How to Record Screen on Mac (macOS Sonoma Included)

Tips • Updated on Dec.18, 2023

screen record

The screen recording feature has gone used to be a specialist feature that only a certain demographic required to craft marketing videos, tutorials, and college assignments. However, the ability to take still captures of what’s on the screen, or even record audio and video has become so essential, that even mobile operating systems natively offer it.

When Apple revealed the screen recorder tool with iOS 11, it became clear that screen recording is a necessity, and not just a novelty feature. So, it makes total sense that macOS would receive a more versatile and power-packed screen recorder too.

And, after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, schools, universities, and even entire workspaces have shifted to the virtual meeting rooms. Figuring out how to record screen on Mac can help you keep a record of interactions during Zoom meetings, and saving online lectures for study and research later on.

Fortunately, there is more than just a single way to create screen recordings on your MacBook or iMac, and here’s how you do it on macOS Ventura and all of the older versions too.

RELATED: Best Screenshot Apps for Mac (Free and Paid)

Using the Screenshot Toolbar

Considering how basic the ability to take screenshots has been on computers, it would be ludicrous to think that Apple hasn’t baked in a quick screen recorder tool into macOS. Known as the Screenshot Toolbar, this quick and easy screen recorder hovers over the desktop screen with the combination of a few keys.

Similar to the way Print Screen command works on Windows OS, what makes Screenshot Toolbar better is the fact that you have more control over what you capture on the screen. The built-in tool allows you to capture a selected window or even the entire screen, as well as record a motion video on the entire screen, or just a select portion.

  1. Press the Command + Shift key on your keyboard and hit on the numpad to bring up the Screenshot Toolbar.
  2. To record the entire screen, press the center icon, or to record a specific portion of the screen, press the button right of the center
  3. When trying to record a portion of the screen, you will be given a cut-out window to select the area on the screen.
  4. Press the Record button to begin, and once you’re done recording the screen, press the square recording icon on the Menu Bar or Command + Control + Esc to stop the recording.


Bonus: record screen with audio
  1. Launch the Screenshot Toolbar by pressing the combination of Command + Shift + 5 on the keyboard.
  2. Click on the Options tab and select the audio receiver device as Built-in Microphone or any external microphone (if you have connected any).
  3. From the same window, you can also set a Timer to begin the recording, and even change the default Save to location of the recording.

Note: The Screenshot Toolbar is only supported for macOS version Mojave and later. To record screen on older Mac computers, you will need to either use QuickTime, or a third-party screen recorder to get the job done.

  • Efficiently access features with a keyboard shortcut, no need for extra programs.
  • Pre-installed on Mac, eliminating the need for additional downloads.
  • Customizes frame size, audio inputs, and mouse click settings, saving preferences.


  • Lacks advanced editing, audio/visual effects, and annotations.
  • Exports only as .mov files; conversion required for other formats.
  • No scheduling; start and stop recordings manually.

Using QuickTime Player

A hidden gem among the features that Apple does not actively advertise, the native media player of macOS has a neat trick of screen recording up its sleeve. If you can’t use the Screenshot Toolbar due to an older operating system version, here’s how QuickTime Player doubles up as an excellent screen recorder.


  1. Launch the QuickTime Playeron your Mac. In case you don’t have it installed by default, download it here.
  2. Click on Fileand select New Screen Recording from the drop-down menu.
  3. Press the Recordbutton and record the entire screen by clicking anywhere on the desktop.
  4. If you want to record a specific portionof the screen, you can drag and select the area.
  5. To record audio along with the screen, press the drop-down buttonon the recorder toolbar and select the Microphone you wish to use for the audio recording.
  6. Once you’re done recording, press the square recording iconon the Menu Bar, or Command + Control + Esc to stop.

The saved screen recording will be opened automatically, at which point you can click File – Save or Command + S to choose the save location.


  • Like the Screenshot toolbar, QuickTime is also used for screen recording.
  • has a set of fundamental features for screen recording.
  • works seamlessly with older versions of macOS.


  • Being an older tool, QuickTime lacks certain features present in the Screenshot toolbar.
  • does not offer a timer option for delayed recordings.
  • Unlike the Screenshot toolbar, QuickTime does not remember user preferences.

Related: Top 7 Free Mac Screen Recording Alternatives To QuickTime

Using Third-Party Screen Recorders

Mainstream users should be able to get their screen recording needs fulfilled with Mac’s Screenshot Toolbar and QuickTime Player. However, if you need something more powerful and feature-rich, there is a slew of third-party screen recorders for Mac we’ve covered quite a few recently that you can try out.

How to record a screen with OBS Studio

For a free screen recording option on your Mac, OBS Studio is an open-source app widely used by YouTubers and content creators. It’s easy to use, offering features for both basic and advanced users, allowing you to capture your screen and record sound, including system sounds and microphone audio.

obs mac

  1. Download the application from the official OBS site to your computer.
  2. Install and open the application following the provided instructions.
  3. Click the + icon in the Sources box, select Display Capture, and choose your main display; customize further by adding webcam or audio sources.
  4. Use the Settings menu to adjust recording preferences and select the storage location for your recordings.
  5. Initiate the recording process by pressing the Start Recording button in the bottom right.
  6. Pause the recording at any point using the Pause button in the bottom left and press Stop Recording when finished; your recording will be automatically saved to your system.


  • Available for free and is an open-source tool.
  • Offers advanced video and audio recording capabilities.
  • Allows recording from multiple audio and video inputs.
  • Supports various platforms with multiple output options.


  • Might be a bit tricky to use for some users.
  • Lacks features for editing videos within the application.
  • Requires substantial system specifications.

How to record a screen with Snagit

When searching through the web for the best premium option, we came across Snagit, especially the updated 2024 version. The app is easy to use, with different screen recording options, built-in video editing tools, OCR (optical image recognition), and a seamless cloud connection, all allowing you to pick up text right from the recording on macOS Sonoma and older.


  1. Launch the Snagit app on your Mac.
  2. Open the Snagit app and clock on Video from the Capture window.
  3. From the Selection option choose a specific Region or the FullScreen to begin.
  4. Press Capture or Control + Shift + C on the keyboard to begin the screen recording.
  5. Using the crosshairs, adjust the portion that you want to screen record.
  6. The Video Recording Toolbar will help you manage the recording window size, select the audio input, turn on or off the webcam mid-recording, capture screenshots, and more.
  7. Once you stop the screen recording, the video clip will launch in the Snagit Editor, where you can make additional edits.


  • A straightforward and easy-to-use interface.
  • Provides templates for simplifying the recording process.
  • Allows overlaying visuals on recordings for enhanced presentation.
  • Compatible across multiple platforms for versatile use.


  • Does not support live streaming functionality.
  • The trial version comes with certain limitations.

Screen recording prep hacks for Mac videos

Remember, thorough preparation sets the stage for a successful screen recording. These tips will help you create clear, engaging, and professional-looking videos on your Mac!

  1. Define your video’s purpose: Know your message (instructional, entertaining, promotional?) to guide content and style.
  2. Outline a simple script: Key points and transitions keep you focused and avoid rambling.
  3. Optimize your Mac: Close unnecessary programs and processes for smooth recording.
  4. Declutter your screen: Minimize windows, organize files, and silence notifications.
  5. Choose a quiet & well-lit space: Ensure minimal background noise and adjust webcam lighting.
  6. Prepare visuals: Gather screenshots, animations, or other media for engagement.
  7. Practice & test: Run through your script to improve delivery and ensure software setup works.

Final words

As powerful as the third-party screen recorder apps for Mac may be, it is hard to steal the thunder from the Screenshot Toolbar and QuickTime Player. When comparing to the basic, and fairly outdated PrintScreen screenshot option on Windows, it is a surprise Microsoft is yet to come up with a native screen recorder tool.

Not all of you will need the heavy-hitting screen recording features that Snagit or the other third-party apps offer. However, it is better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.

Read next

* Readers like you help support TheSweetBits. When you buy something through the links in this article, we may get a small commission at no extra charge to you.