the ddms utility

Changes in the Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread source will allow applications to take screenshots without rooting your phone.  We've always been able to take screenshots using the SDK and the ddms utility (which you can see above), and some third-party manufacturer skins have enabled it -- both accidentally and on purpose. But with Android 2.3.3 it appears that applications will be able to do it without rooting on stock Android.  This is because of some changes in the way the SurfaceFlinger service handles what it captures from the framebuffer.  For more info, have a look here.  It's something that many users have been requesting, and security issues aside, something long available on most other smartphone platforms. (Wave to your screenshot-less Windows Phone friends, everybody!)

Of course we have to wait for 2.3.3 to filter down to everyone before we see apps take advantage of this for most phones.  But if you've rooted and are already rocking Gingerbread, it shouldn't be long before your favorite developer integrates this and any other small tweaks that come with the latest version.  Then again, you can use any of the methods on the Market to capture your screen if you're already rooted.  So goes Android's circle of life, I guess.  Hopefully, manufacturers get 2.3.3 pushed out soon and we all can enjoy. 

There are 30 comments

rustypixel says:

Well it's about time...

miniZ says:

So.. uhh. I missed how us Nexus S users take advantage of this.. Just download a screenshot app in the market? Or is it currently unable to be done?

Try it. I'm guessing that apps will need rebuilt against the new SDK to take advantage, but it's a change in the Android code itself so it's worth a try.

Coolaaron88 says:

ShootMe did it for free and it is in the Android Market

onixblack says:

Shoot me should only work for rooted phones but it works on my EVO 4G unrooted but it doesn't work on my friends Incredible unrooted.

plainbrad says:


Of course, most of us won't get 2.3.3 with out rooting ...

CareyOnly says:

This is what I've been waiting for! Gingerbread, come to ME =D

ushde says:

ShootMe works for me too for screen shots

onixblack says:


tim242 says:

I love ShootMe!

tim242 says:

I hate the damn spam filter!

moises1204 says:

you and i, this is becoming very annoying.

Thank goodness, installing the SDK and getting everything to work on a 64bit system was a major pain. I ended up downloading tons of files from the internet and searching random forums on how to fix it.

I wish Google would just implement this at the system level so it's not up to the developers to take advantage of it.

Why not Home + Power for screenshots globally? I love my phone, but it's fairly pathetic how far behind this functionality is.

hansonator says:

Um.. wha? We can do this with 2.2. On Galaxy S I9000 Bell/international versions.

No root, just stock Froyo. Hold back button and click home button.(I9000 has physical home button) Creates "screen capture" folder and saves. Little message appears on the screen "Screen capture saved". It shows up in the gallery.

Oh wow, I somehow managed to do this on my Vibrant once when the program was hanging. Doesn't seem to be easy to re-create while the phone is functioning normally with these capacitive buttons.

greenlink says:

my stock bell galaxy tab can take screen shots too. you hold the back button and click the power/sleep button to take a screenshot.

TaylorFox#AC says:

FINALLY! One of my biggest complaints since getting my Droid. I mean come on...the Blackberry I came from had this basic function.

IceDree says:

Finally Google , its about time !
I can take screen shots with my iPod Touch since 2007 !
Now the question is :
Is there any phone available in market gonna get this update , beside the Nexus phones ?

Unibrow says:

I'm sure people realize it but I've never seen any mention of this in these articles, but Evo users and users of some other devices have been able to take screen shots without root for some time. I've been using "screen shot it" and takes screenshots without root.

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chefkeyser says:

2.3.3 from aosp for the Hero this morning. Rockin'.

Isn't this a feature of FroYo on TouchWiz without root? Of course most of us have to root to get TouchWiz on our phones but you get the idea.

mrchrishill says:

I'm running 2.3.3 on my N1... so how do I take screen shots?

animus says:

I wish I had a Nexus S, then I wouldn't have to wait for the stupid phone manufacturers to update their retarded interfaces.

In the meantime I use the Android SDK method, (as shown here)

But, it is a pain having to plug in the USB cord and open up DDMS just to take screenshots - it would be nice to be able to take them on the go.

briankurtz79 says:

This should of been a native feature 2 years ago. I hope they do it right. My gf is an iPhone clone and I don't know how many times she had takein a screen shot and said"this is why iPhone is better". How annoying.

Impulses says:

I'm glad they're implementing this... Not an issue for me right now but if I ever decided to run a phone sans root I'd miss that feature.

fastoy says:

screen capture shortcut free ( in the Market works without being rooted. There's a donate version for $1.22 that has a "capture on shake" feature.

Working perfectly on my AT&T Captivate with FroYo. Just wish I could say the same for my GPS.

emp2011 says:

how do i take screenshots on my non rooted droid x?!!?1

Paulytm says:

I have a g 2 x and I just updated to 2.3 .3 and if I hold the home and hit the power button it takes a screenshot I have no program the system does it not rooted. It never did before on Froyo.