9 Awesome Mac Apps For Taking Screenshots and Screencasts

Posted by | February 21, 2012 | Apps | No Comments

If your job requires you to take a lot of screenshots or screencasts of what you’re working on (for example, if you write for Mac.Appstorm), you might soon find that the built-in apps that your computer came with to do the task, are sometimes not powerful enough.

Today we’re here to present you the most relevant and current apps for any task that might involve taking pictures or video of your screen. We’ve got everything from built-in apps, to the most expensive and complex screencasting apps, and everything in between. Come take a look!

Screenshot Apps:

Grab

You might know Grab as the free app that came installed with your Mac. If you’ve never seen it, you can open it by using one of its default keyboard shortcuts or by opening it directly from your Utilities folder. It’s a pretty simple app, although it does a pretty good job at taking screenshots. It can take full-screen (timed or manually activated) shots, or it can shoot only specific portions of your screen.

For the longest time, I’ve used Preview coupled with Grab to get all of my screenshots done, but I have to say that I’ve never really been impressed with the quality of my images after they’re done. Still, they’re a simple and affordable solution for the task.

It’s important to note that using the Grab application has a few small benefits over the built-in screengrab shortucts, such as the ability to include the cursor.

Price: Free
Requires: Mac OS X 10 or later
Developer: Apple

Clarify

Although by definition it falls under the “screenshot” app category, Clarify has a different take than the competition. It is aimed at people who want to create documents that are based on their screenshots, with annotations and other sorts of visual aid. Clarify is ideal for creating tutorials, walkthroughs, reviews, or anything that uses screenshots as a visual aid, but still needs some visual support.
Price: $29.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Blue Mango Learning Systems

Skitch

Because of its price and its awesome web service that works hand-in-hand with it, Skitch is a very popular alternative for taking and editing screenshots. The Skitch.com web service makes it very quick and easy to upload and share your screenshots, after you’ve finished making the corresponding annotations to them through the Mac app.
Price: Free
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Evernote Corporation

LittleSnapper

LittleSnaper is another favorite that integrates very well with the Mac that has been around for quite a while now. It’s not very cheap, but it justifies that with all the packed in features that it has. Not only does LittleSnapper help you take screenshots of specific things on your screen, it also lets you store them and organzize them inside the app; as well as edit them and share them online.
Price: $39.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: RealMac Software

Screencast Apps:

Quicktime Player

You might be as impressed as I was to find out that Quicktime, the default video player on your Mac also comes equipped with screencasting capabilities. It actually even does quite a good job at it. You can access this feature by going to the File/New Screen Recording menu, and in it you’ll find a few things that you can tweak in your videos, like the audio source, the video quality and the portion of the screen that you’d like to record.

If you’d prefer to avoid annoyances of installing third-party apps, Quicktime is not a bad option for recording video at all. It only saves video in MP4 format and it doesn’t have the ability to share or edit your video anywhere, but aside from that it has everything you might need.
Price: Free
Requires: Quicktime
Developer: Apple

Screenflow

Screenflow is an expensive, yet quite functional screencasting app, that mixes the simple ability to record video of your screen with the useful utilities of video editing that you might need when you’re trying to share something a little more professional. It can also export to a bunch of formats like .avi and .mp4, and it can also publish to YouTube or Vimeo.

It does not come cheap, but it delivers on your money. Think of it as a full-on video editor for your screencasts.
Price: $99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: Telestream

Camtasia

Camtasia is another expensive app available for both Mac and Windows systems. It’s very similar to Screenflow in features, as they both offer powerful video editors as well as options for publishing your stuff on many other networks. Camtasia does have a powerful feature that sets it apart, it’s called SmartFocus and it works like it sounds, it brings attention to the part of your videos that really matter (guessing on where your mouse is, where you’re entering text, etc.).
Price: $99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Techsmith

A little bit of both:

Jing

Made by the same people who do Camtasia, Jing is a popular and (sort of) free solution that offers a little bit of everything that you might need to share what you’re seeing on your screen. Although a bit shallow, it has the capability of recording screencasts and screenshots.

Jing has basic editing features (especially for screenshots), but if you’re looking to get something elaborate going, it won’t do much for you. It also has a paid option that allows you to share to YouTube and a few other features, but nothing big. If what you’re looking for is an affordable, simple, and functional way of quickly sharing snapshots of your screen, Jing is a great option.
Price: Free / 14.95 per year
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Techsmith

Screeny

Screeny is a very elegant and simple solution for any of your screengrabbing needs. It fits very natively with the Mac interface and it’s also quite affordable (when compared with the competition, at least). It lives in your menu bar, where you can quickly bring it up to take a shot or a video of any portion of your screen.

It doesn’t have any some of the amazing features that the competition does, it just builds upon the functionality of the built-in Mac apps for sharing screencaptures, and it does so for a reasonable price.
Price: $14.95
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Drew Wilson