The profile picture that a person sets for their Facebook account says a lot about that individual. Oftentimes, it's the first impression that a new friend or acquaintance may have. Viewing a history of Facebook profile pictures can reveal even more!
See Your Friends' Profile Pictures
In order to view profile pictures of your friends via the Facebook site, you must have an account yourself and you must be logged in. After you join and sign in to your account, you can start looking for and adding friends, subsequently viewing their profile pictures.
Using a Desktop Web Browser
If you are on your computer and accessing Facebook through a web browser, follow these instructions.
- From the main Facebook page after logging into your account, click on your name near the top, next to the "Home" link. This will take you to your profile page.
- Click on "Friends" near the center the of page, just below your cover photo and above where you would compose a status update.
- A list of all your friends will be shown. You can use the available tabs, like "Recently added" or "University," to filter results or you can use the search bar labeled "Search for your friends" to look for a specific person.
- Click on the name of your friend to go to their profile page.
- Click on their profile picture (toward the left side of the screen) to view a larger version of that image.
- Hover your mouse pointer over the enlarged image. Click on the resulting left and right arrows to cycle through past profile pictures or click on the words "Profile pictures" near the top to see the full album.
Via the Mobile App
Accessing your friends' profile pictures through the official Facebook mobile app works in fundamentally the same way.
- After installing the app and logging into your account, tap on the three horizontal bars (menu button) near the top right corner of the main page.
- Choose "Friends" from the resulting list of options.
- This will bring up your list of friends with the most recently added at the top. You can scroll through this list or tap over to the "Search" tab to look for someone in particular.
- Tap to follow through to your friend's profile page.
- Tap on their profile picture near the middle of the page to see a larger version.
- To view past profile pictures, scroll further down their profile page until you see a link for "Photos" just above where you would compose a post.
- "Photos of (Name)" is the first tab you are shown. Swipe to the "Albums" tab and look for the "Profile Pictures" album to view past profile pictures.
Public Profile Pictures of Other People
You can also view profile pictures of people who are not your friends, assuming their privacy settings allow for it.
Using a Computer
To look for profile pictures of people who are not your friends via your Facebook account on a computer, you will need to follow a few simple steps.
- Near the top of the main Facebook page is a search bar. Start typing in the name of the person you'd like to find and hit enter.
- Look through the resulting list of "People" that match your search query. If the person you are looking for is not included in the initial set, click the "See all" link and scroll until you find the right one.
- Click on the individual's name to view their Facebook profile.
- If the person's profile is set to public, the process for viewing a larger version of their current profile picture and for seeing past profile pictures is the same as viewing images of your friends.
From the Mobile App
The procedure is slightly different if you are using the Facebook mobile app. Follow these steps:
- The search bar is near the top of the main screen of the Facebook mobile app. Tap on it and start typing in the name of the person you'd like to see.
- Tap on one of the suggested search results or tap the search icon (magnifying glass) to reveal the search results.
- The first three relevant individuals will be shown in the People section. Tap on "See all" to view the fuller search results.
- Tap on the name of the person whose profile picture you'd like to view.
- As with your friends, you can then tap on the profile picture near the middle to enlarge.
- To see more pictures, scroll down the profile page and tap on "Photos."
- The three available tabs are "Photos of (Name)," "Uploads" and "Albums." From here, you can browse for more pictures.
Searching Without a Facebook Account
While it is easier if you have a Facebook account and are logged in, it is also possible to search for pictures from public profiles without a Facebook account.
- From either your computer or your mobile device, point your web browser to the Facebook People Directory or the Facebook People Search page. This includes people whose privacy settings are such that they are publicly searchable.
- Browse by name by clicking on the corresponding letter or search by utilizing the provided search bar. With the latter, enter the name of the person you'd like to find and then click on the corresponding magnifying glass icon.
- Scroll through the list of search results until you reach the person you're trying to find. Click on the individual's name or profile picture to go to their profile page.
- As above, you can click on the profile picture to enlarge or you can browse through the person's other photo albums for additional images.
More Profile Pictures Online
Even though Facebook has 2.2 billion monthly active users as of the end of 2017, not everyone is on the social network. Even among those who are, many do not have public profiles. If you are looking for pictures of someone you might know, you don't have to rely solely on searching Facebook. Some people use other social networking sites instead of, or in addition to, Facebook. Consider searching in Google for terms like 'John Doe Instagram' or 'Jane Doe Twitter' to see if anything comes up.