While rooted Android users have been taking screenshots on their phones for a while now, stock, non-rooted owners have been left out of the fun (there are some notable exceptions to this rule, like the EVO 4G). No longer, according to Paul O'Brien, one of the visionaries in the Android community, who posted the following in reply to Cyanogen (aka Android god):


We haven't been able to confirm what exactly changed in 2.3.3, but according to Android Central, screenshots are now possible without root "because of some changes in the way the SurfaceFlinger service handles what it captures from the framebuffer."

This newly uncovered fact means that all phones running Android 2.3.3 and above should be able to take screenshots regardless of whether they're rooted or not.

To be clear, this doesn't mean Google has implemented screenshot-taking functionality in the OS (at least not yet), but it does mean that users will be able to download screenshot-taking apps that support this method from the Market and use them without having to engage in any tinkering first. The question is, which app will be first to the finish line?

Source: @PaulOBrien, Android Central

Jaroslav Stekl
Jaroslav Stekl is a tech enthusiast whose favorite gadgets almost always happen to be the latest Android devices. When he's not writing for Android Police, he's probably hiking, camping, or canoeing. He is also an aspiring coffee aficionado and an avid moviegoer.

  • Josh

    You don't need to root your phone to apply the 2.3.3 update manually...

    • PeterF

      For the Nexus phones you don't, but for all others you do.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      You're right, Josh. I've taken out Jaroslav's blurb about that altogether. N1 and NS's bootloader allows for signed updates without root no problem.

  • http://mindmirror007.blogspot.com/p/home.html alchemist007

    I have unrooted Nexus One with 2.3.3 but none of the apps doesn't work yet!

    • SarcasticOne

      i have the same problem :(
      none of them work...

      • SarcasticOne

        nvm, saw that the apps need to be updated

  • ari-free

    yay...my gosh. This was one of the most bone dead 'features' of Android.

  • spyder

    since when is the Evo 4G the exception to the rule? None of the 3 Evos I've had could take screenshots without rooting (I've had a #0001, #0003 and #0004 model) and none of my friends either. I've heard some guys were able to do it, but I never believed the one or two guys that claimed they could.

  • PhoneUser

    Well, halle-frigging-lujah!

    It's about damn time. This has been driving me nuts in doing reviews and comparisons.

  • bajica

    galaxy s can take screenshots since froyo update (hold back button, after 2 seconds press home button, u will hear "camera" sound if done correctly)

  • Simon Belmont

    Woot! AOSP Android 2.3.3 out for the Sprint HTC Hero today.

    Of course, by definition, if I am using that, I AM rooted. I use ShootMe all the time anyway!

  • iPeck

    yeah very nice, but afaik NO ONE developed an app for taking screenshots without root :( Sad because it's been a while...

  • Erica l.

    Well, I have been looking and researching, no free, non-root apps for 2.3.3 ANYWHERE.