Android 14's screenshot detection system shows off its skills for the first time

Android 14 review
(Image credit: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • With Android 14, you'll get a heads-up whenever an app notices that a screenshot has been taken.
  • Some apps, like the German shopping app OTTO, have already implemented this feature.
  • This is a significant change from previous versions of Android, where apps could only detect screenshots using workarounds.

Android 14 boosts privacy with a nifty feature that notifies you when someone screenshots your chats, and some apps are already catching on.

As spotted by an Android Police reader, the German shopping app OTTO has become one of the first apps to adopt Android 14's screenshot detection feature. So, when you snag a screenshot in the app, a toast message pops up, letting you know they caught you in the act.

Android 14 screenshot detection system spotting a screen grab being captured

(Image credit: Ibrahim / Android Police)

Google explains that Android 14 introduced an API intended to make screenshot detection more consistent. This API allows apps to register callbacks for each activity, which means they'll get a heads-up whenever a screenshot is taken while that activity is on the screen.

Just to be clear, the app only knows you took a screenshot, not what was actually on your screen. The nitty-gritty details of what you captured are left for the app developer to figure out.

After getting the heads-up, developers can get creative with what happens next. For example, messaging apps could let people know when someone takes a screenshot of their conversation.

This screenshot detection feature isn't foolproof, though. It only catches screenshots done with the hardware buttons. So, if someone's feeling sneaky, they can still pull off a stealthy screenshot using the "Recents" menu screen, ADB, or a root screenshot app.

For apps that want to be extra cautious about screenshots, there are older APIs that let them completely block the screenshot function.

Apps like Snapchat that let you send disappearing messages have been using screenshot detection for ages to keep their conversations private. Otherwise, screenshots defeat the idea of ephemeral messages.

While these apps have their own ways to catch screenshots, Android 14's built-in screenshot detection feature makes it easier for developers to keep their users' privacy intact; no more workarounds are needed.

At the moment, not all apps have implemented the screenshot detection API yet, but it is expected to become more widely used in the future.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.