Command line tool scrcpy is probably the most powerful screen recorder for anyone who needs to record their screen in places with restricted screenshots and screencasts, like banking apps, password managers, and co. But on the Android 12 previews, the tool just straight out refused to work. Luckily, the developers found the reason and could work around it in the latest update of scrcpy, v1.18, but you might not like the implications: You'll no longer be able to see blocked apps using the tool.

Android 12 doesn't only bring substantial visual updates to the operating system; it also changes up a few things behind the scenes. It's no longer possible to create a so-called secure display with shell permissions anymore, which is the method scrcpy relies on for mirroring your screen's content to your computer. The consequence: You may no longer be able to see protected content at all on your computer's screen, like password managers, banking apps, and streaming services. If scrcpy doesn't find another workaround or Google changes its stance on the secure display, the tool will be much less powerful going forward, neither allowing you to interact with all parts of your Android phone from your computer nor letting you take screenshots or screencasts of protected content.

In the future, the only way to record protected screen contents might be utilizing root. If you want to get familiar with the possible methods, be sure to check out our guide.

scrcpy v1.18

Changes since v1.17:

  • Add support for Android 12 (#2129#2402)
  • Add support for V4L2 (device screen capture as a webcam) (#2232#2233#2268)
  • Add an option to lock the initial video orientation
  • Add an option to power off the device on close (#824)
  • Bind 4th mouse button to APP_SWITCH (#2258)
  • Bind 5th mouse button to expand notification panel (#2258)
  • Expand settings panel on double-expand notification panel (#2260#2264)
  • Push to /sdcard/Download by default (#2384)
  • Center the window on resize-to-fit (#2387)
  • Increase possible display id range (#2009)
  • Log input events in verbose mode (#2371)
  • Fix touch events parameters (#2125)
  • Fix left click on Samsung Browser (#2169)
  • Remove option --render-expired-frames (#2268)
  • Pass scrcpy-noconsole arguments through to scrcpy on Windows (#2052)
  • Upgrade platform-tools to 31.0.2 (adb) in Windows releases
  • Various technical fixes

At least scrcpy version 1.18 comes with some goodies to make up for the loss. Files you drag and drop from your desktop to the scrcpy window are now automatically saved to /sdcard/Download instead of /sdcard, which should lead to less clutter on your phone. Also, windows are now centered on resize-to-fit, and you can optionally have your phone automatically turned off when you're done with your scrcpy session, along with some more bugfixes and quality-of-life improvements.

It's still sad to see scrcpy's capabilities becoming so limited, but from a security standpoint, it does make sense — protected content is usually protected for a reason, after all. Maybe Google's upcoming own screen mirroring solution will offer some remedy, if only for Chromebook owners.