You know how to use the Camera app on your iPhone or iPad to take a video, but did you know that you can also record a video of what happens on the screen of your device? That’s useful if you’re trying to explain the steps of some technical process to a friend or show a tech support rep what’s going wrong in an app or Web site. You could also use a screen recording to copy a video from Facebook, for instance, that you want to send to a social media–averse friend.
First, to get set up, go to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls and tap the green + button next to Screen Recording to add it to the list of controls that appear in Control Center. Drag it in the list to rearrange where its round Record button will show up in Control Center. Here’s a screen recording showing those steps:
Making your first screen recording is simple. Follow these steps:
Open Control Center. (Swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen, or, if you’re using an iPhone X or later, or an iPad running iOS 12, swipe down from the top-right corner of the screen.)
Press deeply on the Screen Recording button to open a menu. If you want to record your voice via the microphone as well, tap the Microphone button to turn it on.
Tap Start Recording, and then wait for the 3-second countdown.
Perform the actions that you want to be recorded.
To stop the recording, either enter Control Center again and tap the red Record button or tap the red status icon at the upper left of the screen and tap Stop. A notification appears, telling you that your screen recording was saved to Photos.
In fact, if you want to keep your options for the destination app and microphone at their current settings, making a screen recording is even easier:
Open Control Center.
Tap the Record button instead of pressing deeply.
Perform your actions.
Stop the recording via Control Center or the red status bar.
Told you it was simple. But we bet you have questions, so let’s provide some answers.
Where did my screen recording go?
As the notification informs you, screen recordings end up in the Photos app, just like any other photo or video. You’ll see them both in the Photos view and in Albums > Media Types > Videos.
What are Messenger and Skype doing in the screenshot earlier?
Instead of recording your screen to a video file, you can instead broadcast it to a Facebook Messenger or Skype chat. That might be useful for a quick show-and-tell while having a conversation.
Can I edit the screen recording?
Yes, although the Photos app limits you to trimming frames from the start and end of the video (which actually creates a new video with your selection rather than editing the original). For more significant editing, tap the ••• button in the Photos edit interface and send the video to iMovie.
Is there any way to show my taps and drags in the screen recording?
Yes, but it’s not easy. There’s a trick that relies on iOS’s Accessibility features, but it’s way too clumsy and leaves the Assistive Touch button on the screen the entire time. A better approach would be to use a dedicated app like ScreenFlow (which is what we used above) to insert circles where your fingers touch down, but that’s worthwhile only for videos where you need higher production values.
For the most part, though, the point of screen recordings is not to make the perfect movie—it’s to create and share a video of something that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to convey.
If you have 20/20 vision or are still wondering why your parents have reading glasses, count yourself lucky. But if you’re like many people—over 60 percent of the population by some estimates, including most people over 45—reading the tiny text on your iPhone or iPad screen might be impossible if you don’t happen to have the right pair of glasses handy.
What we really want is a screen that corrects automatically for its user’s individual vision problems—research into such technology has taken place at UC Berkeley and the MIT Media Lab, but real-world products are probably years off. Until then, those of us who need a little help seeing our screens will have to rely on features Apple has built into iOS. Try these options:
Increase Text Size
Although not every app supports it, Apple has a technology called Dynamic Type that lets you set your preferred text size. In Settings > Display & Brightness > Text Size, you’ll find a text size slider, and you can see how it affects text in the iOS interface by moving around in the Settings app or looking at Mail.
If you want a size even larger than is available from the Text Sizes screen, you can get that in Settings > General > Accessibility > Larger Text. Turn on Larger Accessibility Sizes, and the size slider adds more options.
Sometimes, the problem isn’t so much the size of the text, but how light it can be. In Settings > Display & Brightness, there’s a switch for Bold Text. Turn this on, and all the text on the iPhone will become darker. Oddly, enabling Bold Text requires restarting your device, but there’s no harm in doing that.
If you have difficulty with aspects of the screen other than text, you can use iOS’s Display Zoom feature to expand everything by a bit. The trade-off is that you’ll see less content on the screen at once, of course, but that’s a small price to pay if it makes your iPhone easier to use.
To enable Display Zoom, go to Settings > Display & Brightness > View. Once there, you can compare the difference between the standard and zoomed views in three sample screens by tapping the Standard and Zoomed buttons at the top—notably, you’ll lose a row of icons on the Home screen. If you think zoomed view might be better, tap Zoomed and then tap Set. Your iPhone has to restart, but it’s quick. Unfortunately, if you decide to switch back to standard view, you’ll need to rearrange your Home screen icons again.
The iPhone’s full Zoom feature is particularly useful in two situations. First, it’s easy to invoke and dismiss if you need a quick glance while wearing the wrong pair of glasses. Second, if Display Zoom doesn’t magnify the screen as much as you need, the full zoom may do the job.
Turn it on in Settings > General > Accessibility > Zoom and zoom in by double-tapping the screen with three fingers. By default, the Zoom Region is set to Window Zoom, which gives you a magnifying lens that you can move around the screen by dragging its handle on the bottom.
Tap the handle to bring up a menu that lets you zoom out, switch to full-screen zoom (which can be harder to navigate), resize the lens, filter what you see in the lens (such as grayscale), display a controller for moving the lens, and change the zoom level. To get back to normal view, just double-tap with three fingers again.
So, if you want to be able to use your iPhone more easily when your reading glasses aren’t handy, try the features described above and find the right mix for your eyes.
Some Web sites have, shall we say, unfortunate choices in fonts. If you run across a site where the font is too small to read, you can choose View > Zoom In or press Command-+ (the Shift key isn’t necessary to get the + symbol; Command-= is the same). But that zooms the entire page, both text and graphics, and can result in a jumbled-up page. To increase just the size of the text on the page, leaving the graphics alone, press Option and choose View > Make Text Bigger or press Command-Option-+. If necessary, similar commands make text smaller too.
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