Wednesday, January 28, 2015

How to record your iOS/Android display

There are many ways to record the screen of your desktop or device to create amazing screencasts.  On a computer, it's easy as there are many solutions available.  For mobile devices, it maybe a bit more complex...

It all depends on what you have.  Most of the time, you'll need to record the mobile display with the help of a PC/Mac.  Creating screencasts can be expensive but there are many solutions that are free or will cost you just a few dollars.

To create a screencast, you'll need a good microphone, a fast computer and a few trials to get it right. If you want to improve the quality of your videos by adding overlays, titles and transitions, a good movie editor is mandatory.  Once you're set, all you need to do is to upload your video files on the web such as Youtube (www.youtube.com).

Now, let's start with the good stuff...

For the iOS devices (iPhone, iPod and iPad), you can capture the display easily if you have a Mac.  Just launch QuickTime, and from the File menu, record a new movie.  By default, the webcam will be selected.

Connect your iOS 8 device via the USB cable to your Mac OS X (Yosemite) and in the available sources, you should see your device listed.  

If you are running Windows, you'll need to use AirServer that acts as an AirPlay receiver.  This app also supports Mac OS X.  Launch AirServer then from your iOS device, mirror your display to your
computer.  In AirServer, you can then record the display into a movie file.  Ensure that your network Wifi signal is good as it may affect the quality of the recording.  You'll also need a fast computer as the process is a bit intensive on your CPU.
For Android devices, you can record directly from your device if it is rooted.  One good app available is SCR Pro in the Google Play Store.  Of course, you'll need a fast hardware to better quality but is an easy way to create screencasts on-the-go.  A trial version is available of SCR Pro to ensure that the recording will work on your device.


If money is not a problem, you may get a HDMI recorder such as the Hauppauge HD PVR 2.  You'll also need a HDMI adapter output for your device.  Then you just connect your device to the HDMI input port and capture your videos with the recorder.  Ensure that your OS does support the recorder.  For example, if you are using Ubuntu, the HD PVR 2 won't work and will be limited on Mac OS X.  Newer recorders such as the HD PVR Rocket can be used without a computer for the recording process.


The benefits of an external HDMI recorder are better quality but some devices may not work with them.  For example, my Asus Memo FHD 10 couldn't be capture as the display was always black.

If this is the case, you could use an AppleTV/Chromecast/Miracast device to mirror your screen to the recorder.  It does add to the cost of recording your screen but does provide more freedom when capturing the video.

These are not the only solutions available but they do work for high quality screencasts.  Have also a look at my own project, ScreenStudio, if you are using Ubuntu or Mac OS X.