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Android Q has a native screen recorder, but it's pretty rough for now

Not having to rely on third-party apps for screen recording will be awesome if it comes to be.

Published onMarch 14, 2019

A photograph of a hand holding a Google Pixel 2 XL with the new Android Q screen recorder on the display.

Starting in 2017, iOS has had a native screen recorder function built right into the operating system. Android users, however, are still to this day stuck using third-party apps to record video of what’s happening on their screens.

Android Q, which just launched in its first public beta yesterday, might finally bring along a native screen recorder when it launches later this year. The first beta of Android Q does have a screen recorder function, but it’s pretty rough for now and not at all ready for primetime.

If you have a device with Android Q beta on it, follow these steps to enable the screen recorder function (see screenshots below for assistance):

  1. Head to Settings and then tap on Developer Options (if you don’t have access to developer options, enable it first by tapping on your Android build number multiple times).
  2. In Developer Options, scroll down a bit until you find Feature Flags. Tap on that.
  3. Within Feature Flags, scroll down a bit until you find settings_screenrecord_long_press, and tap the toggle to enable this function.
  4. Now you have the screen recorder enabled. Long-press the power button to launch the power menu.
  5. In the power menu, long-press the screenshot button.
  6. The native screen recorder app should now be available on your screen!

The Android Q screen recorder app is in a window that doesn’t fit right and doesn’t have the curved edges of the rest of Android Q. There are two options you can enable before you start recording: record audio through the microphone (so you can narrate the screen record as you go along) and show taps, which will animate anything you tap on.

Everything new in the sixth Android Q developer preview
android q beta 6 google pixel 3 xl assistance icon on pixel stand

Once you’ve made the selections you want, hit the “Start Recording” button. Android Q will ask for permission to record — you can tell it to not ask you this again if you like. And that’s it, recording begins!

As you are recording, a little Android icon appears in the status bar. If you pull down the notification drawer, you have the option to stop recording, pause recording, or cancel the recording. Hitting “Cancel” will stop the recording and delete what you’ve captured, while “Stop” and “Pause” work as you would expect.

Unfortunately, the actual recording is pretty wonky. For example, if you try to capture a screenshot while recording, it cancels screen recording entirely and deletes what you’ve already done. During a screen record, the screen recording menu popped up for no reason — and kept on recording. Check out a screen record I did below:

While it’s very nice to know that an Android Q screen recorder exists and will likely make it to the stable release, what’s here now is too clunky to use seriously. However, there are still five more beta launches of Android Q to go, so there’s plenty of time for Google to polish this up.

NEXT: Android Q has a secret desktop mode: Here’s how to activate it