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Want to create demonstration videos on your Android device, perhaps to help a friend or relative, or to show how an app you have developed works? Perhaps you simply want to record your activity in a game or video chat? You need a screen recorder tool.

Android users have a choice of apps (some of which require root), an official ADB method, and even custom ROMs with the facility built in. Let’s find out which option is best for you.

Best Practices for Screen Recording

Recording a screen cast can be tricky, even with the right app. As a result, you should take some time to prepare what you’re doing beforehand. Spend a few moments writing a basic script. It doesn’t have to be detailed, more of a sort of cue-card approach.

You should follow this with a few practice runs, making sure you’re comfortable with the process you’re demonstrating. After all, if you make it look tough, it won’t be a great video. Similarly, take your time with the video, don’t rush or talk too quickly if your screen recording tool supports audio (most do). If you want to make particular actions specific, use an app with a pointer toggle, to highlight the part of the display you’re using. Failing this, connect a mouse to your Android device using Bluetooth or USB OTG How To Connect a USB Keyboard To Your Android Phone How To Connect a USB Keyboard To Your Android Phone While I’m a big fan of Swype, SlideIT, and other advanced keyboards for Android, there’s something to be said about a keyboard with keys on it. I mean the physical-type keyboards – you know, the... Read More .

When you’re comfortable with your planned demonstration, it’s time to hit record… but which app will you use?

SCR Screen Recorder Pro (root)

For many, this is the top screen recording app, offering front camera integration, an indicator to show where you’re touching the display, and the ability to choose your audio source and even mute the clip to record audio later.

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The end result is a polished, professional-looking clip, although you might want to make sure you’re looking presentable if you’re integrating your own head into the clip!

Of course, the shortcoming is that you must have a rooted Android device to use this app. If you choose to root your device Take Control: Android Rooting Guide Take Control: Android Rooting Guide As of the writing of this guide, approximately 80% of the world's population owns their own cellphone. Out of those, 1.08 billion are smartphones. Read More (the process differs across models and manufacturers) take care not to brick the device 6 Key Tips To Avoid Bricking Your Rooted Android Device 6 Key Tips To Avoid Bricking Your Rooted Android Device When you own a rooted Android phone running a custom ROM, you need to take some precautions or risk "bricking" (destroying) your device. Read More , which would render it unusable.

Running Lollipop 5.0? AZ Screen Recorder — No Root

With Android 5.0 Lollipop Android 5.0 Lollipop: What It Is And When You'll Get It Android 5.0 Lollipop: What It Is And When You'll Get It Android 5.0 Lollipop is here, but only on Nexus devices. What exactly is new about this operating system, and when can you expect it to arrive on your device? Read More , screen recording has been built into the Android API, which makes it a whole lot easier for developers to create competent, stable apps.

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One such example is the AZ Screen Recorder app, a root-free solution with a largely-unobtrusive floating menu to enable easy screen recording. With a choice of video quality settings, a countdown timer to help you start recording the useful footage, a facecam for reaction shots, and the ability to draw on screen and trim videos, this app has it all. If you’re on Lollipop, this is the solution for you.

The App-Free Solution: Screen Recording Over Android ADB

If an app doesn’t work for you, the Android SDK — which can be downloaded from developer.android.com/sdk — is required. Using the Android Debug Bridge New To Android Debug Bridge? How To Make The Process Simple And Easy New To Android Debug Bridge? How To Make The Process Simple And Easy ADB is incredibly useful for sending commands to your Android device from your computer. For the beginners out there, here's a dead simple way to use ADB. Read More , which is bundled with the SDK, you can record video via USB. This method works with Android 4.4 and later.

Begin by connecting your phone to your computer via microUSB. Launch the command line, and enter:

adb shell screenrecord /sdcard/FILENAME.mp4

(Remember to change “FILENAME” for the name you want to give the file.)

You can then begin the demonstration on your phone, and when you’re done, press CTRL+C. This method will create an MP4 file on your device storage, so copy the completed file to your computer to review and edit.

Record Your Screen the Old Fashioned Way

All the options above expect your Android device to run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean or later. But what if your Android device is an older phone or tablet? The answer here is to use the Android SDK to mirror your device’s display and use a desktop screen-capturing software such as Ashampoo Snap Ashampoo Snap 7 Review: Easy Screenshot And Video Capture Ashampoo Snap 7 Review: Easy Screenshot And Video Capture Looking for an easy & comprehensive desktop capture solution? Snap 7 offers advanced screenshot options, including multi-shots and video capture. But is it worth 20 Bucks? Read our review and test it yourself with the... Read More or Screen Studio for Linux Linux Screen Recording Just Got Quicker and Easier with ScreenStudio Linux Screen Recording Just Got Quicker and Easier with ScreenStudio Finally, there's a new Linux screencaster that offers good performance, has lots of settings to choose from, and has a good interface to configure it all. Take a look at ScreenStudio and see for yourself. Read More .

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If this doesn’t work for you, and you’re fortunate enough to have an Android device with an HDMI out port (some exist, and can easily display the screen on a HDTV Droid Meets HDMI: How (And Why) To Connect Your Android Phone To Your TV Droid Meets HDMI: How (And Why) To Connect Your Android Phone To Your TV A recent trip to a local used goods store brought me into contact with the LG Optimus 3D P920. Following some quick checks online via my usual phone, I bought the device – and soon... Read More ), you can connect this to a digital video camera and record activity on your Android screen that way. Failing this, an HDMI PCI Express card on your PC — or USB HDMI adaptor — and a suitable video capture package can also provide a solution here.

Screen Recording in a Custom ROM

Sometimes, you don’t need to bother installing apps. Seasoned ROM flashers will know that a whole bunch of extras are included in custom ROMs, and very often, screen recorders are among these extras. For instance, OmniROM, which we’ve mentioned a couple of times previously 5 Reasons Why You Should Flash OmniROM To Your Android Device 5 Reasons Why You Should Flash OmniROM To Your Android Device With a bunch of custom ROM options out there, it can be hard to settle on just one -- but you should really consider OmniROM. Read More on MakeUseOf, has a “cooked in” screen capture app.

So, if you’re running a custom ROM, check the notes or have a good look through the options and apps you have installed already. There is a very good chance that screen recording is a cooked in option, and all you have to do is activate it.

How Do You Record Your Screen?

Those are all the best options we found, but maybe we missed something. Now we want to hear from you.

Do you use screen recording apps? Is there one that you favor above all others? Let us know in the comments.

  1. Caleb Wilson
    July 23, 2016 at 2:04 am

    A note for the ADB method of screen-recording. I have only been able to record 2 min, 59 sec of video before it stops recording. Is there a workaround for that or is it a technical limit for using that method?

    • Christian Cawley
      July 23, 2016 at 2:15 pm

      Ah yes, this is to avoid copyright violations, so the theory goes. AIUI, there is no workaround, other than to make subsequent videos and edit them together.

  2. Niko Schmidt
    August 15, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    The best Android screen recorder app is now free! No ads, time limits etc.

    Official website: http://www.scr-screen-recorder.com

  3. jonen560ti
    April 28, 2015 at 10:24 am

    or just get a Shield Tablet and use Shadowplay

    • Christian Cawley
      May 1, 2015 at 5:17 pm

      That's not realy the same thing though, is it? That's a gaming solution, comparable to recording gaming on a PS4 or Xbox One.

  4. Apper
    April 28, 2015 at 5:07 am

    SCR Screen Recorder's store link is missing (both Pro, and Free)! Can I still download this useful app?

    • Christian Cawley
      May 1, 2015 at 5:18 pm

      It looks as though SCR Screen Recorder has been withdrawn or renamed! I'm looking into finding a new source.

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