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Five useful things you can do with your phone or tablet’s screen capture feature

Taking screengrabs of things on your phone is really useful. We’ve gotten used to doing it on our iPhones for ages now, stumbled across the fact that most Android phones running 2.2 Froyo can do it (albeit with a bit of a workaround) and we’re pleased to learn than you can do this natively with phones and tablets running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

We’ve yet to see this simple but uber-useful feature make it to the Windows Phone platform or anywhere else just yet. But until that happens, here’s our five most frequently used that we use the old ‘hold the menu button and click power’ thing for the most.

1. Take pictures of maps for offline access

Yes you can do this on Android phones with versions of Google Maps above 5.7 – Under Settings > Labs you’ve got the option to pre-cache sections of maps for save map information for offline viewing.

In our experience this isn’t an entirely stable feature (it is an optional Labs setting after all) and you can only currently pre-cache ten times. Also, information such as satellite ands traffic layers won’t be included.

Using the screen capture function of your phone however you can take as many pictures of Google Maps as you like, with whatever layers you’ve got running at once – transport links, terrain, satellite view, you name it.

Of course you’ll just be looking at a static, non-interactable version of a map, but it’s really useful if you’re going somewhere where you’re not going to get much signal or GPS action.

2. Prove your gaming prowess

If you’re not bothered about signing up for Game Centre, Feint or Scoreloop but you want to prove to your mates that you’ve five starred every Angry Birds level, then a simple screengrab of your efforts and post to Facebook ought to suffice.

3. Zoom in on photos, screen grab, zoom in again

Frustrated that you can’t zoom in any further on a picture? Then simply zoom all the way in, take a screen grab and then zoom in on that screen grab and so on. Of course, having a handy photo editing tool will allow you to do this in greater detail.

4. Snap text messages, gather evidence of harassment or bullying  

If you’re getting abusive or threatening text messages then it might be an idea to screengrab and document any evidence if you’re thinking of taking legal action. This way you can save the images (i.e. hard evidence) before having the other person’s number blocked from your phone.

A more vindictive spin on this would be you taking snapshots of drunken texts from an ex and posting them on Facebook. We’re not qualified relationship counsellors but we’d recommend not doing this.

5. Take a picture of someone else’s face for oh-so-hilarious face-mashing

A variation on the Face-Swapping trend that we started last year is the ability to face-mash your friend’s eyes, nose, mouth (or any body part you desire) onto your own face for some hilarious police profile/exquisite corpse-style shenanigans. Ok so this point isn’t actually that useful. But it is pretty funny.


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