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It’s come up a few times where I’ve needed to get a screen shot from my iPhone.  Turns out there are two ways to do it, one of which is built into the phone.

Easiest way is to hold down the home button and press the power button.  You’ll hear the shutter sound and the screen shot will be saved into your camera roll.  Piece of cake. You’ll still have to get it from your phone to your computer, but that’s not too tough.

A captured screen shot on the iPhone

A captured screen shot on the iPhone

If you happen to have a Mac there’s another option, but it requires you installing a little bit of software.  Ok, it’s a big piece of software.  But it allows you to take screen captures more quickly and they’re easier to put on your computer.

First, you’ll need to download the iPhone SDK.  It may be overkill if all you’re wanting to do is capture a couple of screen shots, but it’s worth it if you’ll be doing this often.

Once you get the SDK installed run xCode and click on the Organizer menu item under the Window menu.  Plug in your iPhone and it should show up on the left side along with several tabs.  Click on the screen shot tab which should be the far right.

Screen Shot taken in XCode Organizer

Screen Shot taken in XCode Organizer

You should see a list of any screen shots you’ve taken on the left side, although it’s  probably empty for you right now. On the right side is the current screen shot, also probably blank right now.  Click on the Capture button and whatever is on the screen of your iPhone will show up, both on the right side in full resolution and a thumbnail on the left.

One bonus of using the SDK is that you can capture screen shots that you wouldn’t be able to directly from the phone. Say you wanted a screen shot of the lock screen while your phone is charging for some reason. You can do that.  You can capture a screen shot while it’s off, although you’ll just get  a black image.  Or you could capture while watching video.

iPhone lock screen while charging

iPhone lock screen while charging

One catch that I came across is that it doesn’t seem possible to drag one of the thumbnails into another folder to save it.  And spending years in Windows left me looking for a save option which wasn’t there.  Turns out I was trying to make it too difficult.  You can drag the large image on the right to whatever folder you want to save it in so you’ll just have to click on the thumbnail first and then drag from the large image.

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