How to Capture & Annotate iPad Screenshots

Updated on September 14, 2016
Jonathan Wylie profile image

Jonathan is a certified teacher who has taught in the UK and in the US. He now works as a Digital Learning Consultant.

A screenshot of my iPad homescreen
A screenshot of my iPad homescreen | Source

Why Screenshots?

iPad screenshots are useful for all kinds of reasons. Want to share a snapshot of your favorite apps? Take a screenshot. Got a new high score that you need to brag about? Take a screenshot. Need to create a step-by-step iPad tutorial? Take a whole bunch of screenshots! The list of reasons goes on and on and only serves to prove how useful it is to know how to do take an iPad screenshot. So, without further delay, here's how to do it!

How To Capture a Screenshot on an iPad

The actual process of taking a screenshot is easier than you might think, but it could ake you a few tries to perfect the technique. The following instructions work on all models of iPads, (and iPhones), so

  1. Begin by locating the home and power buttons on your device.
  2. Press and hold the home button and the power button at the same time for about a second, and then let go of both buttons.
  3. Your screen should briefly flash white, and if your volume is up, you will hear the click of a camera shutter to give you an audio confirmation that the screen capture was successful.

That's all there is to it. If you hold the buttons on for too long, your iPad will shutdown and restart, so make sure you only hold them long enough to take a screenshot. It is literally just a quick hold, then release.

Where are screenshots saved? Your iPad stores any screenshots you take in the Camera Roll of the Photos app. Simply tap the Photos app, then tap on Camera Roll to find your latest screen captures.

Press, Hold & Release the Power and Home Buttons

How to take an iPad Screenshot
How to take an iPad Screenshot

Annotating iPad Screenshots in the Photos App

Now that you know how to capture a screenshot, we can think about how to mark it up. There are several apps that you could use to annotate a screenshot on your iPad, but in iOS 10, Apple introduced annotation tools that are built-in to the Photos app on your iPad. So, before you install any third-party apps, take a look at the native options in iOS to see if they are good enough to do what you need.

To access the annotation tools, follow the directions below:

  1. Open the Photos app
  2. Choose the screenshot you want to work on
  3. Tap the image adjustment sliders in the top right-hand corner
  4. Tap the circle with the three dots
  5. Select Markup to access the annotation tools

There are a number of different digital tools that you can use to mark up your screenshots. They include:

  • A pen tool (with options for pen colors and widths)
  • A text tool (with options for font choice and size)
  • A magnifier (which can be adjusted to different sizes)

You can also take advantage of the other editing tools in the Photos app. For instance, you might want to crop your screenshot before you annotate it. You may also want to tweak the color or brightness, and if you do, those options can be accessed before, or after, you make your annotations by tapping the image adjustment sliders in the top right-hand corner of any open image in the Photos app.

Screenshot of the annotation tools in the iOS 10 Photos app
Screenshot of the annotation tools in the iOS 10 Photos app | Source

How to Annotate iPad Screenshots with Pinpoint

If your iPad can't be updated to iOS 10, or you need some additional options, it's time to try an image annotation app. Pinpoint is simple, but effective. When you open it, you will be shown a list of all the screenshots you have ever taken on your iPad. It does not show you your entire Camera Roll, just the screenshots. This is nice, because the app knows what is a screenshot, and what is a photo, and that if you are using this app, you are using it to annotate an iPad screenshot. To begin, simply find and tap on the screenshot you want to annotate.

On the toolbar at the top of your screen, there are three tools for annotation. The first is the arrow tool. Tap it, then drag a finger across the screen to draw an arrow. The second tool is the shape tool. Tap it, then drag a finger across the screen to draw a box around something you want to highlight on your screenshot. The final tool is the blur tool. Tap it, then drag your finger over something that you would like to blur out, like an email address or a car license plate.

That is all there is to it. Annotations can be repositioned by dragging them to another place, but there is no option to resize, delete or undo any annotations. Once you are done, tap the share arrow in the top right-hand corner and save it to your Camera Roll, email it, or open the image in another app.

Screenshot of Pinpoint - Mark Up Screenshots
Screenshot of Pinpoint - Mark Up Screenshots | Source

How to Annotate iPad Screenshots with Skitch

Skitch has more options, which is great if you need them. When you open Skitch for the first time you will be greeted with every image in your camera roll, whether it is a screenshot or a photo. For some people this will be great news, for others, it might make finding your screenshot a little harder.

Once you have chosen the iPad screenshot you want to annotate, you will notice a circular arrow in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. Tap it to reveal the tools you have at your disposal. From top to bottom they are:

  • Blur tool: Drag a box with your finger to blur objects
  • Emoticon tool: Choose an emoticon to add to your screenshot
  • Label tool: A variety of text pointers. Tap the label for more options
  • Freehand drawing tool: Just like it sounds :)
  • Shape tool: Choose one of four shapes and drag to draw
  • Text tool: Tap on the screen where you want to add text, then type
  • Arrow tool: Drag an arrow to point out key areas

Annotation tools in Skitch for iPad
Annotation tools in Skitch for iPad | Source

How to Annotate iPad Screenshots with Skitch (cont.)

In the bottom left-hand corner of your screen you will see a pink dot. Tap it to reveal the rest of the colors you can choose from. You can select a color before you add your annotation, or afterwards by tapping the annotation, and then selecting a color.

You will also see a horizontal row of circles. These are for adjusting the size of your annotations. Again, you can select the size you want before you add the annotation, or after the fact by tapping the annotation and then tapping one of the circles to increase or decrease its size.

Other features include the ability to:

  • Delete: Tap the annotation, then tap Delete at the bottom of your screen
  • Crop: Tap the three dots in the top right-hand corner and select Crop
  • Clear All: Tap the three dots in the top right-hand corner and select Clear All
  • Undo/Redo: You can undo or redo annotations using the undo/redo buttons on the center of the toolbar at the top of your screen
  • Share: Tap the Share arrow in the top right hand corner to save or share your screenshot. You can also link Skitch to your Evernote account.

Screenshot of the colors and size options in Skitch for iOS
Screenshot of the colors and size options in Skitch for iOS | Source

A Quick Video Review of Skitch

Adding the Finishing Touches

Please with your efforts so far? You should be! Those are some mighty nice screenshots you have taken. Here's a way to finish them off in style. There is an app called Screenshot - Frame Maker that will put the image of an iPad frame around your screenshot, (see example below).

Screenshot - Frame Maker is free to download in the App Store, but you are limited to five image exports (saving to the Camera Roll, Dropbox, Email, etc.), unless you pay the 99c in-app purchase to unlock unlimited exports. However, if you are after a more professional look, it is probably well worth it! Learn more about this app (and others) in How to Make Professional Looking iPad Screenshots.

A Screenshot of Word for iPad: Created with Screenshot - Frame Maker
A Screenshot of Word for iPad: Created with Screenshot - Frame Maker | Source


That's really all there is to it. These fancy iPad tutorials that you read online, suddenly don't look so fancy any more, right? Now that you know how to do it, you can go out and capture screenshots of your own. Have fun!

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This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


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    Post Comment

    • Jonathan Wylie profile imageAUTHOR

      Jonathan Wylie 

      3 years ago from Iowa, USA

      Alas it looks like it is no more. Skitch is great but if you need an alternative try Screenshot Editor instead :)

    • profile image

      Nicolas B. 

      3 years ago

      This is nice.

      But there is no BugShot in the App Store !


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