How to Take a Timed Screenshot in macOS

As you’ve figured out by now, taking a screenshot on your Mac is pretty easy. However, there are times when taking a screenshot becomes more difficult – when you’re already using one of the keys required to take a screenshot. Or when you’re using a mouse/trackpad and can’t capture a screenshot using those same keys. This brief tutorial will show you how to take a timed screenshot using the Terminal – so you can capture anything on your screen.

  1. Start out by opening a Terminal – which can be found by navigating to your Applications folder, then your Utilities folder, and finally double-click the Terminal app.

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  3. With a Terminal screen open, enter the command:

    screencapture -t png -T 10 ~/Desktop/screenshot01.png

    Once you hit return (enter) to run the command, you’ll have 10 seconds until the screenshot is captured (hence the 10 in the above command). You can change the number of seconds that will pass by before the screenshot is taken by altering the number 10 to your preferred number of seconds.

    The ~/Desktop/screenshot01.png part of the command determines where your screenshot will be saved, and what its name will be. In this example, the screenshot will be saved on your Desktop with the name screenshot01.png. If you’d rather save the file in your Pictures folder with the name file1.png, you would enter ~/Pictures/file1.png

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  5. It’s important to note that each time you run the command, if you use the same file name, previous screen-captures with that name will be overwritten.
  6. One example of the benefits of using a timed screenshot is that you can capture things like the screen displaying the transition between two of your “Spaces” (Desktops) – which can’t be done using the traditional keyboard combinations to capture a screenshot.

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