How to Find and Recover Unsaved or Deleted QuickTime Recording on Mac

Connie Wisley
December 29, 2023 Preview 22.8K Preview 4
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macOS QuickTime Player is an indispensable tool for users to record screen videos on Mac. But leaving a screen recording unsaved or mistakenly deleting is one of the most annoying parts, after spending such a long time on capturing the activities on your screen. 

Don’t fret, this guide will make it easier to find and recover unsaved or deleted QuickTime recordings on your Mac with ease.


Where Are Screen Recordings Saved on Mac?

There are 2 locations to save a screen recording on Mac: the selected location and the autosave location.

On macOS earlier than Big sur, after the screen recording, you will be asked to choose a location to save the screen recording. While on macOS Big Sur or later, the screen recording is saved to Desktop by default, you can check the Save or Options to find where you screen recordings are saved:

quicktime save

Across all macOS versions, QuickTime has the autosave feature to store screen recordings automatically, but the autosave location is a bit different. 

In macOS Catalina and earlier macOS X, the location where QuickTime screen recordings are auto saved is:

~/Library/Containers/ Information/

Users have to click the Save button to save the recordings on Catalina or earlier. That’s the reason why many users may leave a screen recording unsaved and have to recover from the autosave folder. 

And since the release of macOS 11 Big Sur, the location where QuickTime screen recordings is saved has been changed to:


By default, screen recordings on macOS Big Sur or later is auto saved to Desktop. You don’t even need to click Save button after finishing a recording, which means the chances that you leave a recording unsaved is quite low, maybe you just don’t know where it is saved on your Mac.


How to Find Screen Recordings on Mac?

You are recommended to check the Desktop first if you cannot find a screen recording, basing on the knowledge where are screen recording saved on your Mac.

If failed, here’s another way. You may have realized that unsaved QuickTime screen recordings will be saved in file name starting with "unsaved" on macOS earlier than 10.15, or “screen recording” on macOS 10.15 or later. Therefore, we can search and find a screen recording according to file name, by using Spotlight.

  1. Click Finder app, press Command+F to bring up the spotlight tool.
  2. Enter the file name Screen Recording into the search box, all the recordings will be listed.find screen recording mac
  3. Preview the files and find back to your preferred location.


Easily Find and Recover Unsaved, Deleted or Corrupt QuickTime Recording on Mac

If you want to find and recover an unsaved, deleted or even a damaged screen recording on Mac, here is the easiest way, using a professional file scanning and recovering tool.

Cisdem Data Recovery is an ideal choice, which is designed to scan and recover 200+ types of files, including QuickTime recording videos, audios, MP4, AVI, M4V, MKV, MP3, WAV, WMA, DOCX, DOC, XLSX, XLS, PPTX, PDF, JPG, PNG, GIF, PDF, ZIP, RAR, EXE, etc. Even if your QuickTime recordings are corrupted and cannot be played, Cisdem can repair them fast and well.

Cisdem applies to different situations, no matter your files are mistakenly deleted, formatted, or lost due to virus attack, system crash, partition loss, hard drive damage, mount failure or other human errors, no matter the files are stored on internal hard drive or external hard drive. In addition, it allows users to preview the files before finding them back.

Main Features of Cisdem Data Recovery

  • Recover files lost due to different situations: delete, format, update, virus attack, etc.
  • Restore 200+ types of files: video, audio, photo, document, archive, etc.
  • Repair various videos: mp4, mov, avi, mkv, m4v and so on
  • Restore lost or deleted files from internal and external hard drive
  • Preview files before recovery
  • Fast scanning and recovering speed
  • High recovery rate
  • Recover files to local drive or cloud platforms

Steps to Recover Unsaved, Deleted or Corrupt QuickTime Screen Recording on Mac

  1. Download and install Cisdem Data Recovery onto your Mac.
    Free Download macOS 10.9 or later
  2. Click on Cisdem Data Recovery app menu from Apple’s menu bar, go to Preferences, select Audio and Videos to find and recover screen recordings on your Mac.recover recording cisdem01
  3. Go to Hardware Disk and choose the hard drive where you lost the QuickTime screen recordings.recover recording cisdem02
  4. Click Search for lost files, Cisdem will scan all over the selected drive and list all the files it finds for you.recover recording cisdem03
  5. Go to Type > Videos > MOV if you want to find and recover screen recording videos, or go to Type > Audio >M4A if you want to recover audio recordings. Also you can use the Filter to find specific QuickTime recordings with keyword, file size, etc.recover recording cisdem04
  6. Then double click on the found QuickTime screen recordings to preview, select and click Recover to restore them to local drive or Cloud.recover recording cisdem05
  7. (Optional) To recover corrupted or repair QuickTime screen recordings that cannot be played on your Mac, use the Video Repair tool to fix it.recover recording cisdem06

Also, you can refer to the following YouTube tutorial, starting from 02:05.


How to Recover Unsaved QuickTime Screen Recording on Mac?

An unsaved QuickTime recording may be caused by sudden power off, app quite unexpectedly, or others. Indeed, there are extra 3 methods to recover an unsaved QuickTime screen recording, but the recovery is still a matter of luck, it depends on many factors. Anyway, they are worth a try, since these methods won’t make the situation worse nor do harm to your Mac.

#1. Recover Unsaved QuickTime Screen Recording from AutoSave Location

One of the greatest benefits macOS brings to Mac users is its AutoSave feature, which will auto save your files before your click the Save button in different macOS applications, like Preview, QuickTime Player. That’s to say, if you can find the AutoSave location of QuickTime Player files, we might be able to recover an unsaved QuickTime recording.

According to the 2nd part, the QuickTime autosave location on on Big Sur and later is different from the location on Catalina and earlier, so the steps will be different as well.

Steps to Recover Unsaved QuickTime Screen Recordings with AutoSave (Big Sur and Later)

  1. Click on Apple icon > Go > Go to Folder.
  2. Then copy and paste ~/Library/ScreenRecordings/ as following, press Enter.recover from autosave 01
  3. Open the QuickTime recordings or copy the files to another location if necessary. recover from autosave 02

Steps to Recover Unsaved QuickTime Screen Recordings with AutoSave (Catalina and Earlier)

  1. Click on Apple icon > Go > Go to Folder.recover unsaved quicktime autosave01
  2. Then copy and paste "~/Library/Containers/ Information/" as following, click Go.recover unsaved quicktime autosave02
  3. Now, you will find the AutoSave Location of QuickTime screen or audio recording files.recover unsaved quicktime autosave03
  4. Right click on the recording file, Open With > QuickTime Player.recover unsaved quicktime autosave04
  5. Go to File > Save.recover unsaved quicktime autosave05
  6. Rename the QuickTime recording file, click Save to recover the unsaved QuickTime screen or audio recordings to your Mac.recover unsaved quicktime autosave06


#2. Recover Unsaved QuickTime Screen or Audio Recordings from Temporary Folder

Another method to recover unsaved QuickTime recordings is using Temporary folders, it is again a matter of luck, but basing on my successful experience to find back my unsaved files before, you are recommended to have a go.

Steps to Recover Unsaved QuickTime Screen or Audio Recordings from Temporary Folder

  1. Go to Finder > Application, run Terminal.
  2. Then input "open $TMPDIR" and press Enter to run the command line.recover unsaved quicktime tem01
  3. You will be navigated to the Temporary folder, go to TemporaryItems and check if your unsaved QuickTime screen or audio recording located there. Open with QuickTime Player and save to a designated folder.recover unsaved quicktime tem02


#3. Recover Unsaved QuickTime Recordings by Reboot

The last but not the least important method to recover unsaved QuickTime recordings is to reboot the app or your Mac, it sounds weird, but sometimes it just works like a magic, as some Mac users have restored unsaved QuickTime files successfully with a reboot.


Reboot QuickTime Player App

  1. Click QuickTime Player on the menu bar.
  2. Choose Quit QuickTime Player.reboot02
  3. Open the QuickTime app again and find the recordings in defaulted folder.

Reboot Mac

  1. Click Apple icon.
  2. Choose Restart.reboot03
  3. Find the QuickTime recordings in defaulted folder.


How to Recover Deleted or Lost QuickTime Recordings on Mac?

Without installing a professional data recovery, we can still recover deleted or lost QuickTime recordings on Mac, here we have 3 ways listed as follows.

#1. Recover Deleted QuickTime Recordings on Mac from Trash

The deleted QuickTime recordings will be moved to Trash bin and kept there until you empty the trash bin, if haven’t purged it, you can put back the deleted QuickTime recordings to original folder.

  1. Open Trash Bin app.
  2. Find and select the deleted QuickTime recording files, right click Put Back.put back


#2. Recover Disappeared QuickTime Recordings on Mac

Besides finding lost or disappeared QuickTime using Spotlight, there is another method to quickly recover a recording on your Mac, if you have opened the recording once in the QuickTime app.

  1. Run QuickTime app on your Mac.
  2. Go to File > Open Recent, then you can save the recording to a preferred recent


#3. Recover Lost QuickTime Recordings on Mac from iCloud Backup

If you have backed up the QuickTime recording to iCloud drive, you can restore from iCloud backup by logging into

  1. Visit, sign in and go to Drive.recover quicktime icloud 01
  2. Browse all the screen recording backup files, select the one you want to restore, click ... and choose Download a copy.recover quicktime icloud03
  3. Select the location where you want to save the restored QuickTime recording.recover quicktime icloud 02


How to Fix "QuickTime Screen Recording Didn’t Save on Mac"?

QuickTime keeps unsaving your recordings? Here we have some tips to fix "QuickTime Screen Recording Didn’t Save on Mac".

#1 Update QuickTime Player or macOS to Latest

We are always recommended to update to the latest version when macOS and its apps release a new version, because they come with enhance performance and fix prior bugs. If your QuickTime doesn’t work properly, check if there is an update, if the problem persists after an update, maybe it is time to update your macOS to the latest one too.

#2 Leave enough space on Mac for created recordings

A QuickTime recording is never small in size, we need to leave enough space for a newly created recording video, otherwise, the program will quit unexpectedly. This also proves that we should have a good habit of Mac cleanup, files backup, etc.

#3 Quit Apps that use high CPU

When one or several heavy programs run on your Mac and use high CPU, it becomes harder to other applications working properly, your Mac responds slowly or some programs just stop working. Therefore, before a QuickTime recording starts, we should quite those Apps that use high CPU as many as possible.

#4 Stop extra QuickTime tasks

QuickTime Player can perform multiple tasks at the same time, playing or recording videos, but if you want to avoid unsaved QuickTime recordings, we’d better focus one task at one time, to gear your QuickTime player up for current recording task.



With macOS AutoSave feature, things do become easier when talking about unsaved file recovery, this is also true for unsaved QuickTime audio and screen recording recovery, though it is a matter of luck, we have to try. But to find and recover QuickTime recordings that are unsaved, deleted, lost or missing, with high recovery rate, a tool like Cisdem Data Recovery is the best solution.

Connie Wisley
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Connie has been writing for Mac productivity and utility apps since 2009. Each review and solution is based on her practical tests, she is aways energetic and trustworthy in this field.

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Comments (4) Leave a Reply

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  • Marian

    Thank you so much! I had a 36 minute screen recording that disappeared after recording. This step helped me: " Then copy and paste ~/Library/ScreenRecordings/ as following, press Enter. "

    0 months ago commonReply

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  • Barbie

    Helpful tips. I found Temporary folder a nice place to recover unsaved files from. You guys can have a go if your unsaved QuickTime recordings were created not long ago.

    0 months ago commonReply

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  • Miruna

    Thank you for the help! I did interviews and the recordings weren't saved in the usual place so I panicked for a good while until I found this article.

    0 months ago commonReply

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  • BernardBiz

    Thank you very much for the information provided I'm very impressed

    3 years ago commonReply

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