Here’s how to record screen video on Android

Here’s how to record screen video on Android
Whether you want to shoot a tutorial or a video of you playing Angry Birds, you’d need to capture what happens on your screen in real time and up until now, this was a pretty daunting (read, almost impossible) inside Android. 

The reason was partly the lack of hardware to support enough frames of video recording, but with the jump to 28nm and quad-core Tegra 3 chips, Android has certainly grown to be able to record itself. In Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Google added the Power and Volume Down key combination for grabbing a screenshot, but did you know that all device running on Android 4.4 KitKat and later can easily capture Android screen video? So, how do we do it?

1. The easy way to screencast (Android 4.4 AND root required)


To record a video of your Android screen (or to screencast) is extremely easy if you have a device running on Android 4.4 KitKat that is rooted. All you need to do is to download a free app from the Google Play Store called Rec. (Screen Recorder). 

Rec. is a beautiful, modern app that captures video of up to 1 hour and can even record Android sound (not system sound, though, it only records from the microphone). It runs in the background and you can use it to record gameplay (and games and apps in general) on Android. After you use it to shoot video of your Android screen in action, you can enjoy 30fps video saved to your internal phone storage.


2. Recordable: the no-root way to record screen video on any version of Android, 2.3 Gingerbread and after


While Rec. is our favorite completely untethered way to record Android screen video, Recordable is the one that is most versatile: it works without requiring you to root your phone, and it also theoretically works with any version of Android, 2.3 Gingerbread and after. It does not do miracles - it is still impossible to capture system audio (you only grab mic recordings), but video turns out smooth and perfectly usable, even for game videos.

3. The sure way: via Android SDK and ADB (works only with Android 4.4 KitKat and later)


The most sure way to record Android screen video is via Android's own SDK. We've covered the method in full depth, and while it's fully tethered and requires a bit of tinkering, it's the geek's way and if nothing else works, you should try it.

4. For earlier Android versions like Jelly Bean: the hard and expensive way (using an HDMI recorder)


To screencast via the afore-mentioned apps, you need the latest versions of Android, but if you want to record screen video on earlier Android device to boost your YouTube Android video blogging career, you might want to invest in an HDMI recorder like the Intensity Pro PCI Express card by Blackmagic. And that’s an investment your wallet will feel - the Intensity Pro card costs $199. Of course, you’d need to also have:

- an HDMI port on your device in order to record,
- a PC/notebook where you can install the PCI Express card.

So how does it work? First you’d need to go through the hackery of installing card itself in your PC/notebook (luckily, there’s support for Windows, Mac and Linux), and once you’re done you can hook up your phone to the card’s HDMI port. Then, you simply run the included capture software to record the high-quality video from the device.

The best thing about this method of Android video capture is that you get almost perfect quality videos, ready for YouTube and other social mediums.

So these are the two ways we know yielding Android screen capture videos with decent frame rates. Do you know of an easier, or just alternative way? Feel free to share your experience below.

Note: You can use this how-to tutorial guide for Android screencasting with phones that run 4.4+ like the Samsung Galaxy S5, S4, Note 3, HTC One (M8), LG G3, G2, Moto G, Moto X, Sony Xperia Z2, Z1, Xiaomi Mi3, etc.

FEATURED VIDEO

25 Comments

1. mozes316

Posts: 144; Member since: Sep 30, 2011

I clicked because of the cat... there, I said it.

2. GALAXY-S

Posts: 701; Member since: Jun 07, 2011

lmao!! soo did i

9. rigorimpossible

Posts: 23; Member since: Sep 29, 2011

so do I

10. miles16852

Posts: 241; Member since: Oct 20, 2011

me too lol

13. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

Same here!!! hahaha that's a cute cat :P

21. Ashoaib

Posts: 3282; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

so do I

17. hmd74

Posts: 540; Member since: Jan 31, 2013

same here :D

3. zheking

Posts: 28; Member since: Mar 02, 2012

I did not notice the cat b4 I clicked

4. Rotate

Posts: 26; Member since: Dec 07, 2010

great ScreenCast ad...

5. GuiltyBystander

Posts: 199; Member since: Mar 05, 2012

Cute Kitteh.

6. paynekiller

Posts: 152; Member since: May 24, 2010

I've been doing this for years with ShootMe. It's not on the Market (Play Store) any more (the developer removed it) but a simple google search for the .apk file on your phone will bring you to it. It also needed root access, unless you had a 2.2 EVO 4G or some other phone that had a bug that gave apps root access (long explanation). It's pretty old by now since the developer hasn't been updating it, so I don't know how it would work with those new phones/processors, but it works with my Sprint Galaxy S II just fine.

7. lukasound

Posts: 152; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

Weird article... First you say that those weak old processors (before tegra3) couldn't record an 800x480 video, then you continue that the only program we can use doesn't support those new chips and leave us with a 200$ capture card that has nothing to do with the latest chipset, just the hdmi out ability... A pretty useless article, you could have found a smarter way to advertise ScreenCast.

8. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

I understand screen recording can be pretty intensive (I still have some issues when using fraps on my PC) but is there really no way besides HDMI or having a beast phone? I would have figured they could figure our a way using the standard micro USB, the data transfer on that is fast enough, right?

11. Comk4ver

Posts: 2; Member since: Apr 17, 2013

@paynekiller, I know that this is an old article but it says screen video not screen shot...

12. Caleb

Posts: 2; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

For me this on is the mos easy way and the more stable and the more beautiful sotf if you want Capture/Record Android Screen Without Root youtube.com/watch?v=4K2UDfP4lN8&feature=youtu.be

14. AfterShock

Posts: 4146; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

Where this get dredged up from.

15. Awalker

Posts: 1977; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

There's comments from 2012 here. If they're going to recycle an article they should at least get rid of the older comments.

16. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2277; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

Adding more ways to capture the screen. The Rec app seems decent enough.

18. isprobi

Posts: 797; Member since: May 30, 2011

This is the kind of thing that drives me crazy about Android. People claim that it can do so much. But it often requires root or some other action that a typical use would not know how to do. So what real use is it other than saying it can be done? This is like a car dealer selling you a car and saying you can have built in GPS but you have to cut the hole in the dash and wire it up yourself. In reality screen video recording is useless until I can buy a phone and click an icon to make it happen with no modifications.

20. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

Oh wow, i would really like to know which platform lets you do screen recording. Hell even which platform gives you this level of hacking and super user access. Such a dumb comment.

22. isprobi

Posts: 797; Member since: May 30, 2011

That is my point. It is a hack not a feature. So it irrelevant to most users until it becomes a feature of the OS.

19. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

The first one is the best option and it works like a charm.

23. bonsly16

Posts: 94; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

What is that DS game the cat is playing?

24. jdrch

Posts: 107; Member since: Jul 08, 2014

You can also record your screen using Xposed + Wanam Xposed module + Busybox. Unlike Rec, it's completely unlimited and free.

25. shelbyfelicita

Posts: 4; Member since: Jul 14, 2017

Very informative! Thanks for showing clearly how to record Android screen. I have two phones, one Android and one iPhone, for someone who want to record iPhone screen, I'd recommend Acethinker iPhone screen recorder, free and simple to use.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.