West Yorkshire Police recovered almost 1,000 illegal images after they arrested Bryan Smith at his home in Leeds and seized electronic devices.
Leeds Crown Court heard police were contact by Smith's partner on January 21 last year.
Ben Campbell, prosecuting, said Smith's partner borrowed his phone while they were playing a game online.
She made the discovery while the defendant was out of the room after she pressed a section of the phone screen which opened up a gallery of illegal images.
The woman then used her her own phone to take screenshots of the abusive material.
She challenged Smith about the images when he returned to the room.
The 34-year-old defendant denied all knowledge of having the images and told her he did not know how they had got onto his phone.
Mr Campbell said Smith deleted material on his phone and told his partner she must have been mistaken.
The woman then confronted Smith with the images she had taken from the phone.
The prosecutor said: "After a little while he confessed that he had deleted those messages and that it was true that he possessed the material."
She then contacted the police and officers seized a number of devices from the property.
A total of 965 illegal images were recovered from the devices.
The court heard 98 images were at category A - the most serious level of offending.
The images featured children aged between six and eight years old.
Smith had accessed the images between September 2019 and January 2021.
Mr Campbell said there was no evidence that the images had been distributed to others.
Smith was interviewed and accepted responsibility for what he had done.
He said he had clicked on links to the illegal material as he was viewing adult pornography but insisted that he did not get gratification from the images.
Smith, of Silk Mill Drive, Cookridge, pleaded guilty to three counts of possessing indecent images of a child.
Taryn Turner, mitigating, said Smith pleaded guilty to the offences at an early stage.
The court heard Smith is no longer in a relationship with the woman.
Ms Turner said: "She quite properly drew this to the attention of the authorities."
Smith was given a 16-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.
He was also ordered to take part in a sex offender programme and to complete 55 rehabilitation activity requirement days.
Judge Mushtaq Khokhar said: "It may be that you would have continued to deny having these photographs had it not been that she had taken screenshots."