Taking screenshots on Android (without root) and iPhone

Let’s say you want to show off something cool that you’ve got going on your Android smartphone or iPhone on the web somewhere.

This means you want to take a screenshot or six in a standard image format and upload them somewhere people can see them.

Let’s take a look at how you would do that on an Android device and compare it to how it’s done on iPhone.

Android screenshot tutorial

This tutorial is shamelessly lifted from everyone and his dog. It’s specific to any platform, so if you get stuck there are some good Windows and Mac tutorials available elsewhere. The Ubuntu tutorial on the community documentation site is decent, but lacks some details which I’ll cover in a post tomorrow.

  1. Download and install the Java Runtime Environment from Sun/Oracle. The procedure is different for Windows, Mac and Linux, but there’s plenty of instructions on the web on how to get this done.
  2. Download and install the Android SDK. You shouldn’t need to use the tools/android program to install a platform SDK just yet, but if you’ve gone through these steps and it’s still not working you may need to.
  3. Turn on USB debugging on the device you want to use. This is usually under Settings->Applications->Development.
  4. Install and/or configure the relevant USB drivers. This can be relatively tricky and I will publish a post tomorrow dealing with how this is done on Linux.
  5. Connect your device.
  6. Sacrifice an iPhone to the robot overlords (or say “Roger, roger” while dancing around in a circle pretending to shoot your laser gun at Jedi).
  7. Run the tools/ddms program from wherever you installed the Android SDK.

If everything went right your device should be listed and you can now take screenshots from it.

Grabbing screenshots with DDMS
Capturing screenshots from an Android device with the DDMS tool

iPhone screenshot tutorial

Taking a screenshot on the iPhone is a little easier, but for those who struggled to keep up with how it’s done on Android I’ll draw a picture to make it easier to understand.

How to take screenshots on an iPhone 4
How to take screenshots on an iPhone 4

On the upside, at least you don’t have to copy the images from the Android device to your PC.

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