How to Take Screenshots on Android

Depending your device, it's a different combination of buttons

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Kārlis Dambrāns/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

I frequently take screenshots on my Android devices. Sometimes it's a high word score on Words With Friends or a freeze frame from a favorite game, like the time my Hippie Van got stuck on a rainbow in the Rainbow level of Hill Climb Racing (if you've played the game, you may know what I mean.) Or sometimes, there's just something funny I want to share with friends via text or social media. I don't use SnapChat (yet), but that's another case in which you might want to take a screenshot before the content disappears.

On the other hand, I often take screenshots to use here on this site to show readers how to complete a number of Android-related tasks, such as how to update your OS or how to move contacts and other data to your new device.

Being an Android user, you know already that not all Android devices are the same, and it's not always obvious which combination of buttons is required in order to capture take a screenshot. For example, having used Samsung Galaxy devices for a long time, when I switched over to the Moto X Pure Edition, I was at a loss. Here's how to take a screenshot on any Android device.

Take a look at your smartphone or tablet. Does it have a hardware Home button like the Samsung Galaxy and Google Pixel devices? The Home button will be located on the bottom bezel of the device and may double as a fingerprint reader. In that case, press the Home button and the Power/Lock button at the same time for a few seconds.

The Power/Lock button is usually on the top or the upper right side of the device. 

If your device, like the Motorola X Pure Edition, Droid Turbo 2, and Droid Maxx 2, does not have a hardware Home button (replaced by a soft key), you press the Power/Lock button and the volume down button at the same time.

This, I find a bit clumsy, since these buttons are all on the right side of the smartphone; it may take a few tries to get it right. You may end up adjusting the volume or locking the device instead. This is the same process you use to capture screenshots on Google Nexus smartphones and tablets.

Samsung Galaxy devices offer an alternative method to taking screenshots using their "motions and gestures" feature. First, go into settings and select "motions and gestures" and then enable "palm swipe to capture." Then, when you want to take a screenshot, you can simply swipe the side of your palm from left to right or from right to left. You just have to be careful not to accidentally interact with the screen, which is rather easy to do. For example, when I tried to capture a Google Maps screen, I ended accidentally, pulling down my notifications, and capturing that instead. Practice makes perfect. 

Where to Find Your Screenshots

Regardless of the device,once you've captured a screenshot, you can find the most recently taken screenshot in your notification bar. After you've cleared your notifications, you'll most likely find it in your Gallery app or in Google Photos in a folder aptly called Screenshots.

From there, you can share the image as you can a photo you've taken with your camera, or do simple edits such as cropping or adding special effects.

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