Make Android screenshots without root

Sometimes you can learn useful things from a bad thing happening. Yesterday came the news that 21 popular apps on the Android market had been copied. They were uploaded again to the market with similar sounding names but loaded with a trojan.

That installed a rootkit on your phone to get root access and then sent private data to a remote server in the US. All the apps have been removed, and the developer accounts banned but of course it’s a bad day for Android. 🙁

Anyway, this Symantic post explains how to know if you’ve been unlucky enough to download one of these apps. Open up Settings->Applications->Running Services and look for “DownloadManageService”.

I did that and found a service I didn’t recognise, ScreenCaptureService. What? In the past I had to root my phone to take screenshots. How do I do it now? A quick search and I found this thread. Apparently pressing the back key and power key starts the service and this post explains that pressing Back and Home takes a screenshot! This is a Froyo, (Android 2.2), feature and a welcome one but I wonder why it’s not documented?

Screenshots are stored on your SD card, in a ScreenCapture directory. The screenshot above was created with it. No root required!

Author: Donncha

Donncha Ó Caoimh is a software developer at Automattic and WordPress plugin developer. He posts photos at In Photos and can also be found on Google+ and Twitter.

9 thoughts on “Make Android screenshots without root”

    1. Ah, thanks. That’s good to know, especially as people may come here looking for this and wonder why the service isn’t running on their phone!

  1. Hello there mate. Thanks for this information but the main reason for my dropping by is to thank you for the WP-Cache WP plugin you wrote and which we used in some of our websites. Thanks very much. Paku.

  2. I just tried it on my SGSII and it didn’t work, but I managed to do it before, somehow… I have a folder in the gallery called “ScreenCapture” with an image of my lockscreen in it.

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