The word screenshot is a contraction of screen and snapshot. Also known as a screen grab or a screen capture, a screenshot is a static image of what's on your screen at any given moment. You might use screenshots to show off your gaming prowess, or to show a tech-savvier friend a weird error message so they can offer advice.
Whatever your reason, here's how to take a screenshot on an iPhone or iPad and then edit and share it with others. If you want similar advice for other Apple devices, see How to take a screenshot on a Mac and How to take a screenshot on Apple Watch.
How to take a screenshot on iPhone or iPad
- Press the power/side button (on the top or righthand side of your device).
- Press the Home button at the same time.
Assuming you're running iOS 11, you'll see a small thumbnail of the screenshot appear at the bottom left corner of the screen. You can tap this to see editing and sharing options (which we'll look at in a moment), swipe it to the left to make it disappear, or just wait for it to go away by itself.
If the thumbnail disappears, or if you're on an older version of iOS so no thumbnail appears at all, don't worry - the screenshot is safely stored in Photos. The easiest way to find it is to tap Albums > Screenshots.
Taking a screenshot on iPhone X
Apple's iPhone X hasn't got a Home button. Instead, you press the power/side button and the volume up buttons at the same time. Other than that the process is the same - editing, sharing, the location of the screenshot and so on. (Some people find that this is easy to activate accidentally when picking up an iPhone X. We look at how to avoid accidental iPhone X screenshots in another article.)
We show how to do a whole range of Home-button-related functions on the iPhone X in a separate article: How to use the iPhone X.
Editing and sharing your screenshot
If you've installed iOS 11, you can tap the thumbnail of the screenshot to enter a markup screen, which lets you apply simple edits and share the screenshot.
You'll get access to a range of markup tools including pen, pencil, highlighter and more. This comes in handy as most of the time there's something specific in a screenshot that you'd like to highlight, and this gives you an easy way to do so without the use of a third-party app.
To crop in on a detail of the screenshot, drag the thicker blue edges to the desired dimensions. And tapping the plus sign allows you to drop in a signature or a handy magnifying glass that highlights a particular section, or add text.
You can undo any edits using the curved arrow pointing left. To share the screenshot from the markup window, tap the share icon: the arrow pointing out a square box. You'll see the usual sharing options: Messages, Mail, Twitter, Slack and so on.
Finally, tap Done. At this point you can choose to 'Save to Photos' or delete it, so as to avoid clogging up Photos with screenshots you don't need any more.
Editing/sharing screenshots in Photos
If you missed the thumbnail, or you're running iOS 10 or earlier, remember that you can find the screenshot in Photos and edit and share it from there.
Find the screenshot and open it, then tap Edit. You can crop the screenshot from this screen by tapping the 'two overlapping corners' icon next to Cancel and dragging the corners. Hit Done to go back to the normal view, from which you can access the usual sharing options.
For the rest of those handy editing options, however, you need to enter markup mode. If your device supports this you'll see a circle with three dots in edit mode; tap this to see more options, then Markup. You can now highlight, add text and scribbles, drop in signatures.
The only differences are that the background is darker, and there are no sharing options - to share you'll need to tap Done to get out of markup mode, then Done again (or Cancel) to get out of edit mode.
Taking a screenshot if the buttons don't work
If the sleep button or Home button on your iPhone or iPad doesn't work properly, 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.
How to take a screenshot silently
If you've ever taken a screenshot of something while on a crowded train and then felt embarrassed when the sound of the shutter makes the person opposite think you just took 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 ourselves 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.
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:
- Open the screenshot in Preview
- Click on File > Export
- Where it says Format, click on the dropdown menu and choose JPEG and Save