Snapping a screenshot of your iPhone is a great way to preserve exactly what you see on the screen and, thankfully, it’s dead simple to do because the shortcut is built right into every iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
There are all sorts of reasons this might be useful. Need to show the guys in the IT department how the company intranet portal looks weird on your iPhone? Snap a screenshot. Worried the flaky cellular service will make it difficult to pull up that coupon or boarding pass you need to use when you’re at the counter? Snap a screenshot of the on-screen barcode so even if you can’t load the webpage or app, you can still have them scan the code. Once you get in the habit of using the screenshot tool, you’ll find yourself using it in new ways all the time.
To take a screenshot on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch with a Home button, simply press and hold the Home button and the Sleep/Wake button (e.g. the power button) at the same time.
On an iPhone X, XR, XS, or XS Max, you must instead press and hold the Volume Up button and the Side button at the same time. The “Side button” is the new name for the Sleep/Wake or Power button, which also allows you to launch Siri by holding it down.
The screen will flash white for a brief moment when you take the screenshot and you’ll hear a snapshot sound. On iOS 10 and earlier, the screenshot will be saved straight to the Photos app. On iOS 11, you’ll see a thumbnail representing the screenshot at the bottom left corner of your screen. Take multiple screenshots and you’ll see multiple thumbnails.
To immediately work with a screenshot, tap the thumbnail. If you don’t, it will vanish after about four seconds and the screenshot you took will be saved to the Photos app.
The new screenshot view will show you the one or more photos you took and allow you to mark up or share them.
To mark up a screenshot, tap the different drawing tools (like marker, pencil, or highlighter) at the bottom of the screen and choose a color. You can draw right over the screenshots. These tools are optimized for use with the Apple Pencil on an iPad, but you can use them with just your finger.
To share one or more screenshots—before or after marking them up—tap the standard Share button at the bottom of the screen. You can choose any app you have installed that can accept images, so this will allow you to send the images to a friend, post them to social media, upload them to a cloud storage service, edit them with a more powerful photo-editing app, or whatever you like.
When you’re done, tap “Done”. You can choose to either save the captured screenshots to your Photos app or discard them, deleting them from your device.
Assuming you save your screenshots to the Photos app—either through here or by taking screenshots and allowing the thumbnail to disappear on its own—they’ll be available in the Photos app. They’ll be saved as .PNG files and stored conveniently in the “Screenshots” folder visible in the Albums view. Videos you record using the new Screen Recording tool will also be saved to this folder.
You can open, edit, and send screenshots like any other photo on your device, attaching them to your iMessages, emailing them, or copying them to your computer with a USB cable, just like any other photo. Note, however: if you use a program on your computer to copy photos from your iPhone, be sure that it will copy PNG files as well as JPG files—Google’s photo management software Picasa, as an example, will not copy PNG files until you instruct it to do so.
Interested in taking screenshots on more than just your iPhone or iPad? You can read more about taking screenshots on almost any other device here.
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