How to Screenshot on Snapchat Without the Sender Knowing (2021)
The initial premise of Snapchat was that happy-go-lucky users could send pictures and videos safe in the knowledge that their content would expire after a matter of seconds lost to digital history. However, once something digital goes out into the stratosphere, you can never be sure it’s gone for good. One of the features that gave users this piece of mind was the screenshot notification. Anytime you take a screenshot of a user’s Snapchat using the traditional method, the user gets notified.
Screenshot cheat sheets had circulated the internet since 2011, when the app launched. People have tried everything, from putting their phones on airplane mode and force quitting the app before Snapchat registers the screenshot to the altogether more manual technique of using someone else’s phone to capture what’s appearing on your screen.
Snapchat closed off many of these avenues now, including third-party apps that promised the elusive secret screenshot. Still, there’s one avenue left open. It doesn’t include soliciting a friend’s smartphone to document whatever interaction you’re having on Snapchat. Read on to find out just what that is.
How to Take Secret Screenshots on Snapchat
The secret to screenshotting on Snapchat lies within the trusty native iOS toolkit. The screen record feature gets used to capture your interaction on the social media app. Although Android users had to wait quite a while for the screen recording feature, it’s now available for Android 10 phones and newer.
Note: Based on our tests in May of 2021, the other user did not receive a screenshot notification. But, feedback that we have received from our readers stated that they have. If this is the method you’d like to use, it’s best to test it out with a friend first.
Secretly Screenshotting Snapchats using an iPhone
iPhone users were once able to screen record a Snap undetected. Unfortunately, in May of 2021, that is no longer possible. The other user received a notification for both screenshots and the screen recording function based on our tests.
Even third-party applications on the App Store don’t seem very reliable. Most of the applications that we’ve tried didn’t work at all. Others still sent a notification. Of course, this could be because of the latest updates. So, if you’re trying to use a third-party application to screenshot Snaps, keep checking the App Store.
This situation leaves only one option for iPhone users: Use another device. You will need to use another phone, tablet, etc., to capture a Snap to avoid screenshot notifications.
Secret Screenshots of Snapchats using Android
Before Android 10, there were plenty of third-party screen recording apps and even some workarounds in Androids’ game launcher. But now, there’s a screen record feature just like the iPhone.
To access screen record on Android:
Android users can open the Snap that they’re interested in screenshotting, then pull down from the top of their phone to access the control panel.
Swipe and locate the Screen Record function and hit record. A countdown will begin, and you will have successfully captured an image of the Snap to your phone.
Tap the stop icon to end the recording, and a screenshot alert will not appear. This workaround is still working as of May 2021 on Android.
The only time you can’t initiate a screen recording is when you’re in the middle of viewing a snap, so it’s best to glean whether or not a shot will warrant recording before you open.
Be wary. There are instances in which the sender gets notified if you’ve screenshotted or recorded their photo or video. If you’re currently in a preceding version of the app, you can screen record correspondents’ content safely, knowing they’re none the wiser to your exploiting ways. Your best bet is to test it out on another friend’s Snap (someone who doesn’t care that you’re taking screenshots) before trying it.
Using Airplane Mode to Take Snapchat Screenshots Secretly—Does it Work?
There used to be a straightforward workaround for taking screenshots, but of course, like any good developer, Snapchat realized the workaround and snuffed it out. To get to the point, no, this workaround doesn’t work anymore.
Based on our tests in May of 2021, Snapchat alerted our dear recipient every time we took a screenshot.
What we tried:
- Turn Airplane Mode on, turn Wifi off, open the Snap, and screenshot.
- Turn Airplane Mode on, keep Wifi on, open the Snap, and screenshot.
- Open the Snap, then turn Airplane Mode on.
- Close Snapchat, turn Airplane Mode on, then re-open the app and screenshot.
As you can see, no matter what we did, the screenshot notification appeared.
Of course, if you’re running an older version of Snapchat, you may be able to get away with it. We’ll leave the instructions here. Just be mindful; try it out on a close friend first.
To take a screenshot without notifying anyone, do this:
- Open Snapchat and head to the snap, but don’t open it up just yet. It should still say “New Snap”
- Let Snapchat run in the background while you head over to settings and enter Airplane Mode
- Go to the Snap you’d like to capture and take your screenshot. DON’T go out of Airplane Mode yet
- Back out of the Snap and go to your profile icon in the upper right-hand corner
- Tap on the settings cog in the upper right-hand corner
- Tap ‘Clear Cache’ under ‘Account Actions’ and tap ‘Clear All’
- Once you’ve cleared the Cache you can close Snapchat and turn Airplane Mode off.
Disclaimer: If you didn’t already know it, this is morally dubious. Even if it is just a hysterically unflattering selfie of your recently initiated grandparents.
Snapchat Secret Screenshotting FAQs
Is it illegal to screenshot someone’s Snapchat content?
While we’ve mentioned that it is morally frowned upon to screenshot someone’s Snapchat uploads, it is not necessarily illegal to do so. The legality of such an action depends on quite a few factors.
The simple act of taking a screenshot is not illegal. Anyone who uses the app is knowingly putting something on the internet for you to see.
Now, what you do with the screenshot is another matter. Aside from the possible civil repercussions (someone may have a viable lawsuit against you depending on copyright infringement), there are some severe legal consequences you could face.
The first legal issue you could run into is what did you screenshot? Assuming it’s an explicit picture of a minor, just the possession of such an image can get you in lifelong trouble.
The second is extortion; taking an image of someone without their consent and telling them you’ll share it if they don’t comply with your demands has recently been in the news.
There are other legal ramifications (we aren’t lawyers, so that we won’t dive too deep into the subject) of screenshotting someone’s content on Snapchat, but it’s also worth mentioning that you could find yourself banned from using the app. If the person whose content you’ve captured finds out, they could report you to Snapchat. Therefore your account could get deactivated for violating the community guidelines.
Can I delete a snap after sending it?
If you’ve read this article and have decided that you’d like to recall something you sent to another user on Snapchat, it is possible. Go to your messages and long-press the Snap or message.
A pop-up menu will appear, and you can tap ‘Delete.’ Once you’ve confirmed, the Snap will disappear (although the other user will see that you have deleted something). Assuming the person has opened the Snap yet, you’re probably safe. But if they have opened it and taken a screenshot, there isn’t a way to get it back.
Why does Snapchat include screenshot notifications?
Screenshot notifications are becoming more prominent with app development. iPhone, for example, now notifies users if someone screenshots their FaceTime call. Developers now include these features on the basis that users should preserve some semblance of internet privacy.
While Snapchat can’t prevent you from taking a screenshot altogether, it can at least let the other person know about it. As a Snapchat user, it’s best to avoid putting anything online that you don’t want everyone to see.
Does the Screen Record function capture pictures/video without notifying the user?
Yes, as of 3/26/2021, secret screen recording using the Screen Record function has been tested, and it still works for both photos and videos.
Does the 3rd Party App / Airplane Mode workaround used in the past still work?
No, even if you have used a particular application or method in the past, likely, Snapchat has since patched the issues allowing these outdated methods to work.