When you update your profile picture, Facebook will set it as public by default. This means that everyone will be able to see it on their timeline—even if they’re not on your friend list. The good news is that you can prevent it from happening. In fact, there are a couple of ways to keep it from other people’s timelines.
2 Ways on How to Change Your Facebook Profile Picture Without People Knowing
As it turns out, it’s pretty straightforward. Here are your options.
Option 1: Changing Your Profile Picture On a Computer
Open a web roster and log in to your Facebook account. Navigate to your profile dashboard and click on your profile photo. You’ll be given two options: “View Profile Picture” or “Update Profile Picture.”
Click on “Update Profile Photo” and you’ll be given the option to upload a new picture from your computer. Or if you want, you can choose an existing one from your gallery. Once you’ve chosen an image, set it as your profile photo.
By default, the updated profile photo will automatically come up on other people’s timelines (in addition to yours). To prevent that, click on the globe icon under your profile name on your timeline and select “Only Me”. That’ll change your posts to “Private” so that no one will be able to see your new profile photo on their timeline.
For those who have a large following, you may want to change the privacy option while you’re uploading the photo. That way, you won’t have to worry about people interacting with it as soon as it’s uploaded.
Note: You can use the same trick for your cover photo.
Option 2: Changing Your Profile Picture With the Mobile App
Start by opening the Facebook app on your smartphone. Next, click on your profile photo in the top left-hand corner of the screen. From there, tap on the small camera icon—you should see it on the bottom right.
A menu will come up. Tap on “Select profile picture” and you’ll be brought to another screen. Scroll down and make sure that the “Share your update to News Feed” option is unchecked. That way, your profile photo won’t come up on other people’s timelines when you change it.
Note: Setting your Profile Photo to “Only Me” under privacy will not hide it from those who are not on your friend list. Facebook purposely set it like that so that you can identify your friends before adding them to your list.
Locking Your Facebook Profile Photo
A couple of years ago, Facebook introduced a new safety feature that allows you to “lock your profile”. Enabling it will prevent people who are not on your friend list from seeing your posts, and stories. Not only that, but it’ll also prevent users from zooming into, downloading, and sharing your profile photo. All the other photos that they’ve uploaded will also be blocked.
Note: If you enable the feature, a message will come up saying that your profile is locked if clicked on by a stranger.
Keep in mind, however, that it’s only available in certain countries. As of May 2022, only those living in Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, Morocco, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, Myanmar, Pakistan, UAE, Turkey, and Sudan can lock their profiles.
For those who are living in those areas, however, it can a useful option. Here’s how to use it.
Applying the Facebook Profile Lock to Your Profile
Navigate to your profile and click on the “Lock Profile” option. The next page will show you how the feature works. Click on “Lock Your Profile” again at the bottom of the page to confirm your decision.
That’ll lock everything that was previously public. You can still post a public post if you want, but to do that, you’ll have to disable the locking feature.
Disabling the Facebook Profile Lock
Navigate to your profile page. You should see an “Unlock Profile” option where “Lock Profile” used to be. Tap on it and it’ll show you how the process works. You’ll also be brought to a new screen. Select “Unlock Profile” again at the bottom of the page and your profile will be unlocked.
Other Things That You Can Do to Protect Your Facebook Profile Photo
Another thing that you can do to prevent others from seeing/downloading a full-size version of your profile photo is to change its size. More specifically, you want to make the photo smaller (most people will be discouraged from misusing low resolution photos).
For example, you can use Adobe Photoshop to resize your photo. If you want, you can even use Microsoft Paint. Just crop it so that it’s 180 x 180 pixels. That way, it won’t be high resolution. Once you’re done resizing it, simply re-upload it to your Facebook profile.