It's been a few days now since my friend's contact images started to disappear on my Samsung Galaxy Sii. WhatsApp is up to date. Android is 4.1.2.

I've already tried:

  • Turn off/on the phone;
  • Add/remove the contact from the address book of the phone (my contacts are on the Gmail account);
  • Clear the phone cache (under App Management). Just the cache. I don't want to lose conversations;
  • Checked WhatsApp space usage (under App Management). It's like 23 MB in total. Some apps use much more;

Some facts:

  • Some friends (a few of them) are still showing the profile images. They are from the same source (Gmail Address Book);
  • If I delete/recreate those friends with profile images, their image is re-downloaded correctly. I also deleted the profile image in the "Profile Pictures" folder and WhatsApp downloaded it again;

My guess: Users that are changing their profile image recently are being set as "no profile photo" (in the server). This propagates to everyone else who refreshes their address book for any reason.

Can somebody check my findings?

  • Is it all friends ? If it is just one, are you sure your friend did not remove his/her photo from whatsapp?
    – Aadi Droid
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 5:05
  • just one or two, 100% sure he didn't remove as i could see it in my other phone (iphone 5)
    – ice
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 5:15
  • 2 things I cannot guarantee it will work ! 1) Go to SD Card / Whatsapp / Profile Pictures and see if that persons pic is present 2) Refresh your contacts once in whatsapp
    – Aadi Droid
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 5:18
  • tried,not working and now, the whatsapp can't even detect him from contacts
    – ice
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 5:38
  • Can you be specific is it just one or is it two, for all I can see is this is a localized situation! Since whatsapp cannot detect him from contacts, can you check if you iPhone 5 still has him ? Refresh the contacts on that phone too
    – Aadi Droid
    Commented Feb 7, 2014 at 5:34

4 Answers 4


From WhatsApp FAQ:

Privacy settings allow you to hide your last seen, profile photo, about, status, or read receipts. You might not be able to see someone else's information because of how they’ve set their privacy settings. If you can't see someone else's last seen, profile photo, about, status, or read receipts, it might be due to one of the following:

  • There's a temporary network issue.
  • You or the user changed your [privacy settings][1] for last seen or profile photo.
  • You and the user both need to resync your contacts.
  • You're blocked by the contact.

If it's one friend, maybe your friend removed the picture from his/her profile. If it's happening in multiple contacts, somehow the image cache of the app may have gotten corrupted. If you are used to getting around in android then force stop the app, clear data and cache. Or just uninstall and reinstall the app. Both ways would force the app to load the whole image cache again.

  • i did uninstall and reinstall whatsapp and even my phone too, but still the same situation
    – ice
    Commented Feb 7, 2014 at 5:58
  • Has anyone tried to grab your friend's phone and add a number from another of your friends (no yet in his/her phonebook) to see if their profile image show up? Example: You have John and Jim on your addr book. John doesn't have Jim on his phone (and vice-versa). All of you have profile pics. Then, you ask John to add Jim on his phone. What does happen?
    – losbit
    Commented Feb 10, 2014 at 13:19

Seems like WhatsApp has recently applied some patches at their backend. If you have any contacts in your phone who don't know you (i.e. they don't have your number saved in their phonebook) then their profile pictures are not visible. Recently started happening on my phone too.

  • Any changelog ? Honestly I think this should have come in lot earlier! But i just added someone who doesnt have my number, basically i have a new number ! I can see their picture
    – Aadi Droid
    Commented Feb 7, 2014 at 5:36
  • both of my frds did save my number in their phone, and we have been chatting all along, just a sudden that i can't see their profile pic
    – ice
    Commented Feb 7, 2014 at 5:57
  • I don't think this 'feature' of not showing profile pictures of someone who didn't add you to their phone is the issue here. I could check many friends who did not remove me from their phonebook that I can't see their profile picture anymore.
    – losbit
    Commented Feb 10, 2014 at 13:13

If your friend didn't add you into his/her phone book, then you can't see your friend's profile picture.

  • 1
    this is not true!
    – Aadi Droid
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 8:58
  • Actually, it seems to be true since a few days ago...
    – AJPerez
    Commented Feb 6, 2014 at 21:27
  • they did add you into their phone book >.< but still dunno what happened...could anyone help? thanks alot
    – ice
    Commented Feb 7, 2014 at 5:59

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