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If you’re developing iOS apps there will come a time when you want to capture some video of your app in action. It may be for the marketing team. Or it may be for you to use to publish your app in App Store. But it will happen.

There are a few options and, of course, they have pros and cons.

QuickTime Player – iOS Simulator

You can use QuickTime to capture an area of your screen (your iOS app or anything else). QuickTime will capture the video of everything that is happening in a portion of your screen that you select.

How to do it

  • Start QuickTime
  • Choose File / New Screen Recording and QuickTime brings up its Screen Recording dialog
  • Click the red “record” button (QuickTime will still let you choose where to record before it actually starts)
  • Drag your mouse to select an area of the screen for recording
  • Click Start Recording (or hit the “Esc” key if you need to bail out)
  • QuickTime puts a Stop button on the right side of the menu bar…click when you’re finished recording.

Tradeoffs

  • It’s pretty easy to record directly from your screen
  • You do have to try to get the dimensions of your recording window just right (not really that hard!)
  • Your mouse cursor will be visible in the video, which is not very iOS-like
  • When you make gestures with your mouse, like clicking to do a tap gesture, you’ll capture the touchpoints from Simulator

QuickTime Player – iOS Device

Alternatively QuickTime can capture video from your iPad or iPhone. It will be a capture of the entirety of the device’s screen.

How to do it

  • Plug your device into your computer
  • Start QuickTime
  • Choose File / New Movie Recording and QuickTime brings up its Movie Recording dialog
  • Click the upside down caret (see image below)
  • Choose your device. You can choose to use your computer’s microphone so that you can narrate the video
  • Start recording
Click the little upside down caret to choose the video source

Tradeoffs

  • You do have to endure the hassle of connecting your device to your computer (consider me lazy!)
  • You get exactly the whole screen
  • You do not get any indicator of the touchpoints as you demo your app so users cannot tell exactly where you tapped
  • At least there is no mouse cursor

Conclusion

There are times when it is helpful, like a tutorial, where it is helpful to have the touchpoints shown on the screen. Those touchpoints illustrate to users what is happening. Other times you may want not to show any user actions because it’s more important to show your app’s whizbang features (think about a kiosk mode kind of display).

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