Better Touch Tool Catalina

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Making screenshots of parts of your Mac display can be a valuable tool when you’re trying to remember settings or a sequence of actions or explain them to someone else. I know that I’m an oddball as a technology writer, as I’m constantly capturing pieces of a screen in order to write these columns. But my correspondence with readers over many years reveals that a lot of you also use built-in (and in some eras, third-party) screenshot tools.

Also over many years, Macworld has covered the basics and advanced features, but Apple has kept monkeying with how screen captures work, so here’s a fairly full refresh including a few secrets I only learned days ago from Twitter.

In macOS 10.14 Mojave, Apple got rid of the long-running Grab app, a screen-captured utility with several features beyond what you could manage with keystrokes. Instead, it embedded most of those features into a new shortcut. From the keyboard you can now press:

  • Command-Shift-3: Capture all active screens as separate files.

  • Command-Shift-4: Capture a selection you drag to define.

  • Command-Shift-5: Capture a selection, window, menu, or screen, record a video, or modify screen-capture settings.

  • Command-Shift-6: Capture the Touch Bar on Macs so equipped.

Add the Control key while pressing Command-Shift-3 or -4, and the screenshot is copied to the Clipboard instead of being saved to your drive. You can paste that into any image editor, like Preview or Pixelmator. (Use Command-Shift-5 and click Options to change the storage locations of all subsequent screen captures, instead; destinations include the Clipboard.)

Tool

Read up on how to use the macOS markup tools on captures and how to stop the floating preview from appearing.

Command-Shift-4 (also available via Command-Shift-5 as click Capture Selected Portion) is one of the most flexible tools, though its options are mostly hidden away.

You can capture a menu by clicking it, pressing Command-Shift-4, and then moving the crosshairs icon over it. Capture a window by first pressing the keystroke and then moving the crosshairs over it. In both cases, finally press the spacebar to highlight the item you want. Click the item or press Return or Enter to capture.

You can also press Command-Shift-4, drag a rectangle, and then press one of the following modifiers to change the selection while still holding down the mouse or touchpad button:

  • Add the spacebar and you can move the current selection around the screen or screens without changing its dimension.

  • Add Shift, and you can drag the selection wider or narrower constrained to the horizontal or vertical depending on how you start dragging after holding the Shift key down.

  • Add Option and the selection expands or contracts simultaneously in all four directions.

  • Add both Shift and Option, and the constraint is both directions horizontally or vertically.

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When you reshape a selection with Shift included, releasing the key snaps the selection in the perpendicular direction to wherever the cursor is—that is, it moves it horizontally to meet the cursor if you constrained vertically and vice versa.

To avoid that, don’t release the Shift key. Instead either release the mouse or trackpad button or click the mouse’s right button or the equivalent. This immediately captures the selection without further resizing.

Thanks to designer/developer Jonnie Hallman for sharing his discovery on Twitter.

Ask Mac 911

We’ve compiled a list of the questions we get asked most frequently along with answers and links to columns: read our super FAQ to see if your question is covered. If not, we’re always looking for new problems to solve! Email yours to [email protected] including screen captures as appropriate, and whether you want your full name used. Not every question will be answered, we don’t reply to email, and we cannot provide direct troubleshooting advice.

macOS Big Sur elevates the most advanced desktop operating system in the world to a new level of power and beauty. Experience Mac to the fullest with a refined new design. Enjoy the biggest Safari update ever. Discover new features for Maps and Messages. Get even more transparency around your privacy.

Chances are, your Mac can run macOS Big Sur

The following models are supported:

  • MacBook (2015 or later)
  • MacBook Air (2013 or later)
  • MacBook Pro (Late 2013 or later)
  • Mac mini (2014 or later)
  • iMac (2014 or later)
  • iMac Pro (2017 or later)
  • Mac Pro (2013 or later)

To see which model you have, click the Apple icon in your menu bar and choose About This Mac.

Make sure you’re ready to upgrade.

Before you upgrade, we recommend that you back up your Mac. If your Mac is running OS X Mavericks 10.9 or later, you can upgrade directly to macOS Big Sur. You’ll need the following:

  • OS X 10.9 or later
  • 4GB of memory
  • 35.5GB available storage on macOS Sierra or later*
  • Some features require an Apple ID; terms apply.
  • Some features require a compatible internet service provider; fees may apply.

Upgrading is free and easy

Upgrading from macOS Catalina 10.15 or Mojave 10.14?

Go to Software Update in System Preferences to find macOS Big Sur. Click Upgrade Now and follow the onscreen instructions.

Upgrading from an older version of macOS?

If you’re running any release from macOS 10.13 to 10.9, you can upgrade to macOS Big Sur from the App Store. If you’re running Mountain Lion 10.8, you will need to upgrade to El Capitan 10.11 first.

If you don’t have broadband access, you can upgrade your Mac at any Apple Store.

  • OS X 10.9 or later
  • 4GB of memory
  • 35.5GB available storage on macOS Sierra or later*
  • Some features require an Apple ID; terms apply.
  • Some features require a compatible internet service provider; fees may apply.

For details about your Mac model, click the Apple icon at the top left of your screen and choose About This Mac. These Mac models are compatible with macOS Big Sur:

  • MacBook (2015 or later)
  • MacBook Air (2013 or later)
  • MacBook Pro (Late 2013 or later)
  • Mac mini (2014 or later)
  • iMac (2014 or later)
  • iMac Pro (2017 or later)
  • Mac Pro (2013 or later)

Siri

Requires a broadband internet connection and microphone (built-in or external).

Hey Siri

Supported by the following Mac models:

  • MacBook Pro (2018 or later)
  • MacBook Air (2018 or later)
  • iMac Pro (2017 or later)

Dictation, Voice Control, and Voice Memos

Requires a microphone (built-in or external).

Spotlight Suggestions

Requires a broadband internet connection.

Gestures

Requires a Multi-Touch trackpad, Force Touch trackpad, Magic Trackpad, or Magic Mouse.

Force Touch gestures require a Force Touch trackpad.

VoiceOver gestures require a Multi-Touch trackpad, Force Touch trackpad, or Magic Trackpad.

Photo Booth

Requires a FaceTime or iSight camera (built-in or external) or USB video class (UVC) camera.

FaceTime

Audio calls require a microphone (built-in or external) and broadband internet connection.

Video calls require a built-in FaceTime camera, an iSight camera (built-in or external), or a USB video class (UVC) camera; and broadband internet connection.

Apple TV

High dynamic range (HDR) video playback is supported by the following Mac models:

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Touch
  • MacBook Pro (2018 or later)
  • iMac Pro (2017 or later)
  • Mac Pro (2019) with Pro Display XDR

Dolby Atmos soundtrack playback is supported by the following Mac models:

  • MacBook Air (2018 or later)
  • MacBook Pro (2018 or later)

Sidecar

Supported by the following Mac models:

  • MacBook (2016 or later)
  • MacBook Air (2018 or later)
  • MacBook Pro (2016 or later)
  • Mac mini (2018 or later)
  • iMac (late 2015 or later)
  • iMac Pro (2017 or later)
  • Mac Pro (2019)

Supported by all iPad models with Apple Pencil support:

  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro
  • 11-inch iPad Pro
  • 10.5-inch iPad Pro
  • 9.7-inch iPad Pro
  • iPad (6th generation or later)
  • iPad mini (5th generation)
  • iPad Air (3rd and 4th generation)

Continuity Camera

Requires an iPhone or iPad that supports iOS 12 or later.

Continuity Sketch and Continuity Markup

Requires an iPhone with iOS 13 or later or an iPad with iPadOS 13 or later.

Handoff

Requires an iPhone or iPad with a Lightning connector or with USB-C and iOS 8 or later.

Instant Hotspot

Requires an iPhone or iPad with cellular connectivity, a Lightning connector or USB-C, and iOS 8.1 or later. Requires Personal Hotspot service through your carrier.

Universal Clipboard

Requires an iPhone or iPad with a Lightning connector or with USB-C and iOS 10 or later.

Auto Unlock

Requires an Apple Watch with watchOS 3 or later or an iPhone 5 or later.

Approve with Apple Watch

Requires an Apple Watch with watchOS 6 or later or an iPhone 6s or later with iOS 13 or later.

Apple Pay on the Web

Requires a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air with Touch ID, an iPhone 6 or later with iOS 10 or later, or an Apple Watch with watchOS 3 or later.

Phone Calling

Requires an iPhone with iOS 8 or later and an activated carrier plan.

SMS

Better Touch Tool Catalina Free

Requires an iPhone with iOS 8.1 or later and an activated carrier plan.

Better Touch Tool Catalina

Home

Requires an iPhone with iOS 12 or later and a configured Home app.

AirDrop

AirDrop to iOS and iPadOS devices requires an iPhone or iPad with a Lightning connector or with USB-C and iOS 7 or later.

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AirPlay

AirPlay Mirroring requires an Apple TV (2nd generation or later).

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AirPlay for web video requires an Apple TV (2nd generation or later).

Peer-to-peer AirPlay requires a Mac (2012 or later) and an Apple TV (3rd generation rev A, model A1469 or later) with Apple TV software 7.0 or later.

Time Machine

Requires an external storage device (sold separately).

Maps electric vehicle routing

Requires an iPhone with iOS 14 and a compatible electric vehicle.

Maps license plate restrictions

Requires an iPhone running iOS 14 or an iPad running iPadOS 14.

Boot Camp

Allows Boot Camp installations of Windows 10 on supported Mac models.

Exchange Support

Requires Microsoft Office 365, Exchange 2016, Exchange 2013, or Exchange Server 2010. Installing the latest Service Packs is recommended.

Windows Migration

Supports OS X 10.7 or later and Windows 7 or later.

App Store

Available only to persons age 13 or older in the U.S. and many other countries and regions.

Photos

The improved Retouch tool is supported on the following Mac models:

  • MacBook Pro (15-inch and 16-inch models) introduced in 2016 or later
  • iMac (Retina 5K models) introduced in 2014 or later
  • iMac (Retina 4K models) introduced in 2017 or later
  • iMac Pro (2017 or later)
  • Mac Pro introduced in 2013 or later
  • Apple Books
  • Apple News
  • App Store
  • Automator
  • Calculator
  • Calendar
  • Chess
  • Contacts
  • Dictionary
  • DVD Player
  • FaceTime
  • Find My
  • Font Book
  • Home
  • Image Capture
  • Launchpad
  • Mail
  • Maps
  • Messages
  • Mission Control
  • Music
  • Notes
  • Photo Booth
  • Photos
  • Podcasts
  • Preview
  • QuickTime Player
  • Reminders
  • Safari
  • Siri
  • Stickies
  • Stocks
  • System Preferences
  • TextEdit
  • Time Machine
  • TV
  • Voice Memos

Better Touch Tool Catalina

  • Activity Monitor
  • AirPort Utility
  • Audio MIDI Setup
  • Bluetooth File Exchange
  • Boot Camp Assistant
  • ColorSync Utility
  • Console
  • Digital Color Meter
  • Disk Utility

Better Touch Tool Catalina Mac

  • Grapher
  • Keychain Access
  • Migration Assistant
  • Screenshot
  • Screen Time
  • Script Editor
  • Sidecar
  • System Information
  • Terminal
  • VoiceOver Utility
  • Arabic
  • Catalan
  • Croatian
  • Simplified Chinese
  • Traditional Chinese
  • Traditional Chinese (Hong Kong)
  • Czech
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • English (Australia)
  • English (UK)
  • English (U.S.)
  • Finnish
  • French
  • French (Canada)
  • German
  • Greek
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Hungarian

Better Touch Tool Catalina Download

  • Indonesian
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Malay
  • Norwegian
  • Polish
  • Brazilian Portuguese
  • Portuguese
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Slovak
  • Spanish
  • Spanish (Latin America)
  • Swedish
  • Thai
  • Turkish
  • Ukrainian
  • Vietnamese