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How to Take Screenshots on Your Android Phone

How to Take Screenshots on Your Android Phone
This guide is intended for the user who wants to take screenshots on their Android device.  For a standard (non-rooted) phone, the following steps are currently the only method.  Unfortunately for now, there is not an application that can perform this task.
Step 1: Enable USB debugging on your Android phone.  For this you will need to click Menu > Settings > Applications > Development > USB debugging.
Step 2: Download the Android SDK for your current platform (Windows, Mac, or Linux).  Save the file to your desktop and then extract the files from the .zip file.  Once you have done this, you will also need to check that you have a current copy of the Java runtime environment on your computer.  The JDK is necessary for this process to work.  You will then need to run the SDK Setup.exe file that located in the “android-sdk-windows” folder that you just extracted.  Make sure that you install the necessary packages (specific Android versions) for your phone.
Now plug in your Android phone to your computer with your USB cable.  Note: you do not need to mount your device for taking screenshots.  Simply plugging in your device and seeing the notice that “USB debugging connected” is all that you need.
Step 3: Run DDMS.  DDMS is the Dalvik Debug Monitor Service and is located in the ‘tools’ folder of the “android-sdk-windows” folder that you downloaded in Step 2.  Simply double-clicking on the DDMS icon will launch the necessary components (including the windows\system\cmd line which you have to leave open for DDMS to run).
Step 4: Once you have opened DDMS, you should see only 1 device listed.  Click on your device to highlight it, and now you should be ready to take screenshots.  From here, click Device > Screen capture from the top menu.  Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+S.  Doing this will pop up the Device Screen Capture window which will show the screen you currently see on your Android device.  In this window you can Refresh the current image to generate a new image of your current screen (if it has changed since your previous screenshot).  You can also Rotate, Save, and Copy the image.  When you are finished click Done to exit the Device Screen Capture window.
Troubleshooting:
1. My device is not recognized in DDMS.
I had this problem with my T-mobile G1 in Windows when I initially tried to take screenshots.  The reason this occurs is because you currently don’t have the required Android USB Driver needed by Windows to recognize the device in DDMS.  The USB Driver is a downloadable component of the Android SDK.  It can be found in the Available Packages portion of your Android SDK and AVD Manager.  For instructions on how to install it, refer to the link above.  Even without this driver you can still mount your device, transfer files, etc. so it’s not crucial unless you want to take screenshots.
Here is an example of the procedure for installing the new USB Driver on Windows XP, straight from the Android developer website for the USB Driver linked above. 
Windows XP: Perform a fresh installation

To install the Android USB driver on Windows XP for the first time:

  1. Connect your Android-powered device to your computer’s USB port. Windows will detect the device and launch the Hardware Update Wizard.

  2. Select “Install from a list or specific location” and click “Next.”
  3. Select “Search for the best driver in these locations”; un-check “Search removable media”; and check “Include this location in the search.”
  4. Click “Browse…” and locate the folder where you copied the installation package.
  5. Click “Next” to install the driver.

Instructions for doing this with Windows Vista can also be found on the same website.

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9 Comments

  1. Awesome! Just what I needed. Thanks.

  2. I did not have to go through all these just to get a screenshot in my android phone. I have the behold 2.

  3. Wow, great way to take screenshots on an Android device! Works well. Thanks

  4. Now, there is an app called ShootMe that will do this for you with a simple shake of the phone. It works on my Evo. Not sure about other phones. “/

    • Yep, but unfortunately that only works if you’ve rooted your Android phone.

      • ShootMe is a gr8 app, works on my LG Optimus one without rooting.

  5. excellent tool. works perfect on my samsung galaxyS

  6. Hold “Back” button and press “Home” button . It works on SGS

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