How To Take Screenshots Of Your Android Smartphone

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme
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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:


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18 Comment(s)

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From: Bernie at: 2011-08-16 12:13:33

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that SGS2 can take screen shots without rooting and stuff. Home+Power button? 

From: voku at: 2011-08-15 15:39:18

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


From: twrock at: 2011-08-18 04:51:04

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.

From: Graeme Jackson at: 2011-08-17 20:10:16

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.

From: Anonymous at: 2011-08-18 18:15:10

it also works on LG 2X


From: admin at: 2011-08-18 17:19:29

Only on the Samsung Galaxy S2. Tested Home + Power on the HTC Desire and the Google Nexus S, and there it does not work.

From: Anonymous at: 2011-08-18 15:39:35

another way to write this tutorial could be:

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

end of story.


From: Andres V. at: 2011-09-28 00:15:55

Tested on Galaxy Mini: hold back button and press home

From: imobil at: 2011-08-28 10:47:28

Please find detailed usage of the free screen capture shortcut app at

From: VP at: 2011-10-11 16:22:11

Check out my post about taking screen shots for ALL android phones :

From: Edward Kim at: 2011-12-07 05:45:43

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. 

From: the bill at: 2012-01-05 19:47:29

On most Androids, just hold the power button, then press the home button. Just dont hold it down too long ;-)

From: Anonymous at: 2012-02-01 13:16:57

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 :)

From: Anonymous at: 2012-01-19 06:47:53

Can Someone help me with Blackberry with the same info...

From: Anonymous at: 2012-04-03 17:40:11

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

From: Anonymous at: 2012-05-25 11:42:17

yeah.. It works for me. I am using samsung galaxy GT-I9003. 

From: Athena at: 2012-12-20 01:30:39

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?

From: Anonymous at: 2013-08-30 18:20:20

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.