June 12, 2017 Last Updated 10:29 am

In praise of the screenshot (and the changes to come in iOS 11)

With the release of iOS 11 this fall, Apple will add some useful new features to screenshots on iPhones and iPads, including the placing of a thumbnail of the capture so that one can edit or alter the screenshot quicker and easier

The screenshot was one of the major differentiators between iOS and Android. Up until Android 4.0, one couldn’t take a screenshot on an Android device unless you had install developer tools. This was one reason to simply ignore Android and concentrate on digital editions released for the iPad, then the iPhone.

M.G. Siegler post a story on Sunday about the changes in screenshots that can be found in iOS 11 (see here), and he seems to think that the new features will have owners using screenshots even more than they already do. I know some iPhone users who use screenshots so frequently that they tell me they take far more screenshots than they do photos with the camera app.

This site started using screenshot early on, but after the launch of the iPad in April of 2010, it was the ability to capture the look of a new digital edition app, or digital-only magazine that made the screenshot the absolute essential tool. PR pros would send a release with their own screenshots, by TNM always produced its own. Sadly, until the past few years, those photos were post way, way too small. I don’t know why, but back in 2010 I preferred small graphics that forced the reader to click or tap on the photo to enlarge it. (The graphic at right also can be enlarged by clicking/tapping on it, but now it posted large enough so that is not really necessary.)

Siegler mentions a couple of changes to screenshots that will make them better in iOS 11. First, once you take a screenshot a thumbnail of the screenshot will appear in the lower left portion of your screen. This will allow for quicker editing of the shot within the phone (I almost never do this, as I prefer editing in Photoshop on my desktop).

With iOS 11 you will also be able to capture the screenshots as video, which many should find useful.

There has always been a workaround concerning capturing video. The first method I used was simply to capture multiple screenshots and then assembling them into an animated GIF. This works for simple things such as showing a scrolling web page.

But when it comes to some navigation inside an app, eBook or digital edition, this doesn’t always provide the best results so then I use QuickTime to capture video from my iPhone or iPad. Then I can either post the video or turn the video into an animated GIF.

That some journalists still don’t know how to do their own graphics always felt to me to be malpractice on their part.

There are other enhancements Apple will give up to screenshots in iOS 11 such as mark-up, annotations and sharing, so the future of the humble screenshot looks secure.

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