WhatsApp tests new feature to help protect your profile photos more effectively

WhatsApp logo on a phone screen
(Image credit: Jay Bonggolto / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • WhatsApp is working on a new security feature to prevent people from taking screenshots of your profile photos.
  • This feature is currently available to some beta testers and is expected to be rolled out to more users soon.
  • This could close a loophole where users could capture personal images without the owner’s consent.

Protecting yourself online can be a headache, with people trying to download your profile photo as a common example. A recent beta update rolled out by WhatsApp may just end this unwanted activity.

According to WABetaInfo, the update introduces a new feature that will block screenshots of profile images. If implemented fully, it promises to make it much harder for people to capture and share your profile photos without your consent, adding an extra layer of privacy and control over your content.

According to the report, when a user attempts to take a screenshot of a profile photo, a notification appears telling the user that they “Can’t take a screenshot due to app restrictions”. They are also left with a black screen rather than the image they were attempting to capture.

A black screen with an error message at the bottom

(Image credit: WABetaInfo)

This isn’t the first time WhatsApp has attempted to protect users’ privacy. Years ago, the ability to save someone else’s profile photo was removed from the messaging service. But the ability to capture a screenshot remained, leaving a loophole that was easily exploited. The update addresses this loophole, making it much more difficult to capture an image.

At this stage, the update is only available to some beta testers, with the expectation that it will be rolled out to more users “over the coming weeks.” And, given the importance of privacy, this is one update we’d expect to be extremely popular among users. 

There are already plenty of options to help protect your privacy in WhatsApp. In particular, you can change your profile photo privacy settings to restrict who can see your profile picture. But as with the restrictions on saving someone’s picture, this doesn’t stop someone from taking a screenshot of your photo if you’ve given them access to viewing it. This new update promises to fix that issue and help make one of the best messaging apps for Android an even better option for the privacy-conscious.

Steven Shaw

Steven Shaw is a full-time freelancer, but before he changed his career at the start of 2021, he was in the retail industry, leading teams to achieve goals in selling technology products, such as smartphones, tablets, and more. Graduating from the University of Cambridge with a Masters in Medieval History, he's always had a passion for the topic, alongside technology and many Simpsons quotes.