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Here’s how to take a screenshot on any generation of iPhone

Apple has made it really easy to take a screenshot on your iPhone, letting you capture whatever is displayed on your screen to quickly share with friends via email or text. Or maybe you'd like to post it on popular social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. You can even send screenshots to your company's tech support for further analysis, or use them to make a guide rounding up various Pokemon Go tips and tricks. Regardless of the reasoning, here's everything you need to know.

Difficulty

Easy

Duration

10 minutes

What You Need

  • iPhone

  • AssistiveTouch (optional)

Note: Are you a MacOS user? If so, we have also have a comprehensive guide on how to take a screenshot on a Mac.

Locate the necessary buttons

Taking a screenshot is as simple as pressing two of the physical buttons at the same time, but which two buttons to press depends on which model of iPhone you're using.

Step 1: The first button you'll need to press is the one located near the top-right corner of your iPhone. It will be located either on the side or the top of this corner, depending on the model. This is the same button you normally press to turn your screen off and lock your iPhone.

Step 2: If you're using one of the newer iPhone models with Face ID and no buttons on the front, then the other button you'll need to press is Volume Up, located on the left side of your iPhone. These devices include the iPhone X, iPhone XR, and all iPhone XS, iPhone 11, iPhone 12, and iPhone 13 models.

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Step 3: If your iPhone has a circular home button on the front, then this is the second button you'll be using to take a screenshot instead. The iPhones with a front home button include the current 2020 iPhone SE, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, and every iPhone model released before 2017. Unless you're using a very old iPhone model, this button also doubles as the fingerprint sensor for Touch ID.

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Capture a screenshot using physical buttons

Next, you'll capture your screenshot.

Step 1: Go to a screen that you want to save an image of. This can be your home screen, lock screen, or just about any app on your device.

Step 2: If you have an iPhone equipped with Face ID, press the side button and volume up button at the same time. If your iPhone has a home button, press that and the side/top button at the same time.

Step 3: If you're pushed the buttons properly, your iPhone display should briefly flash white, signaling that the screen capture worked correctly. If your device isn't in silent mode, you'll also hear the same shutter noise that you do when taking a picture in the iPhone Camera app.

The use of the side buttons on the iPhone X and newer models makes this pretty easy to get right, since you basically just have to squeeze the sides of your iPhone with one hand. It can be a bit trickier with models that use the home button, however, since you'll probably need to use two fingers. If you press the side or top button a fraction of a second before the home button, your iPhone's screen will turn off instead of capturing a screenshot. It may take some practice to get the timing just right.

It's also worth noting that while your iPhone will let you capture a screenshot from pretty much any app, screenshots taken in premium streaming apps like Netflix and Disney+ will result in a black image, rather than an image of the movie or TV show you're watching. This is not a bug — these apps are specifically designed to prevent you from capturing video screenshots for copyright reasons.

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Edit and annotate a captured screenshot

Once you successfully capture a screenshot, you'll see a small preview in the bottom-left corner of your screen. This preview will automatically disappear in a few seconds, but you can also swipe it to the left to dismiss it. In this case, the screenshot gets tucked away safely in your photo library and you can carry on with whatever you were doing before.

However, you can also pull up the screenshot to make some quick edits and annotations before that happens. Here's how.

Step 1: After taking a screenshot, tap on the thumbnail that appears in the bottom-left corner of your screen.

Step 2: Your screenshot will open in a simplified editing window, ready to be cropped or annotated.

Step 3: If you would prefer to save only a portion of your screenshot, you adjust the cropping handles to draw a box around the portion you want to keep. You can also use the standard pinch-to-zoom gesture to enlarge a portion of your screenshot.

Step 4: You can also add markup and other annotations to your screenshot by drawing with your finger. A variety of different annotation tools can be found at the bottom of the editing screen. You can also find Undo and Redo buttons at the top of the screen so you can walk back any edits you don't like.

Step 5: To add advanced annotations, such as a text box, magnifier loupe, or your signature, tap the Plus button in the bottom-right corner and choose the appropriate options from the pop-up menu.

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Step 6: When you’re finished making edits, tap Done in the upper-left corner.

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Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 7: Choose Save to Photos or Save to Files to save the resulting image to your photo library or iCloud Drive, respectively. You can also tap Delete Screenshot if you've changed your mind and don't want to save it.

Note that if you take multiple screenshots in succession, they'll all come up in the editing window at the same time. You can swipe left and right to move between them and edit each one individually. You can discard an individual screenshot from this editing view by tapping the Trash can icon at the top of the screen. Tapping Done will prompt you to save or delete the entire set.

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Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Share a screenshot

By default, screenshots are automatically saved to your photo library, where you can share them in the same way as any other photo. However, if you're grabbing a screenshot specifically to share with somebody or post on social media, you can share it right away. This also lets you avoid saving a copy to your photo library if you don't need to keep it around afterward. Here's how.

Step 1: After taking a screenshot, tap on the thumbnail that appears in the bottom-left corner of your screen.

Step 2: Your screenshot will open in the annotation mode described in the last section.

Step 3: If you want to crop or annotate your screenshot before sharing it, go right ahead.

Step 4: When finished, tap the Share button in the top-right corner.

Step 5: The standard iOS Share Sheet will appear, letting you send the image out via text message or email, post it on social media, send it to another Apple device via AirDrop, or even save it somewhere else, like in Apple Notes.

Step 6: If you want to share your screenshot to another service, tap the Share button again. You can repeat these steps as often as you like to share to multiple places.

Step 7: When you’re finished sharing, tap Done in the upper-left corner.

Step 8: Choose Save to Photos or Save to Files if you want to keep a copy of your screenshot; otherwise tap Delete Screenshot. This option only affects whether the screenshot gets saved in your photo library or iCloud Drive —i t will still be sent or saved in all of the other places you've shared it to.

Further reading

how to take a screenshot iphone enabling assistivetouch on ios 15
Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Capturing a screenshot using AssistiveTouch

AssistiveTouch allows the user to perform more complex touch-based commands on the iPhone — like pinching, multifinger swiping, or activating 3D Touch — through a simple menu that is just a few taps away. This is useful for a lot of things, but in this case it's an alternative way to get screenshots if one of your buttons isn't working properly of you're unable to press both of them at the same time. Here's how to set this up and use it.

Step 1: Navigate to the Settings app.

Step 2: Tap Accessibility.

Step 3: Tap Touch.

Step 4: Tap AssistiveTouch

Step 5: Toggle AssistiveTouch on. You'll see the AssistiveTouch button appear on your screen, resembling a series of faded, concentric circles.

Step 6: Tap Double-Tap.

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Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 7: Scroll down and tap Screenshot.

Step 8: Swipe up to return to the Home Screen. The AssistiveTouch button should remain on screen.

Step 9: When you find a screen that you want to save an image of, double-tap the AssistiveTouch button. Your iPhone display will briefly flash white and you'll also hear the same shutter noise that you do when taking a picture in the iPhone Camera app, as long as your device isn't in silent mode.

Step 10: A thumbnail of the screenshot will appear in the bottom-left corner of the screen. After a few seconds, this will disappear and the screenshot will be automatically saved to your photo library. You can also swipe it away at any time to save it to your photo library immediately, or tap on it to crop, annotate, or share it using the steps described earlier.

Note that AssistiveTouch offers a number of other ways to do this as well. For example, if you prefer, you can assign the Screenshot shortcut to a Long Press instead of a Double-Tap. You can also single-tap on the AssistiveTouch button to open a menu that includes a wealth of other functions. You can also capture a screenshot from this menu by tapping Device > More > Screenshot, which could be useful if you'd rather assign the Double-Tap and Long Press actions to perform other tasks.

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Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Did you know that you can use button combinations to restore your iPhone? Check out our guide to learn how. If you’re new to iOS, there are even more iOS tips and tricks to help you master your iPhone.

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