Just bought a new budget/mid-range Android phone? You may notice a branded watermark on all the photos you take with the camera. Here’s how to disable this feature.
I never realized how much of a problem this was until I started reviewing a ton of budget fans. the best budget smartphones come out mostly unscathed, but many affordable phones feel the need to let you know that the photo you just took was indeed on your new phone.
This annoys me as much as you. Scroll to the end if you want to see how I plan to address this strange trend in my reviews, but in the meantime, let’s help with a simple guide on how to turn them off.
How to turn off watermarks on photos on your Android phone
For virtually all Android phones that commit this cardinal sin, the steps are identical.
- Open the camera app
- Tap camera settings
- Find the watermark switch and turn it off
Settings are either present as a cog icon on the camera’s viewfinder screen or behind a three-line expandable menu (aka Hamburger). Once inside, the location of the watermark option will vary between phones, which I’ll highlight below for the manufacturers I’ve tested.
On cheaper Realme phones, you’ll find the watermark switch in the first 5 options of the camera settings, accessible directly from the camera app.
RedMagic’s watermark option is about 60% of the camera settings, with additional settings in the expandable menu in the upper right corner of the camera viewfinder.
For Black Shark, there is a settings gear at the top and the watermark switcher is at the bottom of this list of additional settings.
Update to how I review phones: A warning to OEMs
This problem is so widespread that I had to write a guide about it. The question is obvious for guilty brands: what benefit do you really get from leaving brand watermarks enabled by default?
At best, you surprise general consumers and get extra promotion of your phone’s camera system on someone’s Facebook feed. But at worst, you piss people off and while most of us nerds already know where the setting to turn it off is, we’re a relatively small niche.
Most people won’t know how to turn them off, which means there are millions of precious moments wasted with “SHOT ON *INSERT PHONE HERE*” on the photo. So rather than accepting this status quo, I’m going to change the way I review phones and issue a warning to the likes of Xiaomi’s and Realme’s many affiliates.
I started incorporating this feature into my reviews. If I see a phone watermark enabled by default, I deduct half a star. So far, RedMagic and Black Shark 4 Pro called my bluff and look what happened to them? A rating deduction that prevented the RedMagic 7 Pro from receiving an Editor’s Choice award! I hope I can create enough stench to catch people’s attention.