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I was thinking about this and I don't understand the reasoning behind it. iPhone users have this capability out of the box, and yet Apple is far more protective of their devices.

Whether this turns into a philosophical discussion or a technical discussion (or maybe both) I'd still like to understand why this limitation exists in Android.

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marked as duplicate by Izzy, Al E., Bryan Denny Feb 6 '13 at 17:15

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

up vote 9 down vote accepted

No idea why it wasn't available before, but as of 2.3.3 non-rooted screen shot support was added for system apps, at least. As eldarerathis noted, there are some articles out there implying that this would let any app capture a screen shot now, but according to an android engineer this permission is only granted to apps signed by the system image's keys - it is only available to be rolled into the OS, not as a feature 3rd party apps can access.

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I tend to think it is more of a security issue. But I've never actually seen a statement one way or the other. – FoamyGuy May 13 '11 at 17:51
The articles (and commits, in a way) are somewhat misleading. Third-party apps will still not be able to take screenshots, because the permission required to do so can only be obtained by system-signed apps. There is a question on SO where one of the Android engineers states this:… – eldarerathis May 13 '11 at 18:12
Thanks. I wonder if that means they intend to make it a standard OS feature in the near future. – Saiboogu May 13 '11 at 18:22
I'm marking this as the answer since it pretty clearly indicates (at least to me) that the only reason we needed root before 2.3.3 is because there was no system app designed to do it for us. – newuser May 13 '11 at 18:30
I wouldn't be surprised to see that, or at least manufacturers rolling their own apps for it. – eldarerathis May 13 '11 at 18:35

I would think it's so that rogue apps can't transmit pictures of what you're doing. Of course, that doesn't explain why apps that read SMS or whatever don't require root :P

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Uh... Because developers have different ways of using SMS messages in their apps. And if they do they set up the permission settings to say so, if you don't like it, don't install whatever it is. I use a visual voice mail program that that sends a special txt that the program reads to know to update, and I also use a 3rd party SMS application, my phone is not rooted, and I would not like to root it to get this kind of functionality. – AttackingHobo May 13 '11 at 23:05
@AttackingHobo The point is that apps could also use screenshots in different ways, and there could also could have been a permission to allow screenshots. I was drawing a parallel, not complaining about SMS permissions. Take it easy. – Matthew Read May 14 '11 at 0:38

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