How to take screenshots on the iPhone and iPad and then draw on them and annotate them using the new screenshot editor in iOS 11.

Most people know how to take a screenshot of the iPhone or iPad screen and the feature has been around for years. Now you can edit them and annotate them too thanks to iOS 11. It’s a great feature.

Take a screenshot with iOS

When there is something on the screen that you would like to save, hold down the top or side button (sleep/wake) and then tap the Home button at the bottom.

Prior to iOS 11, the screenshot would simply be saved to the Photos app. Now it shrinks to a thumbnail image in the bottom left corner of the screen. It stays there for a couple of seconds before disappearing.

The thumbnail in the corner might seem a bit of an irritation at first, but it has a purpose and you can tap it before it disappears to load it into a screenshot editor. (The thumbnail can be dismissed with a swipe if you don’t want to wait for it to disappear by itself.)

The screenshot editor

Tap the screenshot thumbnail and it shrinks a little so as to allow controls to be displayed around the edges of the screen. The image can be cropped by dragging in from the sides, so you can focus on just a section if you want.

There is a Done button at the top left, undo and redo buttons in the top right corner, but most of the functions are down at the bottom.

There are three types of drawing tool - pen broad marker and pencil, plus an eraser. Just tap the one you want. The black circle opens a basic colour palette so you can choose the colour to draw with. Just draw with a finger on the screen.

 Capture a screenshot on the iPhone Edit a screenshot on the iPhone


Show the Markup menu

Tap the plus button in the bottom right corner for a menu. There are four types of object - rectangle, circle/ellipse, speech bubble and arrow. Tap one to add it to the screen.

These are vector objects and have handles (little blobs), that you can press and drag to make them longer or shorter, wider or taller. Drag the object to wherever you want it and then resize it. It is drawn in the currently selected colour.

Select Text on the markup menu and dummy text appears on the screenshot. Tap it to edit it and replace the text with your own. When text is selected, tapping the aA button at the bottom of the screen displays a text menu. There are three fonts, four alignment options, and a slider to set the text size. These are basic features, but if you need more you should be editing the screenshots on your computer.

 Annotated screenshots on the iPhone in iOS 11 Annotated screenshots on the iPhone using iOS 11

When an object is selected, press the square/circle icon at the bottom of the screen for options. The line thickness can be selected and the object can be an outline or filled. Filled speech bubbles are better for writing in, for example.

 Annotate screenshots on the iPhone using iOS 11 The share options on the iPhone

Tapping Done at the top saves the screenshot to the Photos app, but there is also a Share button in the bottom left corner. Tap it and the usual iOS options are there, plus a few extras.

For example, there is an option to create a Watch Face from it. It probably isn’t a useful option in this case, but it is interesting. There is also an option to Save to Files. iCloud storage has become a bit more useful and offers more general storage than it used to. You can now save files to iCloud like you would save them to Dropbox and other services.

Of course, Android users will say they have had this feature for years, see How to screenshot things that are not on the screen, but this is new for iPhone and iPad users. It is useful for anyone that takes screenshots.