Screenshots can be an asset; for me to show you how to perform certain tasks and for you to show me the exact problem you’re facing. But what if the problem is that screenshot is not working on Mac? Well, let me help you resolve that.

1. Ensure that keyboard shortcuts are enabled

How do you take a screenshot on your Mac? If you’re trying to press command + 3, command + 4, or command + 5, and nothing is working, maybe the keyboard shortcuts are turned off.

Here’s how to enable keyboard shortcuts on your Mac:

  1. Click the Apple icon  → select System Preferences.
  2. Go to Keyboard.
  3. Select the Shortcuts tab.
  4. Click Screenshots from the sidebar.
  5. Ensure that all keyboard shortcuts are checked.

Turn on screenshot keyboard shortcut

Try taking a screenshot now; if the screenshot on Mac is still not working, move on to the next step.

2. Check the screenshot location

Supposedly all is going well when you’re taking a screenshot, but you can’t spot it anywhere on the Desktop, Downloads, Documents folder, etc.; maybe your Mac screenshots are not saving, or the save location is different.

So, let’s check the settings and correct them if needed.

  1. Click Command + 5 or open the Screenshot app from launchpad.
  2. Select Options from the menu bar at the bottom.
  3. Confirm/change the save to location.

Check the screenshot save location  

Note: You can also change the screenshot location and file type (PNG, JPEG TIFF) via Terminal commands.

3. Restart the Mac  

Restarting your Mac mostly works like a charm, especially if you haven’t shut it down in some time. It’s one of our favorite tricks at iGeeksBlog, as it usually gets rid of minor system bugs. So, go ahead, click the Apple icon  → select Restart.

4. Update your Mac

Sometimes the answer to why my Mac won’t take a screenshot is as simple as a software issue. And the solution lies with a bug-fixing OS update. So, check your Mac for an update and do the needful. Go to the Apple icon  → About this Mac → Software update Upgrade Now (if available).

Upgrade your Mac to latest software

Hopefully, you’ll be able to take screenshots now; otherwise, it’s time for some stricter actions.

5. Check for malware  

While malware is not so common in Macs, there is a chance some unwanted, malicious actor has slipped under the radar. Especially if your Mac stopped taking screenshots after downloading any unknown software or suspicious file.

A simple way to confirm the root cause is to load your Mac in safe mode. If screenshots are working in safe mode, your culprit is an app or malware. Don’t worry; a decent antivirus app can help you fish out and clean the Mac.

6. Reset the NVRAM

NVRAM is the memory section of Macs that stores information about basic settings like time zone, screen volume, resolution, etc. A reset basically removes the custom settings you or apps make and returns to the default.

M1 Macs auto-resets the memory when it detects an issue in the settings. However, you’ll have to manually reset NVRAM on Intel Macs.

Shut down your Mac and restart it while pressing command + Option + P + R for about 20 seconds. Leave the keys once your Mac boots twice.

Once your Mac starts again, try taking a screenshot. If you still can’t take a screenshot, here are some contingency plans.

7. Alternatives you can try

While the easiest way to take a screenshot on Mac is keyboard shortcuts, there are other ways you can try.

I. Via the screenshot app

  1. Go to Launchpad → search the Screenshot app → launch it.
  2. Open FinderApplications → Utilities → Screenshot.

Open the screenshot app on Mac

Once the app is active, select a suitable option and take a screenshot.

II. Via the Preview app

  1. Go to FinderApplications → Preview.
  2. Select any file and press the Space barOpen with Preview.

Take screenshot via preview app on Mac

Once the Preview app is open, click File Take Screenshot select either of the options below:

  • From Selection
  • From Window
  • From Entire Screen

III. Via a third-party screenshot app

A screenshot tool would not only resolve the screenshots not working on Mac issue but also give you extra benefits such as blurring, scrolling screenshots, editing, annotation, etc.

I suggest that you try Monosnap; its freemium version lets you easily take and edit screenshots.

8. Contact Apple Support

If nothing else has worked in your favor, the last resort is to contact Apple Support. Although chances are slim, this might be some hardware-related issue, and only they’ll be able to help you out.