How to record your screen on Android 4.4 KitKat

Have a device running Android 4.4 KitKat? You can now record the screen of your device, but the process may not be as easy as you'd hope.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

With Android 4.4 KitKat having launched with the Nexus 5 we are still digging through the new features for developers and users alike. One of the features included in the latest Android OS is the ability to record the screen of your device. This feature is intended for developers who want to spruce up Play Store listings with a video walk-through of an app. But I see no reason that developers should be the only ones to take advantage of this awesome feature.

Before I dive into how to record the screen of your Android device, you need to know currently the only way to use this feature is through the Android Debug Bridge (ADB). The ADB is a tool used by developers along with the Android SDK to communicate with a device at the command line level. There will eventually be apps available on the Play Store which make screen recording extremely simple to use, but for now you'll need to have ADB setup and be somewhat comfortable with it. Droid-Life has pointed out one such app in the Play Store, but I've yet to get it to work on my Nexus 5. Your luck may vary.

OK, now that that's out of the way. Launch into the command line with your Android 4.4 device connected to your computer and enter the command to record your screen:

adb shell screenrecord /sdcard/demo.mp4

You can further customize the speed at which it captures video, the length of time it records (the default duration is 3-minutes) and the size of the video in terms of resolution.

Another example of a command to record a video would be:

adb shell screenrecord --bit-rate 8000000 --time-limit 30 /sdcard/kitkat.mp4

The above command would record at 8Mbps, instead of the default 4Mbps, for a duration of 30-seconds and save it to the SD Card on your device with the name of KitKat. You can find a full list of commands for screenrecord here on the Android Developer Site.

Should you want to give this a try but aren't quite sure how to begin with ADB, Android Central has a helpful guide that makes it all sound and feel pretty easy.

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About the author

Jason Cipriani has been covering mobile technology news for over five years. His work spans from CNET How To and software review sections to WIRED’s Gadget Lab and Fortune.com.

 

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