How to take photos without touching your phone’s screen

Did you know you could take a photo on your phone without touching the on-screen camera button?

While everything in our smartphone-obsessed world is generally made to be convenient, the simple reality is that some things aren’t as easy as we’d like them to be.

Take the act of taking photos, which should be as simple as touching the screen to fire the photo, and is generally quite easy to do, except when you’re trying to hold the camera as far back as possible because you need more of a wider angle for those selfies. When you’re doing that, it can be difficult to get your hand around to press that on-screen camera button.

And what if you’ve accidentally broken the screen, leaving the camera button in a place where the screen may be less sensitive? You’re definitely going to have a few troubles, too, especially until you replace the screen, if you even do that at all.

Fortunately, smartphones have a workaround that is remarkably easy to remember when it comes to taking photos, allowing you to fire the camera without touching the screen: press one of the volume keys.

Android or iPhone, pick a volume key — any volume key — and a smartphone will fire the photo regardless of the camera mode you’re in, selfie camera or rear camera.

While the volume keys used to work on older phones as a form of zoom, these days they fire the camera, triggering the camera you’re using to fire the image, front or rear.

In fact, the volume key trigger is specifically what selfie sticks use when they either plugged in or using Bluetooth to connect to your phone. While they may not be an audio device, the buttons on the sticks transmit a volume command to the phone to fire the button, allowing your camera to get super far from your head, but still allowing that camera button to fire.

That volume button trick is also useful if your phone happens to be highly water resistant, including devices like the iPhone 7, iPhone 8, iPhone X, Samsung Galaxy S8, Galaxy Note 8, Sony Xperia XZ, Sony Xperia XZ Premium, LG G6, Google Pixel 2 XL, HTC U11, etc.

When a phone is submersed in water, the water acts like a giant button, essentially touching the screen at once. If launched into camera mode ahead of time, most phones know to ignore a massive touch like this, and so you need a different way of firing the screen: the volume button.

About the only time the volume button won’t work to fire your photos is when your phone is off, but that one should be fairly self-explanatory.

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