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Every way you can take a screenshot on your Android phone or tablet – CNET

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Taking a screenshot on Android can be done a number of ways. 


John Kim/CNET

Taking a screenshot on your Android phone or tablet isn’t as easy as pressing a single button. I wish it were. It can be a frustrating experience, especially when you’re trying to capture a specific scene in motion — like in a video clip or game — or a screen that you worry may quickly disappear. It’s also frustrating if you think you’re taking a screen capture and wind up almost powering down your phone instead.

To complicate the issue, some Android phones have a few different methods that make it quick and painless to capture your screen, unlike newer iPhones, which have only one way to take a screenshot.

We’ll share the standard method that should be available across all Android phones, as well as a breakdown of how to take screenshots on a Samsung or Motorola phone. 

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Android’s tried-and-true method

Nearly every Android phone or tablet allows you to take a screenshot by briefly holding the volume down and power buttons. Just press them at the same time for a brief moment and when you let go you’ll hear a camera shutter sound, your screen will flash, and you’ll see a thumbnail of your screenshot show up along the bottom of your screen. 

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Some Android phones require a quick press, while others you’ll need to hold the volume down and power buttons in for a brief second. 


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Getting the timing down can be tricky at first. Some phones, like the Pixel 4 XL, require you to press both buttons for about a second. Others, like the OnePlus 8 Pro, however, will only take a screenshot if you quickly press the buttons without holding them down at all. If you mistime the button presses, you’ll find yourself staring at your phone waiting for it to do something, and yet nothing happens. Or worse, you may get to the reboot screen, and not know how to get out (just press the home button).

Take a few minutes to try both methods if you’re having a hard time triggering the screenshot functionality on your phone. It will save future you some headaches. 

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Samsung’s Galaxy phones have several options for taking the perfect screenshot. 


Juan Garzon/CNET

Samsung’s long list of screenshot tools

Samsung has three extra options for taking a screenshot on a Galaxy phone like the Galaxy S20 or Galaxy Note 10

Swipe to capture: To turn on the palm swipe gesture, you’ll need to go to Settings > Advanced Features > Motions and gestures and slide the switch next to Palm swipe to capture to the On position. With it turned on, slide the edge of your hand from the left edge of the display to the right side to take a screenshot. It may feel a bit weird at first, but it’s a more reliable method for someone who struggles with getting the timing down of pressing the right button combo. 

Smart Selection tool: Go to Settings > Display > Edge screen and then tap on Edge Panels (turn the feature on if it isn’t already). Lastly, add the Smart Capture Panel. Going forward, you can slide out your Edge panels and select the Smart Capture panel to take a screenshot, record your screen or create a GIF. 

For Galaxy Note phones only: Remove the S-Pen stylus and use the Air Command menu to select Smart Capture and take a screenshot. Not only do you get the extra options that Smart Capture adds, but using the stylus means you can drag the capture window to any part of the screen you want, which can save you from cropping out large portions of it later. 

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Motorola’s screenshot tool is pretty cool, too. 


Juan Garzon/CNET

Motorola’s unique screenshot trick

Own a Motorola phone? It’s full of special gestures for things like opening the camera with a quick turn of the wrist, or, it turns out, for taking a screenshot. 

You’ll need to turn it on by opening the Moto app in your app drawer, then selecting Moto Actions and tapping Three-finger screenshot from the list of options. There’s a quick demo built into the settings section that lets you try it out before turning it on. The process consists of placing three fingers, somewhat spread out, on the screen at the same time until you see a screenshot captured. 

If your Android phone has a favorite screenshot method you want to share, leave a comment below and we’ll add it to this post. 

With taking a screenshot mastered, take a few minutes to learn all of Android 10’s gestures, its privacy controls, and then dive headfirst into our favorite hidden features.


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