How do you take iPod screenshots?

by Michael Alderete on 1/2/2006 · 10 comments

I want to take screenshots of an iPod screen, to add more documentation and information to Aldo on Audiobooks, but I can’t figure out how to take them. Apple includes terrific screen captures from iPods — both old and new — in their iPod 101 site. How do you do it? Do you just take photos of the screen using a normal camera? The quality of Apple’s screens is too high for that…

I tried Googling around, but came up with nothing. Anyone know? Please tell me!

Update: The iPhone and iPod Touch both allow you to take screenshots without any special hacks; just press both the top Sleep button and the bottom Home button at the same time and, after the screen flashes, the screenshot goes into the Photos application. What I was interested in was how to take screenshots of the “classic” iPod user interface, which seems to not be possible unless you are Apple.

Squid January 2, 2006 at 4:25 am

I’ve always assumed apple’s ‘screenshots’ were made in photoshop. But I could be wrong, there might be a way…

Carlos January 5, 2006 at 6:27 pm

My guess is that Apple developers have software that EMULATES the iPod and the screen captures come from this emulator software. Anyway, that’s how we do it in the cellphone biz!!

GoldCoaster January 22, 2006 at 7:30 pm

I would be guessing that Apple use an emulator on their PCs(mac) and get screenshots from that. That’s how I used to get screenshots for PocketPC applications.

Is there one available? I do remember an Audio Player for a PocketPC that was exactly like an iPOD, maybe you could cheat a little and use that (sorry can’t remember it’s name).

Can you get the iPOD menu displayed on a monitor somehow?

GoldCoaster January 23, 2006 at 3:36 am

I have asked, for you, about this at but at the moment it seems that the Apple pics may be Photoshop ones.

cheers from Australia,

Kirk McElhearn June 14, 2006 at 2:16 am

There is no way to create screen shots of the iPod. Apple does indeed have an internal emulator, which they use to creat screens. In my writing, I’ve done several things: for one book I wrote about the iPod, before the color screens came out, I hacked a screen-like image using the same fonts. It works, but it’s not that pretty.

Now, I’d have to take actual photos, which is a real pain, since they never look very good. When possible, I use screen shots of Apple’s screens, but there’s really no other solution…

ponchy March 6, 2008 at 2:45 am

Better than an emulator, they got the source code of the software they are developping. It is thus easy for them to compile these sources to run on another kind of HW.

Do you really think that Apple’s dev. teams always test their soft on mere ipod hw ? Personally I doubt of it. If I were them I would first perform tests on my dev platform without testing on the real target architecture and once the job is done, to re-test the entire app on ipods.

Therefore, if the dev. teams use ‘desktop compiled’ version of the ipod software, why would marketing dept. be limitated to use only the user version ? There’s no good reason for that and that’s why I assume these screenshots were simply taken not from an ipod but from another platform.

Johannes July 20, 2008 at 11:14 am

There has to be a way taking screenshots as I just took one without wanting to. I tried to restore the iPod and it took a screenshot instead.

tiny July 21, 2008 at 9:37 am

jailbreak + capture +finder…. thats all you need

Alderete July 21, 2008 at 1:59 pm

@tiny: I think you’re confused about the difference between an iPod and an iPhone. No jailbreaking the basic iPods; you can run different firmware, but there’s no “jail” to break the standard software out of.

@Johannes: Are you talking about an iPod or an iPhone? How do you know you took a screenshot? Where did it show up?

Note to all: The latest version of the iPhone software (“iPhone 2.0”) allows you to take screenshots without any special hacks; just press the top sleep button and the bottom Home button at the same time, and the screenshot goes into your camera roll. (Not sure if this works on an iPod Touch, which has the buttons, but not a camera. So probably it goes into a different collection in the Photos application.)

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