How to Take Screenshots on iPhone without Thumbnail Preview

Taking a screenshot on iPhone is a pretty straightforward task. Plus, iOS also gives you a helpful thumbnail preview of the screenshot that you can use for quick annotations and sharing. However, there are times when you’d rather not have the preview show up on your screen. If that sounds like something you can relate to, here is how to take screenshots on iPhone without thumbnail preview.

Take iPhone Screenshots without Thumbnail Preview (2021)

As you’re probably already aware, there are a couple of ways to take screenshots on iPhone. There’s obviously the typical power button + volume up key combination. Plus, you can always just ask Siri to take a screenshot for you. However, both these ways will always display the preview that we are trying to ignore. That’s exactly what we will solve in this guide, so read on.

Create a Shortcut to Take iPhone Screenshots

With iOS 14.5, Apple added a new screenshot action to the wildly useful Shortcuts app on iPhones. While that makes Shortcuts more useful, it also actually takes screenshots without any previews! And that’s exactly what we will be using in this guide.

Note: To use this method, you need to be running iOS 14.5 or later on your iPhone and have the Shortcuts app installed. You can download the free Shortcuts app from the App Store.

  • Open the Shortcuts app and create a new shortcut. Here, tap on ‘Add Action’.

take screenshot on iPhone without thumbnail preview step 1

  • Search for ‘Take Screenshot’ and add it to your shortcut. Now tap on the ‘plus’ icon to add another action.

take iphone screenshot without preview step 2

  • Search for ‘Save to Photo Album’ and add it to your shortcut. Tap on ‘Next’.

take screenshots on iPhone without thumbnail preview step 3

  • Give your shortcut a name (I’m going with ‘Screencap’) and tap on ‘Done’.

save shortcut to take screenshot without preview

That’s it, your shortcut is ready.

Add Shortcut to Home Screen

While our shortcut is ready and it works, invoking it by opening the Shortcuts app is definitely not the way to go. So let’s add the Shortcut to our Home Screen.

  • Tap on the ‘three dot’ icon on your Shortcut and then tap on the ‘three dot’ icon again.

add shortcut to home screen

  • Tap on ‘Add to Home Screen’ and tap on ‘Add’ to add the shortcut to your iPhone’s Home Screen.

add shortcut to home screen step 2

Use Back Tap to Take Screenshots without Thumbnails

Keeping the shortcut on the Home Screen is fine, but it means we can’t take screenshots without previews unless we are on the Home Screen. So let’s use iOS 14’s back tap gestures to our advantage.

  • Go to Settings -> Accessibility -> Touch.

touch accessibility iphone

  • Tap on ‘Back Tap’ and then on ‘Double Tap’ or ‘Triple Tap’ according to your own preference.

enable back tap gestures for screenshot shortcut

  • Scroll down to the list of shortcuts and choose your shortcut. Now go back.

double tap gesture screenshot

That’s it, you can now double tap on the back of your iPhone to take a screenshot without any thumbnail previews showing up on your screen.

Use Siri to Take Screenshots without Previews

Lastly, you can also just use Siri to run your shortcut and take a screenshot without previews. The exact command that you have to use will depend on the name of your shortcut. In my case, I named my shortcut ‘Screencap’. So, I can just say “Hey Siri, Screencap.” and it will run the shortcut and take a screenshot for me.

Take Screenshots Faster without Previews

As I mentioned earlier in this article, screenshot previews are very useful. However, not everyone likes them or wants to use them.  In this article, I have told you how you can take iPhone screenshots without thumbnail previews. That too without worrying about using any weird third party apps that may or may not work. So, do you like the thumbnail previews that show up in iOS when you take a screenshot? Or do you want to get rid of them? Let us know in the comments.

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