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How to take screenshots on Android

A picture is worth a thousand words, so cut through the chase with a screenshot!
July 5, 2021
Google Pixel 5 in hand with display on
David Imel / Android Authority

There are times when you really need to share what’s on your Android device’s screen. That’s when Android screenshots come in handy. Screenshots are captures of whatever is currently showing on your screen, saved as an image. In this post, we will show you how to take a screenshot on Android devices. We have included multiple methods, and some require little to no effort.

Also read: These are the best phones you can find today

How to take screenshots on Android:

1. The standard way to take an Android screenshot

Google Pixel 5 next to Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a 5G 1
David Imel / Android Authority

Capturing a screenshot usually involves pressing two buttons on your Android device; normally the volume down and power buttons. On older devices, you might need to use the home + power button combo. Alternatively, you can press and hold the power button for a few seconds; select Screenshot from the few options that appear.

The volume down + power button combo to take a screenshot will work on most smartphones. Edgar Cervantes

When the right button combo is pressed, your device’s screen will flash, usually accompanied by a camera shutter sound. Sometimes, a pop-up message or notification alert appears, suggesting that the screenshot has been made.

Finally, any Android device with Google Assistant will let you take screenshots using voice commands alone. Just say, “Okay Google, take a screenshot.”

Google Assistant stock photo 1
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

These basic methods should be all you need for most Android devices. However, there might be some exceptions. Android device manufacturers often include extra and unique ways of taking Android screenshots. For instance, you can take a screenshot on the Galaxy Note series using the S Pen. Other manufacturers have opted to replace the default method entirely and to use their own instead.

2. How to take screenshots on Android: Samsung devices

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra notes app open with pen
David Imel / Android Authority
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

As mentioned, some manufacturers and devices have decided to go rogue and introduce their own methods of taking screenshots on Android. In some cases, these alternatives can be used in addition to the three main methods discussed above. In other cases, they replace the default Android options entirely. You’ll find most examples below.

More: The best Samsung phones available today

Smartphones with Bixby digital assistant

Bixby logo at Samsung Developer Conference 2019
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

If you own a more recent Samsung Galaxy flagship phone, such as the Galaxy S21 or Galaxy Note 20, you have the Bixby digital assistant pre-installed. It can be used to take a screenshot with a voice command. All you have to do is go to the screen where you want to take the screenshot and, if you have it configured correctly, simply say, “Hey Bixby.” When the assistant starts working, say “take a screenshot,” and it will do so. You can see the saved shot in your phone’s Gallery app.

If you don’t have your Samsung phone configured to recognize the “Hey Bixby” trigger words, just press and hold the dedicated Bixby button on the side of the phone, and then say, “take a screenshot” to finish the process.

S Pen

samsung galaxy note 20 review s pen
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

You can use the S Pen to take a screenshot, given that your device comes with one. Just pull out the S Pen, launch Air Command (if it’s not done automatically), and select Screen write. Usually, after the screenshot is captured, the image will be immediately opened for editing. Just remember to save the edited screenshot afterward.

Palm swipe

On some Samsung phones, there is yet another way to take a screenshot. Go to Settings, and then tap on Advanced Features. Scroll down to see a Palm Swipe To Capture option and toggle it on. To take a screenshot, simply place your hand vertically on either the right or left edge of the smartphone screen, and then swipe on the display. The screen should flash, and you will see a notification stating that a screenshot has been taken.

Here: These are the best cheap Samsung phones around

Smart Capture

When Samsung decided how to take screenshots on Android, it really went all out! Smart capture allows you to grab an entire web page rather than just what’s on your screen. Take a regular screenshot using any of the aforementioned techniques, select Scroll capture, and continue tapping on it to scroll down the page. This effectively stitches together multiple images.

Smart Select

How to take a screenshot on Android Samsung device - How to take screenshots on Android

Smart Select allows you to capture only specific parts of what’s on your screen, to take oval-shaped screengrabs, or even to create short GIFs from movies and animations!

Access Smart Select by sliding out the Edge Panel, and then choosing the Smart Select option. Pick the shape and select the area you want to capture. You may first need to enable this feature in the settings by going to Settings > Display > Edge Screen > Edge Panels.

3. How to take screenshots on Android: Xiaomi devices

Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro back standing up
David Imel / Android Authority

Xiaomi devices give you all the usual options for taking screenshots, while also throwing in a few methods of their own.

The notification shade

Like a few other Android skins, MIUI provides quick access to screenshots from the notification shade. Just pull down from the top of the screen and find the screenshot option.

Next: These are the best Xiaomi phones you can buy

Three-finger swipe

From any screen, simply swipe three fingers down the screen on a Xiaomi device, and it will grab a shot of the screen. You can also jump into the settings and assign a range of different shortcuts, if you prefer. These include long-pressing the home button, or using other gestures.

Use the Quick Ball

The quick-ball menu in MIUI.

Quick Ball is similar to what other manufacturers have used to offer a section with shortcuts. You can easily trigger a screenshot using this feature. You must first activate Quick Ball, though. Here’s how to do it.

How to activate Quick Ball:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Select Additional Settings.
  3. Go to Quick Ball.
  4. Toggle on Quick Ball.

You might also like: Best screenshot Chrome extensions

4. How to take screenshots on Android: Huawei devices

Huawei Mate 40 Pro hero shot of the back
Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

Huawei devices provide all the same default options as most Android devices, but also let you take screenshots with your knuckles! First, you have to turn on an option in the settings by going to Motion Control > Smart Screenshot and then toggling the option on. Then simply knock on the screen twice with your knuckles to grab the screen. You can also then crop the shot as you like.

Use the notification bar shortcut

Huawei makes it more intuitive to take a screenshot by giving you a shortcut in the notification area. It looks like scissors cutting paper. Select it to get your screenshot.

Take a screenshot using Air Gestures

Air Gestures allow you to take actions by letting the camera see your hand gestures. These need to be activated by going to Settings > Accessibility features > Shortcuts & gestures > Air gestures, then ensuring Grabshot is enabled. 

Once activated, go ahead and place your hand 8-16 inches from the camera. Wait for a hand icon to appear, then close your hand into a fist to take a screenshot.

Knock on the screen with your knuckle

Certain Huawei phones have a very fun and interactive way to take a screenshot. You can simply knock on your screen twice using your knuckle! This feature needs to be activated first, though. Just go to Settings > Accessibility features > Shortcuts & gestures > Take screenshot and then make sure Knuckle screenshots is enabled.

More: Here are the best Huawei phones

5. How to take screenshots on Android: Motorola devices

Motorola One 5G Ace in hand
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Motorola devices are simple and clean. The company sticks to a near-stock user interface, so you don’t get many options for taking a screenshot. Of course, you can use the good ol’ power + volume down hold trick.

6. How to take screenshots on Android: Sony devices

Sony Xperia 1 II back hero shot 2 - How to take a screenshot on Android
David Imel / Android Authority

On Sony devices, you can find a screenshot option on the power menu. Just long-press the power button, wait for the menu to appear, and select Take screenshot to capture a screenshot of the current screen. This can be a useful method, especially when pressing combos of physical buttons is difficult.

Here: These are the best Sony phones

7. How to take screenshots on Android: HTC devices

How to take a screenshot on Android

Again, HTC will let you take screenshots using all the normal methods. However, if your device supports Edge Sense, then you’ll also be able to use that. Just head into the settings to change what short or long squeezing the device does by going to Settings > Edge Sense > Set short squeeze or Set squeeze & hold action.

Like many other devices, HTC smartphones often add a screenshot button to the notification area. Go ahead and use it to capture what the screen is displaying.

More: A list of the best HTC phones you can buy

8. How to take screenshots on Android: LG devices

LG Wing holding closed
David Imel / Android Authority

While you can use the default methods to take screenshots on LG devices, there are also a few other options.

Next: Here are the best LG phones

Quick Memo

You can also take a screenshot with Quick Memo, which can instantly capture and let you create doodles on your screenshots. Just toggle Quick Memo from the notification shade. Once enabled, the editing page will then appear. You can now write notes and doodles on the current screen. Tap the floppy disk icon to save your work.

Air Motion

LG G8 ThinQ Air Motion How to take screenshots on Android

Another option is to use Air Motion. This works with the LG G8 ThinQ, LG Velvet, LG V60 ThinQ, and other devices. It involves using the built-in ToF (time-of-flight) camera to recognize air gestures. Just wave your hand over the device until you see the icon showing that it has recognized the gesture. Then pinch the air by bringing your fingertips together, and then pulling them apart again.


Not enough options for you? Another way to take screenshots on older devices like the LG G8 is to pull down the notification bar and tap the Capture+ icon. This will let you grab regular screenshots, as well as extended screenshots. You’ll then be able to annotate the screenshots as well.

9. How to take screenshots on Android: OnePlus devices

OnePlus 8 Pro screen in hand taking screenshot

You can hold the power + volume down buttons to take a screenshot on Android from OnePlus, but the company has another trick up its sleeve!

More: The best OnePlus phones in different categories

Using gestures

OnePlus phones can take a screenshot on Android by doing a three-finger swipe.

The feature needs to be activated by going to Settings > Buttons & gestures > Quick gestures > Three-finger screenshot and toggle the feature on.

10. Third-party apps

Google Play Store on smartphone - How to take screenshots on Android
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Not content with how to take screenshots on Android the standard way? Then you can always try installing additional apps that will provide you with more options and functionality. Some good examples include Screenshot Easy, and Super Screenshot. These apps don’t require root and will let you do things like recording your screen and setting a range of different triggers. You could even set up your own screenshot methods using Tasker!

See also: The 5 best screenshot apps for Android

Here are some more tutorials to unlock your Android device’s full potential.