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!