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3 ways to capture whatever is on your iPhone's screen

Screenshots are commonplace, but you can do so much more than capture a single screen.
Written by Jason Cipriani, Contributing Writer
Yellow iPhone 14 Plus on wooden background
Image: Jason Cipriani/ZDNET

Screenshots are an easy and convenient way to capture whatever's on your phone's screen and then share or refer to it at a later time. And while taking a screenshot might seem like a very basic feature, it can actually be a fairly complicated process, depending on how much you want to get out of it. 

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For example, did you know you can take a scrolling screenshot of an entire webpage or email thread? It's possible! Below, I'll walk you through the basics as well as some of the lesser-known screenshot features of your iPhone. 

How to take a screenshot on your iPhone

1. Use the right button combination

If you have an iPhone that lacks a home button, you can take a screenshot by pressing the side button on the right edge and the volume up button at the same time. A quick press of both buttons will suffice. 

If your iPhone has a home button, then press the side button and the home button at the same time. 

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You'll know it's worked when you see your screen flash and then a small thumbnail of your screen shows up in the bottom-left corner. 

You can continue using your iPhone, navigating to another screen to take another screenshot (which will omit the thumbnail), swipe the thumbnail off the side of your screen, or tap on it to edit, share or take a scrolling screenshot. 

What's a scrolling screenshot? I'm glad you asked. 

2. Take a scrolling screenshot on your iPhone and save it as a PDF

You can use the scrolling screenshot feature in a few different apps on your iPhone, such as Safari, the Mail app, or when viewing a document in the Files app. 

When you're viewing one of those specific items, the process of capturing the full page starts with taking a traditional screenshot and then selecting the thumbnail. 

At the top of the next screen are two options: Screen and Full Page. Select Full Page

On the right side of the screen, you'll see a very long thumbnail of the entire webpage, email or document to show you a glimpse of what's been captured. 

Also: How to use Siri to take photos with your iPhone

If you need to trim down how much of the page is included, select the Crop tool at the top of the screen and make your adjustment. 

When you select Done, you'll be asked if you want to save the screenshot as a PDF to the Files app, and then you'll be asked to select where in the Files app you want it saved. 

Scrollable screenshots are cool and all, but what about taking a screen recording? Well, it's possible. 

Image: Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/ZDNET

3. Create a screen recording on your iPhone

The first thing you'll need to do is make sure the Screen Recording button is added to your iPhone's Control Center. To do that, open the Settings app, select Control Center, and then tap the green button with the plus icon next to Screen Recording if it's not already listed in the Included Controls section. 

Next, navigate to the app or screen where you want to start recording. If you have an iPhone that lacks a home button, swipe from the top-right corner of your screen to view Control Center. If your iPhone has a home button, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to access Control Center. 

Locate the Screen Recording button. You can tap on it to trigger a countdown timer to start recording your screen, or long-press on the button to display more options, including the ability to share your screen in a third-party app such as Twitch or Slack. If you just want to save your recording as a video file, select Photos from the list of apps. 

Also: How to get the most out of your iPhone's new lock screen

Another option you'll find on the options page is the ability to capture audio using your iPhone's microphone. This would allow you to narrate what you're doing if you're trying to teach someone how to do something on their phone. 

When you're done recording, you can either go back into Control Center and tap on the Screen Recording icon again (which will be red this time), or tap on the status bar at the top of your iPhone and then select Stop from the prompt.

Image: Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/ZDNET

Where do I find screenshots after I take them? 

To view your basic screenshots, open the Photos app on your iPhone. The same goes for any screen recordings you take. The only exception is with scrollable screenshots, which are saved to the Files app. 

How do I share a screenshot? 

You have a few options. You can tap on the screenshot's thumbnail, crop or edit it, and then tap the Share button. If you need to share it later, view the screenshot in the Photos app and use the share feature from there. 

How do I take a scrolling screenshot in apps that don't support it? 

I like to use a free app called Tailor. You can remove the watermark that's put at the bottom of the combined image with an in-app purchase if it annoys you. The key to using Tailor is to take your screenshots so that there are areas that overlap. This allows the app to work its magic and combine the images without any weird rendering issues. 

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