How to Take a Screenshot on an iOS Device with a Single Screen Tap

There are many reasons why you might want to take a screenshot on your computer or smartphone. One of the main ones for those who love taking pictures is to crop a photo quickly (just pinch to zoom, take a snapshot of the photo, and a new cropped version of the photo will appear in your “All Photos” list.) The problem I was having recently was that I kept putting my iPhone 7 Plus into sleep mode instead of taking a screen shot when I pressed the sleep and home buttons at the same time (that’s the traditional way to take a snapshot on an iOS device). It seems more difficult now for me than it was when I used an iPhone 5S as my main phone.

Below is a step-by-step procedure for setting up your iOS device so that you can take a screenshot in one screen tap (well, I should probably write “screen push” or “extended tap.” If you have a chance to try it out, you’ll know exactly what I mean.


The AssistiveTouch icon shown in the bottom right of an iPhone’s 5S screen, which makes it possible to take screen shots (and do other tasks), with two quick taps. Devices with 3D touch can do the same action with just one press.

I was also looking for a way to “bookmark” my favorite podcasts while on the go by taking a screenshot of the episode that’s playing in the Podcasts app. Taking a screenshot shows the exact place in the audio file or stream where I would like to return in the future. I was hoping Siri could help me with this, but I don’t think there is a way to take a screenshot using Siri (please let me know if you know of a way to do that). When I asked Siri to take a screen shot, she told me: “That may be beyond my abilities at the moment.”

Here are the steps to take a Screenshot on an iOS Device with a single Screen Tap (Please note: A Device with 3D Touch is needed for a single screen tap, but any iOS device with Assistive Touch should work fine if you are willing to tap twice):

STEP 1: Go to Settings>General>Accessibility. (See Fig. 1)

Fig. 1: Accessibility

Fig. 1: Accessibility

STEP 2A: Scroll Down to AssistiveTouch and Turn it On. (See Fig. 2 and Fig. 3)

Fig. 1: Accessibility

Fig. 2

STEP 2B: One More Thing Re: 3D Touch

If you want to make the 3D Touch “Push” action more sensitive (it takes less effort to make a screenshot), choose Light from the “Light, Med, Firm” scale in the 3D Touch menu. I find that Light is perfect whether I’m holding the phone or whether it is in a holder/mount.

STEP 3: Turn on AssistiveTouch, then press Customize Top Level Menu. (See Fig. 3)

Fig. 3

Fig. 3

STEP 4: Under 3D Touch Action, Choose Screenshot from the menu items. (See Fig. 4)

Fig. 4: Choose Screenshot under 3D Touch Action
Fig. 4

STEP 5: You will then see a white button with a black square background around it (about the same size as an app icon) appear on every screen you use (See Fig. 5). When you touch it, it gets much more contrasty, and it will then fade back to about 20% opacity. You can place it just about anywhere along the border of your device’s screen. Quick Tip: You can delete an app in the space where you place the button (or reorganize your apps in iTunes so that it doesn’t overlap with any of your apps).


Fig. 5: Notice the black square with the white button inside on the bottom right of my iPhone 5S’s screen. It gets much lighter when not pressed. Photo © Andrew Darlow

STEP 6: If the white button is annoying or you just want it to temporarily disappear, you can set up a triple-click action to turn it on and off under Accessibility>Accessibility Shortcut (it’s the last item in the list, as shown in Fig. 6). Then choose AssistiveTouch and triple click to your heart’s content!

Fig. 5: AssistiveTouch under the Accessibility Shortcut menu

Fig. 6: AssistiveTouch under the Accessibility Shortcut menu

If You Don’t Have 3D Touch on Your Device

Many iOS devices don’t have 3D Touch (you can tell that you don’t have it if the 3D Touch Action line is not shown on the screen in Fig. 4). However, you can achieve almost the same result, but you will need to press the screen twice. Once to open the Assistive Touch control (by pressing the white button) and once to choose Screenshot. You won’t be able to see the Screenshot icon by default in the menu (shown in Fig. 4), but you can add it quickly by pressing on any of the icons there (or add a new one by pressing the + key). Then choose Screenshot from the list of items.

Here’s an example of a screen shot captured during the show (at 11:28) from one of my favorite Podcasts, Mac Geek Gab (I highly recommend subscribing to the show (or just listening online) if you use any Mac or iOS device). The show is packed with practical advice, tech tips, gear reviews, etc.

A screenshot from the Mac Geek Gab podcast.

A screenshot from the Mac Geek Gab podcast.

I hope that this was helpful to you and I welcome your comments!

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