How To Record the Screen On Android: A Complete Guide

How To Record the Screen On AndroidA screenshot isn’t always enough to capture a moment. What if you want to capture something in motion? For moments like these, recording video is your best option. So how do you record your Android screen anyway? I’d like to say all you have to do is tap a button in your camera settings, but it’s actually just as easy if you’re willing to download an app.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to download an app if you want to do screen recording, but it’s a lot easier if you can. For everyone that doesn’t want another app taking up space on your phone, ADB is here to save the day, but only if you have time to set it up.

 
Time: 2 Minutes

Method 1: Using Apps to Record Your Android Screen (Android 5.0 and Above)

Since they’re much easier to setup and use, let’s start with apps. In the past, you’d need root access to use screen recorder apps. Now, all you need is an internet connection for a few seconds, and a working screen if you’re on 5.0 or above. That sounds much faster than rooting your phone, and doesn’t come with any of the risks of rooting.

Related: Everything You Should Know About Android Rooting

Because of this, there are two different screen recording apps that I recommend.

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1. AZ Screen Recorder (Free)

AZ Screen Recorder is the most well known screen recording app by far. It’s sitting at over 5,000,000 installs, is frequently updated, and is the first app that comes up when you search for a screen recorder. This isn’t just because they got onto the market quickly, but because AZ Screen Recorder is genuinely, the best all around screen recorder on Google Play.

az1-android-screen-record

One of AZ’s biggest features is being able to stop and resume recording on the fly. With most Android screen recorders, once you start, that’s it, it keeps going until you stop. This means that if you want to make a cut somewhere, you’ll need to edit multiple video files if you aren’t using AZ Screen Recorder.

az2-android-screen-record

AZ Screen Recorder’s overlay fits over any Android screen, and is accessible at any time. Once you’ve finished recording any video, you can use the app’s built in editing programs to crop, trim, and shape up any videos you record before you save them for the final time.

az3-android-screen-record

The app has a long list of features that really make it apparent why it’s the most used screen recorder on the market. It’s an ad free experience that makes screen recording easy, and editing your recordings even easier.

AZ Screen Recorder

After you’ve download AZ Screen Recorder, it’s simple to use.

  1. Launch and Observe

    First, launch AZ Screen Recorder, either from your home screen, app drawer, or even the download page itself. As soon as you do, you’ll see an icon appear on the side of your screen, and you’ll get a new notification on your bar to mess with.

    az-notification-android-record-screen

  2. Go Into Your Settings

    Before you start recording, it’s important to tweak your settings. At any point in time, either:

    • Tap the icon on the side of your screen, then tap the green settings wheel to open your settings.

    Or

    • Pull down your notification shade, and then click the settings wheel under your AZ Screen Recorder notification.

    az-settings-android-screen-record

    Here you can mess with your recording resolution, frame rate, and if you want your microphone audio included in the recording.

  3. Ready to Record

    All ready to go? At any point in time, you can:

    • Tap the icon on the side of your screen, then tap the red camera button to start recording.

    Or

    • Pull down your notification shade, and then click the camera icon to start recording.

    az-record-android-screen-record

    If this is your first time using the app, you’ll see a dialog box confirming your decision to start recording. If you want to skip this check next time, just click the don’t show again box and then click start now to begin.

    If you set a timer in your settings, the recording won’t start until the countdown timer disappears. Once you start recording, you can pause it and resume at anytime, and record as long as you want, as long as you have the space for the video file.

    Once you’re done, you can find the video in your gallery.

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2. Game Screen Recorder

Next up is Game Screen Recorder, which shares many features with AZ Screen Recorder, but pitches itself as game focused. Where the two differ is that GSR can only record in selected apps launched through the recording app itself.

Much like AZ Screen Recorder, GSR has an overlay that you use while playing games to start and stop recording. You can edit the transparency as much as you want, whenever you want, so the overlay won’t get in the way while you’re playing a game.

game-settings-android-screen-record

As a complete package, I like the way GSR is set up better as an Android screen recorder. You have one tab for recording, and then other for your finished video files, so everything is neat and organized. Your settings are then even just a tap away on the same screen. If you just want to record game footage, I recommend GSR over AZ Screen Recorder.

Game Screen Recorder

If Game Screen Recorder is your app of choice, how do you go about using it?

  1. Launch the App

    First things first, launch the app from anywhere you want. Once you do, you’ll go through a small tutorial before getting dropped off on the main menu.

    game-android-screen-record

  2. Tweak Your Settings

    Before you do anything else, it’s important to tweak your settings to make sure your recording turns out properly. In the top right, there’s a gear icon you can tap at any time to change various recording settings.

  3. Add a Game or App

    Unlike AZ Screen Recorder, in GSR, you add an app to your record list after launching the app. Almost any app is compatible, so don’t worry, even the most graphically intensive. So of course, to chose the most graphically intensive, energy demanding, and high octane game I can think of; I picked Neko Atsume. What’s more intense than barely animated cats?

    game-add-android-screen-record

    After you’ve picked your game, select it again on the app’s main menu.

  4. Recording a Game or App

    Once you’re in your app of choice, you can see a small record button on the side of the screen.

    button-android-screen-record

    Tap it as soon as you’re ready to record, and after a short countdown timer, everything you do will be recorded, even if you leave the app. Tap the button again when you’re finished, and then view your finished video in the second tab of the app.

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Time: 2 Minutes

Method 2: An Older App to Record Your Android Screen (Android 2.2 and Above) (Needs Root)

If you aren’t on Android 5.0 or higher, there’s still hope even if you’re below Android 4.4 on updates, as long as you’re rooted. There’s at least one app that still works on older versions of Android, even if it isn’t free.

  1. Screencast Video Recorder ($3.99)

    Screencast Video Recorder supports recording at high frame rates and records videos in MP4 format with audio. Aside from recording screen videos, this app also has a built-in gallery where you can watch, delete or rename the video files that you recorded.

    The app doesn’t work on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Tegra Android devices. Screencast also lets you take screenshots on your device.

    Screencast Video Recorder

    The app is fairly self-explanatory, and is pretty simple in terms of features. I’d only recommend you give this a shot if you have no other option.

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Time: 5 Minutes

Method 3: Using ADB to Record Your Android Screen (Android 4.4 and Above)

Screen recorder apps are a great way to record your Android screen while doing pretty much anything, but there has to be another way, right? Well, I already answered that question with the title of this section, but yes, yes there is.

If you’re already familiar with the Android Debug Bridge, this probably isn’t new to you. If you’ve never heard of ADB, now’s the perfect time to learn. All you need is a PC, a micro USB cable, and a few minutes of your time to read our explanation below.

Must Read: What Is ADB and How to Use It

Done reading or already have ADB set up? Then you’re good to go for easy screen recording, just follow these few, easy steps.

  1. Prepare all Vital Pieces

    Before we get anywhere, we need to make sure everything is connected and running properly. It’s pretty frustrating to get halfway through Step 7, only to realize you didn’t enable something in Step 3. So first and foremost, prepare your micro USB cable, Android device, and PC.

    micro-usb-android-screen-record

    Make sure everything is powered on, and working properly before continuing.

  2. Enable USB Debugging on Android

    Before you connect your Android device to your PC, USB debugging needs to be enabled for any of these ADB commands to work. To setup ADB in the first place you need USB debugging enabled, so this is just a reminder to leave it on.

  3. Connect all the Pieces

    With your Android powered on, and with USB debugging enabled, connect it to your PC.

  4. Back to Platform Tools

    If you’ve just setup ADB tool recently, this folder should look familiar.

    platform-tools-android-screen-record

    Once you’ve opened your platform tools folder: shift + right click on any blank space in the folder, then select Open command window here.

  5. Start the Command Process

    With a command window open, you can enter a command that makes your Android start recording immediately as long as it’s connected to your PC.

    Type the following command:

    • adb shell screenrecord /sdcard/FILENAME.mp4

    In place of “FILENAME” you can put the name of the recording. As soon as you press enter after putting in the command, the recording starts, and will keep going until it reaches the preset time limit of 3 minutes. Otherwise, press Ctrl + C at any time while in the command prompt to stop the recording.

  6. Change the Time Limit

    Three minutes is constraining, no matter what way you slice it. Luckily, with just another line before the initial command, you can change the preset time limit in seconds. To change the time limit, enter the command:

    • adb shell screenrecord –time-limit TIME

    In place of “TIME” put how long you want the recording to last in seconds. For example, since the default is 3 minutes, this is how changing it to 5 minutes would look like:

    • adb shell screenrecord –time-limit 300

    The time limit line has to come before the filename line, here’s what it looks like in the command prompt:

    cmd-android-screen-record

    If you enter your command exactly like that, you’ll start recording for a maximum of 5 minutes.

  7. Finding your Video

    Once the recording is finished, your video is saved on your micro-SD card with the filename you chose in the command. You can access it at any point in time, and move it from the SD card safely once the recording is finished.

    Once the recording stops, your Android is safe to disconnect.

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Conclusion

Recording your Android screen is thankfully almost as easy as taking a screenshot, minus any hardware commands. From apps to ADB, it’s easy to find a method that works for you, no matter what version of Android you’re running.

Still need help recording your Android screen? Please leave any questions you have down below!

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Comments (3)

  1. Judith on

    I want to root my j 7 phone .it is good or not good to my phone.pls reply .thank

  2. Mark Henry on

    Hey Strider,
    Really a great post! Thanks for sharing. I have rooted my android smartphone and now needs to install the Screen Recorder. Could you help me in doing that?
    Thanks in advance.

  3. jeffcard on

    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.

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