Snapchat is easy to learn and use -- as long as you have someone to show you the ropes.
You can take a photo or a video, add a caption or doodle or filter or sticker or lens over top, and then send the final creation (aka a "snap") to a friend. Or, you can add the snap to your "Snapchat Story" in order to broadcast it to select friends or the public. Friends can view your snap for up to 10 seconds before it disappears forever, and they'll have access to your story for 24 hours at a time. While this is all basic knowledge to the average Snapchatter, you'd be surprised to learn there are other ways to spice up your Snapchat experience.
We'll admit it: Snapchat isn't the most user-friendly. It has a tonne of features that you got to hunt down and figure out. Sometimes you have to unlock buried settings in order to truly take advantage of what this fun messaging app has to offer. If you'd like to learn all about Snapchat's untapped potential, we've rounded up a few tips and tricks. But first ensure you have the latest, up-to-date version of Snapchat.
Use Bitmoji in Snapchat
You can send Bitmoji cartoon in chat by connecting your Bitmoji account. Also,iIf you and a friend have both set up Bitmoji in Snapchat, you’ll see “friendmojis” that include both of you.
- Open Snapchat
- Tap the ghost icon at the top of the Camera screen.
- Tap the gear icon to open Settings.
- Tap ‘Bitmoji.’
- Tap the “Link Bitmoji” button.
Access more colours
When you open Snapchat, you will see the camera view straightaway. You can snap a photo or video while on this screen using the camera button at the bottom, and then you can tap the Doodle icon (pencil symbol) in the top-right corner to access a colour picker in the form of a sliding rainbow bar.
Use your finger to select a colour, and then simply start drawing on your snap. If you want to access an additional colour palette, which many users are unaware about, including the colours white and black, drag your finger down from the slider, across the bottom, and back up. Pretty simple, right?
You can also drag your finger from the right or to the top left to access a bunch of other colours. The image above from mplatco - who makes snaps for accounts like GrubHub, NBCtheVoice, WaltDisneyWorld, etc - serves as an illustrated example on how to access more colours.
Add special text
This one is crazy easy. After you capture a snap, you will then see a Text icon (T symbol) appear in the corner. It allows you to overlay snaps with text and emoji. In order to magnify either, all you need to do is tap the "T" again. You can also highlight your text and then change its colour (each word can have its own colour too).
Specify who can message you
Under Settings, you can choose to let anyone send you messages (if they have your username) -- or you can limit it to someone you mutually follow. You can also decide if you want your "Snapchat Story" to be visible to anyone who adds you. There's also a custom setting that lets you block specific people from seeing your story.
Edit display names
Sometimes friends have confusing display names on Snapchat that are hard to remember. But you can edit them to display whatever you want. From the camera view, swipe down to access the Contacts screen, then tap my friends, and find the friend. Tap on their name, then tap the settings icon, and select Edit Name.
Similarly, you can change how your name will appear to friends. Double tap on your name on the Contacts screen to access a quick menu for editing your name.
Enable filters and more
When you open Snapchat, you will see the camera view straightaway, which actually serves as the main screen in Snapchat. Swipe down to view a screen that lets you find friends to add. While on this screen, tap the Settings icon (gear symbol) in the top-right corner to access secret features and hidden settings.
You'll then want to tap "Manage" under Additional services. While in this section, you can toggle different options. As of December 2015, you can enable filters (go here to learn more) and a travel mode that reduces mobile data usage.
Going back to filters for a moment, once you've created a snap, swipe your finger left or right on the snap draft to preview all the available filters. You may see geolocation filters, which are, you guessed it, based on your location. There are also filters for time, temperature, speed while traveling in a vehicle, and more.
Add multiple filters
You can layer filters on top of each other to create an effect with multiple filters. Simply tap and hold on the screen with one filter enabled and then swipe with another finger to add more.
Create your own geofilter
Geofilters are a fun way to share where you are, or what you’re up to, by adding an overlay to your Snap. If you have location services and filters enabled, you will be able to add a geofilter.
You can also create your own geofilters for neighborhoods, cities, or events like weddings. Just use Snapchat's online Geofilter creation tool (here). This Snapchat FAQ page explains everything you need to know about "On-Demand Geofilters", which can be active for up to 30 consecutive calendar days.
Use those face-changing filters
Lenses are basically a way to augment your selfies. They are often goofy animations that are overlaid on top of your selfie or background. One popular lens, which debuted when Lenses were first introduced, is a rainbow that pours out of your mouth like vomit. Snapchat adds news ones daily.
- Open Snapchat
- Go to the Camera screen (should be the first screen after opening Snapchat)
- If your rear-facing camera is active, switch to the camera so that it faces you (tap the top-right button)
- Press and hold on your face, and then Lens options will appear below
- Swipe left to select a Lens
- Follow any on-screen instructions (like ‘Raise Your Eyebrows')
- Tap the capture button to take a Snap, or press and hold on the capture button to record a video
Set your Snapcode selfie
You can add an animated selfie to your profile that will be shown to other Snapchatters to make it easier for them to recognise you. To add a selfie, which is called a Snapcode in this instance, tap the Snapchat icon at the top of your camera view, then tap the larger Snapchat symbol, and the Snapcode Selfie screen will appear.
To capture your Snapcode selfie, tap the camera button. The camera will take five selfies to create an animation.
Friend emoji definitions
When you look at your friends' names in your contact list, you may see "Friend Emojis" next to their names. These change over time, based on how you interact with your friends. Here's what they mean:
Customise your Friend Emojis
You can create custom Friend Emoji under "Manage" in your settings. Want to change that heart to a pizza emoji? Tap the Settings symbol in the top right hand corner of your Profile screen, then tap ‘Manage’ under the ‘Additional Services’ section, and tap ‘Friend Emojis’. From there, tap the emoji you would like to change, then choose an emoji.
Message indicator definitions
The coloured icons next to your friends' names in the Chat screen indicate whether a message was sent, received, opened or not, etc. Here's the complete list of indicators and their definitions. Commit it to memory.
Make emoji move with objects
Snapchat's emoji can be attached to objects in videos so they appear to move with that object instead of remaining stationary. How do you add moving emoji? Here's how:
- Open Snapchat
- Press and hold the Record button to shoot your video
- Tap the Emoji button next to the "T" button in the top right
- Browse the emoji available and tap one to add it to your video
- Press and hold on the emoji in the video and move it to an object or spot
- When you release it, it will stick to that object or spot in your video
- Use pinching and swivel gestures to respectively scale and rotate the emoji
- Repeat steps 3-7 to add more moving emoji to your video
- That's it! Now tap the arrow button in the corner to send your video
Zoom in with one hand
Drag up on the screen with your finger when taking a video (like, press the button and drag up with same finger) to zoom in with one hand.
Use Snapchat as a QR code reader
Snapchat's camera can recognise any QR code, so you can use it to open web links or whatever.
Want to know more?
Check out Pocket-lint's Snapchat guide for more tips and tricks, including details on how to use Snapchat to send money to friends, etc.