A screenshot is a moment in time. It preserves whatever you’re seeing on the screen of your Android phone. It might be a delightful string of text messages you exchanged with your best friend. It might be proof of that rare Pokemon you finally tracked down in the wild, or a record of the witty comments made on a Facebook post.
Screenshots are all about saving what's on your screen for posterity. You can capture a frame of a video, save a tidbit of information for later, or even screenshot a tweet that might later be deleted.
There is a lot of variety in the Android world between different device manufacturers and different versions of the operating system, so you may have to explore a little bit to find which screenshot method works best for your phone.
Uses for screenshots
Screenshots can come in handy in so many ways. You’ve probably already seen how people share fun text messaging conversations on Twitter and Facebook using screenshots of their messaging apps. You might use a screenshot to grab a perfect video moment where your kid scores a goal in a soccer game. You can then send it along in an email to the grandparents. Screenshots are also a smart way to document an error message or a software glitch so tech support can help you diagnose the problem.
The magic two-button combination
If you’re new to screenshots, here’s where to start. Despite the many differences in Android phone designs and operating systems, most can be commanded to take a screenshot by using two buttons simultaneously. Press and hold the power and volume-down buttons to snag a screen image.
You may have to work on your timing a little bit, but hold those buttons down correctly and you will hear a shutter click and see the screenshot briefly.
You should then get a notification saying you captured a screenshot. Opening the notification gives you the option to view the screen grab, share it, or delete it. From the notification window, you can choose "tap to view" and open the image in Photos. This gives you access to all the usual Photos editing and sharing options, just like with any other image.
The two-button method should work for most Android phones, but there are some other options available depending on your exact smartphone and which operating system you’re running. For example, Samsung Galaxy S7 owners can snap a screenshot by holding down the power and home buttons.
Tell Google Assistant
If you have Google Assistant set up on your phone, you can use your voice to take a screenshot. Just say "OK Google, take a screenshot."
For Android Pie
Android’s latest operating system hasn’t rolled out to a ton of phones yet, but if you’re one of the lucky ones, you can try out Pie’s new way of taking a screenshot. Just hold down the power button and tap on Screenshot. This applies to Google’s Pixel and Nexus phones running Pie. The nicest part of this method is that you don’t have to deal with timing the power and volume buttons just right to get your screenshot.
Owners of Motorola phones can get around the two-button finger dance by enabling a Moto screenshot gesture. Open the Moto app, choose Moto Actions, and turn on "Three finger screenshot." To capture a screenshot, just touch and hold three fingertips on the screen. Just make sure there's a little space between your fingers. The Moto app will run you through a short tutorial to learn how it works.
Samsung’s palm swipe
Samsung’s recent Galaxy phones offer a cool alternative way to take screenshots. Open Settings, choose Advanced Features, and make sure "Palm swipe to capture" is turned on. Swipe the blade of your hand across the screen from side to side to capture a screenshot. The phone will save your screenshots in the Gallery.
Access your saved screenshots
You will find your screenshots saved in your Google Photos app. Just open the app and search for "Screenshots" or look for the folder titled "Screenshots." You may find this listed under the "Photos on device" section when you tap on Albums. From here, you can edit, share, or delete your screenshots just like with any other image.
The two-button screenshot using the volume-down and power buttons will be the most reliable method for most Android users to capture screenshots, but it can be fun to play around with Samsung’s palm swipe or with using Google Assistant to help out.
Whichever method you end up with, you will have screenshots at your fingertips for preserving and sharing important and fun moments from your phone.
Find your lost Android device
Don't let a lost phone slow your roll. Google's Android finding feature can help you track down a lost of misplaced phone, whether you forgot it at a restaurant or left it on the couch. You just need to take a few steps to make sure you can use the service before you might need it.