How to Take a Screenshot in Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, IOS and WatchOS

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by Jack Taylor | Last Updated:  April 16, 2020

How do I take a screenshot in Windows, MAC, Linux, Android, or IOS?

You can use the following keyboard shortcuts or device buttons to take a screenshot.

FOR WINDOWS
Press the WINDOWS + SHIFT + S keys at the same time.

FOR THE MAC
Press the SHIFT + COMMAND + 4 keys at the same time.

FOR LINUX
Press the PrtScn key.

FOR ANDROID
Press and hold the POWER + VOLUME DOWN buttons at the same time.

FOR iOS
Press and hold the POWER + VOLUME DOWN buttons at the same time.

How to Take a Screenshot Using Windows

Windows 10 was released nearly 5 years ago, (July of 2015). So, when we speak of “Windows”, we are referring to “Windows 10”. There are many people that still (for some reason), are running Windows 7, but the advice provided here in this article refers to users of Windows 10.

You can easily take a screenshot using Windows 10 by simply pressing the WINDOWS + SHIFT + S keys at the same time. This will pull up the Windows Snipping Tool, which is displayed below.

Windows Snipping Tool

When taking a screenshot in Windows, you have 4 options to choose from. You can choose the Rectangular Snip, the Freeform Snip, the Windows Snip, or the Fullscreen Snip. Let’s take a look at each.

The Rectangular Snip Tool

Rectangular Snip Tool

This option is available by clicking on the rectangular snip tool icon highlighted by the red, as shown above. It allows you to manually draw a rectangle around a given area on your screen and will capture whatever is found within the rectangle that you draw once you let go of the mouse.

The Freeform Snip Tool

Freeform Snip Tool

The second icon in the Windows Snipping Tool allows you to capture any part of the screen that you want, literally. You can draw any shape, and it will capture that shape and copy it to the clipboard for you. If you are not happy with what you have captured, simply hit the ESC key and try again by WINDOWS + SHIFT + S keys at the same time.

The Windows Snip Tool

Windows Snip Tool

Not to be confused with the Rectangular Snip Tool, the Windows Snip Tool will allow you to capture the active window. For example, if you had Windows File Manger open, it would capture that windowed application only, even if other applications were open. Again, this icon only captures the active window.

The Fullscreen Snip Tool

Fullscreen Snip Tool

The final capture icon in the Windows Snipping Tool is the Fullscreen Snip Tool, which is self explanatory.

Regardless of which way you choose to capture a screenshot using the Windows Snipping Tool, once you have captured the screenshot, it will automatically display in the captured image at the bottom right hand side of your screen, as shown below.

By default, the captured image is saved to the clipboard. Technically, you could open up a program such as Microsoft Word or an e-mail and right click and paste the captured image into that program. But if you want to mark up the image, simply double-click on the captured screenshot, and the Windows Snipping Tool editor will open up.

Now, understand that the image you see above is not proportionate to the actual editor. It is much smaller here, and for demonstration purposes, I have added it here to show you what it looks like. In this screen capture, I captured a screenshot of my desktop.

As you can see from the menu bar at the top of the editor, you can open a saved image, mark up the current image, measure, crop, zoom, save, copy, and send the image to someone else if you like.

The nice thing about the Windows Snipping Tool is that it comes with the operating system and there is nothing to download or install. You simply activate it by pressing the WINDOWS + SHIFT + S keys at the same time.

How to Take a Screenshot on the Mac

To take a screenshot on the Mac, simply press the SHIFT + COMMAND + 3 keys at the same time. This will take a fullscreen screenshot which will automatically appear in the lower right hand corner of your screen for you to review and edit. If you do not click on it, the little pop-up windows will disappear in about 10 seconds and the PNG file (the image), will be placed on your Desktop.

As you might expect, there are other ways to take a screenshots on your Mac. Below are other ways you can use the keyboard on your Mac to take different types of screenshots.

How to Capture a Portion of the Screen

If you would like to take a screenshot of just portion of your screen, press the SHIFT + COMMAND + 4 keys at the same time and then drag the crosshair cursor from one part of the screen to another part of the screen with your mouse or trackpad. If you are not happy with the results, simply hit the ESC key and try again.

In the image below, you’ll notice a screenshot is being taken of the upper left portion of the screen. The crosshair cursor is located at the in the bottom right image (of the snow capped mountains). Once you let go of the mouse, the screenshot will be captured, ready for review by clicking on the little pop-up window in the lower right hand corner of your screen.

How to Capture a Windows or Menu

There are additional ways that you can easily capture a part of the screen too. For example, if you would like to capture an active window, press the SHIFT + COMMAND + 4 + SPACEBAR keys at the same time.

When you use this method of capturing the active window (the Finder Window, for example), you’ll find that it captures captures the faded shadow around the active window just as it displays on your Mac (see image below). That’s a really nice touch, but that’s what I would expect from Apple.

Finally, you can use the same SHIFT + COMMAND + 4 + SPACEBAR key combination to take a screenshot of a drop-down menu, for example. On my Mac, I clicked the Apple icon at the top left corner of my screen, and then immediately pressed the SHIFT + COMMAND + 4 + SPACEBAR keys.

At that point, my cursor becomes camera icon. It will capture whatever the camera cursor clicks, be it a drop-down menu, or an active window.

Below is an example of the Apple drop-down menu that I captured on my Mac.

The image below is an example of capturing the active window, (notice the small camera icon). In this case, it captured the Safari browser as that was the active window on the desktop.

How to Take a Screenshot Using Linux

For those not familiar with Linux, it is very different than Windows and Mac. Both Windows and Mac offer consistency and continuity, (Mac more-so than Windows). By design, Linux does not offer consistency or continuity between the various versions of Linux. For example, Windows and Mac can be compared to operating systems that wear the same suite every day, while Linux is able to wear any type of clothing it wants. In other words, Linux is extraordinarily flexible.

Not to confuse the point, but there are different “flavors” of Linux, and each flavor may or may not cooperate with other “flavors” of Linux. For this reason, not every flavor of Linux functions the same way, or offers the same features as other Linus distributions. But for the most part, most Linux distributions of Linux allow for the following keyboard shortcuts to take screenshots.

PRTSC

SHIFT + PRTSC

ALT + PRTSC

CTRL + PRTSC

SHIFT + CTRL + PRTSC

CTRL + ALT + PRTSC

How to Take a Screenshot on an Android Device

In the first quarter of 2019, about 88 percent of all smartphones sold to end users were phones with the Android operating system. If you are among that 88%, you might want to know how to take a screenshot with your specific Android device.

Keep in mind, that all Android devices are not created equal. In fact, there are well over 24,000 Android devices, and that statistic is 5 years old. Though each cellphone or Android tablet available on the market today is capable of taking a screenshot, how you go about doing that may vary from device to device.

Every company that has produced an Android device has tried to distinguish itself from every other company that produces Android devices. When they all use the very same operating system, the only differentiating features that remain is the hardware used (the device itself), and the bloatware they add to the Android operating system provided used on that device.

Generally speaking, however, if you Press and hold the Power + Volume Down buttons at the same time, it *may* take a snapshot of your screen and then provide confirmation in the notification bar that taking the screenshot was successful. Keep in mind, however, that this will not necessarily work on all Android devices. Given how many Android devices are available, the best way to determine how to take a screenshot with your Android device is to check your owner’s manual.

For your convenience, I have provided a quick reference for 10 of the best Android cellphones as of April 2020. Simply find your Android device below to see how to take a screenshot on your Android device.

Samsung Galaxy S20+

Huawei P40 Pro

Google Pixel 4 XL

Samsung Galaxy S10e

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

ASUS ROG Phone II

ASUS ZenFone 6

OnePlus 7 Pro

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip

How to Take a Screenshot on an IOS Device

Unlike Android devices, the iPhone is extremely consistent. In fact, there are only three ways in which you can take a screenshot using any iPhone, based on the year you bought the iPhone.

How to Take a Screenshot on iPhone X or Later

If you have an iPhone X, Xr, 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, SE (20202), you simply quickly press the POWER button and the VOLUME UP button at the same time to take a screenshot. Mind you, if you hold the POWER button and the VOLUME UP button for more than one second, it will ask you to confirm if you want to turn off the device, so be sure to simply press those two buttons quickly at the same time to take a screenshot (see image below).

How to take a screenshot on iPhone 8, 7, or 6

To take a screenshot using the iPhone 8, 7, or 6, you will need to press the POWER button on the side of the phone and the HOME button at the same time to take a screenshot. Again, be sure to press and not hold the buttons, otherwise, it will ask for your permission to shut the device off (see the image below).

How to take a screenshot on iPhone SE, 5, or earlier

To take a screenshot using the iPhone SE (2016), iPhone 5 or earlier, simply press the POWER button on top of the phone and the HOME button at the same time for less than 1 second to take a screenshot. If you press and hold these buttons for 1 second or more, it will ask for your permission to shut the device off (see the image below).

Regardless of which iPhone you use, after capturing the screenshot, a thumbnail of that image will temporarily appears in the lower-left corner of your screen. You can then tap that thumbnail image to open it up to edit and mark it up, or you can swipe left to dismiss it.

Taking a screenshot using an iPad is just as simple. Basically, there is one way to take a screenshot with an iPad that has Face ID, and another way to take a screenshot with an iPad that offers Touch ID. Let’s take a look at each.

How to take a screenshot on an iPad with Face ID

To take a screenshot using any iPad with Face ID, simply press the POWER button on the top of your device while at the same time quickly pressing the VOLUME UP button. Be sure NOT to press and hold the buttons for more than 1 second, as this will then prompt you to shut your device off (see image below).

How to take a screenshot on an iPad with Touch ID

Taking a screenshot on an iPad that has Touch ID is just as easy. You simply need to press the POWER button on the top of your device while at the same time quickly pressing the HOME button. Be sure NOT to press and hold the buttons for more than 1 second, as this will then prompt you to shut your device off (see image below).

After capturing the screenshot on your iPad, a thumbnail of that image will temporarily appears in the lower-left corner of your screen. You can then tap that thumbnail image to open it up to edit and mark it up, or you can swipe left to dismiss it.

How to Take a Screenshot on an Apple Watch

Believe it or not, you can take screenshots using your Apple Watch. To take a screenshot on your Apple Watch, you first need to enable that feature on your iPhone. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone. 
  2. Tap the MY WATCH tab, and then tap GENERAL
  3. Scroll down, then turn on ENABLE SCREENSHOTS.

Once enabled, you can take a screenshot on your Apple Watch by pressing both the SIDE BUTTON and the DIGITAL CROWN at the same time. The screenshot is then automatically saved in the Camera Roll on your iPhone.

Why Would You Want to Take a Screenshot using your Computer, Tablet, Cellphone or Apple Watch?

Below are several reasons you might want to take a screenshot using your computer, cell phone or tablet. You may want to take a screenshot for any of the following reasons:

Closing Thoughts

Regardless of which operating system you use, be it Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, or ISO, or what device you use, be it a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, cellphone or Apple Watch, remember that you are making memories.

There is no right or wrong reason to take a screenshot on your device. You may take a screenshot to protect yourself by keeping a record of an online chat conversation you have had, or you may want to savor a memory by taking a screenshot of a FaceTime call you had with a loved one. Capturing laughter has never been easier or more memorable.

One final point. Understand that most streaming subscription services will not allow you to take a screenshot. When you try, it will capture a black image. Your device is not broken, and you didn’t do it wrong. The reason it captures a black image is due to licensing issues. While you can’t take a screenshot when using YouTube TV, you can when using YouTube, (as long as it is not streaming live). I encourage you to make the most of your experience with your computer, cellphone or tablet and don’t be afraid to take screenshots. Years from now, you just may find some really fond memories.

Jack has been helping people with computers needs for several years, and he loves to help people succeed. He brings a wealth of wisdom and insight from an entrepreneur's perspective and enjoys freelance writing. In fact, when he's not writing an article or working on his YouTube channel, you might find him binge-watching Suits or formatting his computer . . . again, just for fun. To learn more about Jack, click here.
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