How do I record my iPhone's screen?

12 May 2020, 05:29

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It’s often useful to create recordings of something happening on your iPhone, in order to share them with others or just to keep for posterity.

How to record the iPhone screen: Setting up Screen Recorder
Apple includes a screen recording tool within iOS on iPhones (and also iPads) that outputs video files. Unfortunately, this isn’t a dedicated app. It’s part of the Control Center, that appears when you swipe up from the bottom of the screen on older iPhones, or when you swipe down from the top right corner on newer iPhones without home buttons.

The Screen Recorder isn’t available in Control Center by default, however. You’ll need to add it. Here’s how.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad, and then tap the Control Center heading. Then tap the Customize Controls heading.
  2. Find the Screen Recording entry in the list that appears, and click the green plus icon alongside it.
  3. Close the Settings app.

How to record the iPhone screen: Using Screen Recorder
That’s the setup taken care of. From now on, to create a screen recording, you’ll need to do the following:

  1. Open the Control Center, as mentioned earlier. Look for an icon that looks like a camera lens – a single circle inside a outer circle.
  2. If you want to quickly record something, just tap this button. You’ll see a three-second countdown timer. Use that time to close Control Center and open the app you want to make a screen recording of. You’ll know when the recording starts because the menu bar at the top of the iPhone screen will turn red.
  3. Alternatively, for more control over the recording, tap and hold the screen recorder icon in Control Center. A menu will appear asking where you want to save the video file to. The default is the Photos app camera roll, but you can send the video to a variety of other apps.
  4. You can select here whether to turn the microphone on too. This means that you can try to record sound with the video created by the app you’re recording. Notably, this doesn’t mean you record audio through the iPhone’s microphone, or if you’re wearing AirPods, for example. It just records audio from apps. And, even worse, not all apps will let you record their sound anyway.
  5. Tap the Start Recording button. You’ll see a three-second countdown timer, during which you can switch to the app you want to record. You’ll know when recording has started because the iPhone menu bar will turn red.
  6. To stop the recording regardless of how you started it, just tap the red menu bar, and tap Stop in the dialog box that appears.

Unless you changed the option earlier, you will find the videos you created in the Photos app.

How to record the iPhone screen: Some thing to know
Notably, it’s uncertain if you’ll be able to create illicit copies of music or videos this way. Often you can’t record the screen while using video or audio playback apps. Apple enforces this rule to protect copyright. All you’ll see is an error message telling you playback isn’t allowed, or the recording will simply stop. That said, I had luck recording YouTube videos via the YouTube app, and music in the Amazon Music app. In other words, just give it a try and see what you find in your favourite app (while respecting copyright laws, obviously!).

The videos created are standard MP4 files (H.264), which should be playable on most modern computing devices. File size will depend a lot on what you’re doing on-screen, but in my tests using an iPhone 8, the file size seemed to equate to 1 second video = 1Mb.

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