Quick Tip: Take a Precisely-Timed Screenshot on iPadOS

Sometimes getting the perfect thing on-screen to capture can be tricky. Trying to hit the hardware button combination at just the right time leads to frustration and a photo library full of erroneous screenshots. Getting the right moment would be way easier if all you needed to do were simply lift your finger. Luckily, Apple has built just such a method into iPadOS.

You may not know that you can take a screenshot on an iPad using a gesture as an alternative to pressing the standard hardware buttons. Using a finger or Apple Pencil, just drag inward from the bottom left-hand corner to take a full-screen screenshot. I like to think of it as the opposite of Hot Corners in macOS, where you fling your mouse into a corner to activate an action.

Playing around with this gesture led me to discover today’s quick tip. If you don’t lift from the screen after swiping in, you’ll see that the screenshot UI appears, and the preview stays active. It isn’t until you release the gesture that the screenshot is saved and the markup controls pop in.

A cool byproduct of this method is that when you’re trying to capture a frame from a video, it keeps playing while the screenshot gesture has been started. Just set it up, wait for the perfect moment, and then lift. It’s way better than trying to scrub to the right frame or pause at the right moment with software controls that fade out.

See the gesture in action below and let me know if you find other neat uses for this.

(Video: Christopher Lawley)

Bonus: If you have a hardware keyboard connected to your iPad, the standard Mac keyboard shortcuts for screenshots work too. Give Command-Shift-3 (full-screen capture) and Command-Shift-4 (capture straight into crop mode) a try.

If the gesture isn’t working with your finger, check the Settings app to ensure it’s enabled and not just for the Apple Pencil. Go to Settings → General → Gestures → Allow Finger to Swipe from Corner’. I had to disable and re-enable it to get it to recognize my finger.


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