If you’ve just got an iPhone 12, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max, or 12 mini, and you’ve never owned an iPhone, some of the most basic tasks can be mind-boggling. Shutting down, force restarting, quitting apps, and even checking the percentage of battery power remaining sounds easy, but it’s not very intuitive for new iPhone owners. Another big question mark is screenshots, and there are several ways to take them.
Whichever option you use below to take a screenshot, the result is always the same: you will see a flash of light on the screen and the captured image will be reduced to a thumbnail in the lower left of the screen. This is true regardless of whether the screenshot is in portrait or landscape orientation. Taking multiple screenshots in quick succession will stack the thumbnails, but visually up to three, even though it could be any number above that.
Tapping on that thumbnail or group of thumbnails will open the screenshot editor, which includes plenty of tools for sharing images, adding annotations, cropping to different sizes, resizing parts of the images, and adding to shape. You can even unlock scrolling screenshots in the editor for capturing web pages.
: use side + volume up
On each of the iPhone 12 variants, the default way to take a screenshot is to quickly press the Volume Up button on the left side of the device and the Side button on the right at the same time. It must be a quick press (or squeeze). Otherwise, you may activate the screen with the power off, Medical ID, and Emergency SOS switches.
Option 2: Use Siri
If you’re looking for a more hands-off approach, turn to Siri. Just say ‘Hey Siri, screenshot’ or ‘Hey Siri, take a screenshot’ and Siri will take one for you. You can also long press the side button on the right side of your iPhone to activate Siri and verbally command it. If you are using Type to Siri with the shortcut on the side, just type “screenshot” and press “done” on the keyboard.
Option 3: Use Back Tap
New in iOS 14 is Back Tap, an accessibility feature that allows you to perform actions by simply tapping the back of your iPhone double or triple. Go to Settings -> Accessibility -> Touch -> Back Tap to set it for screenshots. Choose “Double Tap” or “Triple Tap” and place a check next to “Screenshot”. Then test it by double- or triple-tapping the back of your iPhone with one or two fingers.
Option 4: use voice control
Apple has given us a new way to communicate with the iPhone from iOS 13, and it’s called voice control. Before that, there was a Voice Control setting, but it’s hilariously bad by comparison.
With the newer voice control, when you want to use your iPhone with just your voice, you activate voice control and tell your iPhone what to do, such as navigate in an app. If voice control is active, you can also just say “Take screenshot” and a screenshot will capture the current screen. There are many ways to enable voice control; check out our collection of voice control to see them.
Option 5: Use AssistiveTouch
If you’d rather use just one hardware button instead of two, which makes it easier to take screenshots with one hand, you can use AssistiveTouch, an accessibility feature on your iPhone. You can also open AssistiveTouch from the Control Center and bypass all hardware buttons, but it’s a much slower process.
Both methods use the accessibility shortcut on your iPhone, so let’s set that up first.
Go to Settings -> Accessibility -> Accessibility Shortcut and make sure “AssistiveTouch” is checked. It is better if it is the only thing monitored. Otherwise, when you activate the shortcut, you will see a drop-down menu, where you then choose which checked item to use. If “AssistiveTouch” is the only item checked, that menu will not appear, saving you some time and energy.
Now to activate the accessibility shortcut, click the side button on your iPhone three times. You can also go to Settings -> Control Center and add the “Accessibility Shortcuts” control. To use the control, swipe down from the top right corner of the screen, tap the control you just added, choose AssistiveTouch and close the Control Center.
There is one last thing you need to set up before you can start using it. Well, you could use it right away by activating the accessibility shortcut, tapping the AssistiveTouch circle on the screen, “Device”, then “More,” then choosing “Screenshot,” but that’s too much work. Instead, you want to assign the screenshot tool to a gesture, such as tapping the AssistiveTouch circle once.
Go to Settings -> Accessibility -> Touch -> AssistiveTouch and then choose “Single-Tap”, “Double-Tap” or “Long Press” depending on how you want to take the screenshot after activating the accessibility shortcut. If you want to use “Single-Tap”, which is the fastest, tap that and change it from “Open Menu” to “Screenshot”, and close the settings.
Now click the side button three times or tap the Accessibility Shortcuts control in the Control Center and choose “AssistiveTouch”, and you will see the circle of AssistiveTouch appear on the screen. Tap that once (if you chose the one-tap action) and your iPhone will take a screenshot.
The gray circle for AssistiveTouch will disappear temporarily during each screenshot, so you won’t see that in your captured photos. When you are done taking screenshots, you can exit AssistiveTouch as you activated it.
Option 6: Use QuickTime on a Mac
Normally, QuickTime Player on macOS is a good option for recording your iPhone screen when you don’t want the red balloon showing the built-in iOS screen on many screens. However, it can also be used to take screenshots of your iPhone’s screen.
This is useful when the regular screenshot tool does not capture an element on the screen, such as a screenshot thumbnail or AssistiveTouch’s gray circle.
To do this, connect your iPhone 12, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max or 12 mini to your Mac via a Lightning to USB or Lightning to USB-C cable, depending on your Mac model and available ports. When you see the message “Unlock iPhone to Use Accessories” appear on your iPhone, unlock your iPhone with Face ID, Touch ID, or your passcode. You may then need to “trust” your computer for a data connection to work, which means pressing “Trust” on your iPhone and entering your passcode.
With all that out of the way, open QuickTime Player on macOS. When it opens, click “File” in the menu bar and then “New Movie Recording”.
Most likely, your Mac’s camera will turn on, so you’ll need to switch the input to your iPhone. In the video feed that opens, click the drop-down icon next to the record button, then choose your iPhone model as the “camera”.
The recording window should change to the screen of your iPhone. You can resize the window just like any other window on macOS, and it will adjust the screenshot’s resolution accordingly (it won’t be the same resolution as a screenshot taken directly on iOS).
To take a screenshot, make sure your mouse is not over the window (so you don’t capture the player controls), then use Command-Shift-5 to open the screenshot tool for macOS, go straight to window capture mode.
Now move your mouse, which should now be a camera icon, across the window. When you are done, click the left mouse button to take the image. However, it will take the image with a drop shadow. To avoid that and get a screenshot without drop shadow, more like you would take directly on iPhone, hold down the Option key while left-clicking the window.
After taking a screenshot, you will see a floating thumbnail similar to iOS’s; click on it to open a preview window to edit or share the screenshot immediately.
Screenshots are saved to your desktop by default, but you can change this after use Command-Shift-5. Click “Options” in the menu that appears and then choose another location to save screenshots. From here you can also disable the floating thumbnail and enable a timer. Below you can see the difference between the two types of window screenshots that macOS will take.
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