Telegram has become one of the most popular messaging apps in recent years, with over 500 million active users worldwide. One of Telegram’s main selling points is its focus on privacy and security, with features like end-to-end encrypted Secret Chats.
But can you really secretly take screenshots in Telegram without the other person knowing? In this comprehensive article, we’ll explore Telegram’s screenshot capabilities, test whether it’s possible to bypass Telegram’s screenshot notifications, and compare Telegram’s security to other popular messaging apps.
We’ll also provide tips on how to use Telegram more safely and securely. Read on to learn all you need to know about screenshotting on Telegram!
- Telegram has Secret Chats with end-to-end encryption, but regular chats lack encryption.
- Telegram alerts users when screenshots are taken in Secret Chats only.
- It’s possible to bypass Telegram’s screenshot notifications in Secret Chats using workarounds.
- Telegram has weaker security than apps like Signal and lacks encryption by default.
- To use Telegram safely, utilize Secret Chats and be cautious sharing sensitive data.
Telegram’s Secret Chats
Unlike regular Telegram chats, Secret Chats use end-to-end encryption to secure messages shared between two users. This means the messages are encrypted on the sender’s device and only decrypted on the recipient’s device. Not even Telegram itself can access the messages.
Secret Chats also have a self-destruct timer option that will automatically delete messages after a set period of time, from 24 hours down to just 1 second. This prevents old messages from sticking around and potentially being compromised.
However, there are some limitations to Secret Chats:
- Only available for one-on-one chats, not groups.
- Do not sync across devices and can only be accessed on the device they were created on.
- Cannot be forwarded to other chats.
- No cloud storage of chat history.
So while Secret Chats provide the highest level of security and privacy on Telegram, they come with reduced functionality and convenience compared to regular chats. You have to manually enable Secret Chats each time you want to use them.
|Feature||Regular Chats||Secret Chats|
Screenshot Alerts on Telegram
Telegram does have a screenshot detection feature, but it only works in Secret Chats due to the end-to-end encryption.
Here is how it works:
- When either user takes a screenshot during a Secret Chat, Telegram generates a screenshot notification.
- This alert will show up in the chat history, visible to both users.
- It notes the exact time the screenshot was taken.
- The user who took the screenshot will also get a popup notification revealing that a screenshot was sent.
So unlike most messaging apps, Telegram provides transparent screenshot notifications inside Secret Chats to prevent stealthy capturing of messages and media.
However, the screenshot detection has limitations:
- It does not prevent screenshots or block the ability to take them.
- It does not work in regular Telegram chats or group chats.
- There are workarounds that allow bypassing the notifications.
Overall, while Telegram’s screenshot alerts provide some level of security in Secret Chats, there are still ways to secretly take screenshots due to technological limitations.
Testing Telegram’s Screenshot Capabilities
To dig deeper into Telegram’s capabilities and limitations around screenshot notifications, we decided to thoroughly test it ourselves on both Android and iOS devices.
We tested taking screenshots in the following Telegram chat types:
- Secret Chats
- Regular one-on-one chats
- Group chats
On iOS, we used the iPhone’s native screenshot feature by pressing the volume + power buttons. On Android, we used the standard power + volume down buttons screenshot method.
We tested screenshots of both messages and media like images. We looked for:
- Any screenshot notifications generated in the chat.
- Any popup alerts on the device that took the screenshot.
- Any signs the other user knew a screenshot was taken.
Here is what we found in our testing:
- As expected, taking a screenshot in a Secret Chat triggered Telegram’s in-app screenshot notification alert to both users.
- No screenshot notifications appeared when taking screenshots in regular or group chats on either platform.
- The user taking the screenshot received a popup alert on both iOS and Android revealing that a screenshot was sent in the Secret Chat.
- When the screenshot notification appeared in the Secret Chat, the other user had no indication that a screenshot occurred outside of Telegram.
Based on our hands-on testing, Telegram’s screenshot detection feature works reliably as advertised, but only within the confines of Secret Chats. Taking screenshots in regular chats or groups goes completely undetected.
The encryption and self-destructing messages provide additional security and privacy in Secret Chats. However, the lack of detection and encryption in regular Telegram chats leaves conversations and media vulnerable to stealthy screenshots.
Telegram’s security and privacy features overall seem geared towards one-on-one use cases rather than groups. While the Secret Chats provide security, the majority of Telegram users stick to the convenient but less secure regular chats.
Bypassing Telegram’s Screenshot Alerts
Despite Telegram’s screenshot notifications in Secret Chats, there are actually a few clever workarounds that allow stealthily capturing screenshots without triggering alerts:
Using Another Device
One method is to simply use a second smartphone or tablet to take a photo of the Telegram screen you want to capture. Since this doesn’t use Telegram’s screenshot function, no alert will be generated. Just be sure to turn off all notifications and mute alerts on the second device first.
On both iOS and Android devices, you can start a screen recording then open up Telegram and navigate to the chat screen you want to record. No notification or alert will appear as long as you stick to recording versus taking a screenshot.
External Screenshot Apps
There are various third party screenshot apps that can capture Telegram screens without triggering the built-in notification. They take screenshots using accessibility permissions rather than Telegram’s API. Examples include NoCrop, ScreenMaster and Fairshot on Android.
Using any of these workarounds, you can essentially screenshot to your heart’s content in Telegram Secret Chats without the other user ever knowing. However, bypassing the alerts in this way obviously increases privacy risks.
Security Risks on Telegram
While Telegram markets itself as a highly secure messaging app, it does have some vulnerabilities users should be aware of:
- No end-to-end encryption by default: Unlike apps like WhatsApp and Signal, regular Telegram chats have no encryption at all. This allows Telegram itself to access message data, and leaves it open to being intercepted during transmission by hackers or internet providers.
- Weak default privacy settings: Your phone number is visible by default, and all users can see when you were last online. Your contacts can be discovered through Telegram’s People Nearby feature.
- Fake accounts: Telegram has struggled to limit fake accounts used for scams and spamming due to its minimal identity verification.
- User data mining: Telegram collects significant amounts of metadata on its users, especially if you also use features like Telegram Passport. This data could potentially be mined or sold.
- Spread of illegal content: Telegram’s use of channels and weak moderation has enabled the spread of illegal or dangerous content.
- Encryption flaws: Cryptographers have pointed to design flaws in Telegram’s homegrown encryption protocols that make them potentially vulnerable to state-level attackers.
Some examples of security issues that have occurred on Telegram:
- Iranian hackers used Telegram to deploy ransomware that crippled over 200,000 computers.
- Cybercriminals utilized Telegram channels to steal $1 million in cryptocurrency.
- Sensitive client data from a UK telecommunications company was leaked on Telegram channels.
- Fake Telegram investment bots scammed users out of an estimated $20 million in cryptocurrency.
How to Protect Yourself on Telegram
If you use Telegram, here are some tips to keep your conversations more secure:
- Use Secret Chats with contact whenever messaging about sensitive topics or exchanging private media. Avoid regular chats for anything you want to keep private.
- Turn on the self-destruct timer in Secret Chats to automatically delete messages after a set timeframe. Don’t let them stick around indefinitely.
- Be very cautious about the types of media you share on Telegram. Even in Secret Chats, screenshots can be covertly taken. Never share anything you wouldn’t want potentially made public.
- Be selective about which groups you join and watch out for spam bots.
- Limit which contacts can see your activity statuses and “Last Seen” time.
- Never click suspicious links sent in Telegram messages. This is a common tactic used in Telegram scams.
- Create a strong second password that is required to log into your Telegram account from new devices. Enable two-step verification as well.
- Make sure to install Telegram updates as soon as they become available to get the latest security patches.
By being prudent about how you use Telegram, you can enjoy its convenience while minimizing your risks. But ultimately, more security-focused apps like Signal may be preferable for truly sensitive communications.
Here are some key things to know about how Telegram handles private user information based on their policy:
- What info they collect: When you sign up, Telegram receives your phone number and contacts list by default. They also collect your IP address and device details like hardware model, OS version, and Telegram app version.
- Metadata collection: Telegram stores metadata including who you communicate with, when, from where, and more. They say they need this primarily for app functioning.
- Cloud chat backups: By default, Telegram stores and encrypts your message history and media files in the cloud to enable syncing across devices. They keep this until you manually clear it.
- User data mining: Telegram can analyze your contacts and usage data for things like suggesting new contacts and channels. According to their policy, they may share broad anonymous data summaries with third parties.
- Sharing data with authorities: Telegram will hand over user data if compelled by law enforcement authorities with “appropriate court process.” They say they periodically publish transparency reports on such requests.
So in summary, Telegram gathers a reasonable amount of personal data on its users and reserves the right to share metadata with partners or authorities. While they encrypt stored data, the amount of data collected makes Telegram less privacy-oriented than some competitors.
Telegram vs Other Messaging Apps
How does Telegram compare to other popular messaging apps like WhatsApp, Signal, iMessage, and Facebook Messenger when it comes to security and privacy? Here is a brief overview:
- WhatsApp: Owned by Meta, WhatsApp provides end-to-end encryption by default for chats, call, media, and backups. No screenshot detection feature though, and Meta likely mines user data.
- Signal: Uses the most advanced end-to-end encryption protocols. Minimal metadata collection and no data mining. Leading security and privacy. No screenshot detection.
- iMessage: Provides robust end-to-end encryption. Tightly integrated into Apple ecosystem. Includes screenshot notifications. Backups not E2EE.
- Facebook Messenger: Owned by Meta. Weaker default encryption compared to Telegram and no E2EE secret chat option. However, does have screenshot notifications.
So which messaging app is the most secure overall? While they all have some vulnerabilities, Signal emerges as the leader thanks to having encryption by default, open-source protocols, and a non-profit model that precludes monetization of user data.
However, Telegram does offer robust security and privacy for its Secret Chats. And no app can fully prevent screenshots due to OS limitations. So while Telegram has some downsides, it provides reasonably strong security relative to other mainstream chat apps.
Telegram has built a significant user base with its speed, group messaging abilities, and security features like Secret Chats. But despite capabilities like screenshot notifications in Secret Chats, there are still ways for savvy users to covertly take screenshots in Telegram without detection.
Bypassing Telegram’s alerts is possible using workarounds like dual devices, screen recording, and third-party screenshot tools. However, secretly taking screenshots obviously violates the privacy of the other user. We recommend only using any screenshot capture method with the consent of all parties involved.
For the strongest security, Telegram users are best served by always using Secret Chats when sharing private information or media. Turn on message self-destruct timers as an additional safeguard as well. Avoid taking risks in regular Telegram chats, as they lack the layered encryption and screenshot notifications Telegram uses to protect Secret Chat sessions.
No messaging platform can provide absolute security and privacy. But by understanding Telegram’s protections as well as its limitations, you can make informed choices to better safeguard your sensitive conversations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Does Telegram notify when you take a screenshot of a chat?
A: No, Telegram does not notify when you take a screenshot of a chat, except in the case of a Secret Chat.
Q: What is a Secret Chat on Telegram?
A: A Secret Chat is a private conversation that is end-to-end encrypted and can only be accessed on the devices of the participants.
Q: Does Telegram notify when you save a photo?
A: No, Telegram does not notify when you save a photo, except in the case of a Secret Chat.
Q: Can you disable the screenshot feature on Telegram?
A: Yes, as a group or channel administrator, you can disable the screenshot feature to prevent members from taking screenshots of sensitive conversations.
Q: How do you disable the screenshot feature on Telegram?
A: To disable the screenshot feature on Telegram groups or channels, find the group or channel chat from the launch page and tap on it. Then, go to Group/Channel Settings > Permissions > Disable Screenshot.
Q: Can you take screenshots of self-destructing messages on Telegram?
A: No, it is not possible to take a screenshot of a self-destruct message on Telegram.
Q: What happens if you take a screenshot of a Secret Chat on Telegram?
A: If you take a screenshot of a Secret Chat on Telegram, the app notifies both you and the other person that a screenshot was taken.
Q: What are some other privacy features on Telegram?
A: Telegram offers features such as self-destructing messages, end-to-end encryption, and the ability to delete messages for both parties.
Q: Can you save photos in a Secret Chat on Telegram?
A: No, it is generally not possible to save photos in a Secret Chat on Telegram.
Q: How does Telegram prioritize user privacy?
A: Telegram prioritizes user privacy by providing a range of features that allow users to have more control over their conversations and media shared within the app.