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macOS Catalina - Can't share full screen or application window

If you recently upgraded to macOS Catalina, or got a new Mac, then you may have problems when trying to share full screen or application window using CrankWheel, while sharing a browser tab should work.

The underlying reason for this is new security functionality in macOS Catalina that requires granting a privilege to any application that tries to record the screen, in this case Google Chrome. Certain versions of Chrome (at least 76 and 77 and some versions of Chrome 78) have code to handle this that fails to detect that it has been authorized in certain situations.

Here is a video that you can follow to resolve the issue, or if you prefer to read through the steps see below: https://www.loom.com/share/4485a511329743e2871807c5364d8d26

Step 1 - first thing to check

If you are seeing the problem, the first thing to check is your version number of Chrome, to make sure you have received the update that fixes the underlying issue.

Steps:

  1. Open your Google Chrome browser
  2. In the "Chrome" menu in your menu bar, next to the Apple menu, choose "About Google Chrome"
  3. Ideally this page should say "Google Chrome is up to date" and show a version number below this line.

If you have a version lower than 78 as the first number, or you have 78.0.3904.70 or lower, then you need to update Chrome. Sometimes it happens that the automatic update mechanism for Chrome fails to work correctly. Check this support article from the Google Chrome team for how to get Chrome to update: https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/111996?hl=en

If you have version 78.0.3904.87 or newer, or a first version number of 79, 80 or even higher, then you do not need to update Chrome and should move on to Step 2, below.

Step 2 - only if Step 1 did not fix things

In some cases, the reason for the problem is that macOS may have asked for your permission to allow Google Chrome to capture your screen when you tried screen sharing for the first time after upgrading to macOS Catalina, but you missed the dialog (it is very easy to miss, or to dismiss without realizing what it is).

To resolve the problem, go through the following sequence of steps:

  1. Hit ⌘-Space to bring up the Spotlight search bar, and type in System Preferences, then hit Enter
  2. Double-click on Security & Privacy
  3. Select 'Privacy' at the top
  4. In the scrollable box on the left, scroll down a bit and select Screen Recording
  5. Make sure Google Chrome is in the list, and that it has a checkmark next to it.
  6. If you add a checkmark, you will be prompted to quit Google Chrome so that it gets the new setting. Confirm that it should quit. If you don't see this happen, we recommend that you reboot your computer after adding the checkmark.
  7. Relaunch Google Chrome and try using CrankWheel again.

If all fails

If you encounter the issue of screen sharing issues with full screen or application on Catalina, and the steps above do not resolve it, then please file a ticket by emailing support@crankwheel.com to let us know.

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