Taking a screenshot on an iPad is as easy as pressing two buttons at once on your device—or you can use an alternative onscreen method. Here’s how to do it.

What Is a Screenshot?

A screenshot is a direct capture of exactly what’s on your device’s screen. With a screenshot, you can capture what you’re seeing, and then save it for later or share it with others without having to take a photo of your device with a camera.

On an iPad, when you capture a screenshot, it’s saved as an image in your Photos library in the “Screenshots” album (unless you choose to save it to Files after editing, which you’ll see more about below). Once the screenshot is in Photos, you can share it, just like any other image or photo stored on your device.

How to Take a Screenshot Using Buttons

Two different types of iPad image button combinations.

Most people capture a screenshot on their iPad using a combination of hardware buttons. The buttons that you press are different based on the type of iPad that you have. Here are the combinations:

  • iPads without a Home button: Briefly press and hold the Top button and the Volume Up button at the same time.
  • iPads with a Home button: Briefly press and hold the Top button and the Home button at the same time.

How to Take a Screenshot without Buttons

You can also capture screenshots on your iPad without using the hardware buttons using a feature called AssistiveTouch. This comes in handy if you can’t physically perform the button combination, or if one of the buttons is broken or damaged.

To enable AssistiveTouch, open Settings and navigate to Accessibility > Touch > AssistiveTouch. Flip the switch beside “AssistiveTouch” to the on position.

Turn the "AssistiveTouch" switch on.

Once AssistiveTouch is enabled, you’ll see a button that looks like a circle inside a rounded rectangle near the edge of your screen. This is the AssistiveTouch button. You can drag it with your finger to reposition it, but it always stays on your screen as long as AssistiveTouch is enabled.

The AssistiveTouch button as seen on an iPhone.

Now that AssistiveTouch is turned on, there are two primary ways that you can trigger a screenshot with it. The first is by using “Custom Actions” that happen when you tap the AssistiveTouch button.

On the Settings > Touch > AssistiveTouch screen, locate the “Custom Actions” section. Tap “Single-Tap,” “Double-Tap,” or “Long Press” depending on your preference, and then select “Screenshot” from the list of actions that appear.

In the action list, select "image."

Then tap “Back.” To take a screenshot, just perform a single tap, a double tap, or a long press on the AssistiveTouch button (depending on which one you chose).

The second method for taking screenshots without buttons is by using the AssistiveTouch menu. By default, the “Single-Tap” custom action in Settings > Touch > AssistiveTouch is assigned to “Open Menu.” If that’s still the case, you can tap the AssistiveTouch button at any time to see a pop-up menu.

When you see the pop-up menu, select Device > More, and then tap “Screenshot” to take a screenshot.

In the AssistiveTouch menu, tap "image."

After that, you’ll capture a screenshot exactly as if you’d pressed the screenshot button combination on your iPad.

What Happens Next?

When you capture a screenshot on your iPad, a thumbnail image of the screenshot will appear in the lower-left corner of the screen. If you do nothing, the thumbnail will disappear automatically and the screenshot will be saved in your “Screenshots” album in the Photos app.

When you take an image on your iPad, you'll see a thumbnail in the corner of the screen.

If you tap the thumbnail, you’ll enter an edit mode where you can add notes to your screenshot, crop it, and more.

The iPad image edit screen.

When you’re done editing, tap “Done,” and your iPad will ask whether you want to save the screenshot to Photos or Files, or if you’d prefer to delete it. Then repeat as often as you’d like. The only limit to the number of screenshots that you can take is the size of your iPad’s storage. Have fun!

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Benj Edwards is a former Associate Editor for How-To Geek. Now, he is an AI and Machine Learning Reporter for Ars Technica. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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