In the early days of Android taking a screenshot on a phone or tablet was a pain, but now the ability to take a screenshot is baked into the OS. In this article we show you how to take a screenshot on an Android smartphone or tablet, including the Samsung Galaxy S6, HTC One M9, Sony Xperia Z3+, LG G4, Nexus 6 and other Android phones and tablets. Plus, how to record a screencast in Lollipop. See all Android how-tos.

For the vast majority of Android phones and tablets, to take a screenshot you simply press and hold the power and volume-down buttons together. There is a slight knack to this action: press the power button too soon and the display will switch off; press the volume-down button too soon and your screenshot may be marred by an onscreen volume slider. After a few seconds the screen will flash and a notification will appear in the drop-down bar at the top of the screen, giving you options to delete, share or edit the image. You can also access the screenshot from your Gallery.

If your device has a physical home button, as is the case with the Samsung Galaxy S6, you may find there is a different method for taking a screenshot. On the Galaxy S6 you press and hold the power and home buttons together. See also: How to run Android apps on your PC or laptop

Android phones and tablets often have more than one way to take a screenshot. For example, the S6 lets you take a screenshot with a swipe of the palm. You can turn on this functionality in Settings, Motions and gestures, Palm swipe to capture, although we find the power-home button method works much more reliably,

Screenshot Samsung Galaxy S6

And with the Sony Xperia Z3+ if you press the power button to access the power options menu, you'll find an option not only to take a screenshot but to record the screen.

Screencasts are possible in all devices running Android Lollipop, while earlier versions of the Android OS require a phone or tablet to be rooted and then a screencast app to be installed. Although Lollipop supports screencasts, unless the manufacturer has included a way to access the functionality - as Sony has done - you'll need to install an app. We use the free Lollipop Screen Recorder, and you'll find full details on how to use it to record a screencast in Lollipop in our article How to record your screen in Lollipop - no root required.

Screenshot functionality has only been a standard feature of Android since Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. If you're running Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, KitKat, Lollipop or even Android M then the above steps should work for you. You can see which version of Android you're running by going to Settings, About device.

If you're running an older version of Android such as 2.3 Gingerbread or 2.2 Froyo then you'll need to download an app to take a screenshot. This is where things get a little confusing as the effectiveness of the screenshot apps on offer vary from smartphone to smartphone.

If you're willing to pay for an app to enable you to take screenshots on your Android smartphone - and you don't want to go through the hassle of rooting your Android device - then you should try the app No Root Screenshot It (£2.99). Bear in mind that "This application will instruct you to download and install a free desktop application on your Windows or Mac. Once installed, you must run the desktop application with your phone attached to your computer. This will enable screenshots on your phone.”

If you're unwilling to pay for a screenshot app, the only advice we can offer is to search the Google Play store and use a system of trial and error to find an app that works well with your device.

How to take a screenshot on Samsung Galaxy

Press and hold power and home buttons together. Alternatively, enable the ability to take a screenshot with a palm swipe in Settings, Motions & gestures, Palm swipe to capture.

How to take a screenshot on HTC

Press and hold power and volume down buttons together.

How to take a screenshot on Sony Xperia

Press and hold power and volume down buttons together. Alternatively, tap the power button to access options to take a screenshot or screencast in the Power options menu.

How to take a screenshot on LG

Press and hold power and volume down buttons together.

How to take a screenshot on Nexus

Press and hold power and volume down buttons together.

How to take a screenshot on Motorola

Press and hold power and volume down buttons together.

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