How to take screenshots and capture screen recordings in macOS Mojave

Welcome to this tutorial explaining how to take Mac screenshots using the new tools in macOS Mojave

Thanks to a brand-new floating interface in macOS Mojave, you can now take Mac screenshots with less effort than ever before. All-new onscreen controls give you quick access to every option, including a video recording capability, without having to memorize complex keyboard shortcuts. And with Mojave’s streamlined workflow, you can share your screenshots easily without ever cluttering the desktop.


  • macOS Mojave consolidates screen-capturing features in one place.
  • The new interface has been assigned a global keyboard shortcut.
  • Onscreen icons let you quickly adjust screenshotting settings without Terminal.
  • The new experience integrates native screen recording.
  • Markup is now part of the workflow.
  • Screen captures can be shared quickly without saving.

TUTORIAL: tips for taking selection screenshots on your Mac

macOS Mojave has eliminated the old Grab app from your Applications/Utilities folder, it’s no longer on your Mac. In its place is an all-new found in the same place.

Take Mac screenshots - the icon of the new

The icon of Mojave’s new app, simply called Screenshot

Video: using Mojave’s new screenshotting tool

But first, block out the next three minutes of your time and watch iDownloadBlog’s hands-on video walkthrough of the new screenshot options in macOS Mojave, plus a refresher on the previous shortcuts for mastering your screenshot-taking skills.

Subscribe to iDownloadBlog on YouTube

And now, let’s get to it…

Your old shortcuts still function

Before we introduce you to the clutter-free screen capture experience, it’s important to note that all of the existing screen-capture shortcuts, tips and tricks continue to function in macOS Mojave without hiccups, as you’d expect.

This includes the two familiar key combinations for taking screenshots:

  • Command (⌘)-Shift (⇧)-3: Screenshot the whole screen.
  • Command (⌘)-Shift (⇧)-4: screenshot a portion of the screen.

These shortcuts can be combined with the modifier keys like before to do things like capture screenshots without the shadow effect, save them to the system clipboard and so forth.

Introducing Command (⌘)-Shift (⇧)-5

macOS Mojave sports the new overlay for quick access to every screenshot and video recording option. All the controls you need to take any type of screenshot or screen recording come to life with a quick press of the following key combo:

  • Command (⌘)-Shift (⇧)-5: invoke macOS Mojave’s new screen capture interface

Pressing the combo brings up a floating panel with the options that were previously hidden in QuickTime Player and Grab, like taking timed screenshots or showing the cursor.

Take Mac screenshots - The floating palette with on-screen controls for screenshots

Here are the icons, from left to right:

  • X: dismiss the panel and ask if any changes should be saved.
  • Capture Entire Screen: take a screenshot of the whole screen.
  • Capture Selected Window: screenshot a window.
  • Capture Selected Portion: screenshot the selected portion of the screen.
  • Record Entire Screen: record a video of the whole screen.
  • Record Selected Portion: record parts of your Mac screen.
  • Options: this is where you’ll set the start timer, show or hide the mouse pointer or mouse clicks and even customize where you’d like to save screenshots/screencasts.
  • Capture/Record: take a screenshot or record the screen.

The above shortcuts also appear on the Touch Bar of your Mac.

After taking a screenshot, a thumbnail animates to a screen corner similar to iOS 11’s overhauled screenshot workflow). Clicking it lets you use Markup or video trimming, share your content without saving a copy and more.

Take Mac screenshots - Taking a Mac screenshots in macOS Mojave

If you immediately swipe the thumbnail away (or wait a few minutes until it disappears), your content gets saved right away. By default, screenshots are stored as PNG files and screen recordings are saved as QuickTime MOV files.

macOS Mojave defaults to saving your screenshots and screen recordings to the desktop, but you can point the save path to a custom folder (more on that later).

Goodies in the Options menu

Let’s take a closer look at what’s included in the Options menu.

Take Mac screenshots - Screenshot taking options in macOS Mojave

This is what you may see after clicking Options, depending on context:

  • Save to
    • Desktop
    • Documents
    • Clipboard
    • Mail
    • Messages
    • Preview
    • [Custom save location]
  • Timer
    • None
    • 5 Seconds
    • 10 Seconds
  • Microphone (video only)
    • None
    • Built-in Microphone
    • [Connected Microphone]
  • Options
    • Show Floating Thumbnail
    • Remember Last Selection
    • Show Mouse Pointer
    • Show Mouse Clicks (video only)

Let’s take a closer look at what each of those settings does.

Hiding the floating thumbnail

In Mojave, a thumbnail of your screenshot appears for a few seconds in the bottom-right corner before disappearing (swipe right on the thumbnail to dismiss it immediately).

To avoid having the thumbnail grabbed in your subsequent captures, swipe it away before taking another screenshot or turn it off entirely by clicking the Options menu, then deselect Show Floating Thumbnail underneath the Options heading.

Setting a start timer

By setting a start time, you can take a timed capture.

You can set a 5- or 10-second delay before the screen is captured. This lets you take screenshots in situations where you need to hold down the Option key to reveal a hidden menu.

To set a start timer for your capture sessions, click the Options menu and choose the option 5 Seconds or 10 Seconds underneath the Timer heading, or Off to disable the timer.

Taking timed screenshots used to require the phased-out Grab app.

Changing where screenshots are saved

Previously, setting a custom screenshot save path required a Terminal command.

macOS Mojave lets you easily switch between several commonly used destinations, such as your desktop, the system clipboard, your account’s Documents folder or system apps such as Mail, Messages and Preview.

To change where your screenshots are saved, click the Options menu then choose Desktop, Documents, Clipboard, Mail, Messages or Preview underneath the Save To heading. Note that the Preview and Clipboard destinations are unavailable for saving screen recordings.

Take Mac screenshots - The Options menu includes various variables for adjusting the screenshot taking experience in macOS Mojave

The old method of setting the save path with a Terminal command still works.

If you want to change the default path for saving screen captures to an unlisted location like the Downloads folder, type or paste the following line in a Terminal window and press Enter to execute the command.

defaults write location ~/Downloads/; killall SystemUIServer

Your custom location should now be listed as the seventh choice in the Options menu. Keep in mind that clicking a built-in path will instantly delist your custom location from this menu.

You can set it again through Terminal, but it would have been way nicer if the Options menu reserved a permanent spot for the user’s custom save path.

Showing the mouse pointer

By default, the mouse pointer is not included in screenshots.

To take a screenshot that also includes mouse pointer graphics, be sure that the option Show Mouse Pointer is ticked in the Options menu after selecting the Capture Entire Screen, Capture Selected Window or Capture Selected Portion option.

Showing mouse clicks

The mouse pointer always shows up in screen recordings, but you can have it replaced with visual cues for button presses. Just tick Show Mouse Clicks from the Options menu—any mouse clicks you make during the screen-recording session will appear as animated circles in your video.

Take Mac screenshots - When capturing screen recordings, you can opt t show mouse clicks as small circles

Remembering last selection

If Remember Last Selection is checked in the Options menu, clicking the icons for screenshotting the selected portion of the screen or recording parts of the screen will automatically load your previously made screen selection. This is especially useful when taking multiple screenshots in sequence of the same dynamic area, like a YouTube window.

Selecting audio source

Before initiating a screen recording session, you can optionally choose your preferred audio source underneath the Microphone heading from the Options menu. To record your voice or other audio with the screen recording, choose your built-in microphone or one of the available audio recording devices connected to the computer.

Take Mac screenshots - Video recordings can be captured with or without sound

To record a silent screencast, select the option None.

Taking screenshots

The new interface and workflow in macOS Mojave let you screenshot the entire screen, the selected window or the user-defined portion of the screen.

Choose your mode by clicking Capture Entire Screen, Capture Selected Window or Capture Selected Portion, then hit the Capture button on the right side.

Take Mac screenshots - The floating palette with on-screen controls for screenshots

To dismiss the floating interface, press the Escape (⎋) key or click “x” on the leftmost side.

We’ve said ti before but it’s worth reiterating that any old keyboard shortcuts for these actions that you’ve grown accustomed to over the years continue to function in Mojave and beyond.

Capturing the whole screen

To take a screenshot of everything shown on your Mac’s screen, choose the leftmost icon labeled Capture Entire Screen, then click the Capture button on the rightmost side.

TIP: Capture the whole screen quickly with the old shortcut Command (⌘)-Shift (⇧)-3.

Capturing a screen portion

To capture a portion of the screen, choose the third leftmost icon labeled Capture Selected Portion (as a quick tip, note that pressing the Space bar cycles between recording all or parts of your Mac screen). Doing so will load your previous selection unless Remember Last Selection is unticked in the Options menu.

If Remember Last Selection is off, create a selection from scratch by moving the crosshair to where you’d like to start the screenshot and drag to select an area. Use the dots on the sides of the selection to refine the area, then hit the Capture button on the rightmost side.

Take Mac screenshots - The new interface in macOS Mojave lets you easily take selection screenshots

TIP: Like before, you can also capture a screen portion quickly by pressing the old shortcut Command (⌘)-Shift (⇧)-3. Next, move the crosshair to where you want to start your screenshot, the drag to select an area (while dragging, you can hold Shift, Option or Space bar to change the way the selection moves) and let go of the mouse button.

Screenshotting a window

To take a screenshot of a window, click the second leftmost icon labeled Capture Selected Window, then click the Capture button on the rightmost side.

Now move the camera pointer over a window and highlight it, then click the mouse button.

Take Mac screenshots - You can also screenshot any window

The same Space bar highlight shortcut can be used to screenshot any Mac menu.

Take Mac screenshots - Use the selection Space bar method to screenshot menus as well

Don’t forget that you can quickly cycle through taking a screenshot of the selected window or a portion of the screen by hitting the Space bar when the on-screen controls are visible.

TIP: Screenshot a window quickly by pressing the old shortcut Command (⌘)-Shift (⇧)-4.

Marking up & sharing screenshots

Click the thumbnail that appears after taking a screenshot to enter the built-in Markup tools.

The integrated Markup tools lined up alongside the top of the overlay make it fast and efficient to add comments to your content before sharing with others.

Here are the Markup tools, from left to right:

  • Sketch
  • Draw
  • Shapes
  • Text
  • Highlight selection
  • Signatures
  • Lines and Arrows
  • Border color
  • Fill color
  • Typeface
  • Rotate right
  • Rotate left
  • Crop

After making the changes with Markup, click Done near the overlay’s top-right corner to have any changes saved or hit Revert to cancel Markup changes.

To share a marked-up screenshot, click Share in the top-right corner and select an option. To delete the screenshot, press the Trashcan icon near the top-right corner.

To share a screenshot right after taking it, click the thumbnail to enter Markup and use the Share menu to choose a service. To exit Markup, click the “x” in the upper-left corner or press the Escape (⎋) key.

Don’t worry, you’ll be prompted to save the changes.

Taking screen recordings

The new screenshot workflow in macOS Mojave makes it really simple to make a video recording of all or part of your Mac’s screen. You can make screen recordings, with or without audio or the mouse clicks (use the Options menu to make those choices).

Recording the whole screen

To make a recording of everything shown on the screen of your Mac, click the fourth leftmost icon labeled Record Entire Screen. This will load your previous selection if Remember Last Selection is checked in the Options menu.

Otherwise, drag to select an area to record, then drag the dots on the sides of the outline to refine the selection. Click the Capture button on the rightmost side to start recording.

To end the session, click the Stop Recording button in your Mac’s menu bar.

Take Mac screenshots - The Stop Recording button appears in your Mac's menu bar

Alternatively, click the Stop Screen Recording button that appears on the floating panel.

Take Mac screenshots - You can also end the recording using controls in the floating interface

On-screen controls not visible? Bring them up by pressing Command (⌘)-Shift (⇧)-5.

Recording parts of the screen

To record everything shown on your Mac’s screen, click the fourth leftmost icon labeled Record Selected Portion, then click the Record button on the rightmost side. To end the recording, click the Stop Recording button in the menu bar.

Take Mac screenshots - You can record everything or just parts of your Mac screen

The ability to record the screen continues to be part of Mojave’s QuickTime Player app.

Taking screenshots while recording screen

Previously, you could initiate a screen recording session with QuickTime Player and take screenshots whilst the video is being recorded. You can still do that in Mojave.

Simply press Command (⌘)-Shift (⇧)-5 to bring up the floating interface, then click Record Entire Screen or Record Selected Portion. While your screencast is being recorded, press one of the screenshot-taking shortcuts on the keyboard to simultaneously take a screenshot.

Take Mac screenshots - You can take screenshots while your Mac is recording a screencast

Alternatively, invoke the onscreen controls with Command (⌘)-Shift (⇧)-5 while your video is being captured, then select one of the screenshot-taking modes and click that Capture button.

Take Mac screenshots - Even selection screenshots are supported while recording a portion of your Mac screen

As an example, you may want to capture a selection screenshot of an interesting detail while your Mac connotes to record a screencast of a YouTube video playing in Chrome.

Trimming & sharing screen recordings

Click the video thumbnail to instantly access trimming tools without having to open QuickTime. Lined up at the video’s bottom are the Play/Pause button, the scrubber, the Share button and the Full Screen button.

To trim the video, click the Trim button next to Done near the overlay’s top-right corner.

Take Mac screenshots - Click the thumbnail to trim your video

You should now see the scrubbing and editing ribbon along the bottom of the video.

Take Mac screenshots - Drag the edges of the yellow frame to trim the video to a desired length

To leave out unwanted parts at the beginning and the end of the clip, drag the edges on either side of the yellow frame to trim the video to a desired length.

The yellow strip for trimming video recordings

You can also press the Play/Pause button to play the yellow segment or click anywhere in the ribbon to jump to that point in the video. Click Done to save the trimmed video or Revert to dismiss the changes. To delete the video, click the Trashcan icon. Finally, use the Share button to instantly share your edited clip right there and then.

Take Mac screenshots - Click Done to save your changes

To exit the interface at any time, click the “x” in the upper-left corner or press the Escape (⎋) key, then choose whether you’d like to have the changes saved or dismisses.

Wrapping it all up

The new workflow in macOS Mojave is very similar to iOS 11’s overhauled screenshotting interface. The persistent overlay along with the handy on-screen buttons and the Options menu give you quick access to all the features you need to make the most out of Mojave’s new screen-capturing capabilities available on your Mac.

Take Mac screenshots - Screenshots in macOS Mojave are now a snap.

The streamlined workflow lets you share your captures without cluttering the desktop, mark up your screenies with ease and trim screen recordings without using QuickTime Player.

What more could you ask for?

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