WhatsApp will block you from taking screenshots of some pictures in next update

whatsapp logo pictured on a smartphone screen held in someone's hand

WhatsApp is plotting new protections to prevent scammers from taking screenshots of other people's profile pictures in a bid to impersonate them

Aaron Brown

By Aaron Brown

Published: 23/02/2024

- 10:59

Attempting to screenshot of somebody else's profile picture will leave you with an image of a blank screen

  • WhatsApp plans new update that will block screenshots
  • It's designed to stop users from stealing other people's profile pictures
  • This technique is used to impersonate people in a variety of scams

WhatsApp will block you from taking screenshots of other people’s profile pictures in an upcoming update. The tweak is designed to stop people impersonating or harassing other WhatsApp users.

It builds on a slew of privacy features introduced by WhatsApp in recent years. The chat app removed the ability to download and save profile pictures back in 2019 to halt impersonation. It was a good start, but scammers have used screenshots as a workaround since then.

Anyone who attempts to take a screenshot of someone else’s WhatsApp profile picture will be met with a black screen and a warning stating: “Can’t take a screenshot due to app restrictions.”

The same restriction applies when taking screenshots of copyrighted material, like an episode or film playing on Netflix or Disney+. The change, which was spotted in the latest beta version of the next WhatsApp update, closes the loophole and — aside from taking a photo of another person’s profile picture using a separate phone — should stop scammers in their tracks.

a screenshot that shows the black screen and warning message that appears when trying to take a screenshot of a profile picture in the new whatsapp update

A warning will pop up in WhatsApp whenever you attempt to take a screenshot of a profile picture, following the roll-out of the planned feature


There’s no word on a release date for the feature, but given that WhatsApp is already trialling the functionality with beta testers, we’d expect to see it rolling out worldwide in the coming weeks.

WhatsApp has no shortage of changes planned for its profile pictures. Early testing suggests the company, which is owned and operated by Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta, will add the ability to share different profile pictures and usernames with certain people.

WhatsApp already lets you hide your profile picture from people who aren’t saved in your contacts, but the upcoming change would build on this feature — allowing you to set up a different photo and name that displays for anyone whose number isn’t saved on your phone.


That means you’ll have a different username and profile picture when you’re thrown into a group chat from someone outside of your contacts, like a chat for a Baby Shower, Hen or Stag do.

WhatsApp could also let you change your profile picture for existing contacts, so while your friends might be able to see you in your swimmers soaking up the sun, your work colleagues or extended family will be presented with a picture with more clothing, for example.

The ability to present different profile pictures based on certain criteria for your contacts should help you juggle the huge swathes of people in your WhatsApp — from partners and lifelong friends, to work colleagues and acquaintances, to extended family, and even customer service representatives from popular brands.

Credit for unearthing these in-progress features goes to the team at @WABetaInfo, which shares tidbits from the latest beta versions on Android and iOS to offer hints at what the team inside Meta has planned for the world’s most popular messaging service, with over 2.5 billion users worldwide.

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