app

Here’s the thing about our coverage of the best screenshot apps for Mac.

You can expect a better screenshot-capturing experience, no matter which app you choose. However, if you want to know our opinion, here is what we think.

We recommend CleanShot X as the best screenshot app for macOS for apparent reasons. It packs almost all the features you need to take professional screenshots. At the same time, it does not stress out your Mac, either. It offers a free plan, but we think the premium upgrade is a worthy investment.

Equally impressive is Xnapper, which has become our favorite recently. Xnapper makes it effortless to create screenshots and turn them into something worth sharing. In our daily lives, Xnapper is a time-saver that does not compromise quality.

But, hey, feel free to check out other options (including the free ones) if you have specific needs.

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