How To Record Your Smartphone Screen

There are a lot of reasons why you’d want to record your smartphone screen. Creating training videos or sharing your video game plays are just two of them. The problem is that while making screenshots is a built-in feature of most phones, recording the screen as video isn’t.

That’s why we have to turn to alternative solutions to get the job done. In this article, I’m going to demonstrate two apps that make it possible to create great video recordings of smartphones.

Before I go any further, yes I know that there are other options to record a smartphone screen if you go down the road of rooting the device. This guide is meant for the average user who just wants to record their screen without messing anything else up.

Oh, and obviously these methods works for tablets as well!

The Android Method

If you have an Android device things are pretty easy thanks to an app called AZ Screen Recorder

There are more than a couple of reasons why I prefer AZ over other methods:

  • You can pause and resume the recording.
  • You can record live commentary in addition to system audio.
  • It can record touches on the screen – ideal for training videos
  • Lots of settings to fine tune the recordings
  • Front camera overlay
  • Videos are stored on the phone immediately

So let’s go through the basic steps to make your first recording.

Record Your Smartphone with AZ: Getting Started

After installing AZ Screen Recorder’s free version start up the app.

When you first start the app, you may have to grant it pop-up permission. Just follow the instructions to do this.

Now you should see a little camera icon on the side of your screen.If you tap it a radial menu will pop up. That’s called the bubble controller.

If you tap on the little gear icon you’ll go into the setting, which looks like this:

record your smartphone AZ Settings

Here you can set the controller to the “bar” type, which I personally like.

Other important settings include:

  • The resolution you want to capture at.
  • The framerate
  •  Whether to record audio
  • Overlays from the camera

It’s up to you to experiment with the different setting. You’ll need to find ones that balance performance with quality. Most mid- to high- end phones will record at FullHD quality without any issues.

You can also control and close AZ Recorder from the phone menu by swiping down from the top of the screen. The controls are right there in the app notification bar.

OK, now we get yo actually record something.

Lights, Camera, Action!

Open the app you want to record. Now access AZ from the bubble, bar or notification menu.  Here I’m about to record my screen from the bar controller.

record your smartphone AZ Bar

Once you hit the record button, you’ll see the countdown and then the app is recording.

This is your chance to do what you gotta do. In this case, I’m going to play a bit of the awesome Real Racing 3.

When you’re done, just hit the stop button from one of the places I mentioned before. The file will be saved to your device.

You can easily access these recording from inside AZ itself and upload them to DropBox or any other compatible platform.

record your smartphone AZ Final

After trimming the clip in my favorite video editor I think it came out pretty well!

iOS Screen Recording

On iOS things are a little harder. At the time of writing, there are no apps that will let you record the screen of any iOS device. Whenever an app like his sneaks onto the app store, Apple is quick to remove it.

It seems that Apple views screen recording as a sort of security breach and unless you jailbreak your phone or tablet there isn’t much you can do.

The good news is that it’s pretty easy to use another device, such as a Mac or PC, to record your iOS device.

Record Your Smartphone On a Mac

It’s pretty simple to send a recording to your Mac, as long as you are running OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 or newer.

  • Plug in your lighting cable on both devices.
  • Open Quicktime
  • Choose file>new movie recording
  • Click the drop-down arrow next to the record button
  • Pick your iPhone or iPad as a recording source
  • Use the same menu to pick an audio source
  • Hit record
  • Hit stop when you’re done
  • Select file>export to save your video with custom options

You’ll notice that the recording is not identical to your screen. The status bar will be standard and the time will be set to 9:41. Just like Apple’s own videos.

Record Your Smartphone On a PC

Most people have Windows PCs and recording your iPhone is a little trickier in this case. The most versatile solution I’ve found is a paid app called Airserver Connect

Along with the desktop software, this allows you to cast from both Android and iOS devices to your computer over the WiFi network. While it’s not meant mainly as a recorder, it now has this feature. If your WiFi is up to it, you can make pretty decent recordings.

Using the software is pretty simple. After installing everything, open Airserver on your Windows PC and right click on the icon in the tray.

Select QR Code for Airserver Connect – a QR Code will appear

Now open Airserver Connect on your iPhone and tap Scan QR Code

record your smartphone Airserver 1

Unless there’s something wacky with your network you should see this next:

record your smartphone Airserver 2

Swipe up on your iPhone and select your computer as the Airplay destination. Now you should see a live cast appear on your computer screen.

record your smartphone Airserver 3

Now just select view>record and choose your device’s name. One you are done you can stop the recording here as well. You’ll then be asked to pick a spot where the video will be saved.

So here’s some more Real Racing 3, but this time on an iPad Pro over WiFi.

Share Alike

Now that you can record your smartphone screen, you can share the footage with whoever you like! Teach, show off or just have fun! Feel free to drop your videos in the comments.


Lead image is Public Domain

All Screenshots and Videos by Kees Friesland

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