by Timothy Paul Brown, Host of My Apple Podcast
Apple has never made it possible for users to record their iPhone or iPad screens directly from an app on their devices. Over the years, a few applications like Display Recorder managed to slip through the App Store review process, but they eventually disappeared. Apple has begun to loosen the barriers a bit, allowing app developers to build this feature into their applications. For example, apps like Procreate, Sketch Club, and Foolproof allow you to record your art activity while inside the app and export it as a video to your camera roll. However, if you want to record your entire screen, and you happen to have a Mac computer, you have a range of options.
Get Help from the Mac
There are a several applications available for the Mac that enable you to record your iPhone and iPad screen. The options range from straight-forward screen recorders to advanced video editors with annotation tools and effects.
Camtasia 2 by TechSmith is a powerful screen recorder for the Mac that helps you to edit video like a pro. Camtasia 2 comes with option to record your computer screen and your iOS devices - the latter requiring that you connect your device to your computer using the 30 pin USB adapter. You can record your device as a separate project or set up a standard widescreen project and add your iPhone recording on top of it. Recordings come with the option to record audio on your device, in case you want to capture sounds and effects from your device. Camtasia 2 comes with other features like annotations, animations, video effects, titles, transitions, and a timeline to adjust the length of your clips, and to layer multiple clips for complex effects. The app is also user friendly, including a drag-and-drop interface for adding special features to your clips like pan and zoom, spotlights, and green screen effects.
Screenflow is comparable to Camtasia of terms of its screen recording and editing capabilities, but has some unique features of its own. With Screenflow, you can easily record your iOS devices by attaching them to your computer using the USB adapter. Your projects can be set up specifically to record your iPhone or iPad screen or you can add them as additional recordings later on. The beauty of having screen recording software like Screenflow is the ability to pan and zoom using "actions" to control where you want your animations to start and stop. These actions can be used to change the scale and position of objects, the opacity, and sound levels. Set up like a timeline editor, Screenflow enables you to control the length of your clips, while layering them to show multiple actions at once. While the app is great for recording your device and your computer screen, it's more like an advanced video editor.
Quicktime Player is an application that comes with all Macs. Quicktime is primarily used to play digital video files on your Mac, but it can also be used to make movie recordings using the Facetime camera, audio recordings, and recordings of your computer screen. It does not appear to be obvious at first, but Quicktime can also record your iOS device screen and audio. Like Camtasia and Screenflow, your device must be connected to your computer using the USB adapter. Using the file/screen recording option, you will find next to the record button, a drop down menu that includes the iPhone or iPad as an option. Quicktime does not come with all the editing features of an advanced screen recorder, but is very handy for a straight-forward recording of your iOS screen.
Voila by Global Delight Technologies
Viola is an advanced screen capture tool that is used to capture snapshots of web pages, including sections that can be customized by shape and size, or screen captures that include content that go beyond the margins of your computer screen. Voila can also be used to capture Facetime video, video recordings of your computer screen and recordings of your iOS devices. Like Quicktime, Screenflow, and Camtasia, your device must be connected to your computer using a USB adapter. Voila also comes with a unique set of annotation tools that include lines, shapes, stamps, text, and call outs, as well as effects like skew, spotlight, and filters. Voila is not as advanced as Camtasia or Screenflow, so annotations cannot be added to videos, but it does come with the option to trim and share videos to Photos and online sources like Vimeo.
Reflector 2 is a great utility to have for your Mac if you routinely like to record your iOS screen. The application is unique because it uses Airplay to mirror your device on your Mac, without requiring a USB adapter. You have several preferences for controlling the background color and resolution and whether you want to record the screen with a frame or without. All screen recordings include a background color in the standard widescreen format.
Screenium 3 by Synium Software GmbH is another excellent option for creating screencasts on your Mac. Screenium comes with the ability to record full screen, select areas of the screen, a single window, and most recently, iOS device screens. Screenium has very similar features as Screenflow and Camtasia, including the ability to control actions on individual layers, video and audio effects, and animations. It also comes with a unique feature called "generated speech," which enables you to add text in different languages that is converted to audio. Screenium has a clean minimalist design that has the look and feel of Apple's latest graphic design aesthetic. This app is a nice option for Mac users.
Record Directly from Your iOS Device
As I mentioned, this option is not "officially" supported by Apple (at least, not that I know of), but some applications will occasionally make it into the App Store. One app that is currently available (or maybe not) is Vidyo. Vidyo can record all the activity on your iPhone screen and save the recordings to your camera roll. Similar to Reflector 2 for the Mac, Vidyo uses the Airplay option on your iPhone to initiate and conclude the recording process. You have the option to record device audio, microphone, device screen, or views of front and back facing cameras. You can choose a resolution option ranging from 360p to 1080p. Videyo is a rare exception, so don't be surprised if it disappears from the App Store.
Other iOS Screen Recording Options
It is rare to record your iPhone or iPad screen directly from an app on your iOS device. Yet, in addition to apps that occasionally make it into the App Store, there are other third party apps that you can download onto your device, without going through the App Store. For example, you can download the Emu4ios Beta store, which will give you access to screen recordings apps like iRec and Shou.TV. Both apps are very similar to Vidyo. The procedure for accessing these apps is very similar to the way developers have invited iOS users to test future iterations of an app using Test Flight (now owned by Apple) without going through the App Store.
Depending on your needs, you have some nice options to choose from if you would like to record your iOS screen. It depends on what you plan to do with your screen recordings and whether or not you would like to include your computer screen, as an extended option, and other advanced tools like annotations and video editing.