How to Record Computer Audio on Mac


In today’s digital age, recording computer audio on Mac has become an essential skill for various purposes. Whether you are a content creator, a musician, or simply want to save audio from a streaming platform, knowing how to record computer audio on your Mac can be incredibly useful. In this article, we will guide you through the process and offer some tips to help you achieve the best results.

Why Record Computer Audio on Mac?

Recording Computer Audio on Mac

Recording computer audio on Mac opens up a world of possibilities. Here are a few scenarios where this skill can come in handy:

  • Creating Podcasts or YouTube Videos: If you are a podcaster or YouTuber, you may want to record audio from applications like Skype or YouTube to include in your content. By recording computer audio on your Mac, you can capture high-quality audio that matches your screen recordings or video footage.
  • Music Production: Musicians and producers often need to record computer audio to capture virtual instruments, software synthesizers, or samples. This allows them to create complex compositions by layering different tracks.
  • Archiving Online Streams: Saving audio streams from platforms like Spotify, SoundCloud, or Apple Music allows you to listen to your favorite songs offline. You can create personalized playlists or keep a collection of rare recordings.
  • Recording Webinars or Online Classes: If you are attending a webinar or an online class, recording the computer audio enables you to revisit the material later or take notes more effectively.

These are just a few examples, but the possibilities are endless. Recording computer audio on your Mac gives you the freedom to capture any sound that is playing through your speakers or headphones.

Step 1: Selecting the Right Software

Choosing the Right Software

To record computer audio on your Mac, it is essential to select the right software that meets your requirements and preferences. There are several options available, each with its own set of features and capabilities.

One widely popular software for recording computer audio on Mac is Audacity. It is a free and open-source audio recording and editing software that offers a range of advanced features. Audacity allows you to record computer audio with high-quality and offers extensive editing capabilities, making it a fantastic choice for both beginners and professionals.

If you are looking for a more professional and comprehensive software, you can consider Adobe Audition. This sophisticated audio recording and editing software provide a wide range of tools and effects to enhance your recordings. Adobe Audition is highly recommended for individuals or businesses that require advanced audio editing capabilities.

Another noteworthy software for recording computer audio on Mac is QuickTime Player, which is a native application that comes pre-installed on every Mac. This software allows you to record computer audio with minimal effort and is incredibly user-friendly.

Other popular options include GarageBand, ScreenFlow, and OBS Studio. Each of these software offers unique features and benefits, so it’s essential to evaluate them based on your specific needs.

Before selecting any software, consider the following factors:

  • The purpose of recording: If you require basic audio recording for personal use, a simpler software like QuickTime Player or GarageBand may suffice. However, if you need more advanced features or plan to create professional audio content, opt for software like Audacity or Adobe Audition.
  • User-friendly interface: Look for software with an intuitive and easy-to-navigate interface. This ensures that you can quickly learn and utilize the software’s features, regardless of your expertise level.
  • Recording quality: Check the capabilities of the software in terms of recording quality. Ensure that it supports high-resolution audio and provides options for adjusting audio settings to achieve the desired results.
  • Editing capabilities: Consider the editing features offered by the software. Look for options to cut, trim, apply effects, and adjust audio levels. These features can significantly enhance the quality of your recordings.

By carefully choosing the right software, you can ensure a smooth and efficient recording experience on your Mac.

Step 2: Configuring Audio Settings

Configuring Audio Settings

Now that you have chosen the recording software and connected the necessary cables, it’s time to configure the audio settings on your Mac. This step is crucial as it ensures that the computer audio is being captured accurately during the recording process.

Configuring the audio settings on a Mac is relatively simple and can be done through the System Preferences. Follow the steps below to optimize your audio settings:

1. Open System Preferences

First, click on the Apple menu located in the top-left corner of your screen. From the drop-down menu, select “System Preferences.”

Open System Preferences

2. Select “Sound”

Once you have opened the System Preferences, locate and click on the “Sound” icon. This will open the Sound preferences pane.

Select Sound

3. Choose the Input and Output Devices

In the Sound preferences pane, you will find two tabs: “Output” and “Input.” These tabs allow you to select the audio devices for output and input, respectively.

Under the “Output” tab, you should select the appropriate audio device that you want to use for playback. This could be your headphones, external speakers, or any other audio output device connected to your Mac.

Under the “Input” tab, you need to select the audio device that will capture the computer audio during the recording process. This is crucial to ensure that the sound is being recorded correctly. Choose the audio device that corresponds to the cables you have connected to your Mac.

4. Adjust the Volume Levels

After selecting the appropriate input and output devices, it’s important to check and adjust the volume levels to prevent any audio distortion or clipping.

Under the “Output” tab, you can adjust the volume level by dragging the slider. It’s recommended to set it at a comfortable level to avoid any audio distortion during the recording.

Under the “Input” tab, you should be able to see a level meter indicating the input volume. While recording or during a test run, ensure that the audio levels are not reaching the maximum level to prevent clipping. If the levels are too high, you can lower the input volume using the slider provided.

5. Test the Audio

Before starting your recording session, it’s advisable to test the audio to ensure everything is correctly set up. You can do this by playing a sample audio or video to check if the sound is being played through the selected output device. Additionally, you can monitor the input levels to ensure that the computer audio is being captured properly.

If you encounter any issues or inconsistencies with the audio settings, you can always revisit the Sound preferences pane and make the necessary adjustments to resolve the problem.

By properly configuring the audio settings on your Mac, you can ensure that you capture high-quality computer audio during your recording sessions. Take the time to follow these steps carefully to optimize your audio recording experience.

Step 3: Selecting the Audio Source

Selecting the Audio Source

Once you have launched the audio recording software on your Mac, the next step is to select the audio source you want to record. This could be the system audio, a specific application, or an external device such as a microphone or headphones.

To select the audio source, follow these steps:

  1. Open the audio recording software on your Mac.
  2. Look for the settings or preferences menu within the software.
  3. In the settings menu, navigate to the audio source options.
  4. Select the desired audio source from the available options.

Choosing the appropriate audio source is crucial to ensure you capture the desired audio during the recording process. Let’s take a closer look at the different types of audio sources you can select on your Mac:

1. System Audio:

System Audio

If you want to record the sounds played on your Mac system, such as music, videos, or any other audio playing through your speakers, you need to select the “System Audio” as the audio source. This option allows you to capture any audio output produced by your computer.

2. Specific Applications:

Specific Applications

In some cases, you may only want to record the audio from a specific application running on your Mac, such as a music streaming service or a video conference. To do this, you can select the specific application as the audio source in the recording software. This option ensures that only the audio generated by that particular application is captured.

3. External Devices:

External Devices

If you have connected an external audio device to your Mac, such as a microphone or headphones, you can choose that device as the audio source. This is ideal for capturing audio input from external sources, such as voice recordings or instrument playing. Make sure the device is properly connected and recognized by your Mac before selecting it as the audio source.

By selecting the appropriate audio source, you can ensure that your recorded audio is of the highest quality and captures the desired sounds accurately. Experiment with different audio sources to find the best option for your recording needs.

Now that you have selected the desired audio source, you are ready to move on to the next step: adjusting the audio settings. Stay tuned for step 4, where we will guide you on how to optimize the audio settings for recording on your Mac.

Step 4: Recording the Computer Audio

Recording the Computer Audio

Once you have set up the audio input settings and chosen your desired audio source, you are now ready to begin recording the computer audio on your Mac. Follow these step-by-step instructions to start the recording process:

1. Open the Audio Recording Software

To record computer audio, you will need to use an audio recording software. There are numerous options available, such as QuickTime Player, Audacity, or ScreenFlow. Choose the software that suits your needs and open it on your Mac.

2. Configure the Recording Settings

Before you begin recording, you need to configure the audio recording settings. Access the preferences or settings menu of your chosen audio recording software and make sure that the audio input is set to capture the computer audio. Select the appropriate audio input device, which might be named something like “System Audio” or “Built-in Output.”

3. Adjust the Recording Volume

It is important to set the recording volume at an appropriate level to ensure clear and balanced audio quality. Look for the volume control options within the audio recording software and adjust the recording volume accordingly. Test the volume by playing some audio on your computer and making sure it is not too loud or too soft.

4. Start Recording

Once you have configured the recording settings and adjusted the volume, it’s time to start recording the computer audio. In most audio recording software, you will find a “Record” or “Start” button. Click on it to initiate the recording process. Some software may also allow you to customize additional settings, such as the output format or the destination folder where the recorded audio will be saved.

5. Monitor the Recording

Monitor the Recording

While recording, it is essential to monitor the audio to ensure everything is being captured correctly. Most audio recording software provides a visual representation of the audio waveforms, allowing you to observe the intensity and dynamics of the sound. Keep an eye on these visual indicators to ensure that the computer audio is being recorded at the desired levels.

Additionally, listen to the audio through your speakers or headphones to make sure there are no distortions or unwanted noises. This will help you identify and address any issues that may affect the recording quality.

6. Stop and Save the Recording

When you have finished recording the computer audio, click the “Stop” or “Finish” button in the audio recording software to stop the recording. Save the recorded audio file to your desired location on your Mac. It is advisable to select a location that is easily accessible and organized, allowing you to locate the recorded audio files conveniently in the future.

7. Review and Edit the Recorded Audio

After recording the computer audio, it is always a good practice to review and edit the recorded audio if necessary. Open the recorded audio file in your preferred audio editing software and listen to it carefully. You may want to trim any unwanted sections, enhance the audio quality, or apply any desired effects.

Remember to save the edited version separately to preserve the original recording. This way, you can make further changes or adjustments without losing the initial recording.

Following these steps will help you easily record computer audio on your Mac. Whether you are recording a webinar, capturing in-game sounds, or creating a podcast, having the ability to record computer audio opens up a multitude of possibilities for content creation and entertainment purposes.



Being able to record computer audio on a Mac is a valuable skill that can come in handy in a variety of situations. Whether you need to capture audio from a webinar, online streaming platform, or even just your favorite song playing in the background, knowing how to record computer audio can make your life a lot easier. In this article, we discussed various methods to achieve this on a Mac.

Firstly, we explored the built-in options available on a Mac. Using QuickTime Player, a pre-installed application on Mac, you can easily record computer audio. This method is simple and convenient, making it a great option for beginners. Another built-in option is the Voice Memos app, which offers a quick and easy way to record audio.

However, if you require more advanced features or additional control over your audio recordings, third-party software might be a better choice. We discussed two popular options: Soundflower and Audacity.


Soundflower is a free, open-source tool that enables the routing of audio between applications. By using Soundflower, you can route your computer audio to your preferred recording software or directly record it using Soundflower itself. This method provides more flexibility and control over audio recording settings.


Audacity is a powerful, free audio editing software available for Mac. It offers a range of features for recording, editing, and exporting audio files. With Audacity, you can easily record computer audio and make precise adjustments to your recordings. This software is particularly popular among professionals and audio enthusiasts.

In addition to these methods, we also mentioned a few other alternative software options, such as OBS Studio and GarageBand. These tools offer even more advanced features for recording computer audio, but may have a steeper learning curve.

To summarize the key steps to record computer audio on a Mac:

  1. Use built-in options like QuickTime Player or Voice Memos for simplicity and convenience.
  2. Explore third-party software like Soundflower for more control over audio routing and recording settings.
  3. Consider using Audacity for advanced audio editing capabilities.
  4. Explore alternative software options like OBS Studio and GarageBand for more advanced features.

Remember, recording computer audio can be a useful skill for various purposes such as capturing online lectures, creating video tutorials, or even just preserving audio memories. Having the ability to record computer audio on a Mac gives you the freedom to capture and save audio from any source, enhancing your overall computing experience.

So, go ahead and try out these methods and software options to find the one that best suits your needs. With a little practice, you’ll be capturing computer audio effortlessly and expanding your possibilities in the digital world.

Leave a Comment