Skip to main content

How to take screenshots on your Mac, Windows PC, iPhone and Android

How to take screenshots on your Mac, Windows PC, iPhone and Android


For all these devices, it’s a quick and easy process

Share this story

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Screenshots are handy. You can use them to show your grandparent how to use a new app. You can use them to send a shot of that strange error message to your company’s IT department. You can use them to capture tweets before they disappear down the deletion black hole.

Each of the main operating systems — Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS — incorporates one or more ways to take screenshots. Here’s a quick and simple guide to taking screenshots in all four.

Screenshots on a Mac

Current versions (Mojave and Catalina) of the macOS come with a Screenshot app, which is accessed by pressing Shift-Command (⌘)-5.

You’ll get a command bar that gives you various options. You can take a screenshot of the screen, a window, or a specific selection; you can also take a video of all or part of your screen. There is an “Options” button that lets you choose where you want to save your screenshot to, and you can also set a short delay. When you’re ready, click on the “Capture” button on the right end of the command bar.

If you haven’t upgraded to Mojave or Catalina, you can still save screenshots to your desktop as PNG files.

  • To take a screenshot of the entire screen, press Shift-Command-3.
  • To take a screenshot of part of the screen, press Shift-Command-4 and then drag the cursor to outline the area you want to capture.
  • If you want to capture a specific window, press Shift-Command-4. Hit the spacebar. The cursor will turn into a camera. Hover the cursor over the window you want to capture so it highlights, and then click on it.

Screenshots on a Windows 10 PC

Depending on your specific system, you should be able to take a screenshot by pressing the Windows logo key simultaneously with the PrtScrn (or PrtSc) key (which is usually on the right end of the function key row). If that doesn’t work, you can try adding the Ctrl or Fn key to the combination. The image will be saved in the “Pictures” > “Screenshots” folder as a PNG file.

If that doesn’t work for you (I found that half the time I tried it, the system refused to take the screenshot), a second, more reliable method is to hit Windows + Shift + S, which will bring up a Windows app called “Snip & Sketch.” (The app is also accessible from your Windows app menu.) Your cursor will turn into a plus sign, and you’ll get a small toolbar at the top of the screen that lets you select a rectangular clip, a freeform clip, or just take a shot of the entire screen. The clip (or “snip,” as Windows calls it) will be saved to the clipboard and a thumbnail will appear in the lower right corner of your screen. Click on that to edit the photo, save it (as a PNG, JPG, or GIF file), or share it.

There are a number of other ways to bring up the snipping tool, including hitting the Windows key and starting to type “snip” (which will bring up the tool in your Start menu), or typing “snip” into the Cortana search box.

You can, if you want, make the PrtSc key bring up Snip & Sketch when you press it.

  • Go to your computer’s settings by selecting the Start button in the lower left corner, and then the gear icon that appears above it.
  • In the search box just below the “Windows Settings” page name, type “prtscn.” Somewhere around the “t,” the drop-down menu will show you a selection reading “Use the Print Screen key to launch screen snipping.” Choose it.
  • You’ll find yourself on the “Keyboard” page. Look for “Print Screen shortcut” and toggle it on.

Screenshots on an Android phone

There are two ways to take a screenshot of your Android screen (assuming you have Android 9 or 10):

  • Press and hold your power button. You’ll get a pop-out window on the right side of your screen with icons that let you power off, restart, call an emergency number, or take a screenshot. Or...
  • Hold down the power button and press the volume-down button.

Either way, after you’ve taken the screenshot, it will briefly appear as a smaller version and then disappear, and you’ll get a top notification that lets you share, edit, or delete it.

Something to look for: Some Android phones (for example, certain Samsung and Huawei phones) let you take “long” screenshots, where you can scroll the screen down and capture the entire page. Check your phone’s support pages if you think you might have that — it can be handy.

Hold in the power button and tap on “Screenshot.”

If you want to find all your past screenshots:

  • Go to your Photos app.
  • Tap on the three parallel lines in the top left corner.
  • Select “Device folders” > “Screenshots.”

Screenshots on an iPhone

Taking a screenshot with an iPhone is simple and uncomplicated:

  • Press the side button and the volume-up button simultaneously. (Note: if you have an older iPhone that has a Home button, you need to press the side button and the Home button instead.)
  • You’ll get a thumbnail image of your screenshot in the lower left corner.
  • Tap on the image to make it larger; there will be editing tools below. Icons in the upper right corner let you delete it or share it.
  • When you’re finished, tap “Done” in the upper left corner. You can save the image to Photos, to Files, or delete it.
You can save your screenshot to Photos or Files.

Update November 11th, 2019, 9:32AM ET: This article was updated to add a couple of tips for Windows 10 and the iPhone.

Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. For more information, see our ethics policy.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed An hour ago Not just you

External Link
Emma RothAn hour ago
We might not get another Apple event this year.

While Apple was initially expected to hold an event to launch its rumored M2-equipped Macs and iPads in October, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman predicts Apple will announce its new devices in a series of press releases, website updates, and media briefings instead.

I know that it probably takes a lot of work to put these polished events together, but if Apple does pass on it this year, I will kind of miss vibing to the livestream’s music and seeing all the new products get presented.

External Link
Emma RothSep 24
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.

The Verge
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.

Jay PetersSep 23
Twitch’s creators SVP is leaving the company.

Constance Knight, Twitch’s senior vice president of global creators, is leaving for a new opportunity, according to Bloomberg’s Cecilia D’Anastasio. Knight shared her departure with staff on the same day Twitch announced impending cuts to how much its biggest streamers will earn from subscriptions.

Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.

External Link
If you’re using crash detection on the iPhone 14, invest in a really good phone mount.

Motorcycle owner Douglas Sonders has a cautionary tale in Jalopnik today about the iPhone 14’s new crash detection feature. He was riding his LiveWire One motorcycle down the West Side Highway at about 60 mph when he hit a bump, causing his iPhone 14 Pro Max to fly off its handlebar mount. Soon after, his girlfriend and parents received text messages that he had been in a horrible accident, causing several hours of panic. The phone even called the police, all because it fell off the handlebars. All thanks to crash detection.

Riding a motorcycle is very dangerous, and the last thing anyone needs is to think their loved one was in a horrible crash when they weren’t. This is obviously an edge case, but it makes me wonder what other sort of false positives we see as more phones adopt this technology.

External Link
Ford is running out of its own Blue Oval badges.

Running out of semiconductors is one thing, but running out of your own iconic nameplates is just downright brutal. The Wall Street Journal reports badge and nameplate shortages are impacting the automaker's popular F-series pickup lineup, delaying deliveries and causing general chaos.

Some executives are even proposing a 3D printing workaround, but they didn’t feel like the substitutes would clear the bar. All in all, it's been a dreadful summer of supply chain setbacks for Ford, leading the company to reorganize its org chart to bring some sort of relief.