Blog Post

2 Ways to Take Screenshots From Your iPhone

Ever wanted to know how to get great screenshots from your iPhone? It’s really easy. With the iPhone 2.0 software, you can simply hold down the Home button and press the top (on/off) button. The screen will flash and the screenshot will be saved to your iPhoto library. That’s quick and simple, for sure, but to actually use the screenshots on your computer you still have to transfer them.

You can also grab screenshots directly from your computer while plugged into your iPhone or iPod Touch. First, you have to download and install the iPhone SDK. Don’t worry, it’s free. You just have to have the desktop software tools that come with the SDK.

Open Xcode and open the Organizer window (from the Window menu). Plug in your iPhone or iPod Touch and in a few seconds, it should appear in the list of devices on the left. The first time you plug in your iPhone or iPod Touch you will be asked if you want to use that device for development.

Once you’ve got your device setup, just click the “Screenshot” tab in the Organizer window and you can capture screenshots from your device. You can capture literally any screenshot, including the lock screensaver, video as it’s playing, even as you’re holding a button down.

It can come in very handy when writing tutorials or taking screenshots of your application or mobile website for use on your marketing materials.

27 Responses to “2 Ways to Take Screenshots From Your iPhone”

  1. also should mention that you must drag and drop the screen shots from Organizer to your desktop (or other location in Finder) – there is no “Save images” option in Organizer.

  2. i’ve downloaded xcode and can do still screen grabs with ease.
    I need to however do a video screen grab of an application on my iphone for a tutorial i’m working on.
    Any ideas?

  3. I second the OP.

    According to this post ( the author says you could also directly blog a post to your wordpress blog via the iphone application of the same name. That said, it’s if you’ve a wordpress blog like this site.

    according to the author, once taking an image of a friend’s homepage on his iphone, hand the iphone back to him. he’ll think it’s hung or something like that. one of those cheap thrills. post #16 has detailed it already. lol.

  4. dm: You can use the first method to take a screenshot of your locked iPhone: Hold down the home button and quickly hit the power button on top. This will save it to your camera roll where you can email it or download it to your computer.

    Here’s a funny trick… Download and delete all the pictures from your iPhone, then take a screenshot of your locked iPhone. The next time someone asks to use it, open the picture and hand them the phone, then laugh as they try in vain to unlock it. This will work as long as it is the first picture in the camera roll, otherwise swiping right moves to the previous picture. They might notice the time isn’t right and the ‘slide to unlock’ isn’t being animated…

  5. Is there any way to take picture of the locked startup screen, with the wallpaper pic? I tried following the instructions to take screen shots with the Xcode iPhone Developer Tools, but I could not get it to take a picture of the locked screen with my wallpaper pic. It only takes the locked screen pic with the green battery icon on it, since it needs to be plugged in (and therefore, charging) to work. Any ideas? Thanks.

  6. Is there any way to take a picture of the locked screen WITH the wallpaper picture and NOT the green battery (charging) image. I need a pic of the phone with my wallpaper and I cannot figure out how to do it.


  7. A.H.J. Haarmans

    I have installed the iPhone SDK (more than 1200 MB!) on my Mac G5 with Mac OS-X 10.5.4 installed. I can open Xcode and I can open the Organizer. But when I connect my iPhone with my Mac, the Organizer window remains empty. I think it will not work on a PowerMac PPC, only an Intel Mac.

  8. Michael Jones

    Well I’m not gong to be picky about your wording, this is a great article for those who don’t know what screenshot options are available to them.

    I agree that each method has it’s place… the on-phone method of holding down the home + lock buttons is very handy for a quick screenshot of an error message, or to grab a shot of something displayed on the phone you want to retrieve later. (For example, I used it once to save a post I was writing when the website wouldn’t submit the form)

    Then the XCode method is great for doing step by step screenshots as you mentioned. This is particularly handy if you need to have images to show someone how to use an application, or if it is to be used for telephone support agents to assist a customer over the phone so they can actually see the interface without having to have a full iPhone or simulator in front of them.

    They both have their place, it just depends on the user’s needs.

  9. Taking the screenshot from Xcode simply allows you to take screenshots that you could not take on the iPhone itself, such as a screenshot while you’re holding down a button in an application. If you already have Xcode installed, it’s really not all that much work to open one program and take screenshots. But that’s just my opinion, of course. That’s why it’s great that there are multiple ways to get the job done, I suppose.

  10. Why require XCode? That is too much work. Instead, simply connect your iPhone to your computer via USB and launch the Image Capture application in your Applications folder. You can then download all pictures from your iPhone with one click of a button and then use the Preview app to edit them (unless you want to launch Photoshop).

  11. I moved the position of “computer” to make it more clear what I meant in the sentence. There is definitely a use for having screen shots on the iPhone, such as emailing support an error message, or noting something on a screenshot to send to a colleague.

  12. @Chris I am still using the image, and email isn’t the only way to send. There are plenty of apps in the App Store to get your images elsewhere without scaling them. I have not yet found a situation this didn’t work perfectly well in. Certainly it’s better than launching XCode to achieve such a simple function.

    Any which way, the “USE” statement is complete BS.

  13. Thanks for that! I totally agree, it’s much easier to have them on the desktop ready for use than to have to sync them first. And you can’t grab any screen using the two iPhone buttons, it doesn’t work in any situation.

    @ Matt: If you email it, it get’s scaled down.

  14. “but to actually use the screenshots you still have to transfer them to your computer”. Talk about open ended, and outright untrue. What constitutes using in your view?

    Having taken a screenshot on my iPhone using the 2.0 software I can manipulate the image and send it to just about any website, email it to a friend… I don’t see how this is not using it.