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How To Tell if Someone Screenshots Text in Android?

Posted by Jamie on July 15, 2019

‘I have been swapping text messages with someone on my phone and suspect they may have been screenshotting them. Is there a way to tell if someone screenshots texts in Android?’ This is question we received in our Inbox this morning. As this is something lots of us consider when sharing messages or images online, it provided the perfect opportunity to cover it.

The short answer is no, there is no mechanism that can alert you if someone has screenshotted a text message. Snapchat has warnings and other apps likely have them too but the message app in Android does not. That means you have to take steps yourself to protect your privacy when talking to people on your phone or online.

Screenshotting text messages

To be honest, if you’re sending intimate or personal text messages to someone, having them screenshotted isn’t the worst that can happen. They already have a record of your chats, copies of any pics or videos you share and your phone number as a contact. They could share all these things easily without screenshots.

A screenshot just adds insult to injury and is an easy way to share the conversation with friends or on social media.

Protecting your identity when text messaging

We all engage in different ways on different platforms but the risk of doing so is largely the same. What we think are private conversations require a level of trust in both parties and that trust is very easy to break. If you don’t know the person you’re talking to very well, there are a couple of things you can do to protect your identity.

I am in no way encouraging you to share anything anywhere. I am fully aware that if it’s on your mind, you’re going to do it anyway. If you are going to share, at least I can help you do it safely. Try one or all of these to use text messaging as you like with less risk.

Know your audience

The first rule of messaging is to know your audience. Do you know them well enough to share fully with them? Have you known them long? Are they trustworthy as far as you know? If you just met them, it is easy to get caught up in the moment with someone and overshare. Try to dial it back a bit at first until you’re more confident in them.

Once you do begin sharing, try to keep things equal. Make them share at the same rate you are. Make them provide personal information at the same rate they ask you. Make them share pics or videos at the same rate and of the same type you do. If you have as much on them as they do on you, you should be safer.

Don’t forget to reverse image lookup the first image they share with you. It could save a lot of heartache later on!

Use a burner phone

Using a burner phone for private or intimate conversations can save a lot of embarrassment. Used with some of these other steps I’ll outline, it can add an element if deniability to everything that makes any breach of trust a lot less harmful. If there is a degree of separation, there is a degree of doubt. That makes it less powerful if the other person wants to out or blackmail you.

A burner isn’t the easiest way to work but it is effective. Your real phone number is kept separate and there is plausible deniability in that. You can always use your main phone for general chats and then switch to your burner if things hot up. Use a prearranged codeword instead of just saying ‘let’s switch to the burner before sending those pics’ or something obvious.

Use a sterile environment

If you send pics or shoot videos and send them to someone, you can add a degree of separation with a little forward planning. Set a space aside somewhere private to take your shots. Remove anything that could identify you and place a blanket or sheet down to cover the wall, any posters, the carpet and as much of the frame as possible. This removes more personalisation that could be used to link you personally with the video or pics you take.

The advantage with using a sheet, fur throw or something like that is that it then makes you the subject of the shot and will highlight you. This will make your images better as well as provide that essential degree of separation.

Careful with your framing

The key way to avoid any negative outcomes from sharing pics or videos over a phone is plausible deniability. You achieve that by never showing your face, or full face in a pic. You can take pics or shoot videos with your face and then crop or overlay it in an editor before you share.

Or use a wig, baseball cap or other subtle disguise that won’t take away from the shot to hide your face.

There is no way to fully protect yourself when using a phone or social media app. You have to plan for that yourself and take your own precautions. Hopefully, some of the suggestions here will be enough to let you share without fear.

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