How to Capture Screenshots on Your Mac

Taking screenshots, or screengrabs, is a convenient way to capture information and images on your Mac that might not be readily downloadable. Whether you’re a new Mac user or just looking for a quick refresher, we’ve got all the information you need to capture those perfect shots. In this guide, we’ll cover various screenshot options, including full-screen captures and capturing specific parts of your screen. Additionally, we’ll explore how to record your screen for those times when a still image doesn’t quite cut it.

Full-Screen Screenshot

Capturing the entire content displayed on your Mac’s screen is as easy as 1-2-3. Follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Key Combination

To initiate a full-screen screenshot, press and hold down the Command, Shift, and 3 keys simultaneously.

Step 2: Flash and Snapshot

As you execute the key combination, you might notice a quick flash or change on your screen before it returns to normal. This flash signifies that your Mac has successfully taken a snapshot of the entire screen.

Step 3: Saving the Screenshot

By default, this screenshot is saved directly to your Mac’s desktop folder, making it easily accessible.

Capturing a Specific Part of Your Screen

Sometimes, you may not need to capture the entire screen but only a specific portion of it. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Key Combination

Press the Command, Shift, and 4 keys simultaneously. This key combination activates a specialized tool for capturing specific screen areas.

Step 2: Crosshair Cursor

Your mouse pointer will transform into a crosshair cursor.

Step 3: Select the Area

Move the crosshair cursor to the area you want to capture.

Step 4: Draw a Box

Click and hold the mouse button, then drag to draw a box around the portion of the screen you wish to capture.

Step 5: Fine-Tune Selection

If you need to make precise adjustments to the selected area, you can hold down the Shift, Option, or Space bar key while continuing to drag.

Step 6: Snapshot Confirmation

After you’ve chosen the desired area, release the mouse button or trackpad.

Step 7: Capture Complete

You might observe a quick flash or screen change, after which it returns to its normal state. This signifies that your screenshot has been successfully taken.

Step 8: Locating the Screenshot

As with full-screen screenshots, the picture you captured using this method is typically saved on your Mac’s desktop for easy access.

Screen Recording on Mac

Sometimes, a still image isn’t enough to capture the action or convey your message effectively. In such cases, screen recording comes to the rescue. Here’s how to record your screen on a Mac:

Step 1: Activate Screen Tool

To begin screen recording, hold down the Command, Shift, and 5 keys simultaneously. This key combination activates a special screen tool.

Step 2: Recording Options

You will now see various options for capturing pictures and recording your screen. For screen recording, you can choose between “Record the whole screen” or “Record a part of the screen.”

Step 3: Select Recording Area

Choose the recording option that suits your needs and click on it. You can then press the “Record” button to start the recording process.

Step 4: Stop Recording

Once you’re done recording, simply hit the “Stop recording” button in the menu.

Screen recording is an excellent way to create tutorials, capture live streaming content, or save a video conversation for future reference. Your recorded videos are typically saved to a location of your choice, allowing you to easily access and share them as needed.


Capturing screenshots and recording your screen on a Mac is a straightforward process once you know the key combinations and techniques. Whether you need a full-screen snapshot, want to focus on a specific part of your screen, or require a video recording, your Mac provides the tools to get the job done with ease. So, the next time you need to capture an image or record your screen, follow these simple steps, and you’ll be a Mac screenshot and screen recording pro in no time!

1. Macintosh 128K (1984):

The Macintosh, often referred to as the Macintosh 128K, was introduced on January 24, 1984. It was a groundbreaking product, mainly due to its graphical user interface (GUI) and mouse, which made personal computing more accessible to a broader audience. The Macintosh 128K featured a 9-inch monochrome display and was powered by a Motorola 68000 processor.

2. Macintosh II (1987):

The Macintosh II, released in 1987, was Apple’s first modular Mac, allowing users to expand and customize their systems. It introduced color graphics and was the first Macintosh to support multiple displays. This marked the beginning of Apple’s commitment to professional users.

3. PowerBook (1991):

The PowerBook series, introduced in 1991, was Apple’s entry into the portable computing market. These compact laptops quickly gained popularity and set the standard for laptop design. The PowerBook line continued to evolve and was eventually succeeded by the MacBook series.

4. Mac OS X (2001):

In 2001, Apple introduced Mac OS X, a completely new operating system based on a Unix foundation. It brought enhanced stability, security, and performance to the Mac platform. Mac OS X also featured the Aqua interface, with its signature brushed metal and translucent elements.

5. iMac (1998):

The iMac, introduced in 1998, was a pivotal moment for Apple. Designed by Jonathan Ive, it featured an all-in-one design with a colorful translucent shell. The iMac helped revitalize the company and brought USB ports to the forefront.

6. Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard (2007):

Leopard introduced several new features, including Time Machine for easy backups, Spaces for virtual desktops, and improved graphics and performance. It was part of Apple’s effort to make Mac OS X more user-friendly and feature-rich.

7. MacBook Air (2008):

The MacBook Air, introduced in 2008, was known for its ultra-thin and lightweight design. It set the standard for thin and light laptops and was a precursor to the ultrabook category.

8. Mac App Store (2011):

In 2011, Apple launched the Mac App Store, providing a centralized platform for users to discover and download Mac applications. It brought the app ecosystem to the Mac platform, similar to what the iOS App Store did for iPhones and iPads.

9. Mac Pro (2013):

The Mac Pro, introduced in 2013, was a radical departure from previous designs. It featured a sleek cylindrical form factor and was targeted at professional users who needed high-end performance for tasks like video editing and 3D rendering.

10. Transition to Apple Silicon (2020):

In 2020, Apple announced its transition from Intel processors to custom-designed Apple Silicon chips for its Mac lineup. This transition marked a significant shift in Mac hardware, with improved performance and energy efficiency.

11. macOS Big Sur (2020):

macOS Big Sur brought a refreshed design, featuring more iOS-like elements, to the Mac operating system. It aimed to provide a consistent experience across Apple’s ecosystem of devices.

The history of the Mac computer is a testament to Apple’s commitment to innovation and user-friendly design. Over the years, Macs have become known for their reliability, performance, and unique design aesthetics, making them a popular choice for both creative professionals and everyday users.

12. M2 chip

Apple’s next-generation System on a Chip (SoC) developed for use in Macs and iPads.


Mac (Macintosh): In the context of Apple products, “Mac” is an abbreviation for “Macintosh.” It is used to describe a line of Apple computing products, including laptops like the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, as well as desktop computers like the iMac. The Macintosh line is known for its user-friendly interface and distinctive design.

Author Profile

Adam Regan
Adam Regan
Deputy Editor

Features and account management. 3 years media experience. Previously covered features for online and print editions.


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