3 Ways to Recover Unsaved or Deleted QuickTime Recording on Mac

Connie Wisley
time March 03, 2021 Preview 8.8K
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macOS QuickTime Player is truly a great tool to create our own audios and videos for free, it is even an indispensable tool for some YouTube stars 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 10.15 Catalina, here we list 3 methods, with detailed steps written down.

Basics We Need to Know about QuickTime Recordings Recovery

First, we should know that QuickTime records 3 types of files on Mac, audio, screen and movie by your 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.

Secondly, get to know where are QuickTime files stored on Mac. QuickTime can 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 2 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

How to Recover Deleted QuickTime Screen or Audio Recording Successfully

In the case that your QuickTime screen or audio recordings are permanently deleted 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;
  • 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;

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

Steps to Recover Lost or Deleted 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>Video>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

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

Tips to Avoid QuickTime Player Not Saving Recording on Mac

How to avoid QuickTime recording not saved? Here are some tips you should have a look and take actions according to your need.

#1 Use the QuickTime Player version that matches your macOS best

We are always recommended to update to the latest version when macOS and its apps release a new version, but it needn’t to be so, especially for iMovie and QuickTime Player. According to many mac users, when updating to the latest version, there is always error occurs, but after a downgrade, everything will process well again. It’s hard to tell the reasons, but if your existing or previous QuickTime player works perfectly, use that version instead of updating to the new one.

#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 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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