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There are lots of different ways to take screenshots on your Android device. Some are manufacturer-specific Android Skins Explained: How Do Hardware Makers Change Stock Android? Android Skins Explained: How Do Hardware Makers Change Stock Android? Hardware makers like to take Android and morph it into something that is entirely their own, but is this a good or a bad thing? Take a look and compare these different Android skins. Read More , some are operating system-wide, and some rely on dedicated apps from the Google Play Store.

It can be difficult to make sense of the options all and determine which is the best approach for your specific device.

In this article, I’m going to talk you through some of the most common methods and show you a couple of third-party apps.

1. Using the Stock Android Operating System

Since Android 4.0, taking screenshots using nothing more than your device has been a breeze.

Press and hold the Volume Down + Power buttons at the same time, and you’ll see a brief onscreen animation followed by a confirmation in the notification bar that the action was successful.

There is a knack to getting the timing right. Press the power button too soon and you’ll lock your device’s screen. Press the volume button too soon and you’ll end up changing the device’s audio settings.

2. Using Manufacturer Shortcuts

Not all phones use the standard Android method.

Samsung devices require you to press the Power + Home buttons instead. Thereafter, the process is the same. You’ll be given an on-screen confirmation and the image will be viewable in your gallery app.

Some phones use the standard method but also have additional options. For example, on the Sony Xperia Z5 you can press the power button to access the options menu. From there, you can take screenshots and record the screen.


Phones from Motorola, LG, and HTC all use the standard method.

3. Root Your Phone

Earlier versions of Android would not allow apps to take screenshots of the device without rooting. It was a security feature designed to prevent malicious downloads The 3 Best Antivirus Apps To Protect Your Android Security The 3 Best Antivirus Apps To Protect Your Android Security As we’ve reported frequently at MakeUseOf, Android is no longer safe from malware. The number of threats is on the rise. This shouldn’t be surprise to anyone. Smartphones and tablets can carry all sorts of... Read More  from spying on you and stealing private information.


However, rooting your device would open you up to a world of possibilities. There are lots of apps in the Play Store that have a simple “Take Screenshot” button, specifically for using on old rooted versions of Android. We covered some of them in our article about the five best Android apps for taking better screenshots 5 Best Android Apps for Taking Better Screenshots 5 Best Android Apps for Taking Better Screenshots Sure, you can take basic screenshots on your Android phone or tablet -- but you could be doing so much more. Read More .

For a detailed look at rooting your device, check out our extensive guide Take Control: Android Rooting Guide Take Control: Android Rooting Guide As of the writing of this guide, approximately 80% of the world's population owns their own cellphone. Out of those, 1.08 billion are smartphones. Read More .

4. Screenshot Easy

Let’s take a look at a couple of the best third-party apps. Their basic functionality is the same as the stock method, but they offer some cool additional features that aren’t available natively.

The first one to check out is Screenshot Easy.


It has some great usability functions. For example, it lets you take shots using a screen overlay button, a button in the notification bar, or by shaking your device.

There are also some great post-shot options. You can crop your screenshots, convert them to a ZIP file, edit the colors, and include time and date stamps. Images can be saved in either PNG or JPG format.

Download: Screenshot Easy (Free) from the Play Store

5. Super Screenshot

Super Screenshot is free to use and doesn’t include ads, making it a great choice for users who want a clean and easy-to-use app.

Perhaps its best feature is its ability to crop your screenshots before it commits them to memory. It also lets you resize your snaps, scribble on them, add text notes to them, and add various filters. To achieve the same results using the stock Android method, you’d need to download a photo editing app.

Photos can be saved directly to your phone’s SD card to save space, where appropriate.

Download: Super Screenshot (Free) from the Play Store

6. On Non-Rooted Pre-Android 4.0 Devices

Before the introduction of Android 4.0 in October 2011, there was no way to take a screenshot using the operating system.

Clearly, not many people are using old versions of Android on their phones. But if you’ve been forced to use Gingerbread or Honeycomb – perhaps because your main device is out of action and you’re using an old spare – you need to know how to take screenshots too.

The best method for non-rooted devices is to use the Android SDK. Yes, it’s cumbersome to setup, but it’s the most dependable approach.


You can download the SDK from the official Android website. Installing and setting up the SDK app is beyond the scope of this article, but we covered the process in detail How To Capture Screenshots With Your Android Mobile Phone How To Capture Screenshots With Your Android Mobile Phone Read More elsewhere on the site.

Check out the No Root Screenshot It app if you want a simpler user interface.

Which Method Do You Use?

I hope I’ve shown you how diverse the different methods are.

To summarize, as long as you’re using Android 4.0 or later (and you probably are), your phone will be able to take screenshots natively. If you’re looking for additional options, you should turn to a third-party app, and if you’re running an earlier version of Android, you’ll need to either root your device or use a desktop application.

Which method do you rely on? Have you found a third-party app that has better features than the ones I listed? Do you prefer rooting your device to open up the extra options?

Let me know about your situation in the comments section below.

Originally written by Chris Hoffman on June 11th, 2012.

  1. Mr.Pawn
    March 29, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    I have the Galaxy s5 and all I have to do is swipe my hand across the screen, left to right or right to left. Happy screenshooting!

  2. aris
    March 6, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    samsung galaxy grand prime . press and hold power and home button for 2 seconds

  3. Darrell
    February 12, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    I figured out you have to depress the power and volume down buttons simultaneously and not one after the other.

  4. not me
    February 3, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    Samsung Galaxy S5....Power + Home buttons. Took a couple of attempts, but it did work.

  5. Annabelle
    December 29, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    this doesnt work i have tried all of them and they don't work for my HTC Android phone

  6. Ak.vamik
    March 7, 2015 at 3:42 am

    Can you help my how to capture screen shot Samsung grand GT 19082

  7. aria
    February 2, 2015 at 5:32 am

    I thing you scam

  8. aria
    February 2, 2015 at 5:32 am

    It doesn't worck

  9. JoLuvsZhongYi
    December 2, 2012 at 8:03 am

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

  10. j to the c
    November 30, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Thanx for there tips!

  11. Adeel Azmat
    November 27, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Very helpful, thanks!

  12. Kylee C
    November 24, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Can you take a screenshot

  13. David F
    November 17, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    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?

    • Chris Hoffman
      November 29, 2012 at 6:04 pm

      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.

  14. Brandi
    November 11, 2012 at 2:04 am

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

  15. Mary
    November 8, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    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, 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...

    • Chris Hoffman
      November 10, 2012 at 3:23 pm

      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.

  16. Maarten Smit
    October 24, 2012 at 1:01 am

    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:

  17. Kayla
    October 22, 2012 at 10:32 pm

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

  18. Edward Bellair
    October 16, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    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?

    • Chris Hoffman
      October 21, 2012 at 8:07 pm

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

      • Edward Bellair
        October 23, 2012 at 8:45 pm

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

  19. Declan Lopez
    October 15, 2012 at 2:47 am

    very helpful, thank you

  20. Von
    October 4, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    What about for android's zte warp?

    • Chris Hoffman
      October 21, 2012 at 8:08 pm

      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.

  21. Mike
    September 21, 2012 at 2:38 pm

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

  22. mscarolm
    September 19, 2012 at 2:17 pm

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

  23. ashurbanipal
    September 17, 2012 at 7:07 am

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

    • Jaime
      September 23, 2012 at 7:06 pm

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

  24. Hiro
    September 14, 2012 at 6:48 am

    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?

  25. Sriram
    September 12, 2012 at 9:11 pm

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

  26. Gissel
    September 12, 2012 at 4:27 am

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

  27. seaman
    September 7, 2012 at 7:40 am

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

  28. maturebrotha
    September 6, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    this sucks, you didn't explain anything

  29. Becka
    August 20, 2012 at 4:31 am

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

    • Chris Hoffman
      August 27, 2012 at 9:31 pm

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

  30. wency
    August 20, 2012 at 1:09 am

    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.

    • Chris Hoffman
      August 27, 2012 at 9:31 pm

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

  31. RadMac
    August 18, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    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.

    • Chris Hoffman
      August 27, 2012 at 9:30 pm

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

    • Barney
      October 30, 2012 at 7:10 pm

      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.

  32. Jr.
    August 12, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    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!

    • Chris Hoffman
      August 14, 2012 at 12:01 am

      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.

  33. Nazia
    August 11, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    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.

    • Chris Hoffman
      August 14, 2012 at 12:02 am

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

  34. Adam Wiemers
    August 7, 2012 at 7:50 pm

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

    • Chris Hoffman
      August 8, 2012 at 3:19 am

      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.

  35. Sergio Hernandez
    July 29, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    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 (:

    • Chris Hoffman
      August 1, 2012 at 10:22 am

      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.

  36. Lee
    July 5, 2012 at 1:20 am

    Home + Power button works on my SGS3

    • Chris Hoffman
      July 6, 2012 at 12:40 am

      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?

  37. Tanya
    June 27, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    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 :).

  38. ecd4a4d35dce1b96560e85a8ce64f578
    June 17, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    This is pretty nice, thanks!

  39. Joel Lee
    June 17, 2012 at 3:16 am

    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!

    • Chris Hoffman
      June 17, 2012 at 4:48 pm

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

  40. pushpanshu
    June 16, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    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.

    • Chris Hoffman
      June 17, 2012 at 12:50 am

      The app's page on Google Play at 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.

      • Pushpanshu
        June 17, 2012 at 1:12 am

        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.

  41. Hasitha Chaturanga
    June 15, 2012 at 2:48 am

    Air droid seems cool

    • Chris Hoffman
      June 15, 2012 at 7:33 am

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

      • Jessica Cam Wong
        June 17, 2012 at 10:18 pm

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

  42. Sergio Casas
    June 15, 2012 at 2:24 am

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

    • Chris Hoffman
      June 15, 2012 at 7:33 am

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

  43. puneethkumb
    June 12, 2012 at 5:51 pm

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

    • Chris Hoffman
      June 15, 2012 at 7:34 am

      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.

      • puneethkumb
        June 15, 2012 at 1:50 pm

        Will give it a try Chris. Thanks!

  44. Nathan Kaufman
    June 12, 2012 at 1:18 pm

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

    • Chris Hoffman
      June 15, 2012 at 7:31 am

      It's certainly not an obvious trick -- someone has to tell you about it.

  45. Gerardo
    June 12, 2012 at 8:19 am

    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!)

    • Chris Hoffman
      June 15, 2012 at 7:35 am

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

      • Gerardo
        June 15, 2012 at 7:37 am

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

        • Chris Hoffman
          June 15, 2012 at 8:48 am

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

  46. Abhisek
    June 12, 2012 at 5:37 am

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

    • Chris Hoffman
      June 15, 2012 at 7:35 am

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

  47. HuitZiloP
    June 12, 2012 at 12:53 am

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

    • Chris Hoffman
      June 15, 2012 at 7:31 am

      Thanks for the tip!

    • DeltaTiger
      June 16, 2012 at 8:06 am

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

      • Chris Hoffman
        June 17, 2012 at 12:50 am

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

        • Florisz
          November 1, 2012 at 6:34 am

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

        • Chris Hoffman
          November 7, 2012 at 10:36 am

          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.

        • Floris
          November 7, 2012 at 7:19 pm

          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.

        • Chris Hoffman
          November 10, 2012 at 3:12 pm

          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.

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