How to Tell if Someone Screen Records Your Snapchat Post or Story
Snapchat was originally created to provide a temporary chat experience. Pictures shared with friends on Snapchat would disappear ten seconds after being seen, while the more involved “Stories” would persist for 24 hours before vanishing. Because of this perceived privacy protection, Snapchat became notorious as a place for people to share their most intimate photographs.
Because of that widespread use of the service, and even more so because so many of the site’s users are teenagers, concerns grew about the possibility that unscrupulous users of the site might use screen capture or screen recording technology to make permanent copies of the images that were supposed to be transient. Snapchat began creating a feature that would alert users if someone took a screenshot of their snaps.
Since then, various techniques and methods for taking stealthy screenshots get discovered. Some of which get blocked by Snapchat while others are impossible to detect. Therefore, you can tell if someone screenshots your Snapchat post or story, but it’s only half the time.
While there have been variations in when and how screenshots get detected and logged by Snapchat, this article explains the current status of screenshot and screen recording notifications on Snapchat, as of July 2021.
iPhones and Screen Recording on Snapchat
If you have the Snapchat app open on your iPhone, are looking at a snap or a story, and you take a screenshot by pushing the Home button and the Power button at the same time, Snapchat will register your screenshot and will then do two things: one, it will put a mention in your chat log or feed that you took the screenshot, and two, it will send an alert to the person you are in chat with to inform them of what happened.
This alert will appear as a popup in the other person’s Snapchat, and in case that gets missed in the flood of notifications, Snapchat will also put a notification in the chat log or feed.
Can You Screen Record a Snapchat Story without Them Knowing?
Whether you use Android or iOS, the possibilities of recording a Snapchat story without the other person knowing is roughly 50 percent. Since there are tons of apps available and new ones popping up left and right, it can be hard to tell if Snapchat detects them and sends notifications to the other party.
Snapchat Screen Recording on iOS
The development of Apple’s iOS version 11 in September of 2017 created a huge public relations problem for Snapchat because iOS 11 rolled out a new feature to iPhones: screen recording. With screen recording, iPhone users could press a button and automatically record everything that happened on their phone’s display. While screen recordings on iOS were convenient, Snapchat could not detect them. As of iOS version 10.17.5 of Snapchat, the recordings were officially detectable.
There are a number of screen recorder programs, some of which work on versions of iOS prior to iOS 11, and some of which involve using an iPad or desktop computer to do the recording of an iPhone that is connected via a data cable.
Whether these methods are detected by Snapchat is an open question; as most of these apps are paid programs.
Snapchat Screen Recording on Android
The world of Android smartphones is far more wide-open than Apple’s relatively controlled sandbox. Not only are there multiple developers fighting to have the next screen recording on Android because it easier to list it in the Play Store, you have various versions of the OS that function in slightly different ways.
Practically any software developer can set themselves up to release new app versions on Android, and many have; on top of that, the phone manufacturers themselves are notorious for making their own semi-proprietary apps that could easily hide from Snapchat detection. Of course, Snapchat works hard to keep up to date on the latest privacy breakers, but it is still next to impossible.
The problem with privacy on Snapchat is the nature of the Android architecture itself; it is a very open platform yet it also provides individual applications with very good security, making it impossible for one app to “spy” on another without cooperation between developers.
Common Ways Others Screen Record or Screenshot Your Snapchat Stories and Posts
Even if the Android world became a lot more like the neat and tidy managed community that Apple tyrannizes, it wouldn’t be possible for Snapchat to protect its users from screenshots and screen recordings, because there are methods for doing screen capture that completely bypasses the software of the device in question.
On iPhones, there are techniques for using QuickTime on a desktop computer to capture the video display from a connected iPhone. On Windows machines, you can set up an Android emulator like BlueStacks or Nox and install Snapchat on the emulator, then use built-in Windows screenshots and screen recording programs to archive anything you want to capture. It’s even possible to set up another device and use its built-in camera to record what is being displayed on the screen of your phone, bypassing all of Snapchat’s security features completely. Or, if you want to get really old school, you can just take a picture of your phone screen with another camera.
Snapchat, although it does not trumpet these facts to its userbase, has quietly stopped claiming that it can stop people from taking screenshots without notifying its users. The promise of a completely temporary photo-sharing and video-sharing experience, while attractive at its inception, has proven to be technologically impossible to deliver in today’s world.
Smartphone operating systems are simply too good at providing apps with the necessary functionality, and smartphones themselves are simply too easy to network and interface to other machines. Neither Snapchat nor any other app developer can hope to exert meaningful control over a computing environment that is expandable and flexible.
Protecting Your Privacy on Snapchat
With all the the technological advances today and limited control by the user, what can you do to protect your privacy in Snapchat?
Going forward, it is important to limit access to your Snapchat feed to people who you know and trust. This is an alien concept for many people today who have grown up with “Influencer” culture and an assumption that more followers and more viewers are always better. When it comes to your most private material, though, that isn’t true. If you don’t mind that kind of material being public, then that’s fine—that’s your choice. If you do want to restrict it, you need to limit your Snapchat actions and control who can view them. Here are some steps you can take to protect your Privacy on Snapchat.
- Set your account privacy option to Friends Only. This means that only your mutually-declared friends can see your postings.
- Turn off Quick Add. The Quick Add function is great for people trying to build an indiscriminate following as large as possible. Under Settings, find See Me in Quick Add, tap on it, and toggle off the setting.
- Decline random requests. When you get a friend request from someone you don’t know, decline it.
- Don’t publish your username or Snapcode.
- If you have snaps saved in your Memories, move them to the My Eyes Only section. Tap the checkmark in the upper-right hand corner of the Memories section, select the images you want to secure, and tap the lock icon at the bottom of the app.
Now, for those who want a public following on Snapchat, just be careful with what you post! That’s all that can be said.
One thing to keep in mind is that once someone has access to your snaps or your stories, you should assume that they have permanent access to them. That is, once they’ve gotten permission to view your stuff, it could very easily be saved to their local hard drive or to the cloud, or worse yet, published in some unsavory corner of the Dark Web. So if you have “that kind” of material in your Snapchat past, you should probably consider your privacy already violated.
Since its inception, Snapchat has become one of the world’s largest social media platforms largely due to the ephemeral nature of Snapchat messages. Being able to send and receive temporary pictures and videos can be very fun, but it can feel like an invasion of privacy when people screen record your posts or stories.
While Snapchat does notify you when someone screen records any of your Snaps, it’s important to keep in mind that there are third-party apps that can get around this. So, as you should when using any social media platform, be mindful of the content you post to Snapchat. Once it’s out there, it’s hard to control what happens to it.
You can always create a private story on Snapchat, but again, be aware that someone can share it to another person you don’t know!