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How To: Take Screenshots on Android, iOS and Windows Phone Devices

Updated on January 19, 2014
How To Take A Screenshot on Your Smartphone or Tablet
How To Take A Screenshot on Your Smartphone or Tablet | Source

You might need to take a screenshot on your smartphone or tablet for a tutorial, to provide customer support or you just want to share a funny conversation or a really high game score with a friend. One way or the other, the ability to capture the screen is extremely useful.

Most smartphones and tablets have the screenshot capability built-in and it usually involves pressing two buttons at the same time. However, mobile operating systems don't have a "universal" method for this action.

Taking Screenshots On Android Devices
Taking Screenshots On Android Devices | Source

Android

Lately, Android improved the screenshot feature so for newer Android versions the task is easy. For older versions things get a bit complicated, but I'll try to sort them out below.

Power and Volume Down Buttons on HTC One
Power and Volume Down Buttons on HTC One

Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and above

Starting with Android ICS, screen capturing, editing and sharing options are built into the operating system.

  1. Go to the screen you want to capture.
  2. Depending on your device you have to press the Power and Volume Down or Power and Home buttons at the same time. For example HTC One and Nexus 4 use the first combination, while devices such as Samsung Galaxy Note, S2 and S3 (and other Samsung phones) use the second method. Either way, as long as your phone is running ICS or above one of these combinations will work.
  3. You will hear a shutter sound and the screen will shrink into a frame as you take the screenshot.
  4. Now you can access the screenshot from the notification bar. From there you can open it in the Gallery and edit or share it. You can find all of your screenshots in the Gallery, in the Screenshots folder.

"Take screenshot" option
"Take screenshot" option

Alternative methods

Some devices such as Sony Xperia Z only make things easier, by having the "Take screenshot" option in the menu screen that appears when you long-press the Power button.

The Galaxy Tab 10.1 has a screenshot touch button that appears on the screen at all times, in the taskbar at the bottom. The screenshot automatically opens in the Gallery after you captured it.

Android Honeycomb (3.0), Gingerbread (2.3), Froyo (2.2) and older versions

If you have a device running under Android 3.0 or lower, or your device lacks native support for screenshots you have two options.

  1. If you've routed or planning to root your Android device (here is a good tutorial for rooting Android devices), it will give you the ability to add screenshot functionality, so you can install an app like Screenshot UX that provides several ways to capture the screen.
  2. If you don't want to go through the hassle of rooting your device, you can get the No Root Screenshot It app for a modest fee. It will add screenshot functionality to your phone. However, the app requires installing a desktop client on your Windows or Mac computer. You can only take screenshots while your device is connected to the computer and the desktop application is running.

Taking Screenshots on iOS Devices
Taking Screenshots on iOS Devices
iPhone Power and Home Buttons
iPhone Power and Home Buttons

iOS

While Android has a complicated history with the screen capture function, iOS is pretty straightforward on the matter. The screenshot capability is built into the operating system, starting with iOS 2.0.

Method 1

  1. Go to the screen you want to capture.
  2. Press the Home and Power/Sleep buttons at the same time.
  3. The screen will flash white and make a camera shutter sound.
  4. You can find your screenshot in the Photos App - Camera Roll.

iOS Assistive Touch Panel - Device - More - Screenshot Option
iOS Assistive Touch Panel - Device - More - Screenshot Option

Method 2 (without using the Home and Power buttons)

Whether you're having a hard time pressing the Home and Power buttons at the same time or you simply want to take a screenshot with just one tap, starting with iOS 6, the Assistive Touch feature allows you to do that. It's also useful if you have a broken Home button.

  1. First you need to enable Assistive Touch. For that, go to Settings - General - Accessibility - Physical & Motor.
  2. This opens up a menu where you will find the Assistive Touch menu.From there you need to turn on the feature.
  3. A floating panel with 4 options will appear on your screen. The options are Home, Favorites, Siri and Device (see the image above).
  4. Tap on Device - More and you'll enter the submenu where the Screenshot option is available. Tap it to grab a screenshot.
  5. Just like for the first method, your screenshot is stored in the Photos app.

Taking Screenshots on Windows Phone Devices
Taking Screenshots on Windows Phone Devices
Power and Home Buttons on Nokia Lumia 1520. Some phones (such as HTC models) have the Power button at the top).
Power and Home Buttons on Nokia Lumia 1520. Some phones (such as HTC models) have the Power button at the top).

Windows Phone

Windows Phone was a bit slow at implementing the screenshot function. While in Windows Phone 8, users can finally take a screenshot the easy way, Windows Phone 7 didn't had this feature and a few extra steps are needed.

Windows Phone 8

The latest WP version has the screenshot option built-in.

  1. Go to the screen you want to capture.
  2. Press the Start (Windows) and Power buttons at the same time. You will hear a camera shutter sound as the screen is captured.
  3. The screenshot is located in the Photos Hub. From there you can save it on your SD Card (if you have one), upload it to SkyDrive and share it.


Screen Capturer v3
Screen Capturer v3 | Source

Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango)

Out of several ways to take a screenshot in WP 7, the easiest one i could find involves using the Screen Capturer v3 app.

  1. Download and install the XAP file, from the above mentioned link.
  2. Start the app and choose the "Start Capture Task" option.
  3. Navigate to the screen you want to capture and press the camera button to capture the screenshot.
  4. The Capture Task is on a timer (you can change the duration in its settings), and you can capture multiple screenshots using the camera button, until the task ends. When the task ends a Toaster icon appears. Tap it to save your images and return to the application.
  5. The screenshots are located in the Picture Hub.

Note: HTC HD2 with Windows Phone 7 doesn't have a camera button so in that case you need to use the Screen Capturer v2 app. It works just like v3, but it will use a timer to capture the screen instead of the camera button.

I hope you found this tutorial useful. Please let me know if there's anything important information to be added or changed. I'd like to improve this article, if needed.


Rate How To: Take Screenshots on Android, iOS and Windows Phone Devices

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© 2014 Alexandra Vasiliu

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    • magictrickshq profile image

      Michael 3 years ago from Switzerland

      I remember when someone first showed me how to do this on my iPhone! blew my mind. it is such a great and useful feature that I never realised I was missing until I learnt how to do screen shots!

      thanks for sharing your tips

    • Moviles-Baratos profile image

      Moviles-Baratos 3 years ago from Barcelona

      thanks for sharing keep it going

    • filecluster profile image
      Author

      Alexandra Vasiliu 3 years ago from Timisoara, Romania

      Thanks! I'm glad you find it useful :)

    • WestelCS profile image

      Tim Anthony 3 years ago

      There are plenty of handy and useful tricks in smartphones nowadays. Many allow scanning mode while others allow inbuilt great image editing tools and apps. Screenshot allows us to save some information like text if we are busy and don't have time to note it down. Thank you for sharing.

    • MichelleNatalie profile image

      Michelle Natalie 3 years ago from California

      I've always wondered how to do this because I sometimes forget which buttons I'm supposed to press, lol. This was very helpful FileCluster. Thank you for posting.

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