How to Take a Screenshot on Your Android Phone or Tablet

Save an image of your Android screen for troubleshooting or other purposes

Screenshots are images of whatever displays on the screen at the time you take the screenshot. Screenshots are helpful when you need to show tech support at a remote location what's going on with your phone. You might also use Android screenshots as wish lists for something you see on the internet that you'd like to have or as evidence of phishing or threatening messages.

Instructions in this article apply to Android 4.0 and later, and should apply no matter who made your Android phone: Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc.

Press the Power and Volume Down Buttons Simultaneously

Google introduced the screenshot feature with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. If you have Android 4.0 or later on your phone or tablet, here's how to take a screenshot on Android:

  1. Navigate to the screen you want to record with a screenshot.

  2. Press the Power and Volume Down buttons at the same time. It might take practice to learn the simultaneous pressing.

    Side button and Volume down button on Google Pixel 3 XL
  3. Hold both buttons until you hear an audible click when the screenshot is taken. If you don't hold the buttons down until you hear the click, your phone may turn off the screen or lower the volume.

  4. Look for the screenshot in your Photo Gallery or in a Screenshots folder. 

Use Your Phone's Built-in Shortcuts

Some phones come with a built-in screenshot utility. With some Samsung devices, such as the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy Note, swipe the edge of your palm across the screen from right to left.

Palm Swipe on Samsung Galaxy S9

To find out if your phone has a screenshot tool like this, either check the manual or do a Google search for [name of phone] take a screenshot. There are also device-specific apps you can download to take screenshots and more. For example, the Screen Capture Shortcut Free app works with many Samsung devices. Use this app to take captures after a delay or when you shake the phone. For other devices, search the Google Play Store for the name of your device and screenshot, screen grab, or screen capture.

Install an App for Screenshots

If you don't have Android 4.0 or later on your phone, or if it doesn't have a built-in screenshot feature, install an Android app. Some apps require rooting an Android device, and some don't. Rooting gives a third-party app permission to take a picture of the Android phone screen.

The No Root Screenshot It app is one app that doesn't require the device to be rooted. Use this app to take screenshots with a widget, annotate and draw on screenshots, crop and share them, and more. It costs $4.99 and it runs on all devices.

If your device is rooted, use one of the apps that take a screen grab on a rooted Android device. Screencap Root Screenshots is a free app, and AirDroid (Android 5.0+), which wirelessly manages your Android device, takes screenshots wirelessly through a web browser on a PC.

Use the Android SDK

You can take an Android screen capture on any compatible device by installing the Android SDK from Google on your computer. The Android SDK is a software development kit used by developers to create and test Android apps, but it's freely available to everyone.

To use the Android SDK, you'll need the Java SE Development Kit, Android SDK, and possibly USB drivers for your device (found on the manufacturer's website). Then, plug in the phone, run the Dalvik Debug Monitor, which is included in the SDK, go to the Debug Monitor menu, and click Device > Screen Capture. This is a clunky way to take screenshots, but if nothing else works or you have the Android SDK set up, it's easy to use.

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