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How to take a screenshot with your Android device

Whether you are wanting to capture a video still, save an important detail in a picture or explain a function within an app or on your Android device, screenshots are super useful and quite often are very easy to perform with the correct button combination and other quick methods. Today we will break down for you the various ways to make a screenshot on different devices, because it ain’t all the same on every Android smartphone.

androidpit screenshots
Believe me, screenshots are a lot easier to do than this. © AndroidPIT

This is how it’s done with most devices

With the arrival of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the process of taking a screenshot became a lot easier and as of that point in time most devices use the same button combination: press on the power button and the volume down button at the same time and hold them both until you hear a sound or are notified that the shot was taken with some sort of animation. Often you’ll briefly see a white frame appear around the edge of your screen and get a quick preview of the captured screenshot.

Then, you can retrieve those pictures in the Gallery in the Screenshots folder. Gaining access to these shots via USB can be done by going in to the /Pictures/Screenshots folder of your internal memory or SD card.

There’s a second possible method but it won’t work on every device: to see if it works for you, hold the power button until the menu to power down appears. If you see an option here that says ‘screenshot’ then this means the method works for you. The menu will automatically disappear once you take the shot.

For older devices, sorry but you are out of luck when it comes to relying on your phone’s own software for this function. You’ll need the help of a custom ROM or root or even an app like No Root Screenshot It which will perform a shot without needing to root your device first.


Samsung has a completely different combination of buttons that serve the purpose of taking a screenshot. When you have the Galaxy S4, the S3, the Note 3 and almost all other Samsung phones, you need to press on the home button and the power button at the same time (as opposed to volume down) and hold until the shot is taken.

Android 4 3 samsung galaxy s4
Samsung decided on a different button combination for their screenshots. / © AndroidPIT

Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Note 8.0 and Note 10.1: taking a shot with an S Pen

Whether you have the Galaxy Note 3 or Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition), there are three methods to get it done. Open up the Air Command menu, pull out the stylus, hover it above the display and press the button on the side of the S Pen to get the following options:

  • Scrapbook: This function can be found in the circular Air Command menu and lets you draw circles around a portion of the screen that you would like to save. You can then use these in your own notes or sort by category. The screenshot is saved in the Scrapbook app.
  • Screenshot note: this function was already available on the Note 2 and isn’t available through the Air Command menu. With the Note function the entire surface of the screen at that specific moment will be captured and you can write over the top of it in different colors if you want to be creative.
  • S Pen Button: With all Galaxy devices equipped with a stylus, when holding down the button on the S Pen and long pressing its tip on the display, this will take a screenshot.

In our S Pen function article that we wrote a while back, you can see what other cool things you can do with the stylus. We've also previouly discussed the Galaxy Note 8.0 and how to S Pen optimizes productivity.

galaxy note 3 test 8
The S Pen has many useful functions, one of which is taking screenshots. © AndroidPIT

Samsung Galaxy S4, S3, Note 3 and Note: Swipe to capture

  • In the settings, choose My Device and then Gestures and Movements.
  • Under Hand Motions you need to activate the options for Palm Swipe to capture.
  • Now you can swipe your hand horizontally over the display and a screenshot will be taken. The direction of your hand doesn’t matter, but it should touch the display. If you have done the gesture properly, you should hear the camera shutter sound and receive a notification that your shot has been saved to the gallery.

Which device do you own and how do you do a screenshot on it?


Write new comment:
  • You may also use Android Transfer to take a screenshot on Android.

  • I have the Samsung Galaxy 2 Tab 7.0 and just tried the power and sound buttons and it works.

  • im using xperia android 4.1,just push and hold power button then pop out the screenshot option.but after 4.2 its seem like sony remove the im do like the old way,volume down and power button.

  • Amy R. Nov 14, 2013 Link to comment

    Forgive me, but I don't see why taking a screen shot would be this involved. Maybe this has more to do with the newer Androids....

    I have the older Note 10.1 and I was able to take screen shots with it fresh out of the box. What, after 4.1.2, you can no longer just tap the screen shot icon on the bottom left hand side of the screen???

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