Screenshots with Android are a rather basic affair, offering up a quick snapshot of whatever happens to be on your display at the time. However, it appears that Google has been experiment with a new feature to take ‘Partial Screenshots’ and may bring the option to a future version of Android.
XDA member MrWasdennnoch spotted a commit for the partial screenshot feature newly tucked away inside the Android 7.1 Nougat source code. However, the feature isn’t yet active on any devices, but can be switched on with a rather small edit, simply modifying line 53 of TakeScreenshotService to takeScreenshotPartial().
The name of the feature basically explains the functionality in full. Rather than simply capturing a full picture of what’s currently on the display, the partial screenshot allows the user to select an area of the display to capture. This avoids the need for cropping screenshots afterwards if you just want to focus on a particular onscreen object or bit of text. While cropped screenshots aren’t entirely new to the world of Android, third party screenshot apps can do this and more, this feature is now baked into the main Android code.
There’s no mention of if or when this feature will be activated by Google, but a future version of Android could well include enhanced screenshot capabilities. If you want to see the feature in action, Maxr1998 has kindly put together the video below showing off the feature baked into a custom ROM for the trusty old Nexus 4: