One more thing about iOS screenshots

Back in the good old days, when The Talk Show was on 5by5 and Dan Benjamin was the cohost, he’d often say he knew that John Gruber had been traveling that week. It wasn’t because there were fewer posts on Daring Fireball—that almost never happened—it was because the links John posted were often to the mobile versions of websites instead of to their standard versions. If John was linking to mobile versions, that meant he was posting from his iPhone or iPad, and if he was posting from his iPhone or iPad, that meant he was traveling. QED.

I don’t expect to do much posting to ANIAT from my phone, but if I do, there’ll be a similar tell: any iOS screenshots you see will look like those I posted last night. Screenshots in posts written on my Mac will look more like this:

Weather app screenshot via QuickTime

Do you see the differences? There’s no carrier over on the left side of the statusbar, and the time is the iconic 9:41 AM. More subtle, perhaps, are the rounded corners. These are the signs of an iOS screenshot that was taken on a Mac via QuickTime.

Those of you who’ve been running the Yosemite/iOS 8 combination for a while are probably comfortable with this already, but having just switched to Yosemite a couple of weeks ago—and so far on only one of my two computers—I’m still getting used to it. I remember reading about this last year and thinking how fun it would be to have my iPhone screen showing on my computer. It is.

After connecting the iPhone to the Mac through a Lightning cable, I open QuickTime Player and tell it to start recording from the phone. I can then take a quick screenshot of the window using one of my Keyboard Maestro macros: either SnapClip or SnapSCP, depending on what I want to do with the screenshot.

Of course, the point of displaying an iOS screen in QuickTime isn’t to take static screenshots, it’s to make recordings of iOS apps in action. I’ll probably start doing some of that, too, but the ability to take beautiful, clean screenshots is a nice side effect.

One thing I wasn’t expecting: when QuickTime is recording, my iPhone’s statusbar changes to the generic layout you see above. Not just in the QuickTime window, but on the iPhone itself. Looks weird.

Do I regret the effort I put into the scripts I posted last night? Not at all. They’ve served me well for the past year, and they’ll continue to provide a way of making clean screenshots when I’m away from my computer. But they are going to get less use as time goes on, especially after I update my MacBook Air to Yosemite. I think of last night’s post as their valedictory address.