Last Updated: June 5th, 2012

In what will probably be the last melting drop of the Ice Cream Sandwich leaks (oh the puns), we wanted to highlight one highly desired little feature ICS is finally going to bring to Android after all these years - native screenshot capabilities. If you thought 2 years was a long time for Apple to implement copy/paste... let's just say Google definitely has that record beat.

Update 10/18/11: Confirmed during the ICS unveiling:

wm_10-18-2011 9-36-30 PM wm_10-18-2011 9-36-53 PM

Users of some Samsung, HTC, and other devices have already been enjoying this feature for some time thanks to manufacturer additions, but based on what we've seen so far (and we've seen quite a few things), the Galaxy Nexus will be able to take screenshots without the need for any external apps, root, carrier mods, or other nonsense - support for it is now baked into the core of ICS (I wonder if it tastes like caramel).

Just press VolDn+Power and voila:


Digging deeper, we have two apps that are doing the heavy lifting called screencap and screenshot. Check them out:

usage: screenshot [-s soundfile] filename.png
   -s: play a sound effect to signal success
   -i: autoincrement to avoid overwriting filename.png


[-hp] [FILENAME]
   -h: this message
   -p: save the file as a png.
If FILENAME ends with .png it will be saved as a png.
If FILENAME is not given, the results will be printed to stdout.

And there you have it - screenshots in ICS without root.

Update: Apparently, these binaries are also present in Honeycomb. The difference is starting with ICS we should be able to use them by pressing two buttons without needing root (unless Google yanks this out of the final release for some reason).

With less than 24 hours left till the unveiling, I feel like it's Christmas Eve. Can you feel all the excitement in the air?

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • ben dover

    just like a real ice cream sandwich; once I have my mind on it, i'm not happy until I have it!

  • Tkun

    Awesome. This OS update is turning out to be AMAZING. I can't wait for tomorrow's event!

  • Pedro

    Yeaaaah! I can eve sleep... COME ON google Claus! Bring it!

    • alucard9114

      leave out milk and cookies for google clause!

  • Fahad

    I'm guessing video recording will be a bit much to ask?

    • xeeshan

      Now that would be something :)

      • KevinC

        If you are rooted, check out the app in the market called Screencast. Free demo and paid version. Works great.

  • http://Www.grupoandroid.com Santiemanuel

    These files (screenshot and screencap) are on the xoom. I used them to get screenshot with Focus key on my milestone 2

  • Max

    Cyanogenmod 7 does this very well too

    • papoose34328

      with just pressing the power button!

  • Steven

    Tomorrow night will be nice... Whole bunch of Android stuff and new Tosh.0. :D

  • PhineasJW

    "And we're rolling out Ice Cream Sandwich to all Nexus owners starting today!"

    ...Wake me up. I'm dreaming.

    • borring

      Where did you read that?

      • Nexuz-Uno

        He didn't. He's "dreaming". (hoping)

  • yourissues

    This is yet another amazing addition to our beloved Android.

  • Jeano

    When are they send out the updates?

  • Jk12

    I hope there's more to IcS than this and updated music, and photo, and etc. I can get this and better via 3rd party. ICS is like windows updating IE. Who cares. Where's the real innovation?

    • MT

      Well there's the obvious stuff, like a slightly new notification system, and the big three (dual core support, onscreen controls, better multitasking).

      Bottom line is, it'll be hard to name something in ICS that wasn't upgraded from gingerbread

    • grimlockd

      I agree. I'm not all that impressed by these ICS leaks. Let's hope these leaks are just minor details and the big stuff has yet to be revealed.

  • ocdtrekkie

    Here's hoping for a rapid Xoom rollout! (Though I know us Verizon tablet owners get the short stick on update speed.)

  • Bunie

    I dont think google will take it out, but i suspect people like Motorola will take it out of their roms.

  • G.C

    Roll it out for my epic 4g touch!!! Fuck IOS 5 !!!! Lol

  • Tkun

    Thank goodness my Samsung Fascinate has an official Cyanogenmod build. As soon as CM9 comes along, I get a freshly wrapped Ice Cream Sandwich!

  • taylord

    Release the Galaxy Nexus before Christmas, Sammy. Plex?

  • Rilgon Arcsinh

    Can you feel all the excitement in the air?

    No, since there's not going to be any ICS-powered devices with a hardware QWERTY keyboard any time in the foreseeable future. :(

    • andy kailhofer

      I agree. Give me a real keyboard. A real 5-row qwerty, like the G1 had. The G2's keyboard wasn't that useful until we got keymap files to type ` and \ and |! Love my G2 with CM7.1 tho. I'm looking for hardware graphics accel in ICS, and phones with scads of RAM.

    • Freak4Dell

      Get a phone that's already supported by the CM devs. They'll have CM9 rolled out soon enough, I'm sure.

  • Marco

    Eh. I'm glad it's finally being included in ics, but I'm really not impressed. I was always surprised to hear that my friends phones couldn't do this, when my buggy LG G2x always could. Just push power and home and voila! Instant screenshot to help me document my issues.

    Hell, might even be the only thing the G2x got right.

    • Eggcake

      I agree. I'm surprised they include it this late...it's easy to implement but very useful and should be standard in every mobile OS.

  • lolobabes

    yes honeycomb has this already without root.

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

      Pure Honeycomb doesn't have it without root.

  • Curt

    Hold down the task switcher button in the system bar on Honeycomb. All ready plumben in quite nicely. Settings are in the setting app as you'd expect

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

      It's not a standard Android feature - I'm guessing you have a Transformer.

  • Reagy

    Let me get this straight, Android hasn't had this standard feature of iOS for how many years now? Thought it would be simple to implement, obviously not.

  • RJ

    CM7 already has this. However, I think they are paying attention to what others are doing. This is good, part of the reason I wouldn't install install CM7 on a Nexus phone (well until google doesn't support the updates).

  • Chris

    The Galaxy SGS II also has this feature built in press the HOME button and POWER button at the same time.

  • Simon Belmont

    The APIs for screenshot taking were actually present in one of the Gingerbread point updates. I believe it was Android 2.3.3.

    That is why screenshots work on HTC Sense 3.0 without root. If you had a vanilla Android 2.3.3, on say your unrooted Nexus One, you would still need to install a picture taking app like ShootMe. Now, the app is built into ICS. Cool stuff, indeed.

  • Randy

    What's so great about taking screenshots of your phone. Sounds retarded to me.

  • AN

    Does anyone besides product reviewers really care about screenshots?

  • RS

    actually the screenshot capability of android phones(using a Galaxy S) was already present since FroYo :)

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

      For the 15th time, we're not talking about manufacturer additions. This is pure Android.

  • http://www.bluesnews.com Ahmad

    Exactly the point, no 3rd party stuff here... Native Google Android.