While it's easy enough to take a screenshot of an encrypted Telegram chat thread using an iPhone, it's a completely different story on Android phones. Telegram disables screenshots by default on Android, and it's not even the slightest bit obvious how you would go about enabling screenshot capabilities. That's because it's hidden inside of another setting, one you'd never think to look in.
So, what setting is the screenshot option hiding in? Passcode Lock. That's right. For some reason, you have to set up a PIN or password for the Telegram app first on Android in order to even be able to have the choice to take screenshots in Secret Chats. If you're just looking to take screenshots of regular chats, you should already be good to go.
We're not 100 percent sure why a Passcode Lock is necessary since screenshots aren't stored in the Telegram app, but it may because Telegram doesn't want anyone else with access to your phone taking screenshots of your Secret Chats.
This feature has existed ever since a late-2016 update to the app, but it actually works differently depending on which version of Android you're running on your phone. If you're running Android 7.0 or higher, you may not be able to take screenshots in Secret Chats at all (we've had mixed success), but you'll be able to if you're running a lower Android version.
You can set either a four-digit PIN or an alphanumeric password for a little more strength, and you can also use your fingerprint as a login option for Telegram no matter which passcode option you choose. Just go to "Settings" –> "Privacy and Security" –> "Passcode Lock" to get started. For full instructions on setting this up, check out the guide linked below.
Once you've added a PIN or password lock to Telegram, the "Passcode Lock" menu will show more options, one of which is called "Allow Screenshots." So just make sure you toggle that on, and you're good to start screenshotting your little heart away.
Whenever you take a screenshot in a regular chat, nothing will happen. They will not get alerted. But whenever you take a screenshot in a Secret Chat, the other user will get an alert saying that you took a screenshot, and you'll also see the alert on your end in the conversation thread.
If you've enabled screenshots as outlined above but still can't take screenshots in any Secret Chats (and keep getting the "Couldn't capture screenshot — Taking screenshots is not allowed by the app or your organization" error), there are a few things you can try out. I'd recommend going in order, just in case one of the easy steps works for you before the more complicated ones.
- Verify that you're running an Android version below 7.0.
- Close the Telegram app from your Recents menu.
- Force-stop the Telegram app in your device's app settings.
- Uninstall the app completely and reinstall it.
- Uninstall the app and install an APK of a previous version of the app.
In an upcoming article, we'll talk more about taking screenshots in Secret Chats outside of the default tools that Telegram provides, as well as taking them without any screenshot alerts popping up. So stay tuned for that.