If you’re not in the market for a new iPad 10.5″ Pro you may have missed some really exciting news…ios 11 includes a builtin screen recorder!
Rarely do I get my act together enough to publish news that’s actually ‘breaking’…but for once I managed to do exactly that. Maybe it’s because the topic is one I’m sort of passionate about?
It’s about a month after Apple’s annual WWDC17 event has ended. The event in which Apple announced the newest 10.5″ iPad Pro. I was looking at a few ios 11 videos the other day shortly before I placed my order for that same new iPad which I can finally now get because I just sold the 12″ Pro that I ended up disliking so much I never used it. Prior to selling it I was prohibited from acquiring another because Apple strictly controls the number of ios devices one customer may own and use with their Apple ID.
It was while I was watching ios 11 videos on YouTube that I was suddenly shocked to discover that ios 11 includes a new built-in screen recording feature located in the freshly designed, user customizable Control Center! I hadn’t watched the entire WWDC event personally but from all accounts that I’d seen and heard this new screen recording feature was never once mentioned during the event.
I have to admit, I could hardly believe this was true!
For years and years YouTubers have gone to great lengths to find and use a standalone screen recorder. One where you don’t have to tether your device to a Mac Computer.
What Exactly is Screen Recording?
What’s meant by screen recording is the ability to capture and record all of the activity that occurs on a device’s screen in real time as a video. Most often screen recorders capture audio too,, so the person who’s creating the video can narrate as they record.
The 2 most common uses of screen recorders are gamers who demonstrate their game play actions for others on YouTube. This is a huge phenomena! YouTube hosts thousands of channels dedicated to this. Frankly, I never got the point of it all until the recent advent of Pokémon Go…the 1st (and probably only) video game I’ll ever play.
Trainer Tips is an awesome YouTube channel created by a young guy from California who apparently makes a living from his channel. He uploads new videos almost daily which give followers important news about the game as well as shows his cell phone’s screen as he wanders California and the world playing the game. His channel is quite professionally produced and it blows my mind that someone could earn a living playing Pokémon Go!
It’s probably because of all the gamers wanting to record their game play that screen recording apps even exist. As they began to gain recognition other YouTubers…people like me who host channels with content aimed at demonstrating tasks using technology, discovered the wealth of versatility screen recording utilities provide. While screenshots and annotations are great…sometimes they just aren’t enough. There are several tutorials I’ve wanted to create for quite some time, but haven’t been able to because screen recording wasn’t a reality. But now I can…so look for my soon to be published video demonstrating the finer points of using Apple’s newish Markup.
My Markup video will show you how to draw arrows, straight lines and correctly proportioned shapes…which I spent much too long trying to figure out on my own! Another video I’ve wanted to do for a while is a demonstration of the work flow I use to both write and create the illustrations for my blogs, websites and YouTube channel.
The Screen Recording Controversy
Why Apple seems to have gone out of their way to defeat these efforts, banning any app discovered to include this feature eluded me for a long time. But the knee jerk reaction was that several App developers took to include the capability hidden behind some other innocuous sounding feature in apps they’d make available in the Apple App Store. Since they needed a way to publicize their availability, YouTube was often the main mode of advertising. Apple must have employees who monitor YouTube for videos like these because time and time again, within a few weeks or at the most months, Apple would ostensibly discover it and the app would be removed from the App Store.
Last year when Apple opened ios to allow users to side-load apps, a better alternate distribution platform emerged. Alternative app stores have been extremely popular with younger tech-oriented users who learned early on that Apple’s restrictive sand boxed (aka safer) ios environment could be bypassed by jail breaking their devices, Jail breaking usually means tethering your device to a computer and downloading a tweaked version of the operating system that allows users to install better App stores.
Why Do User’s Jailbreak Their ios Devices?
If you’re wondering why people would go to the trouble of jailbreaking their devices (and trouble it is!) you’re not alone. This too has been a long standing and sometimes hotly contested debate. GottaBeMobile’s new article on Reasons for and Against Jailbreaking ios 10 & 10.2 discusses the most recent arguments both for and against. These current reasons differ somewhat from the longer term ones though. Historically, the main reason for jailbreaking was the plethora of additional customizations available for tweaking devices to make them extraordinary. The customizations let you do things to your device that Apple strictly prohibited. Things like new and better locking screens, file managers and a lot more games and media were available to jail broken devices. Overtime a more popular reason arose…the ability to use screen recording apps.
Cult of Mac wrote a great feature article on the history of jail breaking in the article from 2012.
Even though thousands of users went that route, and I did think about it often…I never actually did it for 2 main reasons. First, you know how Apple is constantly updating ios? Well, when you jail break a device you still need to update the ios periodically…but it’s a much more cumbersome process, which you can’t even do until some industrious jail breaking genius figures out how to accomplish that with the newest ios release, and then write code and make it available to the whole jail breaking community. 2nd, personally I felt that the inherent dangers of opening up your device to allow software from sources less well-known and scrutinized was an open invitation for viruses and malware. My reasoning was that for the vast majority of ios users these problems were non-existent for many years (although recently that’s changed.) Things changed when a few years back the first ios viruses entered the scene…but those were only found on jail broken devices.
A 3rd important reason, but one I wasn’t necessarily focused on at the time was that jail breaking meant voiding your Apple warranty. More recently Apple replaced one of my iPads under warranty when I didn’t even think it was still under warranty…so I gained a new appreciation for the significance of voiding Apple’s warranty.
The Death of Jail Breaking
Around the time of ios 9 Apple quietly introduced a new ability primarily to its’ developer community now commonly referred to as side loading. OSXDaily gives a great explanation of the earliest notion of side loading. But very quickly side loading became more streamlined and adopted by the jail breaking community. Now it’s readily available to any and all to try. Yesterday the Cult of Mac published an article and interviews with some of jail breaking’s pioneers on why jail breaking no longer makes sense.
Today side loading means installing apps from alternative app stores…stores which now offer a lot of apps formerly only available on jail-broken devices. All kinds of apps are available and unlike their jail broken counterparts, very frequently these apps are free. That is actually one reason to use side loading…to get an app for free that you’d have to pay for in Apple’s App Store. There are several App Stores around for this, and like using Apple’s App Store you first need to install the store as an app on your device.
More Information About Side Loading Apps
One popular App Store is HipStore…it’s the one I used to find and load some prohibited screen recorders. You can download HipStore for ios 10.3.2 here…remember you need to get the correct versions for your version of ios. But my examination of the store today didn’t reveal any screen recording apps there currently. Apps do seem to come and go more readily on these types of stores.
The only screen recorder app that I could figure out and that worked for me was AirShou. In May iPhoneByte wrote a good guide to downloading AirShou using a different method and store than the one I used.
My Only Experience Using Side Loaded Apps
I was thrilled to finally be able to try out screen recording but it didn’t work out great for me. I tried out the first 2 of the screen recording apps encircled in red in my screenshot a little further above. Vidyo I couldn’t figure out how to use at all…although for those who do it’s supposed to work well. AirShou had more information available online to help figure out its usage. So I recorded another topic I’d been wanting to do for a very long time.
I use this amazing app called OneEdit Pro for creating almost all of the images I use on my websites and YouTube channel. It’s amazing because it has such depth and so many features that I can accomplish almost everything I need to with just this one app. Many times I’d attempted to write a post about how to use it but it wasn’t easy because so much of what I needed to communicate was visual. So I tested out AirShou late one night when I was half asleep…just trying to run through what I might include in a potential script for a video. The next day I attempted to watch the video but it wouldn’t play for me. Nor could I import it into iMovie and edit it. The file itself was huge and I think that’s the reason why. But revisiting the app didn’t reveal any ways to adjust things that would change the size of the final output in any significant way.
So I had about 15 to 20 minutes of roughly scripted footage I couldn’t do anything with. I wasn’t going to record anything else unless I could actually use the footage. Ultimately after hours of messing around with it, it took transferring the footage to an iPad Pro and editing it with a new expensive ($20) video editor LumaFusion to get the not-great video that was the result and which I published on YouTube.
Following that abysmal failure…I attempted to do a 2nd video that was shorter, more to the point and better… not using a screen recorder and with a companion blog post. If you’re wondering why I couldn’t drop this, it’s because the OneEdit Pro app, (which is only $2.99,) is really amazing!
It’s improved my work so much but especially in saving me time, because now I edit all of the images together at one time for most of my articles…I can get a lot more work done in a much shorter period of time. What used to take me 3 hours now takes about 15 minutes. I figure there are probably billions of,bloggers out there…and probably at least half of them use ios devices…yet no one seems to have ever heard of, much less use this app. I feel like if people understood what it did, they’d be as wowed as I was when I first discovered it.
But, as you can see, side loading didn’t really end up being the panacea I was hoping for. :-( Not only did it fail in the functional spectrum…but just like jail breaking devices makes you more susceptible to viruses and malware…side loading apps does too. And while I don’t really think it was that that accounted for why I periodically get popups now telling me that my data is locked (it isn’t really)…it’s an inherently risky move.
I realize that was a much longer background leading up to the main reason for my post…but I really feel like it’s important for everyone to understand the context and what the options are currently. Also I think it helps you to understand why my saying that I’m ecstatic about this new screen recorder is really an understatement of the greatest magnitude!
I kind of feel like shouting it from the rooftops…
IOS 11 HAS A BUILTIN SCREEN RECORDER EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Let’s just hope this isn’t something Apple decides to remove at some point before ios 11 goes live.
The Best Documented Proof of ios 11’s New Screen Recorder Comes From Several YouTube Videos
Here’s a link to the first YouTube video I watched by Iupdateos, where he demo’s the screen-recorder at around :50 seconds in.
And a link to the second video by EverythingApplePro where you can find the very brief screen recording function demoed around 2:10 minutes.
The ‘Best of the Best’ Provides Advice for Using the New Screen Recording App
YouTuber DinoZambas2 has the best demonstration of the screen recorder beginning in his video at :50 seconds, because he shows both how to set it up to appear in the Control Center as well as how to access the controls for the microphone prior to invoking the recorder.
If you don’t have time right at this moment to watch videos, I took the attached screenshots of the demos…because I myself was having a very hard time believing it!
Why is This Such a Big deal?
I already covered most of this in my very long lead in…but this is the shorter, possibly better version. I think the number 1 reason a screen recording feature is so important is because YouTuber’s need it so often to demonstrate things on the screen of their device. It’s almost impossible to demonstrate things that are happening on the screen of an ios device without this feature. Even having a second party available to record while the first person demonstrates some feature or tip, ends up with inferior video footage because the hands of the person doing the demonstrating end up covering up at least half of the screen. The smaller the device the bigger this problem becomes.
So the ability to record actual onscreen activity automatically within the device provides a much cleaner, more viewable demonstration.
What Do We Know About the New Screen Recorder?
From DinoZambas2’s video we know that the screen recording feature must first be enabled in a fashion similar to that of adding widgets to the notifications area. We also know that once it’s invoked with 3D Touch turned off, you just need to open Control Center, then long press on the screen recording icon (it looks like 2 concentric circles) to pull up the microphone which you can set either to
‘On‘ or ‘Off.’ Last you tap the screen recording icon to begin recording. Then hit the Home Button to go to whatever app you want to record.
When your done recording you can tap on the blue banner displayed at the top of the screen that indicates a recording is in progress and then tap on the word ‘stop‘ that pops up in a small.Next go to the Photos app camera roll to view the footage you recorded.
Guides to Using the Screen Recorder
9 to 5 Mac has written a nice guide on how to setup and use the new screen recorder.
wccftech also has developed a written guide you can find here.
Mic’s article, while short, offers a quick illuminating video that was created using the screen recorder.
How to Install ios 11 | Even if You’re Not a Developer
I’m not sure exactly when this occurred, but in the not too distant past Apple changed their participation rules and you no longer need to be a developer to download and use their betas. As a developer you’d need to pay a $100 fee first. But when Apple changed that rule they made it free for the general public to become beta testers. I’ve contemplated doing this for a while…even when it took $100…but I never could bring myself to do it. I’m a beta tester for several things and I know what’s involved. Bugs can and do manifest themselves. They can chew up a lot of your time both to accurately report and deal with the fallout from. But with app beta testing the scope is limited to just that app…with ios it’s essentially your while device.
Plus I read a recent CNN article saying ios 11 is really pretty buggy. While I couldn’t find that again to link to here, I did find this one from Apple Insider called: PSA: Don’t Install ios 11 on Your Main Phone Unless You Hate Yourself.
I Just Installed ios 11 On An iPad That Was Acting Flakey
It took me longer to accomplish than I thought it would, but part of that was because of that iPad’s problems I think. It seems to have a corrupt ios, something I’ve had issues with in the past, especially with ios 8, and I was going to have to,do something with it anyway regardless.
Once I started I realized that they are really 2 kinds of betas…those meant for the general public and those meant for developers. Apparently developer betas are released earlier than betas for the general public…but according to ‘The Verge‘ the public beta became available on June 25th. Here’s the link to download it.
Because it took me so long to get ios 11 onto my iPad and I wanted to finish this…I haven’t actually tested out the screen recorder yet. But when I do I’ll write more about it or make a video or something. In the meantime…if you’ve ever longed for a screen recorder for ios…your prayers have been answered!
Please feel free to leave me any comments or questions below.
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