Android Screenshots using a Mac


I am happy to be proven wrong but there is no simple way to take screen shots on an Android Phone without installing some rooting software which I am not willing to do. This instruction guide was written using a MAC however most of the steps are similar on a windows based computer.

There is however a way to do this. This is time consuming the first time however gets easier. The only downside is that to use this the phone must be connected to a computer; not a problem to show off most apps; it does however limit the use of screen shots with location based services. It also means that you can’t spontaneously take screenshots.


1. Download the Android SDK (Android Software Developers Kit)

The android software developers kit can be downloaded from the Android Developers page. This can be found here ; there are both Windows and Android versions of the application.

2. Activate USB Debugging on the Phone.

The next stage is to activate USB debugging on your Android phone. Go to the main menu -> settings -> applications -> development -> and select “USB debugging”.

3. Connect the phone to the computer using USB.

Plug the phone into the computer using the USB lead.

4. Open the Android Software Developers Kit

Open the folder that contained the SDK that was downloaded earlier. This is a zip file however you MAC will have probably already unpacked it.

Open the programme; this is the Android file located within the tools folder.

There is then a need to download packages to get the SDK to work with different Android versions. This can be done by going to available programmes within the software; you can either check the box for the android version you have installed on your phone; or do as I did and install everything for maximum compatibility. You only need to install SDK Platform Android for the version of Android that you have.

If you have selected everything this will take a while. If you are like me at this point you will go and make a cup of tea!

You can then close the SDK application.

5. Open the Debug Application – the final step!

This can be found in the SDK folder that was downloaded in step one. The application can be found in tools -> DDMS

After a slight delay the following window will appear:

Ensure that your phone is selected; click on the phone under the name box (unless you have multiple phones selected there will be only one!).

You can then take screenshots by going to Device -> Screen Capture on the top of the screen or use the shortcut (? + S ).

You will then be presented with a screenshot from your phone and you can either save the image or copy it.

The resulting screenshots are extremely high quality, see below (click for full version).

Once you have completed this once you only need to activate USB debugging, connect your phone, and open the debugging application.

Hope this helps and please contact me if you find any mistakes or this doen’t work for you.