Capturing Streaming Video In OS X Lion [Video How-To]



Although it’s by no means immediately obvious, Mac OS X includes a handy tool built right into Safari that enables you to capture streaming video from most websites.  In this video I’ll show you how it’s done.

  • Dannydebner


  • Ted McNeil

    If you switch the Youtube playback settings to HD (720p or 1080p) you get an mp4 that you can drag-n-drop into iTunes.

  • Euro_MacHead

    Crappy Flash = no video for me. (and many others, inkl. all iOS users.)

    I refuse to pollute Lion with that PoS malware enabler. 

  • andrewskegg

    With the “click to flash” plugin installed you can right click to download a mp4 version of most video files.  Easy.  Also works with Youtube if you are a part of the html5 trail (but don’t quote me on that).

  • Jonas Jonusas

    This has been in Snow Leopard all the time.

  • ifuckyourmind

    I was faster .. My ( german ) Howto with click2flash and QuickTime : YouTube Videos mit Safari 5 am Mac (QuickTime) herunterladen

  • mlahero

    You don’t like Flash, sheesh we get it. Keep banging that drum!

  • AriRomano

    doesn’t work on every video site, unfortunately.

  • Pucken

    You have the most annoying voice… 

  • SpyderCanopus

    Since XP, Windows has included a tool (media encoder 9) to record -any- window.

  • freedotz

    great tutorial, thanks!  have been using macs for years — always fun to find another great feature that has been right in front of me the whole time

  • freedotz

    i don’t think that anyone was talking about windows here, but if you want to open that door this feature has been on macs for years, and mac also has apps that record your windows/screen.  apples and oranges mate — that debate is way old

  • freedotz

    iOS, sure — but what is your issue with running flash on lion?  if your macbook is being really crippled by flash, you might consider buying a new one — or just stop visiting seedy sites… no malware issue here

  • freedotz


  • Josh Mendelsohn

    AWESOME tip! Gonna be using this quite a bit to download videos from my Picasaweb albums that I’ve uploaded from my iPhone. By the way, because I’m deaf, I turned on “Transcribe Audio” into closed captions on this video clip. While I was able to get the gist of what was being said, you might want to download the transcript (without the time codes) from this video’s settings on YouTube. You can then clean up this transcript and then upload it back — and YouTube’ll then use voice recognition to auto-match the transcript with what is being said. Hope you take advantage of this service for your deaf viewers like me (and others) and to make it easier for videos like this to rise higher in page ranks during searches :)

  • ECSvK

    Is it just me being stupid? I can’t get it to work. I download a .flv or a .mp4. Then I try to play them in VLC. Nothing happens. Then i try to play them in iTunes. Nothing happens. Then I try to convert them. Smartconverter says that there is no video or audio to convert. What am I doing wrong?

  • Thomas

    Very cool and useful! Thx!

  • Steven King

    I`ve known about this tip for years but since I installed Lion it rarely if ever works anymore.

  • Zo Spencer

    You need to download Perian, free preference pane, that allows Quicktime to open FLVs. Which can export to iOS-playables.

    Or use MPlayer OS X Extended. 

  • Hank Thecowdog

    I cannot find “Activity” under “Window” or any other option in my Safari or Firefox. I am running OS X Lion. Any suggestions?

  • thebookdoc

    To the guy who cant find it… press Option+Apple+A, and use SAFARI as it is the only thing the guy mentions. You might need to update your version.

    Just a great tip… it is free, uses standard functions, and works great on every site I tried it on… Much better than spending $100 on another software solution.

  • truthbetold

    has removed the activity windo link with Safari 6.02 so this video is obsolete for people with the newest version of Safari. Would be nice if there was a soloution for 6.02!

  • truthbetold

    i did find an excellent tut on how to copy video.. works like a charm here you go converted my streaming vid to FLV

  • VideoRecorderNe

    In most situations, online sharing websites do not offer any downloading options, and watching high quality online videos often becomes a mess. Mac Screen Recorder Studio can create stunning screencasts easily! With it, you can record your Mac screen to video with a mouse cursor and your voice. Mac Screen Recorder Studio is an outstanding screencasting tools.

  • Anna Brooks

    Elmedia Player could be used as streaming video downloader which works with almost all versions of OS X. ( )

  • bo ure

    Not helpful. No “activity” in Windows menu. Not available in advanced. Not available in develop.

  • Saffie

    This tutorial is now obsolete. Flash now segments its downloaded videos into useless files that can’t be read or concatenated into anything but gibberish. There is no single file in the Activity window to download anymore.