Why is My Screenshot Not Working on Mac – How To Fix

The screenshot feature is built-in to the mac and does not require any additional permissions or software to run. However, sometimes the screenshot function might not work as expected. There can be several reasons for this. But you can fix the issue with the help of several methods. We have tried and tested a few for you that you can also try.

You can fix the Screenshot issue on Mac by following the most basic solutions to get started with. Firstly, restart your system and try again. If that does not work, you can try updating your Mac with the latest software version so that all the bugs are flushed out. Lastly, make sure you are pressing the right shortcut keys, such as Command-Shift-4, Command-Shift-3, and Command-Shift-5.

This article details various ways you can fix this issue.

Why is My Screenshot Not Working on Mac – How To Fix

1. Make Sure the Shortcuts Are Setup Properly

The first method is to ensure that you’re pressing and using the right shortcuts for capturing a screenshot. Several shortcuts are available to access various types of screenshots.

For example, the Command-Shift-4 shortcut will capture a part of the screen, while the Command-Shift-3 shortcut will capture the entire screen. On the other hand, if you use the Command-Shift-5 shortcut, a small window will pop up at the bottom of the screen with various options for taking a screenshot.

These shortcuts are already in use by default. However, you can activate them again using the instructions below.

  • Power on your Mac and sign in to it. 
  • Head to the System Preferences from the Menu bar or use the shortcut from the Dock. 
  • Head over to the Keyboard tab and click on Shortcuts.
Screenshot Not Working on Mac
  • From the menu on the left-hand side, click on the Screen Shots option and use the checkbox to activate or deactivate the shortcuts you want. 

Read How to Make a Scroll Bar Appear on Mac

2. Restart Your Mac

This is one of the simplest yet often overlooked ways of dealing with many issues. A fresh boot fixes many commonly faced problems with the Mac and can also help with the screenshot issue.

  • Simply click on the Apple logo on the Menu
  • Select Restart from the drop-down menu. 
Screenshot Not Working on Mac

3. Update Your Mac

A commonly faced issue among Apple users is when a new update comes, and you do not update to it. Several systems within the Mac might start to behave oddly. This is why you should always keep your Mac up to date as soon as a new update comes. You can also check for the update manually. 

  • Go to the Menu bar and click on the Apple logo.
  • Select About this Mac from the list and click on Software update. If there is a pending update, download and install it as soon as possible. 
Screenshot Not Working on Mac how to fix
Screenshot Not Working on Mac

Read How to Open a New Window on Mac

4. NVRAM Reset

Non-volatile random access memory or NVRAM is a part of Mac’s memory that is responsible for keeping track of regular functions of the system, like sound level, brightness, resolution, etc. Resetting the NVRAM can help solve many issues similar to the screenshot problem. Refer to the steps given below to see how it is done.

  • Shut down your Mac completely and press the power button to restart it. 
  • While restarting, hold down the Command-Option-P-R shortcuts until you hear the startup sound.
Screenshot Not Working on Mac
Screenshot Not Working Mac
  • Once you hear that sound, the NVRAM has been reset. 

5. Safe Mode

Another solution can be to boot the Mac in safe mode. Malware and viruses can also be one of the reasons for the screenshot function not working. Booting the laptop in safe mode allows it to run without any unnecessary files and applications. Refer to the instructions provided below to see how it is done.

  • Ensure you shut down your Mac completely and wait at least ten seconds before restarting it. 
  • While the Mac is booting up, hold down the Shift key till you see the login screen. 
  • Once you’ve booted into safe mode successfully, you’ll be able to see it mentioned on the Menu bar. 

6. Check For Viruses or Malware

A malware or virus infection can also be why you’re unable to take screenshots on your Mac. It might not be evident at first, but if you feel that could be the case, rectifying it as soon as possible is important.

 Several anti-virus applications are available for MacIntego, Clario, McAfee, Avast, etc. Download and install any of these and run a full system scan on your Mac. After finding the source, delete the affected file or application and check to see if the screenshot function is working or not. 

7. Take Screenshots From The Menu Bar

Did you know that you can also take screenshots using native system tools? Refer to the instructions provided below to see how it is done.

  • Power on and sign in to your Mac. 
  • Head over to the Menu bar and click on the File tab. 
  • Select Take Screenshot from the drop-down menu. 
  • Alternatively, you can use the screenshot icon from the utilities folder from a Finder window. 
  • To do this, open a finder window and select Applications from the Menu on the left side. 
  • Now, open the Utilities folder and select the Screenshot icon to launch the screenshot options.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How to change the default location for screenshots?

First, you need to open the screenshot menu by using the Command-Shift-5 shortcut or accessing the screenshot application from the Utilities folder. Now, click on Option and select the folder where you would like to save the Screenshot. 

2. What are the other reasons for the screenshots not working on Mac?

Third-party applications and software can also be why the screenshot function is not working on Mac. If you think that is the issue, try uninstalling the application and checking if it fixed the problem.


That’s it for this article, folks. We hope the methods mentioned above helped you solve your issue. Try these methods one by one, moving on to the next if the previous one does not work out. Another reason can be that the physical keys might malfunction; check for that to see if that is the reason.

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