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Is There an Android Screenshot App?

written by: Shawn Drew•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 5/18/2011

Taking a screenshot on an Android may not be as easy as you would think. There are a number of screenshot applications, but almost all of them require that you root your device in order to take the screenshot.

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    The Android Screenshot Apps

    Capturing a screenshot seems like a basic function that any modern device, from a smartphone to a computer, should posses. The ability to capture exactly what is on the screen is not only occasionally fun, it can be a huge step in troubleshooting specific problems, as you can record exactly when the error is saying. Unfortunately, capturing a screenshot on an Android device requires permissions that almost all devices do not have. Luckily, all you have to do to get these permissions is root your device. Once you root your Android device, there are a number of Android screenshot applications that you can use. If you don't want to root your device, you can still try to use the apps, as a few of them will work on some non-rooted devices, or you can hook your Android smartphone up to your computer and use the Android SDK tools to capture the screen image.

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    Screenshot It

    Screenshot it Screenshot It is probably the most advanced and feature-rich screenshot application available on the Android Market. It will work on all rooted devices, and even some non-rooted devices, although the developer does not specify exactly which non-rooted devices it will work with. My experience is that it will not work on a few unrooted AT&T HTC devices, but the user comments on the app page say it works with the unrooted Atrix and the Evo. Screenshot It allows you to easily crop screenshots using a box on the screen, it adds a screenshot status bar button and it allows you to set the device to automatically take a screenshot when you shake it. Screenshot It is a powerful little program, but it does cost $3.99 to purchase. If you are worried about it working on a non-rooted device, you can download the trial version, which gives you five free screenshots. Be aware, however, that a software update could potentially make this app stop working on a non-rooted device. You can get Screenshot It and the trial version from the Android Market.

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    Screenshot Screenshot, as its name implies, does one simple task, and does it well. The developer claims that this Android screenshot app will only work on rooted Android devices, although there are a few reports of it working on non-rooted devices. The app lets you set a delay of up to 40 seconds, allows you to shake the phone to take the screenshot and can invert the blue and red colors of the image. Screenshot can save the image as one of three different files types, bitmap, PNG and JPG. You can get Screenshot from the Android Market.

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    Shoot Me

    Shoot Me Shoot Me is a simple Android screenshot program that will only work on rooted devices. Again, there are reports of it working on some non-rooted devices, but I wouldn't count on it. Once you load the application, just shake the device or shout at it to capture the image. Shoot Me can also record movies on certain high-end devices, although the audio portions of this feature do not currently work. You can get Shoot Me from the Android Market.

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    Screen Capture Shortcut Free

    Screen Capture Shortcut Free Screen Capture Shortcut Free is a small, free Android screenshot application that works on Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab devices. Unlike other screenshot apps, Screen Capture Shortcut doesn't require that you root your Android device, although it only works on a few Samsung models. The application lets you set up a capture delay, lets you shake the device to take the screenshot, and lets you turn on and off a sound notification when you take the screenshot. If you have a Galaxy S or Tab device, you can get Screen Capture Shortcut Free here.

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    Android SDK Screenshot Method

    DDMS Device Screen Capture 

    Visit the Android Developers website where you can download the Android SDK. Choose the correct version, based on your operating system, and download it. If you don’t have the Java JDK on your system, the installation process will stop and send you to the Oracle website, where you will have to download and install the Java JDK. The Java Runtime Environment is not enough, you need the entire development kit. You’ll have to hit “Back” on the SDK install screen and then “Next” again once you install the JDK.

    1. Turn on USB debugging on your Android device. You can find this option by going to "Settings," then "Applications" and finally "Development."
    2. Connect your Android device to your computer. Choose "Disk Drive" when you are asked what type of connection you want to establish.
    3. Find the "Android" folder in your "Program Files" folder. Then enter the "Android-SDK" folder and finally the "Tools" folder. Double-click on the ddms batch file to run it. The Dalvik Debug Monitor window will open up, and after a few minutes you will start seeing messages displayed in the window.
    4. Select the "Device" menu and choose "Screen Capture." A small window will appear that shows what is on your Android device's screen.
    5. Press the "Refresh" button to update the window to show what is currently on your Android screen. Press the "Save" button to save a .png file of the screenshot, or the "Copy" button to copy the screenshot to the clipboard. You can also use the "Rotate" button to change the screenshot's orientation.

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    References and Image Credits

    • Addictive Tips --
    • Application images from the Android Market
    • All other images property of the author.