Screen Capture

Best Free and Open Source Alternatives to Apple Screenshot

Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet (Google’s parent), Amazon and Facebook dominate the tech landscape. Their dominance is so broad they account for more than 20% of the S&P 500.

There are many things to admire about Apple’s hardware and software. Apple make great looking (albeit expensive) hardware. Over the years key successes include the iPhone, iPad, iPod, and the MacBook Air. The company designs its own hardware and software. This gives them the power to make an operating system and suite of apps that are tailor-made and optimized for their hardware. Apple also operates the Apple Music and Apple TV media distribution platforms.

Mac OS X is Apple’s proprietary operating system for its line of Macintosh computers. Its interface, known as Aqua, is highly polished and built on top of a BSD derivative (Darwin). There’s a whole raft of proprietary applications that are developed by Apple for their operating software. This software is not available for Linux and there’s no prospect of that position changing.

Apple Screenshot Apple Screenshot is a small utility that’s part of macOS. Screenshot is proprietary software and not available for Linux. We recommend the following free and open source alternatives to Apple Screenshot.


1. flameshot

flameshot is an excellent utility for capturing custom areas of a desktop. It’s really easy to use, has a good range of annotation tools which have recently been expanded, and is sleek

Image of flameshot


2. Ksnip

Ksnip is a Qt-based cross-platform screenshot tool that provides many annotation features for your screenshots.

The software runs under Linux (X11, Plasma Wayland, GNOME Wayland and xdg-desktop-portal Wayland), macOS, and Windows.

Image of Ksnip


3. ScreenGrab

ScreenGrab is a useful cross-platform Qt-based application for taking screenshots.

Image of ScreenGrab


For other free and open source screen capture tools, see our roundup.


All articles in this series:

Alternatives to Apple's Products
Activity Monitor displays a variety of resources in use on a system in real time. These include processes, disk activity, memory usage, and more to provide a sort of dashboard.
Icon for Apple's AutomatorAutomator is a utility which lets you create custom workflows to perform both simple and complex tasks, such as renaming files in a folder.
Apple BonjourBonjour is an implementation of zero-configuration networking; technologies that includes service discovery, address assignment, and hostname resolution.
Books is an e-book reading and store application. It primarily receives EPUB content from the Apple Books store, but users can also add their own EPUB and Portable Document Format (PDF) files.
Apple Boot CampBoot Camp is a utility that comes with a Mac which lets users switch between macOS and Windows. The utility also guides users through non-destructive disk partitioning.
Apple CalendarCalendar is a personal calendar app supporting multiple accounts, colour code work, family and personal events, event support, as well as calendar invitations.
Apple ChessChess is a traditional chess game played on a well rendered board with a set of realistic 3-D pieces. It's actually a Unix-based chess program, Sjeng.
Apple CompressorCompressor is a video and audio media compression and encoding application with support for common formats.
Icon for Apple ConsoleConsole is a system utility which collects log messages that are generated from your computer and connected devices. The output lets users check performance issues and resolve problems.
Apple ContactsContacts is a computerized address book included with the Apple operating systems iOS, iPadOS and macOS. It includes cloud synchronization capabilities.
Apple DictionaryDictionary is a small utility that lets users easily get definitions of words and phrases from a variety of sources.
Apple Disk UtilityDisk Utility is a system utility for performing disk and disk volume-related tasks on macOS.
Apple FaceTimeFaceTime is a videotelephony product for making video and audio calls. FaceTime forces many to stay locked into a proprietary world.
Apple FileMakerFileMaker is a relational database application with a graphical user interface and good security features.
Apple Final Cut ProFinal Cut Pro is a series of non-linear video editing software programs. Log and transfer video, edit, process the video, and output to a wide variety of formats.
Icon for Apple Font BookFont Book is a font manager which lets you organise fonts into collections and libraries to quickly access those fonts you use all the time.
Apple GarageBandGarageBand is a line of digital audio workstations for creating music and podcasts offering a complete sound library.
Apple NumbersKeyNote is a simple and elegant presentation software that's part of the iWork productivity suite.
Apple Logic ProLogic Pro is a Digital Audio Workstation and MIDI sequencer providing software instruments, audio effects and recording facilities for music synthesis.
Apple MailMail is a simple email client offering the ability to send, receive, and view email with good organizing capabilities.
Apple MainStageMainStage is a music application designed for use in live performance. This software lets you run a live rig. Transform your keyboard, guitar, or vocal performance with an enormous collection of plug-ins and sounds.
Apple MapsMaps is a web mapping service that's available in over 200 regions around the world offering curated guides.
Apple MessagesMessages is instant messaging software for sending messages, images, videos, and documents. There's location data and stickers.
Apple MotionMotion creates and edits motion graphics, titling for video production and film production, and 2D and 3D compositing for visual effects.
Apple NotesNotes is a notetaking app designed to jot down quick thoughts or to save longer notes filled with checklists, images, web links, scanned documents, handwritten notes, or sketches.
Apple NumbersNumbers is a spreadsheet application which uses a free-form “canvas” approach that demotes tables to one of many different media types placed on a page.
Apple PagesPages is a word processor that's part of the iWork productivity suite. It's marketed as an easy-to-use application that allows users to quickly create documents.
Apple Photo BoothPhoto Booth takes photos and videos with an iSight camera. iSight is a brand name used by Apple to refer to cameras on various devices.
Apple PhotosPhotos is a photo management and editing application. Organize your collection into albums, or keep your photos organized automatically with smart albums.
Apple PreviewPreview is more than just an image viewer. The software provides a full set of markup tools. And it's a PDF editor.
Apple RemindersReminders is a task management program that allows users to create lists and set notifications.
Apple SafariSafari is a graphical web browser which uses the WebKit and Nitro engines. It's the default web browser for Macintosh computers.
Apple ScreenshotScreenshot lets you take a screenshot of the entire screen, a portion of it, or an open window.
Apple ShazamShazam identifies music, movies, advertising, and television shows. There’s nothing more annoying than hearing a new song not knowing the identity of the artist.
Apple StickiesStickies is a small utility that lets users keep notes, lists and pictures in sticky notes on the desktop.
Apple StocksStocks lets you view stock quotes, interactive historical data charts and current breaking business news.
Apple System InformationSystem Information provides a system report containing detailed information about a Mac including its hardware specifications, networking interfaces, and installed software.
Apple TerminalTerminal provides a command line interface to control the UNIX-based operating system that lurks below macOS.
Apple TextEditTextEdit is a basic word processor and text editor. It can open documents created in other word processing apps and can create HTML documents.
Apple VoiceOverVoiceOver is a screen-reader that tells you exactly what’s happening on your device.
XcodeXcode provides developers a unified workflow for user interface design, coding, testing, and debugging. It supports source code for many programming languages including Swift, C, C++, Python, Ruby and more.
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