Screenshots are one of the easiest things to do on Android. Despite that, the simple task often causes unnecessary confusion. Depending on your device, there may be a few ways to go about doing it, so we’re going to run down each of the ways so you can snap off whatever you like and share it around.

Universal Method

Past Android 4, there is one universal method for taking a screenshot:

Simply press down the power and volume-down buttons at the same time and a small flash will appear. After that, you can go into your photos and find your screenshot.

Outside of that, here are a few devices that have special tools for taking a screenshot:

Acer, Asus, Huawei, Honor, Lenovo and Sony Devices

  • Go into your notifications panel by swiping down and tap the Screenshot icon.

HTC Devices

  • HTC 10: Hold down the home and power buttons for a few seconds.

LG Devices

  • Swipe down to get the notifications panel and tap on the Capture+ icon.

Do note that these are simply alternative methods for taking a screenshot. All devices running Android 4 or higher can take a screenshot with the power and volume-down combination.

Older Android Devices

If you rock a device that doesn’t support Android 4, you’re certainly due for an upgrade. Even so, we wanted to run down the process of taking screenshots here as well. The process is far more tedious, but still certainly possible.

Google believed only developers would be interested in taking screenshots, so you’ll need an SDK (software development kit) in order to do so. Download and install the Android SDK, which is completely free, with your correct OS.

To use the SDK, you need Java. Mac OS X has the Java Development Kit built in, but Windows users will need to install it separately. Download and install both before continuing on.

Open the SDK manager from the Android SDK download. Accept the terms and install. The SDK will begin downloading, a process that could take awhile, so don’t get too concerned if you’re computer is hanging up.

Android SDK

Within the Android SDK Tools folder, launch DDMS (Dalvik Debug Monitor). Wait a minute before doing anything here and see if the software crashes. In the event it does, just try again.

Get your Android devices and follow the path “settings > application settings > development > USB debugging”. After that, connect your Android device to your computer via USB. Once it’s connected, ensure “USB Mass Storage” is the option you select for the USB connection type. If the setting doesn’t pop up, you can find it in the Android top-menu.

Android - USB mass storage

For Windows users, the device may not appear yet. If it doesn’t, hit Win+S and search for “device manager”. Open it, find your Android device from the hierarchy and right click it. Select “update driver software” and choose “browse my computer for driver software”. Click on “browse” and find the USB driver folder within the Android SDK folder. Install the driver and it should come up in DDMS.

Back in DDMS, click on the phone icon in the upper-left section of the window. Get your screen ready that you want to capture on your Android device. Back on your computer, follow “device > screen capture > save”. Congratulations, you’ve now taken a screenshot on an archaic Android device.

Rooted Android Devices

Android should still follow the normal combination of power and volume-down if your device is rooted. However, you can take advantage of screenshot apps on rooted devices. Normally, Android blocks these apps, but rooted devices bypass these permissions.

After your device is rooted, simply go into the Android Marketplace and search for “screenshot”. The classic Screenshot app works fine, which allow you to activate screenshots with a timer, by shaking the phone or any other command.

Screenshots - rooted Android devices

Those are pretty much all the ways you can possibly take a screenshot on Android. Most modern devices should fare just fine with the combination of power and volume-down, though, as Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich released back in October of 2011.

Posted by Jacob Roach

Jacob Roach is a Midwesterner with a love for technology, an odd combination given his corn field-ridden setting. After finishing a degree in English at Southern New Hampshire University, Jacob settled back under the Arch in his hometown of St. Louis, MO, where he now writes about anything tech. His main interests are web technologies and online privacy, though he dips his toes in photography and the occasional card game as well.

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