How to Take a Screenshot on iOS or Android

Taking a picture of your phone's screen is easy

To take a screenshot on an Android or iPhone means to capture, as an image, what's being displayed on the screen right now. The physical buttons located on each device are what's used to take screenshots, but different models work slightly differently when it comes to how a screenshot is to be taken.

How to Take a Screenshot on an iOS Device

Thanks to its universal design, the instructions for capturing what's currently on your screen are the same for most models of the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, with the iPhone X being the only outlier.

Taking a screenshot on an iPhone X involves the volume up button, which is different than how older iPhone models take screenshots.

  1. Press and hold the power button on the right side of the iPhone.

  2. Quickly hit the volume up button to take a screenshot, and then release the power button.

    iPhone X-style device highlighting Volume up button and side power button
  3. A camera shutter sound and a quick white flash indicate that the screenshot was taken successfully.

Since the volume button and power button are positioned across from each other on an iPhone X, you might have luck using one hand to take the screenshot, but if not, putting your hands together and placing a thumb on both buttons is an easy way to reach both of them.

If your iPhone keeps asking to power down when you follow these steps, it means that the volume button isn't being pressed quickly enough, so the phone thinks you're wanting to power off the device. One way to avoid this is to try hitting both buttons simultaneously without necessarily holding the power button down.

Screenshots on Older iOS Devices Are Slightly Different

For older iPhone models, screenshots are taken with the power button and the home button.

  1. Locate the power button and the home button, and put a finger on each.

    Depending on your specific model, the power button is either on the top or the side of the device.

    One of the easiest ways to position your hands for a screenshot is to put one thumb on the home button and the other thumb (or an index finger) on the power button.

  2. Press both buttons once, at the exact same time, to take a screenshot.

    iPhone 8 and earlier model iPhone showing sleep/wake side button and Home button

    You'll hear a click to indicate that the screenshot has been taken. You should also see a slight discoloration of the screen.

  3. That's it!

It might be easier for some to hold down the power button first for just a second, and then quickly press the home button once before releasing the power button. You can also do the reverse and hold the home button briefly and then hit the power button once.

Screenshots are stored in the same place all photos are kept on iOS devices: The Photos app, at the bottom of the Camera Roll section. If your Photos app has a Screenshots album, you can look there, too. The screenshot is treated like any other image, so you can edit it, send it to another app, delete it, etc.

In iOS 11 and newer, a thumbnail of the screenshot displays on the bottom of the screen right after a screenshot has been taken. You can tap that thumbnail to see a larger version of the picture and to add text, draw on it, etc. If you tap Done from this thumbnail view, you can also delete the screenshot.

How to Take a Screenshot on Android

Making a screenshot on an Android phone or tablet running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and newer is accomplished with the volume down button and the power button. Directions for taking screenshots on older Android devices are much different.

  1. Hold down both the volume down button and the power button for a couple seconds.

    Power button and Volume Down button on a Pixel 2 XL

    On some devices, both of these buttons are on the same side of the device. Taking a screenshot in those circumstances is normally easiest by using your left hand's middle finger to reach around the back for the power button, while the other hand's index finger or thumb can be used to hit the volume down button from the front.

  2. Release the buttons after you see a flash on the screen and hear the camera shutter sound.

For smartphones and tablets running an earlier version of Android, or for devices that don't respond to the steps above, try taking the screenshot by pressing and holding the power button and home button for a couple seconds. You'll find the screenshot in the Screenshots album of the Gallery app.

What to Do When You Can't Take a Screenshot

Taking a successful screenshot on iOS is hardly ever a problem because most iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices use the exact same method described above. However, Android users often have trouble taking screenshots because of the different number of Android versions running out there, and because some manufacturers use alternate methods.

The above steps should work for most Android users, but if not, here are some other things you can try:

  • Use Google Assistant. Just say "OK Google, take a screenshot". The image will be everything but the Google Assistant window. To take a screenshot of Google Assistant as well, you have to use the buttons on the device.
  • Press and hold the power button, wait for the phone to vibrate (keep holding the power button), and then tap the virtual home button on the navigation bar.
  • From the notification panel at the top of the screen, select Shortcuts and then tap the screenshot icon.
  • Swipe down the screen with three fingers. This is valid for OnePlus phones only.
  • Hold down the power button until you see a menu. Choose Take screenshot.
  • Use a screenshot taking app. No Root Screenshot It is one example of a screenshot app that doesn't need root access like some apps require, but it is $4.99. Still, it's an alternative to rooting your phone and offers a couple advanced screenshot features such as annotating, cropping, and sharing the screenshot.
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