How To Take Screenshots on Android

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How To Take Screenshots on Android

When reviewing Android apps, ROMs and new features, taking screenshots (AKA print screens, screen dump) can be really helpful to help visually display what you're discussing. Currently, achieving this involves one of two main methods available, connecting to PC and taking screenshots via ADB or using a installed app on the device.

The official method: ADB (Android Debug Bridge)

This is the more complex way, however it does not involve having a rooted phone.

  1. Make sure you have USB debugging enabled on the device: Settings > Applications > Development.
  2. Connect the device to the computer via USB.
  3. Download ADB and run the file named ddms (Dalvik Debug Monitor Service).
  4. In ddms you should see your device as being connected, under the 'device menu' click screen capture (Ctrl+S).
  5. You should be given a Device Screen Capture Window where you can rotate, save and copy the image (saved images are in a .png format).
  6. Press Done when you have finished.

The unofficial method: Apps (rooted users only)
Currently you need a rooted phoen to use a screenshot takign app: Android does not allow user access to the phones inner workings, hence why 'root' access is reuqired. However this method is much easier and as well as screenshots, videos can be recorded too (dependant on app and phone hardware), a feature unavailable on the official method.

The 3 most popular Screenshot Apps

  1. 'screenshot' - Kastorsoft - Free: a fairly simple app, there are a few options such as image quality. A major benefit of this app is that it's so light weight.
  2. 'Screenshot It' - Edward Kim - Free trial version available or £2.47: This app has more options than the previous, giving you more flexibility. For example in the app you can crop, set a timer, and even share your screenshots, all from within the app.One point of interest is that it claims that it works with 'some' non rooted phones, you will have to test this for your self as no information is given about this feature.
  3. ShootMe (Screen Grabber) - Johan Cloetens - Free: This is the most advanced app of the 3 (hence why it is the largest). The app allows for higher end devices to also record films of the screen, possibly even more useful than a single screenshot. One particularly useful feature of the app if how you can change how the screenshots are taken, shake, shout (mic) and light (dimming on the sensor).

Download the Android SDK including ADB
Download Screenshot by Katorsoft in the Android market
Download the free version of  Screenshot It by Edward Kim in the Android Market
Download ShootMe by Johan Cloetens in the Android Market