How to Stop Recording in QuickTime

QuickTime is the default video player and screen recorder that comes pre-installed on Mac computers. It provides an easy way to record your screen or camera directly on your Mac. However, some users have trouble figuring out how to stop a QuickTime recording, especially when the recording toolbar disappears. Here are several methods to stop recording in QuickTime:

Use the Stop Button

The easiest way is to click the Stop button in the menu bar at the top right of your screen.

To stop recording:

  • Start your QuickTime screen recording
  • When done, move your mouse to the top right to make the menu bar visible
  • Click the round icon next to the time and WiFi icons to stop recording

This is the most reliable way to end your recording and save the video file.

Keyboard Shortcut

You can use a keyboard shortcut to stop recording:

  • Control + Command + Esc

This will force quit the QuickTime app and stop the recording. However, your video may not be saved properly.

Force Quit QuickTime

If QuickTime freezes or becomes unresponsive, you can force quit the app:

  • Click the Apple menu and select Force Quit
  • Choose QuickTime Player in the list
  • Click Force Quit to close QuickTime and stop the recording

Just like the keyboard shortcut, your video might not be saved after force quitting.

Use Activity Monitor

The Activity Monitor tool lets you see what apps and processes are running. To stop QuickTime recording:

  • Open Activity Monitor in your Utilities folder
  • Choose QuickTime Player from the list
  • Click the Quit Process button to force quit QuickTime and end recording

Change Recording Settings

You can adjust recording settings in QuickTime before you start recording:

  • Open QuickTime and select New Screen Recording
  • Click the arrow next to the record button
  • Reduce video quality to save disk space
  • Select microphone and other options

Lower quality recordings take up less storage space on your Mac.

Alternative Screen Recorders

If you have consistent issues using QuickTime, consider switching to alternative screen recording software options:

  • OBS Studio – Free and open source software for recording and live streaming
  • ScreenFlow – Paid software with advanced editing features
  • Movavi – Intuitive screen recorder with built-in editor

These tools give you more control, flexibility, and reliability for recording your Mac screen.

Tips for QuickTime Recordings

Here are some additional tips:

  • Always test your setup before an important recording
  • Use a solid background and hide distracting desktop icons
  • Reduce mouse movements to only essential actions
  • Use keyboard shortcuts to start/stop recordings
  • Edit and trim your video after recording

Taking a few minutes to optimize your screen recording setup will create better, more shareable videos.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about QuickTime recording:

How do I get the menu bar to reappear when recording?

Press the Esc key to make the menu bar visible again. Then click the round stop button.

Why is my QuickTime recording laggy or choppy?

Lower the recording quality in the options. High quality videos take up more CPU resources.

How do I recover a recording after force quitting QuickTime?

Unfortunately, force quitting usually prevents the video from being saved properly. You may lose the recording.

Can I change the output format and compression in QuickTime?

No, QuickTime screen recordings can only be saved as .MOV files. You need third party software to convert formats.

What causes QuickTime to freeze during recording?

Heavy CPU or RAM usage can cause freezing. Quit other programs, reduce quality, or use alternative software.


Learning how to properly stop QuickTime recordings takes some practice but gives you more control over your screen capturing sessions. Understanding the limitations of QuickTime can help you decide if alternative recording software is a better fit for your needs.