6 Ways To Take Screenshots On Android

Android Logo   6 Ways To Take Screenshots On AndroidWhether you’re a blogger taking a screenshot of Android apps or just someone that wants to show off their Android setup to your friends, the process of taking those snapshots can be a pain. While Android 4.0 offers a built-in way to take a good screenshot, that’s little consolation if you’re still using an older version of the Android operating system.

No matter what device you have, you can take a screen image without rooting your device. But rooting your device offers you some neat tricks — even if you’re using Android 4.0. You can take a screenshot by shaking your device or wirelessly via a web browser.

Take a Screenshot with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)

If you’re using Android 4.0 or later, this is easy. Just press and hold the Volume Down and Power buttons at the same time. You’ll see an animation on the screen, indicating that the screen photo was saved. Android will save the image to your Gallery. Launch the Gallery app and tap Screenshots to view and share your screenshot.

android galaxy nexus   6 Ways To Take Screenshots On Android

Android SDK

You can take a screenshot on any Android device using Google’s Android SDK. After you’ve set up the Android SDK, all you have to do is connect your Android phone or tablet to your computer with its USB cable and fire up the SDK.

This isn’t the most user-friendly application to set up, but it’s easy to use once you’ve set it up. We’ve got a guide to setting up the SDK and taking screenshots.

android sdk screen capture   6 Ways To Take Screenshots On Android

AShot aka Android Screen Capture

AShot is a free, open-source way to take screen images of your Android device from your computer. It requires the Android SDK installed and properly configured. AShot offers a variety of advantages over the Android SDK screenshot feature, including near-real-time streaming of your Android’s screen to the Ashot application on your computer. You won’t have to keep clicking the Refresh button, as in the SDK. For more information, check out our AShot walkthrough.

ashot   6 Ways To Take Screenshots On Android

Manufacturer Shortcuts

Some manufacturers build special screenshot shortcuts into their pre-Android 4.0 devices. For example, on many Samsung Android devices, including the Galaxy Note and Galaxy S II (pre-Ice Cream Sandwich versions), you can press the Home and Power buttons at the same time to take a screen snapshot – in practice, you’ll press and hold the Home button, then quickly press the Power button. On the Galaxy S, press and hold the Back button and the Power button, or try pressing the Back button and double-tapping the Home button.

Different pre-Android 4.0 devices use a variety of different shortcuts – give it a Google and you might find that your device has a built-in screenshot shortcut you don’t know about.

several android phones   6 Ways To Take Screenshots On Android

Device-Specific Apps

These manufacturer-specific hooks into the OS allow some apps to provide an easy-to-use, on-device way to take screen image.  For example, Samsung Galaxy S, Galaxy Tab, and Galaxy S II (pre-ICS) users can use Screen Capture Shortcut Free to capture a screenshot without rooting their phones.

Another example of a device-specific app is AndroSS, which can take screen images on Android without root access on Tegra devices. If you’re not sure whether a device-specific app exists for your device, search the Google Play Store and see.

screen capture shortcut free   6 Ways To Take Screenshots On Android

Root Apps

The reason you have to jump through the hoops above instead of simply installing a screenshot app is because of Android’s security model. Android doesn’t allow apps to view your device’s screen – this could be a security problem. For example, a malicious app could spy on your online banking sessions. There’s no permission apps can request to take snapshots of your screen.

To give an app permission to view your screen, you’ll need to root your Android. After rooting your Android, you can install one of the many screen snapshot applications that require root from Google Play. There are many options to choose from, although many of them are paid apps. aScreenshot is a free app that worked for me. You can take a screenshot in a variety of ways, including shaking your device, tapping a notification, or setting a delay. Other apps have similar features.

ascreenshot settings   6 Ways To Take Screenshots On Android

AirDroid, an awesome free app we’ve covered in the directory, also supports taking a screen shot on rooted devices. You can capture those images wirelessly via your web browser. AirDroid can control many other aspects of your device from a browser, too.

airdroid screenshot   6 Ways To Take Screenshots On Android

For more great Android apps, check out our list of the 100 best Android apps.

How do you take a screenshot on your Android device? Leave a comment and let us know which method you prefer.

Image Credit: LAI Ryanne on Flickr, Mike Babcock on Flickr

The comments were closed because the article is more than 180 days old.

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80 Comments -

0 votes

HuitZiloP

Also, many ICS ROMS have an option to put a “capture screenshot” entry on the power off menu.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

Thanks for the tip!

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DeltaTiger

Most Cyanogen based Roms have this functionality. Also Some others.

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Chris Hoffman

Doesn’t surprise me! Once again CyanogenMod trumps the manufacturer ROMs.

0 votes

Florisz

I think I have a Cyanogen based Rom, but how do you make a screenshot? Where to set it, etc.?

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

I don’t have Cyanogenmod in front of me right now, but I Googled up a solution.

Try long-pressing the power button. You should see a menu with a Screenshot option.

0 votes

Floris

I checked it. The options I get are:
- Silent
- Airplane
- Recovery(reboot into)
- Reboot
- Turn off
No screenshot option. I tried airdroid. Looks very nice, but my PC is in a wired netwerk while my phone is in a different WIFI network or mobile network, while both have to be in the same network for airdroid to work.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

Hmm. Well, if you have a Cyanogenmod-based ROM, you should already be rooted (or there should be an easy way to root your phone). After rooting, you can use one of the root-only screenshot apps.

0 votes

Abhisek

In my device, this works : Home Button + Power Button

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

Yup, that seems to be pretty common on pre-Android 4 Samsung devices.

0 votes

Gerardo

On Galaxy Note there are 3 options:

1:Power and home button
2:Press and hold stylus on screen (easiest)
3:Palm swipe over screen (takes a lot of practice!)

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

Thanks for the Galaxy Note method! Is that included in the manual, or did users have to discover that themselves?

0 votes

Gerardo

To be honest with you, I think I found out from YouTube!

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

Yup, sounds like something we users have to figure out for ourselves! Kinda sad.

0 votes

Nathan Kaufman

I can’t be the ONLY g’nex owner who didn’t know the ICS vol/pow trick, right…?

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

It’s certainly not an obvious trick — someone has to tell you about it.

0 votes

puneethkumb

This was one which I seriously wanted to know, tried some other apps from play store, will check these now

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

Personally, I love AirDroid — even if your device has a built-in shortcut, it’s a fast way to get the screenshot on your computer without plugging in any cables or transferring files.

0 votes

puneethkumb

Will give it a try Chris. Thanks!

0 votes

Sergio Casas

Wow, finally some serious recommendation and not some store shady app. Thx

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

You’re welcome! I had to research this myself to write Android posts with screenshots, so I thought I’d share what I discovered.

0 votes

Hasitha Chaturanga

Air droid seems cool

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

I love AirDroid. It’s amazing, and not just for screenshots.

0 votes

Jessica Cam Wong

I agree! Slickest app I’ve seen in a while!

0 votes

pushpanshu

Hi, i think you forgoy one app which very cheap and requires no root for android 2.2 or above, its SCREENSHOT UX, i love thos app on my htc desire hd, same feature as that of android 4.0 but uses long press search key to take screen shot, no notification icon, very clean shots. I am waiting for an app which actually record my screen as in a video format and i can play it as a video on my device, also do not require root. Do you any such app? If yes put it in drippler. FYI i lovd drippler app. Nice job…will keep geed you with are reviews.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

The app’s page on Google Play at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.liveov.shotux says it may require root, so it’s another device-specific app. (plus it costs $4, which is a bit on the high side)

Unfortunately, capturing a smooth video doesn’t seem possible — i can’t fine any tools. There are several utilities that run on your computer that attempt to capture a video, but they’re just taking lots of screenshots as fast as possible — it’s not a smooth video capture.

0 votes

Pushpanshu

Dear chris, i have this app and i purchased it for 4$. As you said there is no app to make screen video, i give you one, for rooted phone only try it, i dnt hv rooted phone so i can use it, it is called screencast on playstore….tell me the experience.

0 votes
0 votes

Joel Lee

This was helpful. My screenshot app has been on the fritz, so I set up Android SDK and got my screenshots that way. Thanks, Chris!

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

You’re welcome! I’ve taken most of my Android screenshots that way, but I’ve switched to AirDroid for screenshots now. So awesome.

0 votes

ecd4a4d35dce1b96560e85a8ce64f578

This is pretty nice, thanks!

0 votes

Tanya

My HTC Amaze (not upgraded to ICS yet) has a built in shortcut but I haven’t deciphered it yet. All I know is that the screen was locked & my phone was in my pocket & I heard the camera sound when I leaned in to get clothes out of the dryer. When I went to look at my phone, it looked like the screen was locked but it was just a screenshot of the locked screen…had me confused for a second! I’ll keep playing with button combos but if anyone has figured out the factory shortcut for the HTC Amaze, please share :).

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0 votes

Chris Hoffman

Good find! Google should have standardized this earlier.

0 votes

Rohit

WOW it worked thanks Tanya for the tip and Chris for the forum!!

0 votes

Lee

Home + Power button works on my SGS3

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

Weird! I guess Samsung is sticking with their own shortcut instead of the Google-standard shortcut, even though it runs ICS (Android 4.0).

Does the volume button + power shortcut mentioned above work, too?

0 votes

Sergio Hernandez

dear chris, is there a way to take a screenshot on the htc mytouch 4g? i tried the home button and power button, the volume button and the power one and they dont work, can you help? i really enjoy this screenshot feature but i dont know how to take one so tell me please thanks (:

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

I Googled around for a bit and I don’t think there’s any built-in way. You can root your phone, try the SDK, or try an app like Screenshot It!, which some people report success with.

0 votes

Sergio Hernandez

thanks (: but how do you root? i tried googling that and i found nothing

0 votes
0 votes

Adam Wiemers

Thanks, but now how do I find where those screen shots are saved on a Motorola Razr Maxx?

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

Assuming you’re using Android 4.0 on your Razr Maxx, open the Gallery app and look for the Screenshot folder. From the Gallery, you can use the Share feature to upload them to web services, send them by email, etc

You’ll also find them at /sdcard/Pictures/Screenshot, I believe. So you can copy them directly to your computer from there.

If you’re using one of the apps (perhaps one that requires root), it may store them elsewhere. But you should be able to find them in the Gallery app.

0 votes

Nazia

Hi, I have a Samsung Galaxy S2 with ICS 4.0.4 and have noticed it has a built in screenshot feature. You have to press the home (button in the middle at the bottom of the device) and power key simultaneously… It’s changed from the vol down and power key pre-ICS.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

Thanks. It’s kind of obnoxious that Samsung is using a different shortcut after Google standardized on volume down+ power with ICS.

0 votes

Jr.

i have a tmobile my touch q and i’ve tried using the power and home, power and volume and nothing works. i really don’t wanna download anything so if anyone can help i’d be SUPER grateful!

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

It may not be possible with a built-in shortcut then — I googled and some people said power+home works. If that doesn’t work for you, you’ll have to use the more complex methods, sadly.

0 votes

RadMac

I rooted my HTC MyTouch 4G and I’m using CyanogenMod 7.2. I know how to take a screenshot by pressing the power button, but is it possible to create a custom key shortcut. I’m trying to setup my home button to be the shortcut key to take a screenshot. I’ve googled it but still no success yet.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

That’s a really good question — as far as I know, this isn’t possible. I even Googled around a bit. Sorry about that!

0 votes

Barney

I have a HTC MyTouch 4g also, can u walk me through the rooting process that u did for your phone? I really want to be able to take screen shots also.

Thanks! B.

0 votes

wency

Help! Everytime I press and? hold the back button, it goes back to the previous page. So it doesn’t allow me to do a screen capture.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

Unfortunately, it seems your device doesn’t work with that shortcut.

0 votes

Becka

what do i do for a cricket huawei android phone?? its a newer version but i dont know if any of this will work.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

Using the Android SDK or rooting will definitely work. Unfortunately, your device may not have any built-in screenshot capability.

0 votes

maturebrotha

this sucks, you didn’t explain anything

0 votes

seaman

i have a new xperia tipo. how can i get screenshot ?

0 votes

Gissel

i tried doing the home + power button But
my phone locked because the power button is also to lock the phone screen.

0 votes

Sriram

I think its the Power + Home button combination. Volume down key didn’t do the trick for my Samsung SGH T697 galaxy phone…..

0 votes

Hiro

I have Droid 4, with the newest upgrade (so Android 4.0, I’m assuming), but the volume + power thing does not seem to work for me.
Is there another way that anyone has found out about Droid 4?

0 votes

ashurbanipal

Great post, Just learned something new about my phone, puttin it to good use :) thanks. HTC EVO 4G LTE

0 votes

Jaime

i have that same phone.. how do you do it?

0 votes

mscarolm

Thanks! I was just asked to take a screenshot of something on my phone for work, and this helped!

0 votes

Mike

What if you have a ZTE-X500
Android Version is 2.3.4
Can you get a screenshot with that?

0 votes

Von

What about for android’s zte warp?

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

You’ll have to root it or use one of the PC connection methods, it doesn’t seem like there’s an app that works on unrooted ZTE Warp devices as far as I can tell.

0 votes

Declan Lopez

very helpful, thank you

0 votes

Edward Bellair

So if all of these rooted phones arent having issues, why not just put it on the phone? Or are the hackers better at programming?

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

Google has indeed put it on the phone with Android 4.0+. It definitely should have been added in earlier versions, too.

0 votes

Edward Bellair

I agree. Now I can root my phone, get a new one or wait on verizon and htc to update my thunderbolt.

0 votes

Kayla

Thank you!! I found a shortcut that worked on my phone thanks to you!!

0 votes

Maarten Smit

Just found a great new app called Screenshot Ultimate. Works for rooted and non-rooted phones, tablets and even Google TV. Implements multiple ways of taking screenshots, it only take a little to get used to the interface.

Completely free:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.icecoldapps.screenshotultimate

0 votes

Mary

Re: the SDK instructions, this is all good (and I’ve done this in the past, on a Windows 7 machine and an Incredible), except for the USB drivers bit. On a new computer, also running win 7 and an Incredible 2, trying to get it working again, and no haps. I’ve made the mods to android_winusb.inf to support my phone (Incredible 2, I used the info for an incredible, the info for the incredible 2 doesn’t seem to be out there). Connect the phone and Windows just recognizes it as “Android phone”. Well, that ain’t gonna fly.

So I right-click on the “Android phone” under other devices in device manager, select Update driver software, say “browse my computer” and point it at the folder where the updated android_winusb lives, and click Next. Windows pukes immediately, saying “windows could not find the driver software for your phone”. Looks like Windows isn’t even trying, although who knows? maybe it’s trying and the Incredible stuff in the file is no good.

All the other parts are fine, I can run ddms, but there’s no device, obvi…so it can’t screenshot. Until the driver problem is solved, this is not going to work. One. Stupid. Idiotic. Oughta-be-braindead SIMPLE issue, and it CAN NOT BE FIXED.

I’m really not sure who I hate more at this point: Google, Microsoft or HTC. Google is winning for now, but…

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

That’s a problem I’ve definitely had in the past. I’ve fixed it by downloading the Google USB drive in the SDK, then opening the Device Manager, manually browsing to a driver, and specifying the downloaded Google USB driver. It’s a huge pain and shouldn’t be necessary, I agree.

0 votes

Brandi

How Do You Root An Huawei 4G ? So You Can Take Screenshots..

0 votes

David F

I tried to do a screen capture on My Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro with Android 4.0.4 using the power and volume down keys, but it either powers off or changes the volume setting down (or to vibrate). Anything I might be doing wrong or a different key combination?

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

You need to press the keys at about the same time; if you press the keys with a delay in between you won’t get a screenshot.

It’s also possible your phone uses a different shortcut combination, like power+home or volume down+ home. I can’t find any information about that on Google, though.

0 votes

Kylee C

Can you take a screenshot

0 votes

Adeel Azmat

Very helpful, thanks!

0 votes

j to the c

Thanx for there tips!

0 votes

JoLuvsZhongYi

Can you help me with screencapturing android tablet modelled no: VB100a ? thanks !