TikTok is an incredibly addicting app, but it can be frustrating when things don’t work as expected.

One of the most common issues people face is trouble updating their profile picture. It could be that TikTok refuses to accept the new profile photo, or simply doesn’t display any profile picture (or PFP) on your page.

So you may find yourself wondering – why can’t I update my pfp on TikTok, and how can it be fixed?

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know. Often times, it’s just one of these issues that’s causing the photo not to update, so you should try each one of them until it finally works.

Let’s get into it!

1. Ensure You’re Not Using Inappropriate Pictures

This one might go without saying, but it bears repeating.

Just like you can’t post TikToks containing inappropriate content, the same guidelines are upheld for profile pictures as well.

This means that if you upload profile pictures containing nudity or banned items, TikTok may prevent your profile picture from showing up at all. In fact, repeat offenders may even lose the ability to upload profile pictures entirely!

Many people don’t know this, but TikTok uses artificial intelligence to try and ‘guess’ what’s in the content you post, including your profile pictures. They do not need any human moderator to look at it in order to detect whether or not it may violate TikTok’s community guidelines.

Unfortunately, it’s also prone to mistakes.

For example, their AI may think that a photo contains inappropriate content, even if it doesn’t.

So, you should try uploading a different profile picture (even just for a moment) to determine whether or not the issue is with that specific photo, or with your account entirely.

If a different profile picture uploads just fine, you’ll know that it’s the photo causing the problems, and not any issue with your account or TikTok’s servers.

2. Try Uploading The Photo With An Alternate Account

If you have a second TikTok account, you should try uploading the same photo on your other account, just to test it.

If the problem is with the photo, it shouldn’t work on either account. Their AI should flag it exactly the same way each time its uploaded, so if it fails to upload on another account, this too points to the photo being a problem.

If for whatever reason the photo does upload successfully on your alternate account, this can point to an issue with the first account you tried uploading it on.

This can be caused by either a ban (due to past profile pictures you’ve uploaded), or by a temporary glitch by TikTok.

Either way, it may be worth contacting TikTok for more information.

3. Force Close And Restart The App

Often times, technical issues can be sorted out simply by force closing the app, and then restarting it.

This is different from simply hitting the home button on your screen. Instead, you’ll need to bring up your lists of apps and completely swipe it away. This forces the app to close entirely.

Then, open the app again. Everything will have to be reloaded, and you’ll end up back on your For You page when the app opens.

From here, you can go back to your profile and try update your PFP once again.

Because force closing the app completely clears things out, it is often enough to fix most minor bugs.

So, if your profile picture finally changes after trying this one out, you don’t have to try any of the other things on this list!

4. Disable Your VPN (If You’re Using One)

If you don’t use a VPN, you can skip this step.

However, if you are using a VPN to protect yourself online, you’ll want to disable it when trying to update your profile picture on TikTok.

VPNs work by masking your IP address, blending it among everyone else that also uses that same VPN server.

The problem is, other people using this VPN likely have not always followed TikTok’s rules, and it only takes one bad person for the whole IP to get flagged.

So, TikTok may be restricting you from uploading a new profile picture, due to somebody who has broken TikTok’s rules in the past while using that same VPN server.

By disabling your VPN, you will ensure your IP address is unique and not blacklisted.

Ultimately, this may be the difference between whether or not you can get your profile picture to show up.

5. Edit The Photo And Reupload

If TikTok’s automated system isn’t allowing your photo to go through and you’re absolutely sure it doesn’t violate guidelines in any way, you should make some minor edits to it and reupload.

Both iPhone and Android phones have photo editing capabilities, and even minor edits to the photo may be enough to help.

For example, you could screenshot the photo, then crop the copy. Or, slightly change the color of the photo using your phone’s built-in tools.

It’s a weird trick, but technically since the edited photo is new, it could be enough to tilt the system in your favor.

Again, this will only help if it’s TikTok’s AI that’s flagging your photo as violating community guidelines, even when it’s actually completely appropriate.

So, if it doesn’t work, it may be due to another issue on this list, in which case you should try one of the other fixes.

6. Check Your Internet Connection

If you have an unstable internet connection, it may cause problems uploading data to TikTok. This includes profile pictures.

Therefore, you should ensure you have as many bars as possible if you’re going to upload data.

But what if you can’t change locations right now, or move closer to an internet source?

One thing you could try is to alternate between your phone’s built-in data, and a Wi-Fi connection if one is available.

While Wi-Fi is typically more stable, you may try turning it off and using your cellular data instead. Likewise, if you are currently using your phone’s data, try connecting to a Wi-Fi network.

This isn’t a guaranteed fix, but it can help if the upload is failing.

7. Ensure No Major Outages Are Happening

Did you know there was a brief period of time where people weren’t allowed to change their profile pictures at all?

This was caused by a large number of users uploading illegal photos as their profile picture. To the handle the crisis, TikTok put out a platform-wide ban on uploading profile photos until they were able to get it under control.

The truth is, TikTok is a very large company and certain aspects of their service may be experiencing issues, even if the rest of the site is fine.

So, you should talk with others to see if they are also experiencing issues changing their PFP. You may also find people posting about this in the comments section of other videos, or talking about it on other social media sites like Twitter.

If the issue seems to be widespread, it’s likely a bug with TikTok themselves. So, you will need to wait until they fix it in order to be able to change your profile picture again.

8. Reinstall TikTok

If the issue is with your device and force closing the app didn’t work, you may need to reinstall TikTok entirely.

This should be considered a last resort option, as it can take a few minutes and be kind of an inconvenience to do.

Additionally, deleting TikTok will also permanently delete all of your drafts. This is because they are saved on your device itself, and are not uploaded to TikTok’s servers.

Therefore, you should ensure you have a backup copy of all of your drafts before deleting the app – even if you intend to immediately reinstall it.

To reinstall TikTok, simply delete it from your device and redownload it from your device’s app store. Note that you will have to sign back in, so you should ensure you still remember your login information as well before uninstalling the app.

9. Contact TikTok Support

Finally, the last thing you could try is to actually write a support ticket to TikTok.

By contacting TikTok support, you will be able to get to the bottom of this issue and solve it once and for all.

If there is a technical issue or bug, notifying them will help them issue a fix not only for you, but for others experiencing this as well.

Likewise, if there’s been a ban placed on your account or the photo violates TikTok’s community guidelines, they will be able to notify you of this as well. While contacting them may not cause them to reverse the ban or allow you to upload the offending photo, you’ll at least get to figure out what the problem was.

TikTok responds to support tickets within a few days, so be patient.

Hopefully, your profile picture will start showing soon enough!


We all expect our TikTok experience to go smoothly, so it can be very frustrating when your profile picture doesn’t show up.

This is usually caused by a technical glitch, a ban, or their AI deeming the photo as inappropriate. Thankfully, most of these problems can be solved.

I hope that you’ve found this article helpful. If you have any other questions about TikTok, please ask them using the comment form below.

Wishing you the best,

– James McAllister

About the author 

James McAllister

James is the owner of JamesMcAllisterOnline.com. He started his first blog at the age of 11, and has since gone on to start several successful businesses. In total, these businesses have sold hundreds of thousands of units and have touched millions of lives. Here on JamesMcAllisterOnline.com, he shares his knowledge that brought him to where he is today. If you want to connect with James, follow him on your favorite social networks!

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