Hey Google, How Do I Take a Screenshot on an Android Device?

Taking a screenshot on your Android device sounds like a simple task. You just hit a few buttons and the screen is saved to your phone. However, Android devices are not as uniform as the iPhone, so methods differ depending on the device manufacturer and OS version you’re running.

Phones from Samsung, Google, Motorola, and OnePlus all have built-in screenshot capabilities. And if you’re running the most recent version of the Android operating system, you get even more features. Here’s how to take a screenshot on your Android phone.

How to Take a Screenshot on Any Android Phone

Google Pixel 4a 5G

Google Pixel 4a 5G (Credit: Steven Winkelman)

Most recent Android devices have standardized the screenshot action to pressing the Power and Volume Down buttons simultaneously. Others may have you press down on the Power button, then select Screenshot from the menu. Older phones with a physical Home button on the front may require you to press the Power and Home buttons together.

On a Pixel phone, swipe up or tap to view your recently opened apps, then tap Screenshot to capture the current app. You can also use Google Assistant to take a screenshot. Say something like “OK Google, take a screenshot” and the action is completed.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra with S Pen

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra with S Pen (Credit: Molly Flores)

For Samsung Galaxy devices using the S Pen stylus, you can hold down the button on the S Pen and scribble across the screen to take a screengrab. Another way is to remove the pen from the phone and tap Smart Select from the menu. You can then choose between a square, free, or circle capture area, then draw to capture the screen.

google pixel scrolling screenshot

Scrolling screenshot on Google Pixel 6 Pro (Credit: Google)

By default, a screenshot will capture whatever is currently on the screen. If you want to capture an entire page, including outside what is currently visible on your screen, you will need to take a scrolling screenshot. Standardized in Android 12, all you need to do is take a screenshot, then wait for the screenshot toolbar to appear.

For devices running standard Android 12, like Google Pixel phones, tap the Capture more button and drag the screenshot window until it captures the entire page. When ready, tap Save to finalize the screenshot. If you’re using a OnePlus phone, the screen will scroll automatically until you tell it to stop.

scrolling screenshot

Scrolling screenshot on Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (Credit: PCMag / Samsung)

Things are slightly different for Samsung Galaxy devices. Take your screenshot and wait for the toolbar to appear. Tap the double down arrow icon to expand the screenshot by one screen. You can continue pressing the same button to add as many screens as needed.

How to Take a Screenshot With Gestures

Your Android phone will also allow you to take a screenshot with certain gestures. However, the specific hand movement required will differ by manufacturer.

The Pixel 4a 5G and later phones have access to Quick Tap, a feature similar to Apple’s Back Tap. Go to Settings > System > Gestures > Quick Tap, then enable Quick Tap and set the associated action to Screenshot. You can then take a screenshot by double-tapping on the back of your phone.

For Samsung Galaxy users, navigate to the screen you want to capture, then position your hand like you plan to karate chop the phone. Swipe the entire side of your hand along the screen from left to right. Set this up (or turn it off) in Settings > Advanced Features > Motion and gestures > Palm swipe to capture.

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You can capture the screen on your Motorola or OnePlus phone by swiping down with three fingers. Motorola owners can set it up from the hamburger menu in the Moto app. Tap Moto Actions and enable Three finger screenshot. OnePlus users can open Settings > Buttons & gestures > Quick gestures and enable Three-finger screenshot.

android accessibility menu

Android Accessibility Menu on Samsung Galaxy S20 FE running Android 12 (Credit: PCMag / Samsung)

If you want an easy-to-use button overlay, turn on the Accessibility Menu on your Android device. This will introduce a floating button or dedicated menu that will give you the option to take a screenshot, navigate your screen, control the volume, power off the device, and more.

With the stock Android operating system, you can activate this feature from Settings > Accessibility > Accessibility Menu, then enable the shortcut and grant the necessary permissions. Samsung owners should look under Settings > Accessibility > Interaction and dexterity.

OnePlus users will find the Accessibility features under Settings > System > Accessibility > Accessibility Menu, while Motorola users can look to Settings > Accessibility > Accessibility Menu.

How to Use the Android Screen Recorder

android screen recorder

Screen Recorder on Samsung Galaxy S20 FE running Android 11 (Credit: PCMag / Samsung)

If you’re having trouble getting a shot of a specific screen, you may have better luck using the built-in screen recorder feature. Anyone running Android 11 or higher can open the quick settings menu of the phone and tap Screen recorder, then Start recording to record your screen. Once the video is captured, just take a screenshot of the video.

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