How To Take Screenshots Of Your Android Smartphone

Want to support HowtoForge? Become a subscriber!
Submitted by falko (Contact Author) (Forums) on Mon, 2011-08-15 16:30. :: Android | Desktop

How To Take Screenshots Of Your Android Smartphone

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme <ft [at] falkotimme [dot] com>
Follow me on Twitter
Last edited 08/15/2011

Unfortunately it is not possible to directly take screenshots of an Android phone (e.g. by tapping on a button). This tutorial shows you how you can take screenshots of an Android smartphone with the help of a computer where the Android SDK is installed.

I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Preliminary Note

In this tutorial I use an Ubuntu 11.04 desktop where the Android SDK is installed as explained in this tutorial: Setting Up An Android App Build Environment With Eclipse, Android SDK, PhoneGap (Ubuntu 11.04). But it works with all other distributions (e.g. Fedora, Debian) or operating systems (Windows, Mac) where the Android SDK is installed.

Your Android phone must be plugged into your computer using its USB cable, and USB Debugging must be turned on on the phone (under Settings > Applications > Development).


2 Taking Screenshots

To take screenshots, we must start the ddms tool (Dalvik Debug Monitor) from the tools directory inside your Android directory (if you have used my Setting Up An Android App Build Environment With Eclipse, Android SDK, PhoneGap (Ubuntu 11.04) tutorial, this is the android-sdk-linux_x86 directory in your home directory, so the full path would be ~/android-sdk-linux_x86/tools/ddms).

Open a file explorer (Places > Home Folder)...

... and go to the Android directory (android-sdk-linux_x86)...

... and then to the tools subdirectory:

Inside the tools directory, you find the ddms tool. Double-click it:

A dialogue comes up that asks you if you want to run ddms. Click on the Run in Terminal button:

(Another way of starting ddms would simply be to open a terminal - Applications > Accessories > Terminal - and type in the follwing command:



The Dalvik Debug Monitor starts. In the upper left window, you should see your Android phone (mine is named SH0ARPL ... here):

Go to Device > Screen capture...:

The Device Screen Capture window opens with a current screen shot of your Android phone. To change the current screenshot, just navigate to the area from that you want to take a screenshot on your Android phone and click on the Refresh button in the Device Screen Capture window:

To save the screenshot, click on the Save button. The Save Image... dialogue comes up. Specify a file name and a folder for the screenshot on your computer. The screenshot will be saved as a .png file on your computer.

That's it! Now you can go to the folder where you saved the screenshot...

... and take a look at it:


3 Links

Please do not use the comment function to ask for help! If you need help, please use our forum.
Comments will be published after administrator approval.
Submitted by Anonymous (not registered) on Fri, 2013-08-30 19:20.
In Huawei Ascend D1 Quad u9510 you have to push -volume (down) and power button at the same time, and you have screenshot of whatever is actually displayed on the screen.
Submitted by Athena (not registered) on Thu, 2012-12-20 02:30.
I have a Coolpad Quattro.  I have tried everything but cannot do screen shot.  Does anyone have this phone and if so, have you found a way to do screen shot?
Submitted by Anonymous (not registered) on Tue, 2012-04-03 18:40.
You can take screenshots with  Android, at least with my Charge you can. I found out on accident. You press the home key (house) and back arrow key at the same time. Sometimes it take a few trys but it
Submitted by Anonymous (not registered) on Fri, 2012-05-25 12:42.
yeah.. It works for me. I am using samsung galaxy GT-I9003. 
Submitted by Anonymous (not registered) on Thu, 2012-01-19 07:47.
Can Someone help me with Blackberry with the same info...
Submitted by the bill (not registered) on Thu, 2012-01-05 20:47.
On most Androids, just hold the power button, then press the home button. Just dont hold it down too long ;-)
Submitted by Anonymous (not registered) on Wed, 2012-02-01 14:16.
On the Galaxy Ace, its Home + Back button. It takes the screenshot after you release your finger. So don't hold on to it for ever :)
Submitted by Edward Kim (not registered) on Wed, 2011-12-07 06:45.
You can also just get the No Root Screenshot It app from the Android Market. The app lets you take screenshots on your phone without having to have it plugged into a computer. 
Submitted by VP (not registered) on Tue, 2011-10-11 17:22.
Check out my post about taking screen shots for ALL android phones :
Submitted by imobil (not registered) on Sun, 2011-08-28 11:47.
Please find detailed usage of the free screen capture shortcut app at
Submitted by Anonymous (not registered) on Thu, 2011-08-18 16:39.

another way to write this tutorial could be:

1. press the home button and the power button at the same time.

end of story.


Submitted by Andres V. (not registered) on Wed, 2011-09-28 01:15.
Tested on Galaxy Mini: hold back button and press home
Submitted by admin (registered user) on Thu, 2011-08-18 18:19.
Only on the Samsung Galaxy S2. Tested Home + Power on the HTC Desire and the Google Nexus S, and there it does not work.
Submitted by Anonymous (not registered) on Thu, 2011-08-18 19:15.

it also works on LG 2X


Submitted by twrock (not registered) on Thu, 2011-08-18 05:51.
It isn't exactly correct to say "it is not possible to directly take screenshots of an Android phone." It is very possible if you just root your phone. I know many people won't root their phones, but if they would, there are plenty of screen capture apps available. ShootMe (in the Market) makes it as easy as shaking your phone to take a screen shot.
Submitted by Graeme Jackson (not registered) on Wed, 2011-08-17 21:10.

If you don't want to install the SDK and have a rooted phone, just install a VNC server on your phone and voila. I use the free "Droid VNC server" available in the market.

Submitted by Bernie (not registered) on Tue, 2011-08-16 13:13.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that SGS2 can take screen shots without rooting and stuff. Home+Power button? 
Submitted by voku (not registered) on Mon, 2011-08-15 16:39.

sudo apt-get install ffmpeg

/opt/android-sdk-linux_x86/platform-tools/adb pull /dev/graphics/fb0 fb0

ffmpeg -vframes 1 -vcodec rawvideo -f rawvideo -pix_fmt rgb32 -s 320x480 -i fb0 -f image2 -vcodec png image.png