Wondering how to take a screenshot on an iPhone or iPad? You only need to press two buttons - but it can be surprisingly complicated.

  1. Press the sleep/wake/power button (at the top-right of the device - on top, or on the side depending on the age of your iPhone or iPad)
  2. Press the Home button (below the screen) at the same time.
  3. Try not to turn your phone off or adjust the volume while doing this!

See, simple... Or not? We find it frustratingly difficult sometimes to take a screenshot because of the way the volume control buttons line up with the power button.

In this feature we have some tips to make taking a screenshot on your iPhone or iPad easier. We also have  advice about how to take a screenshot if one of the buttons on your iPhone or iPad is broken, how to convert the screenshot into a jpeg, how to find your screenshots, and how to take a screenshot silently.

See also: How to take a screenshot on a Mac and How to take a screenshot on Apple Watch

Reasons to take a screenshot on an iPhone or iPad

The word screenshot is a contraction of screen and snapshot. Also known as a screen grab or a screen capture, a screenshot is a picture - a static image - of what's on your screen at any given moment. Essentially it's a photo of your screen.

Why would you take a screenshot on an iPhone or iPad? For a journalist the answer is obvious: here on macworld.co.uk we use screenshots to illustrate iOS apps and games so you can see what they look like, to show off features in iOS itself, and to illustrate individual steps in tech tutorials.

But screenshots can be useful for all iPhone and iPad owners. You might use screenshots to show off to your friends: "Take a look at this incredible moment I engineered in the game XCOM," for instance.

More practically, you might use a screenshot to show a tech-savvier friend a weird error message that was coming up, or a strange behaviour your iPhone was exhibiting, so they can offer advice. (Or the reverse situation: if your mum can't work out what's happening or her iPhone and you'd rather not drive round there, you could ask her to send over a screenshot of the problem.)

We frequently take screenshots of train times, maps and funny things we see when browsing the web. You might like to screen shot something to make sure you can find it again easily.

Or you might screenshot something and then text it to a friend. Perhaps the address of somewhere you are meeting or details of a product they might like to buy.

How to take a screenshot on an iPad or iPhone

As we said above, to create a screenshot of whatever's on your iPhone or iPad display you need to press the sleep/wake/power button (at the top-right of the device) and the Home button (below the screen) at the same time.

  • Press the sleep/wake/power button (at the top-right of the device - on top, or on the side depending on the age of your iPhone or iPad)
  • Press the Home button (below the screen) at the same time.

This principle also applies to the non-mechanical button found on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus too.

It may take a few attempts to get a screenshot because the first time you might accidentally turn off the iPhone, or press the volume control button on the opposite side to the power button too hard.

It can be a bit fiddly doing this while doing something cool and screenshot-worthy in a game, as all iOS games reviewers discover.

How to take a screenshot on an iPhone or iPad

The screen will flash once, to show it's captured an image, you'll also hear the camera's shutter sound effect unless you have your phone on mute.

Where can I find my screenshot?

The screenshot will be saved to your Photos app.

  1. Open the Photos app
  2. Tap on the Albums tab at the bottom
  3. You'll find your screenshot in All Photos and also an album called Screenshots

You can also find your screenshot in Moments on your iPhone or iPad:

  1. Open the Photos app
  2. Tap on Photos on the left side
  3. Assuming your Screenshot was only just taken it will be at the bottom of Moments

How to take a screenshot on an iPad or iPad

How to send the screenshot to a friend

If you want to send this screenshot to someone, perhaps to ask their advice, or because you think it will interest them, follow these steps: 

  1. Select the image in the photos app
  2. Tap the share icon (bottom left, looks like a square with an arrow coming out of it)
  3. Select the means by which you want to share - Message, Mail, Facebook, for example
  4. Add the details of the person you want to share with and send

You can also add an image to a Message or a Mail by tapping the arrow beside the text box, then tapping the camera icon and locating the image from Photos.

How to take a screenshot silently

If you have ever taken a screenshot of something while on a crowded train and then felt embarrased when the sound of the shutter alerts the person opposite you to the fact that you might just have ttaken their photo, you might be wondering how to take a shot without making a sound.

To take a screenshot in silence just make sure you turn your iPhone or iPad to mute first by sliding the button above the volume control buttons to off.

How to convert iPhone and iPad screenshots from .png to .jpg

iOS saves screenshots in the .png format; this can be a little confusing, since it saves images taken by the Camera app as .jpgs. (There are valid reasons for this distinction, but we shan't concern outselves with them here.)

However, what if you want to send the screenshot to someone as a .jpg, or upload it to a service that doesn't accept .png files? You'll need to convert it.

Some clever iPad and iPhone users have tried to come up with ways to convert the image on the iOS device itself - one technique involving DropBox is discussed on this forum thread.

But we find that the simplest solution is to save the image to your Mac (plug the iOS device into the Mac, open Image Capture, select the iPad or iPhone in the lefthand menu, scroll down to the bottom of the list of images and drag-and-drop the screenshot on to your Mac's desktop - or you could simply AirDrop it across to your Mac) and then open it in Preview or another image-editing program.

To turn your screenshot into a Jpeg in Preview follow these steps:

  1. Open the screenshot in Preview
  2. Click on File > Export
  3. Where it says Format, click on the dropdown menu and choose JPEG and Save

How to take a screenshot on an iPhone or iPad if the buttons don't work

If the sleep button or Home button on your iPhone or iPad doesn't work properly (and this has historically been a common complaint among iPhone users in particular - although the situation seems to be improving), it's still possible to take screenshots.

Take a look at our workaround for broken iPhone power buttons. This simple tip explains how to create a 'software button' on your iPhone or iPad screen that you can use if the hardware buttons have malfunctioned. Sure enough, this software button can be used to take screenshots too.

Tap the little circle (which is activated via the Settings apps - go to Settings, General, Accessibility and scroll down to AssistiveTouch and turn it on) to bring up the palette of options, then tap Device, then More, and you'll see a Screenshot option. Tap it and iOS will grab a screenshot.

(After minimising itself and becoming temporarily invisible - indeed, this widget appears to be un-screenshottable. We usually take a photo of the device's screen with another camera, as we've done below, but if anyone has worked out a clever way around this, do let us know.)

How to take a screenshot on an iPad or iPad