How to Take a Picture of Your Mac or iPad Screen

A screenshot of a desktop viewing the Love It To Bits website.

I use a lot of screenshots when writing tutorials like these for the blog. Screenshots are essentially photos I have my Mac or iPad take of what ever is currently being displayed on my screen. Recently a friend sent me an email asking how I took screenshots on my Mac. They had a video slide show from a trip they recent took but the original photos where accidentally deleted. Their plan was to take screenshots of the video to recapture some of the photos they had lost (albeit in a lower quality than the originals).

Here's how you can quickly take screenshots on your Mac or iPad.

Screenshots on a Mac

There are a few different ways to take screenshots on the Mac and even some cool software that add additional features, but I still use the built in Keyboard Shortcut to get it done quick.

  • Take a picture of the entire screen: Hold down Command(⌘)+Shift and press 3.

You'll hear a sound like a camera taking a pictures and an image of your computer screen will be saved to your desktop. The file's name will be the date and time the screenshot was taken.

  • Take a picture of a portion of the screen: Hold down Command(⌘)+Shift and press 4.

The mouse cursor will turn into a crosshair (similar to a "+") and you can click and drag to select the portion of the screen you would like to take a picture of. When you release the mouse button you will hear the sound of a camera taking a picture and an image of that portion of the screen will be saved to your desktop. The file's name will be the date and time the screenshot was taken.

Screenshots in iOS

There is only one way to take a screenshot on an iPad or iPhone (technically 2 if you have Xcode on your Mac but we won't get into that here). It's a simple button press.

  • Press both the home button on the front of your device and the sleep button at the top at the same time.

You will hear the sound of a camera taking a picture and the screen will flash white. A copy of your iPad or iPhone screen will be saved to the Camera Roll. You can find it in either the Photos app or in the Camera app.

Extra Credit

On every Mac there is a built in program called Grab which you can find in Applications -> Utilities. Grab is designed to take screenshots and will allow you to take photos of just a single window or even do a time delayed screenshot.