2012-06-21

Having Trouble Taking a Screenshot on your iPhone/iPad? Here's the solution


Recently I've acquired an iPhone 4S that I use for my work.  As a developer, I often need to take screenshots of what is displayed on my device.  The iPhone user's manual states:
"Press and release the On/Off button and the Home button  at the same time. The screenshot is added to your Camera Roll album."
Sounds easy enough.  However, I encountered a problem when I tried to take my first screenshot. After following these simple instructions, my phone would not take the image!  Instead, it would lock my phone each time I pushed these buttons together.  I tried again and again, but with the same results each time. What was the deal?!

However, there was good news. After a bit of searching, I eventually found a support post on Apple.com (see here) where another user and his fellow employees were experiencing the same problem.  Eventually, someone found a way to solve the problem.

The easiest way to take a guaranteed screenshot is to follow these  rather specific steps.


  1. Press and hold the power button.
  2. Tap the home button.  (The image will be saved.)
  3. Release the home button.


After posting this solution on AskDifferent and a bit of discussion, I wanted to further experiment a just to get a better understanding of this problem.  It turns out there are two other methods that will give you a screenshot.

Option #2

  1. Press and hold the home button.
  2. Press and hold the power button.
  3. Release the home button.  (Image is saved)
  4. Release the power button.


Option #3

  1. Press and hold the power button.
  2. Press and hold the home button.
  3. Release the power button.  (Image is saved)
  4. Release the home button.


It was the logical fourth, and final, sequence of operation that does not work and would lock the device every time.


  1. Press and hold the home button.
  2. Tap and release the power button. (iOS locks the device)
  3. Release the home button.


This might be a bug or it may be intentional.  It seems that that I, and numerous others, have been 'tapping' the power button, while holding the home.  When trying to press and release both buttons quickly, this goes unnoticed and would lock our devices.

This is an easy fix so long as you are aware of the scope of the problem.  I assume this behavior is true for the iPad and possibly all other iOS devices. Let me know if this helps or if you've seen alternative behavior with either the iPhone 4/4S or any other iOS device.