Screenshot Not Working on Mac - How to Fix It in 2021

Lisa OuPosted by Lisa Ou / August 09, 2021 16:00

Why can't I take a screenshot on my Mac? Sometimes, I cannot screenshot on Mac. I searched and followed the detailed method from internet to screenshot on Mac, it is not working on my Mac. What should I do?

Screenshot Not Working on Mac - How to Fix It in 2021

Things will not always going right as there are various different situations. There are always more solutions than problems, but you should know the reasons that caused a problem like this before learning how to fix it.


Guide List

1. Why is My Screenshot Not Working on Mac

Firstly, you should know the answers to why can't I screenshot on my mac? You might know that you are allowed to use many workable methods to screenshots on Mac, so below is the list of various reasons that might cause this issue you are facing.

  1. There is something wrong for your keyboard or keyboard shortcuts.
  2. You have changed the location to save screenshots.
  3. There are bugs or virus on your Mac.
  4. The screenshots are hidden.
  5. You are not good at remembering keyboard hotkeys.

Then, let’s talk about how to solve the problem.

FoneLab Screen Recorder
FoneLab Screen Recorder

FoneLab Screen Recorder allows you to capture video, audio, online tutorial, etc on Windows/Mac, and you can easily customize size, edit the video or audio, and more.

  • Record video, audio, webcam and take screenshots on Windows/Mac.
  • Preview data before saving.
  • It is safe and easy to use.

2. How to Fix Screenshot on Mac Not Working

First of all, you should check the folder, which is saving the screenshots on Mac. Each screenshot methods has its own default location to save its files, you should find them from their own places.

Solution 1. Check the Folder for Saving Screenshot or Paste it Again

By default, screenshots will be saved to your Mac desktop with the name “Screen Shot [date] at [time].png”. You can search them on desktop folder and confirm if your screenshot have been saved on Mac. If you have saved the screenshots on clipboard, you can try to paste them to other places.

Take screenshot Result Keyboard command Folder
Entire Screen Save as a PNG file Command-Shift-3 Desktop
Entire Screen Saved on clipboard Command-Control-Shift-3 -
Portion of the screen Select the area and save as a PNG file Command-Shift-4 Desktop
Portion of the screen Saved on clipboard Command-Control-Shift-4 -
Specific window Save as a PNG file Command-Shift-4 then tap on the Spacebar Desktop
Specific window Saved on clipboard Command-Control-Shift-4 then tap on the Spacebar -
The Entire Screen/Window/Portion Save as a PNG file Shift-Command-5 Desktop
The Entire Touch Bar Save as a PNG file Shift-Command-6 Desktop
The Entire Touch Bar Saved on clipboard Shift-Control-Command-6 -

In macOS Mojave or later, you can change default location of screenshots through Screenshot Options.

change screenshot location

As for user who has Dropbox on Mac, they might set Dropbox to save screenshots. Therefore, you can find them on Dropbox rather than Mac local folder.

Then you can move on to learn how to fix Mac screenshot not working.

Solution 2. Show All Filename Extensions

Sometimes you just not unavailable to view the files as their filename extensions are hidden. Below steps can help you show all filename extensions.

Step 1Go to Finder and Preferences > Advanced .

Step 2Check the box next to Show all filename extensions. If it is checked, uncheck it. And then recheck it after a few seconds.

showing filename extension on mac

Solution 3. Restart Mac Normally

If the above-mentioned 2 methods are not working for you, your "screenshot not working on Mac" issue might be fixed by restarting.

You have 3 ways to restart your Mac as below.

Option 1. Press Power button or Control + Eject, then click the Restart button when it pops up.

control eject

Option 2. Choose Apple key > Restart.

Option 3. Press Control + Command + Eject or Control + Command + Power.

control command eject

Solution 4. Restart Mac in Safe Mode

You should know that safe mode on Mac is one of various ways you can try to stop running certain applications on Mac to confirm whether the screenshot issue is caused by software.

Therefore, you can try it to solve your problem as below.

Step 1Restart your Mac, then immediately press and hold the Shift key.

Step 2Release the key when you see the login window, then you will be asked to log in your account twice.

Step 3If you can take a screenshot now, it means the issue might be solved already.

Solution 5. Update macOS

This situation also might be caused by your out-dated operating system on Mac. You can try to update macOS to the latest version to get the newest features on Mac.

Step 1Go to Apple menu > About This Mac > Software Update to download macOS software updates.

Step 2Choose Apple menu > App Store > Updates to update software downloaded from Apple Store.

mac os update

Solution 6. Re-enable Mac Screenshot Hotkeys

If screenshot combinations are not working on your Mac, you can disable them from system preferences, then enable them again. So, you can try below methods if command shift 4 not working.

Step 1Choose Apple Menu > System Preferences > Keyboard Shortcuts Screen Shots.

enable screenshot hotkeys

Step 2Select the shortcuts you want to re-enable by checking the boxes.

Step 3Chose the window.

Solution 7. Recover Lost Screenshots on Mac

There are some unknown reasons to make your screenshots hidden or lost. Atucally, they might still be stored on your Mac but unvisiable for users. Thus, you can try FoneLab Data Retriever on Mac to scan your computer and confirm that if they are still there. If so, you can one-click to recover them from computer.

FoneLab Data Retriever
FoneLab Data Retriever

FoneLab Data Retriever - recover the lost/deleted data from computer, hard drive, flash drive, memory card, digital camera and more.

  • Recover photos, videos, documents and more data with ease.
  • Preview data before recovery.

Solution 8. Reset NVRAM (or PRAM)

Mac uses a small number of memories, which are called NVRAM (nonvolatile random-access memory) and PRAM (Parameter RAM) to store similar certain settings.

If there is something wrong with sound volume, display resolution, time zone, etc, resetting NVRAM might help.

Step 1Click Apple menu > Shutdown to turn off your Mac.

Step 2Press and hold the Option, Command, P, and R key together immediately for about 20 seconds.


Step 3Then release the keys to restart your Mac.

Solution 9. Try Another Method to Take Screenshots on Mac

That’s all about how to fix screenshot not working on Mac. You should also check the demonstrations about how to take screenshots on Mac properly.

3. How to Take a Screenshot on Mac

Except for shortcuts, you still have many other choices to take a screenshot on Mac. Such as Grab, Preview feature, and FoneLab free snipping tool.

Option 1. Use Grab to Take Screenshots on Mac

Grab is an application to enable users to take a screenshot on Mac.

Step 1Go to Applications Utilities Grab Capture.

mac grab

Step 2Select an area and take a screenshot

Grab also has shortcuts on Mac as below.

Screenshot Area Shortcuts Screenshot Area Shortcuts
Capture selection Command-4 Capture screen (timed) Option-Command-3
Capture window Command-5 Capture Touch Bar (timed) Option-Command-6
Capture screen Command-3 Display/hide the inspector Command-I

Option 2. Use Preview to Screenshot on Mac

Click Preview File Take Screenshot.

screenshot preview

What if Mac preview not working?

Option 3. Try FoneLab Screen Recorder to Screenshot on Mac

As its name said, FoneLab Screen Recorder is a tool to record screen video, audio, webcam content, etc on computer. And it is more than a simple screen recorder for you. It can also help you take a screenshot on Windows or Mac freely. More importantly, it allows you to add labels like text, frame, line and others to the screenshots accordingly.

Below is a tutorial with clear instructions.

Step 1Download and install FoneLab free snipping tool from official site. You can choose Mac version in this step. Then it will be opened automatically.

Step 2Select Snapshot on the interface. Then choose the screenshot area on your computer.

mac screen recorder

Step 3Click save button to save the screenshots to the folder you want.

As you can see, FoneLab free snipping tool will be the best choice for you. Why not download and have a try now!

If you have more questions about it, please leave comments below.

FoneLab Screen Recorder
FoneLab Screen Recorder

FoneLab Screen Recorder allows you to capture video, audio, online tutorial, etc on Windows/Mac, and you can easily customize size, edit the video or audio, and more.

  • Record video, audio, webcam and take screenshots on Windows/Mac.
  • Preview data before saving.
  • It is safe and easy to use.
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