Screen Capture on Tablets Made Easy

Update (10/2014): TechSmith is building new Mac software to record iOS apps. Download the AppShow technical preview!

As users of our software will attest, Camtasia makes screencasting a piece of cake on laptop and desktop computers. But did you know that it can also be used for screen capture on tablets running iOS and Android?

Today we’re serving up three piping hot options for tablet screencasting to suit a variety of needs. So go on, dear reader, and decide which works best for you!

Can’t see the video? Watch it on YouTube.

1. TechSmith AppShow
TechSmith AppShow is the newest game in town, with the fastest and smoothest capture. With Apple’s announcement of video being allowed in the App Store, we’ve jumped in and are providing an easy way to create app preview videos and more. At this point (as of October 1, 2014), AppShow is an open beta, free for anyone to download and use.

What you need for AppShow
When the beta does become available, you will need to make sure you are using OS X Yosemite, Apple’s newest operating system on your computer, iOS 8 on your device, and a lightning cable to connect them together.

2. The Installation Option

If you’re not using Apple devices, and want to capture Android devices, some of these other methods are probably for you. The second method is, admittedly, the most complicated. But don’t be discouraged! It’s well worth the [small amount of] effort required and provides a fastest and smooth capture.

What you’ll need:

  1. A computer (NO WAY!)
  2. An open PCI Express Port (don’t worry if you don’t know what that means – we’ll explain!)
  3. An Android tablet or iPad 2+ (unfortunately, this method doesn’t work with the original iPad)
  4. An HDMI Cable
  5. An appropriate adapter for the HDMI cable that is compatible with your device
  6. AVerMedia Capture Card

If you get confused at any point during this explanation, please refer to the video instructions for installing the AVerMedia Capture Card and using it for screen capture on tablets.

Now, without further ado, onward!

Start by opening the case of your computer tower, which is different process for every model. Ours had a simple tab to pull for removal, but yours may have screws. If you’re having trouble, consult Google or your manual. Either way, once you’ve got it open, look for the PCI express ports on the bottom of the computer. This is what you’ll be installing your AVerMedia Card into, so you should be looking for rectangular slots that are similar in size.

Normal PCI ports are white, but the PCI Express port, which you’re looking for, is often black. Once you’ve located it, remove the corresponding tab on the back side of the computer (this is so the card’s HDMI port can stick through), and prepare for docking.

Graphic for locating the correct PCI port to use in capture card installation for screen capture on tablets

Carefully take the AVerMedia card out of the box and pop the cover off of the cartridge. You won’t need the cables in the box, but be sure to keep the software close! Line up the card with the PCI Express port and gently press it into place like you would a Sega or N64 cartridge. The HDMI port should be sticking out of the back of the computer through the opened tab.

Now, do a little victory dance and close your computer. The hard part is over!

To check if the card was correctly installed, you’ll need to turn on your computer, open the control panel, and follow this path:

Hardware and Sound > Device Manager > Other

Correct manual installation of the card is signified by a yellow exclamation point in the Device Manager tab. Install the software for screen capture on tablets and it will go away.

The AVerMedia card should show up as a “Multimedia Video Controller,” with – gasp – a yellow exclamation point in the corner. But don’t fret! This is an indication of success, and only serves as a prompt to install the software that came with the card. Put in the set-up CD, follow the instructions, then come back here when you’re done. Don’t worry, we’ll wait!

After installation is complete, start AVerMedia Center and find your HDMI cable. Carefully attach one end to the exposed PCI Express port onthe back of the computer, then use the adapter to attach the free end to your device.

Click the TV icon in AVerMedia’s navigation menu and select HDMI from the drop down menu above the black box. Turn on your iPad and… Success! You should see your display on the screen.

As a note, the software you’ve just installed does come with recording capabilities, but they’re not available for use with tablets due to content protection concerns. You can, however, use Camtasia, Snagit, or Jing to record the window which – huzzah! – enables you to screen capture on your tablet.

3. The “There’s an App for That” Option

There are a few apps available that provide a way to “mirror,” or stream, iOS device screens to both Windows and Mac including Reflector App ($12.99) and AirServer ($14.99 – or a 7 day free trial)

Reflector App and AirServer logos; TechSmith recommended apps for screen capture on tablets

Our experience with apps of this nature was positive, but we noticed that they produced slightly slower videos and offered somewhat limited functionality. But because our experience with the apps was good overall, we encourage you to pursue them as options if the price is right.

Just as a note, both of the apps are wireless, so be sure that your tablet and the device you’re recording to are on the same network. You might encounter some difficulties otherwise.

4. The Non-Conformist and Alternative Andriod User Option

TechSmith's recommended app for screen capture on Android tabletsIf you’re using a rooted Android device, certain apps allow for screen capture directly on the device. Screencast Video Recorder ($3.99) is a simple solution that just requires the user to press record, and even displays the finger movements in the recorded videos.

Just be aware that rooting your Android device voids your warranty and can be very tricky!

5. Is there another way?

TechSmith also offers a free tablet “screencasting” alternative for the classroom and beyond called ScreenChomp.

ScreenChomp acts as a recordable whiteboard, upon which you’re able to record your drawing actions and voice. These videos can be created by anyone and for anyone, but were created specifically with students and teachers in mind.

ScreenChomp in action

Have you discovered alternative means of mobile screencasting? Do you have a project you’re particularly proud of that you’d like to share? We’d love your input!