4 Ways to Recover Unsaved or Deleted QuickTime Recording on Mac

Connie Wisley
time July 26, 2022 Preview 14.8K
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macOS QuickTime Player is truly a great tool to create our own audios and videos for free. With its screen recording feature, it even becomes an indispensable tool for some YouTube influencers to publish tutorial videos. But QuickTime Player may run into a crash when recording screen/movie/audio on mac, and leave QuickTime files unsaved, then what to do?

To recover an unsaved or restore deleted QuickTime Player recording on mac, including macOS Ventura, Monterey, Big Sur or Catalina, here we list 4 methods, with detailed steps written down.

Basics We Need to Know about QuickTime Recordings Recovery

QuickTime Recorings Format

First, we should know that QuickTime records 3 types of files on Mac: audio, screen and movie captured via the Mac camera. The audio recording is saved in M4A format, the video and movie recordings are saved in MOV format. To recover QuickTime recordings and open them without failure, you should recognize these files in correct file extensions.

Does QuickTime Recordings Automatically Save?

Yes. QuickTime player has the feature to automatically save a screen, audio or movie recording.

Where Do Unsaved QuickTime Recordings Go on Mac?

QuickTime will automatically save your recordings under: 

~/Library/Containers/com.apple.QuickTimePlayerX/Data/Library/Autosave Information/, as long as the recording files are not saved by clicking Save as following, the recordings will be stored in the Auto Save location. 


How to Recover Unsaved QuickTime Screen or Audio Recording on Mac

An unsaved QuickTime recording may be caused by sudden power off, app quite unexpectedly, or others. Indeed, there are 3 methods to recover the unsaved QuickTime screen, audio or movie recordings, but the recovery is still a matter of luck, it depends on many factors, but here we will simply call them all as luck. Anyway, they are worth a try, since these methods won’t make the situation worse nor do harm to your mac.

quicktime errors

Way #1 Recover Unsaved QuickTime Screen or Audio Recordings 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.

Steps to Recover Unsaved QuickTime Screen and Audio Recordings with AutoSave

  1. Click on Apple icon>Go>Go to Folder.recover unsaved quicktime autosave01
  2. Then copy and paste “~/Library/Containers/com.apple.QuickTimePlayerX/Data/Library/Autosave 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

Way #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

Way #3 Recover Unsaved QuickTime Recordings by View in Finder

You may have realized that unsaved QuickTime 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. If above 2 methods can’t find back the recordings, you can take some time to search unsaved QuickTime recordings by viewing in Finder.

  1. Open Finder app.
  2. Go to Recents>Change the icon grouping (the 4th icon) and choose Date Created if the unsaved QuickTime recording was just created on your Mac.
  3. Find the recordings with “unsaved” or “screen recording” in the file name, open with QuickTime to check and save to your preferred location.recover unsaved recording view

How to Recover Deleted or Disappeared QuickTime Recordings on Mac

In the case that your QuickTime screen or audio recordings are permanently deleted, or went disappeared for no reason, and you want to find back, you will need a professional tool.

To recover lost or deleted QuickTime recordings on mac easily and successfully, Cisdem Data Recovery is an ideal choice. It is designed to recover 200+ types of files lost or deleted under different situations, no matter your files are deleted on internal hard drive or external hard drive on mac. In addition, it allows users to preview the deleted files before finding them back, to make sure you are getting those you want back.

Main Features of Cisdem Data Recovery

  • Recover files lost due to different situations: delete, format, update, virus attack, etc.
  • Repair various videos: mp4, mov, avi, mkv, m4v and so on
  • Restore 200+ types of files: video, audio, photo, document, archive, etc.
  • 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

Here are 2 tutorials to recover deleted QuickTime screen recordings and audio recordings respectively.

Steps to Recover Deleted or Disappeared QuickTime Screen Recording on Mac

  1. Download and install Cisdem Data Recovery onto your mac.
    Free Download
  2. Go to Disk Data Recovery and choose the hard drive where you lost the QuickTime screen recordings.cisdem recover deleted quicktime01
  3. Start scanning deleted files on your mac. Go to Type>Videos>MOV, or use the Filter to find specific quicktime recordings with keyword, file size, etc.recover quicktime recording cisdem 01
  4. Then double click on the deleted QuickTime screen recording videos saved in MOV format to preview, then select and recover to local drive or Cloud.recover quicktime recording mac cisdem 02
  5. (Optional) To recover corrupted or repair QuickTime videos that cannot be played on your Mac, use the Video Repair tool to fix it.repair video with cisdem

Steps to Recover Lost or Deleted QuickTime Audio Recordings on Mac

  1. Download and install Cisdem Data Recovery onto your Mac.
  2. Choose the drive where you lost or delete the QuickTime audio recordings.
  3. Click Scan to start the scanning, go to Type>Audio>M4A folder.recover quicktime audio mac 01
  4. Select the deleted QuickTime audio recordings files in M4A, listen to it and click Recover to restore.recover quicktime audio mac 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. To recover or repair deleted QuickTime recording files, it would be much easier, since we have tool like Cisdem Data Recovery can do this for us.

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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