I was recording my screen whilst giving a presentation. Instead of stopping the recording cleanly I closed the lid of my laptop. Later, when I opened it again, the recording had stopped, but there was no sign of the resulting file. Can anyone tell me where the recording may be stored on disk so I can recover it?

  • Not sure which answer works for Big Sur or Monterey. Wonder if someone can update us?
    – bmike
    Commented Jun 16, 2022 at 14:25

6 Answers 6


As of OSX Sierra, it's here:

~/Library/Containers/com.apple.QuickTimePlayerX/Data/Library/Autosave Information

"Unsaved QuickTime Player Document" package or container with the auto-saved .mov video file

In there, there is a container/package/directory called Unsaved QuickTime Player Document.qtpxcomposition that contains a Screen Recording.mov file with the actual video. You can copy-paste that mov file wherever to save it permanently.

"Screen Recording.mov" file inside the "Unsaved QuickTime Player Document container"

You can also double-click the Unsaved QuickTime Player Document file directly. That file opens in QuickTime, and allows you to save in a proper place. Note that sometimes QuickTime will fail to save a Screen Recording with the error "The operation could not be completed" (using File > Export As might work, though), so copy-pasting is probably less prone to error.

My battery ran out when I was recording and found my file there.

  • 1
    Only answer that works for Sierra and High Sierra
    – Adam Moisa
    Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 20:24
  • 1
    Note also that the actual video file is inside the Unsaved QuickTime Player Document.qtpxcomposition container/directory as a mov file.
    – arturomp
    Commented Jun 25, 2018 at 13:52
  • 1
    This also appears to be the correct answer for 10.11 (El Capitan), as I found an unsaved quicktime player document folder in the same location under that version of OS X.
    – Michael
    Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 17:37
  • 1
    Can Confirm that this also works for Mojave.
    – sufinawaz
    Commented Aug 6, 2019 at 17:05
  • 1
    What about macOS Big Sur?
    – compski
    Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 9:44

As of Catalina and Monterey, I found my recording under ~/Library/ScreenRecordings

  • 1
    Can confirm, that's where I found my missing recording on macOS 10.15.7 (Catalina), thanks for sharing! Commented Jun 8, 2021 at 15:55
  • Thank you so much for sharing. Helped with Monterey 12.3.1.
    – kewlking
    Commented Jun 28, 2022 at 21:57

Although the recording did stop when closing the lid, it does not mean that the recording is saved.

If it is, by Command clicking on the file's name, the full path where you can find it will be displayed.

The default storing place, of course, is under ~/Documents.

  • Sorry, I should've been clearer: there's not even a movie visible.
    – Nick Hawes
    Commented Oct 3, 2012 at 18:52

The screen recording movies are saved in the "Autosave Information" file if you didn't save them or close them manually. I stumbled on it a while ago, and believe me its not easy to find. They are located in a hidden "Library" file. The only way I found it was by searching for "autosave" in Finder, and I was able to recover my lost screen recording! There are several of those "Autosave Information" files for different apps like Chess, and Quicktime! But the specific "Library" file (where the autosave file is located) is hidden (at least on my computer) so, like I said, you can only get to it by searching for "Autosave Information" in finder. If you have any files autosaved, they would be there. I was able to recover my files there. Also I should mention I found my screen recordings there after I had to restart my computer without originally saving them. Such a relief!


Look for a very large .mov file (with an appropriate date) in /private/var/folders/[randomly named subfolder]/[randomly named subfolder]/-Tmp-/TemporaryItems/. It's where Snow Leopard (and later OS, as far as I know) puts temp files created in the preparation of a QT screen recording. If you do find this large .mov file, COPY it to the Desktop. Under normal conditions, these temp files get deleted automatically when the screen recording process completes; however, when the process fails to finish properly, sometimes these temp files linger.

This community thread should help anyone with this issue under OSX 10.8.

  • Could you maybe cite the relevant post/text such that this answer becomes self-contained? Commented Aug 1, 2013 at 16:08
  • Answers on Ask Different need to be more than just a link. It's okay to include a link, but please summarize or excerpt it in the answer. The idea is to make the answer stand alone. And in this case it's even more important because the referenced thread shows several potential locations without a clear indication on the right answer.
    – nohillside
    Commented Aug 2, 2013 at 8:45

I don't know if you'll find this helpful, but there are two ways I can think that you could find this

This might be too obvious, and you might have it stored in a hidden folder, like others have suggested, but I always think its good to start with the obvious. First, create a new screen recording that then close the recording without saving it. It will ask you to determine where you want to save it and it should be the default folder. Then just open finder and find that folder - lmk if that doesn't make sense.

The second is grab grand perspective and scan your hard drive folder. Look for a massive movie. If you still can't find it (perhaps because it is too small and you have too much on your hard drive. You could try to replicate the process by recording a massive movie file, closing your computer, and rescanning to look for that. That file will give you the same folder path as the other one.

Yes, these aren't super technical, but they might work.

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