MacMost Now 546: iPad Video Screen Capture

Update: This technique also now works with the iPhone 4S.
Update: See episode 702 for a new method of doing this.
Learn how I capture the iPad 2's screen to use in presentations and video podcasts. You must use the iPad 2 plus the HDMi adapter. Then bring the HDMI in to your Mac or recording device using special hardware and software.

Video Transcript
Hi this is Gary with MacMost.
Now in today's episode I am going to show you how to record the screen of the iPad.
So I've been asked this question a lot, 'How do I record the screen of the iPad for an episode of the show?'
Well originally with the iPad One, there was no way to record directly from the iPad into a video. You basically had to point a camera at the screen, turn off all the lights, focus the camera perfectly on the iPad, and then you can see my finger moving around on the screen as I navigated through different things on the iPad to demonstrate something.
But with the iPad Two, there is a better way and this only works with the iPad 2. You need to get this adapter cable, which is from Apple and is their digital av cable. It basically takes the dock on the one end of the iPad and gives you an HGMI output.
Now the video output from the iPad 2 shows exactly what is on the screen, it mirrors it with a couple of exceptions. One is, for instance, when you are showing a video, it will then show the video full screen and not mirror what is going on on the iPad. Same thing if you were doing a presentation in Keynote and there are probably other apps that have a presentation mode to the video output. It takes away the mirroring and replaces it with that presentation. But for most purposes you see exactly what's on the screen.
Now typically you would then go from here to a television or projector and show what you are doing on the iPad on a large screen. But there are devices that can take HGMI as an input and you can record what is going on. So on my MacPro, I happen to have the Matrox MX02 mini card which has a breakout box, and it's what I used to record this video right here. I have a camera going out thru HDMI into that box but instead of having a camera go into that box I can have the iPad 2 with this adapter go directly into it. Then I have to use a video recording program to record the video coming into the mac.
I've been using Boinx TV, seems to work better and record a better image than wire cast which is what I used to record this. Though I am sure software updates and things will change in the future and there are other programs you can use to record the video as well.
Now it's not perfect yet. From the iPad, you can either get 720 P HDMI or 1080 P HD. Yet the Matrox card and also the black magic card only allow input up to 1080 I. So I can't get the full 1080 P input. I have to settle for 720 P. So perhaps in the future there will be better alternatives perhaps using the thunderbolt port.
Now an alternative to the Matrox card is the black magic card and this gives you an HGMI input into your Mac, it's a simpler solution and seems to have about the same features but I haven't been able to try it.
Alternatively you can use any device that records HDMI so perhaps there are some tape decks and cameras out there that will take HDMI input and record it but I haven't tested any of those out.
Now there are other adapters for the iPad 2, the output to VGA Adapter. That one will do the same as HGMI and will show exactly what's on the screen. So if you have a way to record VGA into some device you can use that. However the component out and the standard video out adapter, those will not mirror what is on the iPad and will only show presentation and videos as they would of on the iPad 1.
So there are the basics. iPad 2 standard HDMI cable into a card like the Matrox MX02 and then record it with software on your Mac. And that's how we record what's going on in the iPad screen.
Till next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 53 Responses to “MacMost Now 546: iPad Video Screen Capture”

    4/27/11 @ 1:34 pm

    OR, you can simply jailbreak and use DisplayRecorder to record what’s on the display. Obviously isn’t available for the iPad 2 yet.

      4/27/11 @ 2:21 pm

      Two problems with that 1) I’d then be recording a jailbroken iPad. 2) Jailbreaking lags behind iOS updates. I want to always use the latest iOS for tutorials.

        6/27/11 @ 10:56 am


        I spoke to a retailer in New York and he says it can’t be done.

        I have a feeling he is wrong and you are right. Is there anything special you have to to get the Ipad2 screen to transmit to a Macbook pro once you have the Maxtor mini?. I create instructional videos and have Camtasia on my Macbook and would love to record the iPad screen legally.

          6/27/11 @ 12:00 pm

          I am right? I know I am right as you can see it in my videos.
          It is the Matrox MX02 mini you need, or anything else that takes HDMI input into your Mac (Maxtor is a hard drive, not an HDMI adapter).
          But whether or no Camtasia works with the MX02 mini is another matter. You may want to contact one or both companies about that. the MX02 mini input only works with some applications. BoinxTV is the one I use.

    Piet van 't Zelfde
    4/28/11 @ 11:43 am

    Hi Gary, does the iPad2 also have a VGA or HDMI in? So I could connect my camera onto it for a better view.

      4/28/11 @ 12:40 pm

      IN? No. It doesn’t have that.

      12/2/11 @ 5:53 am


    Luis Anthony Ast
    5/6/11 @ 8:48 pm

    Would using the Apple Component AV Cable be just as good? I have the eyetv 250 plus, and figure maybe I can connect the iPad with the Apple Component AV Cable to the eyetv device, and that to my MacBook to capture video.

      5/6/11 @ 8:50 pm

      It won’t work with the “Component” cable (yellow, red, white). That one only works to present video and from special apps like Keynote. The “Composite” cable (Red, Yellow, Green, Red, White) will do it. But not sure that works with EyeTV.

        Luis Anthony Ast
        5/6/11 @ 8:55 pm

        Oops! My bad. I meant composite (came back here to correct, and you beat me to it!) But it looks like it won’t work for EyeTV (which uses composite). Composite is the red-yellow-white. So now I am confused.

    Luis Anthony Ast
    5/6/11 @ 9:08 pm

    OK… found THIS: Perhaps connecting iPad2 to this, and this converter to eyeTV, I can get things recorded on my MacBook.

      5/6/11 @ 9:17 pm

      It may, but you’ll end up with a pretty low-res image, I think.

    7/27/11 @ 3:11 am

    Hello Gary

    I work for a gaming company and we’re developing some titles on the iPad2. I have the AV adapter that you mentioned and also have a HD capture card/TV tuner card by Aver Media which supports 720p and which has a built in recording tool, but here’s my problem.

    Every time i connect the iPad2 it briefly (like a flash) shows on my monitor but then the connection is lost/stopped and i get an error saying HDCP content blocked or something like that.

    Do you know why this would is happening?
    Is it the HD capture card that needs to be changed?
    I dont quite remember the serial number but it works perfectly well with the other consoles, just not the iPad2. :(


      7/27/11 @ 7:16 am

      No, sorry, I don’t know why that would be happening. Just an incompatibility between your card and the signal the iPad is putting out. Try outputting to a standard TV with HDMI and you’ll see that the iPad works (sanity check) and then you know it must be the card or the software that comes with the card.
      Note that with iOS 5 you should be able to do this same thing wirelessly to the Apple TV 2 using AirPlay.

      8/30/11 @ 4:53 pm

      My guess is that you are using a tv tuner card like the AverMedia AverTV and either your video card or monitor is not HDCP compliant. Either resolve that issue or use a different capture card like the Blackmagic Intensity Pro.

      12/16/11 @ 5:49 pm

      The reason you have the HDCP content problem is copy protection. The rings and hoops we have to face in trying to capture from the iPad2 is there to protect video copyright holders from piracy. This makes it inconvenient for those of us (in our case we are app developers) who have a legitimate need to make screen captures.

    8/4/11 @ 11:23 am

    Gary – I’m trying to do the same thing with the hdmi adapter, and an MX02 mini w/max that i’ve had for a couple of years now. I’m getting a distorted pink image, and I believe that may be due to HDCP compliance issues. Are you using any kind of an HDCP stripper?

      8/4/11 @ 11:55 am

      Nope. I’m not using anything like that. There are dozens of different “formats” that come out of the MX02 mini. Things like “1080p 29.97 YUV 8-bit” and such. You’ve got to try each one as only one works.

        8/4/11 @ 12:40 pm

        Interesting. Which worked for you? I’m on a difference platform, but that info may be helpful.

          8/4/11 @ 1:13 pm

          Can’t remember. I think it was one of the 720p ones. Oh, and it only worked for me using BonixTV software, not Wirecast. It worked in QuickTime Pro, but only for a few seconds each time. Weird. But I eventually just used Boinx and didn’t worry about it. WIrecast has updated a few times, and so has Matrox’s drivers, and I haven’t tried it yet.

    Paul Stackhouse
    8/29/11 @ 12:46 pm

    Have you found any way to display and/or record the finger motions from the iPad? I need people to be able to see what I am touching an moving as I record.

      8/29/11 @ 3:18 pm

      No, sorry, I haven’t.

        8/30/11 @ 4:55 pm

        Can’t find anything like that either, but could be added in post production using software like Camtasia.

    10/28/11 @ 10:18 am

    I have the Matrox mini 02 and an iPad 2. Also have Boinx TV as you suggested. I can’t seem to get my iPad to display w/in Boinx. I have the HDMI cable coming from the iPad in to HDMI In on the Matrox. When I open Boinx, I choose to display camera 2, which is the Matrox. No image displays.
    On a separate note, when I view the Matrox icon at the top of my MacBook Pro, I see “Matrox 02 Mini” and “I/O Device” grayed out. “Power off Card” is active in black.


      10/28/11 @ 10:22 am

      Have you tried all of the different Matrox settings? There are dozens of them. Only a few work with the signal. You’ve got to set it to the right one. Look in the Matrox preferences in System Preferences to get an idea. I’m not using a MacBook Pro, I’m using a Mac Pro, but I assume it is all the same.

        10/28/11 @ 10:39 am

        Thanks, I’m getting it to work now, but need to find a format that best diplays. I’m noticing the preferences have to be selected the same as the format you choose in Boinx. Any suggested formats you prefer?

          12/9/11 @ 2:26 pm

          Rosens, it sounds like I’m nearly in the same situation as you were. I have the Macbook pro, Ipad2, Matrox mini MX02 and Boinx TV. What settings ended up working for you?

          Although in my case Boinx doesn’t even give me an option for camera 2 :/

    11/29/11 @ 3:09 am

    “iPad Video Screen Capture”. Hold down the Home Key and then press the Power Key. This will result in a screen capture with the file being stored on the iPad.

      11/29/11 @ 7:52 am

      That will get you a still image. But it will not get you a video.

      2/2/12 @ 4:34 am

      Oh my @Wing, it helps to actually view a video tutorial before giving (what you think is) relevant advice. :)

    12/5/11 @ 3:16 pm

    This is the MOST eloquent explanation I’ve seen. Thank you! I have an older MacBook so USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt devices won’t work for me, but I found the H.264 Pro Recorder from Black Magic Design that works with USB 2.0.

    1/25/12 @ 8:05 pm

    Hi, I have the need to use SketchbookPro for iPad2, Brushes, etc drawing programs from stage, wired or wireless (preferred), and have the drawings end up on a big screen for audience viewing, and have the drawings end up on the MacBook Pro for capture, broadcast, webinar on GoToMeeting or FreeConferenceCall, and for editing/burning/posting on YouTube, websites, and Internet TV. Any and all solutions are very gratefully welcomed. Either total solution, or at least MacBook Pro capture, edit/burn/post. I am good with iMovie if that is ok, otherwise recommend. Cheers, ZenFire

    3/1/12 @ 10:00 am

    Its better to jailbreak and install DisplayRecorder to record video than to spend $1200 dollars to record the video.

      3/1/12 @ 10:07 am

      $1200? $300 for the HDMI card and then maybe $100 for some software. And for me it is $0 because I have both for other things.

        3/1/12 @ 11:15 am

        Is it possible to record on an iPad 2 using Camtasia? We would need to hook up the iPad 2 to a second monitor and record what is on the tablet. Any thoughts?

          3/1/12 @ 12:50 pm

          If there were an iPad app by Camtasia. You don’t need a second monitor for what I show in the video.

    3/2/12 @ 9:01 am

    Hi Gary,
    Great stuff, thanks! Quick question I hope..
    I have been tasked with coming up with a solid IPad screen capture solution, i’ve looked at a few different solutions, but am most impressed with yours. I just need to be sure i have everything before finalizing the proposal.
    We need to get: 1) Ipad2 2) Matrox MX02 Mini 3)Thunderbolt Adapter (for MacBook Pro) 4) 2 hdmi cables
    Is this correct? I called Matrox and they said the Ventura Capture Software is all we would need to capture video of an Ipad screen in action. I think eventually the video would go into Camtasia.
    Please let me know any thoughts, or what i have missed. I really appreciate what you do.

      3/2/12 @ 9:49 am

      That should work. Only 1 HDMI cable is needed. I don’t use Thunderbolt yet, as I have a Mac Pro and so have the PCIe card with the Matrox. Black Magic is the other alternative to Matrox for Thunderbolt, not sure which works best.
      You probably could use Ventura to capture — I have only tied Wirecast and Boinx. You also need the iPad HDMI cable adapter from Apple, don’t forget that piece.

        3/2/12 @ 9:54 am

        Thanks Gary!
        Turns out we don’t even have thunderbolt laptops…so i guess it needs to be a desktop…boy, a lot of work for such a simple task.

        Thanks again!

          3/2/12 @ 10:15 am

          Not just a desktop, but a Mac Pro (can take PCIe cards). Actually cheaper just to get a new MacBook Pro.

    3/8/12 @ 9:31 am

    You can also just install AirServer ( on your Mac and then stream or mirror your iPad 2 or iPhone 4S to your Mac and record or present from there.

    3/28/12 @ 5:35 pm

    A cheaper alternative to the Matrox card is using the $300 VGA to USB device from Epiphan,

    Works seamlessly for iPad screen capture, and compatible with Mac and Windows.

      3/28/12 @ 7:29 pm

      But keep in mind that VGA is much lower resolution.

    4/11/12 @ 8:50 am

    Gary, I’m a script supervisor on film sets – we commonly need to take low-res image captures (single image) of what the camera is recording to use as reference in our notes. Most scriptys run bnc cables to analogue to digital clamshell style recorders then use that to capture stills that they then import into their computers and upload into documents. It’s rather elaborate. I wish there was a way to use my ipad as an external monitor (wireless) and then be able to use it to screen capture stills from the video. I know this is a bit off-topic, sorry, but you seem to have a handle on all things video and ipad related and I’m hoping you might have some thoughts…..

    I have attempted an experiment using the ipad as a second monitor to my computer (using DisplayPad) – then from my Mac using Debut as my capture device – putting it on my ipad monitor and capturing from there. But it doesn’t ease well between programs (each time I exit DisplayPad on my iPad I need to reinstate it from my computer – which is fumbly and inconvenience when needing to work very quickly). and it saves the screenshots on my computer which adds a step as I’d ideally like to write my notes using iPad and import screenshots that have been saved in Photos into my iPad Pages doc.

    Can you think of anyway to eliminate my computer from the equation? Hope this makes sense,
    thanks, Annika

      4/11/12 @ 9:30 am

      No, sorry, I can’t think of anything that would help. You’d need some sort of specialized piece of hardware to connect the video feed to the iPad, and then a special app to go with it. I doubt that exists, but even if it did I wouldn’t have come across it in what I do.

    4/24/12 @ 3:04 pm

    I have figured out a somewhat complex and expensive method for recording an iPad’s display…and it doesn’t have to be jailbroken! Using a desktop PC in conjunction with an AverMedia DarkCrystal HD Capture card I can connect my iPad to my desktop with an HDMI cable in conjunction with an iPad HDMI pigtail. From there I can launch the included software the comes with the AverMedia card and I can easily record, project, or even launch a GoTo Meeting and display full 1080p graphics straight from my tablet. I know it seems to good to be true but it works and I use it everyday in my role as a marketing manager for a software company that has started creating mobile applications. As happy as I am that I can do this with ease there are a number of drawbacks to this setup…the first, it’s expensive. In addition, to the desktop pc the AverMedia Capture Card was almost 1K, placing the total cost of this setup somewhere in the 4-5k(not including the tablet) range. In addition, the AverMedia card (at the time) was not sold in the US so I had to coordinate with a Taiwanese company and get them to sell us this product within the US. I honestly don’t know if this product is now sold in the US but nevertheless I’m sure if you needed this setup that bad you could sway them to sell you one as well.

    Aside from this setup I have found one other solution that looks to offer a lot of promises…you just have to forgo the horrible website and lack of bi-directional communication. Apparently, this company is in the process of creating a low-cost product that uses a clam-shell to connect to the back of a tablet. Then using a wireless connection it streams the content to another computer, allowing the display to show up as I have come to know with my AverMedia card. The problem with this setup is that it doesn’t exist in the marketplace however I would encourage each of you to reach out to the owner and express your interest. The company name is Wi2tv and you can access their site at the following address…. I have email’d this guy a couple times and he has promised that his product will be available in the very near future. Unfortunately, it has yet to come and I have not heard back from this owner after repeated attempts for secondary information. From the owner’s initial response he stated that this solution would be in the range of $200-$300, which is much easier to swallow than the one my company purchased for me.

    Anyways, if anyone has any questions please feel free to respond.

    Thanks, Dominick

      4/24/12 @ 4:19 pm

      There’s a much much easier cheaper way now. Using AirServer for Mac. I’ll have a video for it soon (probably episode 702 later this week).

    Hans Mundahl
    5/1/12 @ 6:08 am

    Here is a brilliantly simple (and cheap) way to do this: Reflection App (I have no affiliation with these guys).
    It costs $15 and works very well though your network needs to allow Airplay which some corporate networks don’t allow.

    6/24/12 @ 11:32 pm

    Hey Gary,
    Thanks for the advice. Is there a way to do this with your IPhone or Ipod. I’m trying to make a demo of an app, before the app launches though.

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