How to Take Screenshots of an Android-based Phone

android-trimmesSince I’ll be writing about the Motorola Droid (which uses Google’s Android mobile operating system) in the upcoming weeks, I wanted to be able to perform screen captures directly from the device instead of taking photographs of the entire thing.  This guide will walk you through the simple process of taking screenshots of an Android-based phone.

Step One: Download and extract the Android SDK for your operating system.  SDK stands for Software Development Kit, and is what developers use to design Android software on a PC.

Extracting the files is all you have to do – you don’t actually have to install anything for this to work.

Note: You also need to have Java JDK installed (not just JRE which is more common).  More information can be found on the Android SDK requirements page.

Step Two: On your Android-based phone, go to Settings –> Applications –> Development and enable USB debugging.  When you’ve enabled debugging, connect your phone to the computer.

In my case, I had to install additional Motorola USB drivers for my phone to be properly recognized in debugging mode, even though it worked fine before I enabled it.

Step Three: In the folder where you extracted the Android SDK files, open the tools folder and run ddms.bat.  This will launch the Dalvik Debug Monitor, and if your phone is connected properly you should see it in the list of devices as shown below.

android-screen-capture-ddmsStep Four: To take a picture of your current screen, select your device in the list and click Device –> Screen Capture. You’ll then see a high resolution screenshot of your device’s screen!

android-screen-capture-capture


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5 responses to “How to Take Screenshots of an Android-based Phone”

  1. Dark Maverick Avatar
    Dark Maverick

    The app 'screenshot' makes this process a lot simpler, granted you need root access, but that's becoming commonplace. You can even set it to take the screenshot after you shake the phone once you start the app, or have a timer set. The picture quality comes in two options which is useful, the only problem I have encountered thus far is inconsistencies in the colors of the screenshot, but these are very minor.

  2. Dark Maverick Avatar
    Dark Maverick

    The app 'screenshot' makes this process a lot simpler, granted you need root access, but that's becoming commonplace. You can even set it to take the screenshot after you shake the phone once you start the app, or have a timer set. The picture quality comes in two options which is useful, the only problem I have encountered thus far is inconsistencies in the colors of the screenshot, but these are very minor.

  3. […] a non-rooted phone the process to take screenshots is pretty convoluted. It involves downloading the Android SDK and running the DDMS, which isn’t very intuitive. On […]

  4. Rich C Downey Avatar

    I thought it was built in, I accidentally found it one day hold the back button and hit  the home button. 

    Is this a feature of my Samsung charge or a feature of Droid 2.2.1

  5. kuriandungu Avatar
    kuriandungu

    Thanks for the I was able to take 1080p screenshots from my phone. The article is great. cheers.

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