There are a lot of different ways to take screenshots on your Android device. Some are manufacturer-specific, some are operating system-wide, and some rely on dedicated apps from the Google Play Store.
It can be difficult to make sense of the options and determine which is the best approach for your specific device. Let’s look at the most common methods for taking Android screenshots and introduce you to two of the best third-party apps for the job.
1. Use the Android Screenshot Shortcut
These days, taking screenshots using nothing more than your device is a breeze. Press and hold the Power + Volume Down buttons at the same time, and you’ll see a brief onscreen animation followed by a confirmation in the notification bar that the action was successful.
There’s a knack to getting the timing right. Press the power button too soon, and you’ll lock your device’s screen. But press the volume button too soon, and you’ll end up changing the volume. Android Pie added a shortcut to take a screenshot on the power menu if you find that more convenient.
2. Use Manufacturer Shortcuts
Not all phones use the standard Android method. For example, older Samsung devices require you to press the Power + Home buttons to take a screenshot instead, though newer models have changed to the Power + Volume Down method.
Thereafter, the process is the same. You’ll be given an on-screen confirmation and the image becomes viewable in your gallery app. Some phones use the standard method but also have additional options.
For example, on some Sony devices, you can press the Power button to access the Options menu. From there, you can take screenshots and record your Android device’s screen. Phones from Motorola and Google use the standard method.
3. Use Gestures
Many Android devices now let you use gestures to take screenshots, thus removing the need to press buttons. For example, on Samsung phones, you can go to Settings > Advanced Features > Motions and Gestures and enable Palm Swipe to Capture. Now, you just need to swipe your hand over the screen at a 90-degree angle to trigger a screenshot.
Motorola offers something similar; when activated, tap the screen with three fingers to take a screenshot. Check the user manual to see whether there is an equivalent option on your model.
4. Use Quick Settings
Some manufacturers have added a screenshot button to Android’s Quick Settings menu. To access the menu, swipe down from the top of the screen. You might see an option labeled Screen Capture, Screenshot, or something similar.
If you don’t see the option, it might be hidden. Tap on the pencil icon in the lower left-hand corner of the Quick Settings menu to alter which shortcut buttons are displayed on the menu.
5. Ask Google Assistant to Take a Screenshot
You can take a screenshot on your Android device hands-free by simply asking Google Assistant to take a screenshot for you. Just say “Hey Google” to trigger the assistant to wake up, and then say “take a screenshot” to snap. This is really helpful, for example, when you’re cooking or eating while watching YouTube.
If you’re trying to take a screenshot on a Samsung phone, you might prefer using Bixby over Google Assistant. Some users complain that Google Assistant fails to save the screenshot in the gallery on Samsung phones but instead only allows sharing it instantly; such is not a problem with Bixby.
6. Use Third-Party Apps
Let’s take a look at a couple of the best third-party screenshot apps. Their basic functionality is the same as the stock method, but they offer some cool additional features that aren’t available natively.
The first screenshot app to check out is Screenshot Easy. This app has some great usability functions. For example, it lets you take shots using a screen overlay button, a button in the notification bar, by shaking your device, or by using a widget.
There are also some great post-shot options. You can crop your screenshots, convert them to a ZIP file, edit the colors, and include time and date stamps. You can save images in either PNG or JPG format. Lastly, Screenshot Easy has screen recording capabilities, including support for scrolling screenshots.
Download: Screenshot Easy (Free)
Super Screenshot is free to use, making it a great choice for those who want a clean and easy-to-use screenshot app. Perhaps its best feature is its ability to crop your screenshots before it commits them to memory.
It also lets you resize your snaps, scribble on them, add text notes, and set various filters. To achieve the same results using the stock Android method, you’d need to download a photo editing app. You can save photos directly to your phone’s SD card to save space, where appropriate.
Download: Super Screenshot (Free)
You might also be interested in apps to take scrolling screenshots and OCR-based screenshot apps that help you find your screenshots quickly. You can even connect your Android phone to Windows for screenshots.
7. On Pre-Android 4.0 Devices
Before the introduction of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich in October 2011, there was no way to take a screenshot using the operating system. Thankfully, not many people are using ancient versions of Android on their phones.
But if you’re forced to use Gingerbread or Honeycomb—perhaps because your main device is out of action and you’re using an old spare—you need to know how to take screenshots too. The best method for non-rooted devices is to use the Android SDK. Yes, it’s cumbersome to set up, but it’s the most dependable approach.
You can download the SDK from the official Android website, although installing and setting it up is beyond the scope of this article.
7 Ways to Screenshot on Android
To summarize, as long as you’re using Android 4.0 or later (and you probably are), your phone can take screenshots natively. If you’re looking for additional options, you should turn to a third-party app.
For many, however, the quickest and most efficient way to take a screenshot on Android is to use whatever fancy tricks your device’s manufacturer has included in the device.