3 Android Smartphone Button Tricks to Keep Handy

Akshata Shanbhag 05-01-2016

Most Android smartphones and tablets have several features in common, and the hardware buttons for Power and Volume fall into that category. Let’s see how they can be useful beyond their most obvious functions:


1. To ignore unwanted calls: If you can’t or don’t want to receive a certain incoming call, you don’t need to wait for your phone to stop ringing. Put the ringer on mute right away by pressing the Volume Down button all the way.

2. To print the active screen: Want to take a shot of your phone’s current screen to share with someone? It’s easy to do. Keep that specific screen in the foreground and press the Power + Volume Down buttons simultaneously. You’ll find the screenshot saved under Screenshots in the gallery.

Note that if you press either the Power or Volume Down button too soon, you’ll end up turning off the display or lowering the ringer volume.

3. To unfreeze your phone: When your phone is acting up, restarting it usually brings it back to normal. With a frozen phone, you might have to go one step further and force it to restart. To do so, first hold down the Power + Volume Up buttons together to shut down the phone. Once the screen turns dark, power it back up as usual.

These instructions are applicable to a wide variety of Android devices, but the hardware buttons on your smartphone might function differently depending on its make and model. For example, on a Samsung Galaxy S6, you’ll need to press the Power and Home buttons together to take a screenshot The 5 Best Ways to Take a Screenshot on Any Android Phone We show you how to take a screenshot on Android. Choose between default shortcuts and apps to capture your Android phone. Read More . In case of such variations, refer to your phone’s manual for instructions.

For more, check out how to unlock your Android device without the power button How to Unlock Your Android Phone Screen Without the Power Button Here are several ways to unlock your Android phone with a broken screen or when the power button is not working. Read More .

Image Credit: Woman using smart phone by Balazs Kovacs Images via Shutterstock

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  1. John
    August 2, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    Hi I read the article and it was pretty interesting. I'm one of the so called "privacy freaks", I know for sure that google is evil so I'm one of the few who haven't a smartphone yet, but soon the things have to change, there won't be other options.
    I know that on the first setup of the phone it's possible to skip the part in which it asks for your google account (that I haven't and never will), I'm conscious of the limitations but for me anonymity is the priority. What's hard to accept is that google play services do run anyway in backgrond, so here is the question: would it be possible to block the internet connection of this background services through a firewall on a NOT ROOTED phone?
    I apologize for my bad English.

  2. nope
    April 6, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    Ok so many sites are praising Duckduckgo as a way to get away from googles' prying eyes. I downloaded it and guess what? Not only did it fill my pc with malicious malware (that I couldnt remove), but i noticed the google gadget in the corner. Soooo... it isnt independant at all.. it is something to do with google. I was SO angry when this happened.
    I am guessing that you and the others who recommend duckduckgo are either naive, or in on it for some kind of deal

  3. Amber
    January 17, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    Another that works, to mute unwanted calls- pressing the power button. Or my favorite on my new phone when I'm at home is put my phone down with the screen facing down, which can be disabled/enabled in the settings.

    As for the screenshots. Many Androids use the power+volume down keys for screenshots. As I found when I got my S6, this was not the case and often found it a hassle (especially in the cold) to swipe my hand across the screen as I would have to do so 2-3 times before finally getting it and often the screen moved from what I wanted in the process, and so not getting what I wanted.
    Later found that Samsung was different and uses power+home keys for it, which I found it online as the phone doesn't explain how when you disable the swipe screenshot action, and the manual wouldn't tell me how to do it manually. These keys work great during the winter months when the screenshots don't work when swiping across the screen wearing gloves.

    • Akshata Shanbhag
      January 20, 2016 at 4:13 am

      I guess these tips apply to several models of Samsung devices. Thanks for pointing them out, Amber :)

  4. Kovit Sow
    January 7, 2016 at 11:54 am

    My S6 edge can take a screenshot by sliding your side hand from one side to the other. My question is can s6 edge screenshot be taken by pressing power+home button? If can how can I change its setting?

    • Akshata Shanbhag
      January 7, 2016 at 3:07 pm

      Pressing the Power+Home button combination is also a default feature on S6 afaik. You don't have to tweak anything. Just hold down those buttons simultaneously for a couple of seconds.

  5. Shannon
    January 6, 2016 at 6:37 am

    Actually a friend of mine showed me a much easier way to take a screen shot just use the side of your hand and slide across the screen horizontally and ur pic will be in your gallery...this works on the galaxy notebook i know that and I'm on the S5 so it works on that too and it's really east to do

    • Akshata Shanbhag
      January 6, 2016 at 6:43 am

      I remember having an option to set up something similar on Cyanogenmod on my Samsung tab. Thanks for sharing that tip, Shannon.

    • Squalle
      January 6, 2016 at 8:16 pm

      Note 4 does this as well, but I usually have to do it with the Power + Vol Dn buttons because moving your hand across the screen usually swipes, and then takes a screenshot of the wrong screen. lol

    • Liza G
      August 9, 2016 at 12:44 pm

      that is awesome....i never heard that....thx for sharing the tip!

  6. N8
    January 6, 2016 at 1:21 am

    My S5 will take a Screenshot by holding home and power as well

    • klothklicker
      January 6, 2016 at 1:53 am

      My S4 and its predecessor the S2 also take screen shots with the Power and Home buttons.

    • Monalisa
      January 6, 2016 at 5:41 am

      No disrespect to this article.But everyone that owns a phone old cells or smartphones knows in general you turn down volume to mute phone and or as you say to not accept unwanted calls.Its a basic feature Not a trick...Just saying

      • Akshata Shanbhag
        January 6, 2016 at 6:35 am

        No offense taken, Monalisa. You're right. I choose to see it this way - if you're aware of it, it's a feature. If you aren't, it's a trick :P

  7. Katrina Williams
    January 5, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    On a Samsung Note 3 to screenshot you must press the power and home key simultaneously.

  8. Anonymous
    January 5, 2016 at 8:36 am

    On my OnePlus One you can add a "screenshot" option in the shutdown menu.
    Don't know if this is a standard Lollipop feature or if it's something from CyanogenOS (or CyanogenMod)

    • Anonymous
      January 5, 2016 at 3:56 pm

      It's a CyanogenOS thing