Android Screenshot Not Working? Try These Fixes

Taking a screenshot on Android should be easy

It's frustrating when you need to take a screenshot quickly, and your phone refuses to cooperate. The Android screenshot function can stop working in several equally frustrating ways. Such issues can occur at random times, or during specific situations, such as when you use work apps on your personal phone.

What Android Screenshot Issues Look Like

When the Android screenshot function doesn't work on your phone or tablet, one of several things might happen:

  • You see error messages, such as, "Can't take screenshot due to security policy," or, "Can't take screenshot due to limited storage space."
  • You use a physical method to take a screenshot (either swiping or pressing a combination of keys), but the image isn't captured.
  • You use Google Assistant to take a screenshot, but the image isn't captured.
A person is looking frustrated while using a smartphone.
Jamie Grill / Getty Images

Cause of Screenshot Not Working Issues

If your phone was issued by work or school, it may have certain restrictions, such as not allowing screenshots. Even if you only use some work or school accounts, those specific functions may disallow screenshots.

Another cause is Chrome Incognito Mode, which also doesn't allow screenshots. The problem could also be due to a mechanical issue, such as a broken button, or low storage availability.

How to Enable Android Screenshots

Because multiple causes may stand in the way of you taking screenshots on Android, it isn't always the simplest thing to fix. The solutions tend to be straightforward. After you figure out the cause, you'll be taking screenshots in no time. These tips might help when your screenshot is not working.

  1. If your device was issued by your school, work, or anyone else, check with them first to see if the problem is a known issue. If it is, they might be able to resolve it for you.

    Be prepared for a possible "no" when you ask your school or work IT to fix a security issue. It might be set that way for a reason.

  2. Uninstall a recently installed app. If you recently installed an app that might be a problem, like something work-related or designed to control or restrict your phone, uninstall it and then see if you're able to take screenshots.

  3. If you use Chrome Incognito Mode, you'll need to disable it before you can take a screenshot. To do so:

    1. In the upper-right corner of Chrome, tap the Tabs icon, which is a number representing the number of open tabs.
    2. Tap the X in the upper-right corner of each Incognito tab to close the tab.
    3. Open a new tab in regular mode, and then take a screenshot. 
  4. Try an alternate method for capturing a screenshot. The primary methods are pressing a combination of keys on the device, using the swipe function, or using Google Assistant.

    To use Google Assistant (GA) to capture a screenshot, display the image you want to capture on the screen. Then say, OK, Google, take a screenshot. GA responds with, OK, touch to continue. It shows a smaller version of the screen image, and options for sending it (for example, text, email, social media, or photo storage) appear. Choose the method you want to use for sending the image. 

  5. Check the device's storage. To address messages like, "Couldn't save screenshot. Storage may be in use," or, "Can't take screenshot due to limited storage space," reboot the device. If that doesn't help, try a disk cleanup app or move your files to either cloud storage or an SD card.

  6. This step erases your data. Back up the contacts, images, videos, files, and other items you want to keep.

    The process for a factory reset varies depending on the device. If the following steps don't work, search within the Settings app for factory reset.

  7. Consult a professional. Hopefully, one of these tips has helped you get your screenshot feature working again. If not, it might be time to take your device to a professional.