For some unknown reason, Google decided once again to skip a built-in screen recorder for Android. In fact, it was a feature in the beta version but disappeared for the final release – mostly. While the process isn’t obvious, we show you here how to enable the hidden screen recorder in Android 10 and avoid having to download a third-party app. We show you how to do the same on Android 11 and 12 as well, which is a much easier process.
Why Enable the Hidden Screen Recorder in Android 10
With so many apps available, why go through all the trouble? The answer is simple: privacy. Most apps collect your data as you record. While there’s no guarantee that Google won’t store some information, at least you don’t have to share your data with another company, too.
Plus, why not just use what’s already built in to your phone? If you have a Samsung or LG device, the feature may already exist without having to do anything. If you have Android 10, follow these steps:
- Swipe down to expand the Quick Settings menu and look for the Screen Recorder tile. It may be on any of the Quick Settings pages, so swipe to see additional pages. You can always move it to the first page if you use it often.
- Tap the tile to enable screen recording. For other phones, it takes a little more work, but it’s fairly simple, and you don’t have to download yet another app.
Enable USB Debugging
The first step to enabling the hidden screen recorder in Android 10 is to enable USB debugging. This is necessary because you’ll later connect your Android device to your computer.
- Open Settings and tap “About Phone.”
- Quickly tap the “Build Number” seven times.
- If you have a lock screen passcode, enter it when prompted. Otherwise, you’ll see a message saying you’re now a developer. All this does is open the developer tools on your device.
- Go back into Settings and tap “System.”
- Select “Advanced” and “Developer Options.”
- Ensure “Developer options” is turned on, then turn on “USB debugging.”
- Confirm you wish to enable USB debugging.
Install the Android SDK Platform
Android has a large set of developer tools, but to enable the hidden screen recorder in Android 10, you only need the ADB portion. For smaller projects like this, the much smaller Android SDK Platform will suffice. You can download the latest version for your operating system directly from Google’s Android Developers Tools. Unzip or extract the files once downloaded.
- Open the “platform_tools” folder. The steps may vary slightly from here, as I’m using Windows to execute the commands.
cmdin the file path box and hit Enter.
- This opens a command prompt within the platform_tools directory, saving you a few steps.
- Attach your phone to your computer with a USB cable, then type
adb devicesand hit Enter. This lists your attached devices and verifies your connection.
- Type or copy and paste the following and hit Enter:
- This should add the hidden screen recorder in Android 10 to your Power menu.
Trying the Screen Recorder
- Press your device’s Power button and long-press “Screenshot.”
- Choose your settings.
- Agree to the warning.
- Press “Start now” to start recording. Swipe down to open your notification panel to pause or stop recording.
There have been some bugs in this feature since it’s not official. You can usually overcome them by simply restarting your device.
Enable Hidden Screen Recorder in Android 11 and 12
Instead of the screen recorder tile in Quick Settings being restricted to just certain Android models, Google added the screen recorder feature to all devices with the release of Android 11. Thankfully, it stuck around for Android 12, too. To use this feature, follow the below steps:
- Pull down the Quick Settings menu.
- Pull down the notification tray, then pull down once more to view your tiles/icons. If you don’t see the “Screen recording” option, you may need to swipe left to see additional tiles/icons.
- If you still don’t see it, you’ll need to add it to your Quick Settings list to make it easier to access. Tap the Edit button (pencil icon) at the top of your Quick Settings menu.
- Locate the screen recording icon in the top pane and drag it to the bottom pane.
- Once added to your list, drag it to the position you want.
- Tap the checkmark above the top pane to save your settings.
- The first time you use the built-in screen recording feature, you’ll have to agree to the terms of service. Tap “Don’t show this again” to avoid seeing this message in the future.
- Tap “Start.”
- After a 3-2-1 countdown, the screen will start recording. Use the tools at the top to turn the mic on/off and stop the recording when you’re done.
- When you tap the Stop button, tap the message that appears to view your recording.
- Recorded videos should show up in your device’s photo gallery under “Recorded videos.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a built-in screenshot function in Android?
You can take screenshots in Android using the Quick Settings menu. Open the menu and look for the Screenshot tile/icon. Tap it to open the feature and take your screenshot. You can also use a button combination on some Android devices to take a screenshot of the entire screen. The most common way is by holding both the Power and Volume Down buttons at the same time until your phone takes a screenshot.
Why doesn't the screen recorder option work on my Android 10 device?
This workaround may not work for all Android 10 devices. If you’ve followed the steps above and nothing works, your only option may be a third-party screenshot tool.
Does the hidden screen recorder work for Android 9 and earlier?
No. Google originally coded Android 10 to have the feature, which is why you can enable it manually using the developer tools. Instead of releasing the feature to the public, it was simply hidden. This is also why certain Android 10 models already had the same screen recorder feature as Android 11 and Android 12.
Image credit: Tofros.com via Pexels
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