Anyone who's ever had to remotely troubleshoot a problem with a phone understands the value of being able to record the screen. Instead of sorting through static screenshots, you can look at a dynamic video to get right to the heart of the problem. And it's not just troubleshooting, either — recording your iPhone's screen lets you share information, give impromptu presentations and just have fun with your friends.
Recording options used to be few and far between for the iPhone, save for a handful of third-party apps. But that's changed in iOS 11, which builds screen recording capabilities directly into the operating system.
To capture a screen recording, you first need to customize Control Center to give yourself quick access to the feature.
1. Launch Settings.
2. Tap on Control Center.
3. Select Customize Controls.
4. Scroll down to the More Controls section and find the Screen Recording option. (It has the red record button icon.)
5. Tap on the green plus sign to add it to your Control Center. You can use the three vertical bars on the right to adjust where the Screen Recording button appears on your customized Control Center.
Capturing your iPhone screen
You're now ready to record whatever happens on your screen. Here's how to launch a screen recording from iOS 11's Control Center.
1. Swipe up from the bottom of the Screen to access Control Center.
2. Tap on the Screen Recording icon. You'll see a 3-2-1 countdown, and then the icon will turn red. Everything that happens from that point forward will be recorded.
If you want sound on your recording, you'll need to take an extra step. Press and hold on the Screen Recording icon until a pop-up menu appears. You can then tap on the microphone icon to enable audio. Note that this will not only record the audio of whatever's happening on your phone but also anything you happen to say. You can tap the Start Recording option on the pop-up menu to begin the 3-2-1 countdown.
3. Proceed with whatever you want to record, whether it's a how-to or a gaming session. A red band will appear at the top of your iPhone's screen to remind you that you're recording.
4. You have two options to stop recording. The easiest way is to tap the red band at the top of the screen. A pop-up menu will appear asking if you want to stop recording. Tap Stop if you do.
You can also swipe up from the bottom of the screen to access the Control Center. Tap the Screen Recording icon, which will turn from red to white as the recording stops.
5. A notification will appear, telling you that your video is now stored in the Photos app.
Editing your screen recording
Your video is ready to share, though it will look a bit rough. For instance, it will include you turning the recording on and off in the Control Center. That probably won't matter to most people, but if you'd like to trim out the superfluous footage, it's easy enough to do.
1. Launch Photos.
2. Select Videos to get to the screen capture you've just shot.
3. Select the video you want, and on the ensuing screen, tap Edit in the upper right corner.
4. Drag the handles at the bottom of the screen to set new start and stop points for the video. Tap Done when you're satisfied.
The clip will save as a new video that you're then free to share.
Should I use a third-party app?
The addition of screen recording to iOS 11 really negates the need to turn to a third-party app to capture any on-screen goings-on, unless that app adds new capabilities. That's the case with Record It, a free download from the App Store, that lets you add a circular bubble of yourself at the bottom of your screen recording, reacting to and commenting on the action.
You actually access Record It through the screen recording icon in Control Center. Just long-press on that icon and — if you've got the app installed — it will appear as an option for capturing your screen. Recording works the same way described above, with your screen recording store in the My Recordings tab of the Record It App.
From the My Recordings section, tap on the video you wish to augment. On the subsequent screen, your options include sharing the video, trimming it (the feature works the same as editing a video's start and stop points in the Photos app) and reacting too it.
Tap React and a circle appears under the video where you can record your face with your iPhone's front camera. Tap to record and the camera captures your reactions the the video in real time. If you like what you've recorded, you can save the resulting video to share with friends.
While Record It is a free app, there's a $3.99 in-app purchase that removes any limits on the react and sharing features.