Broadcasting is so in right now.
Apps like Snapchat let you publish videos in real-time for the world to see, for instance, and then there's social networks like Facebook, which have added live-streaming tools for its users. Because these types of streaming features are in high demand, it's easy to see why standalone products are popping up specifically for streaming our moments exactly as they happen. Twitter-owned Periscope is one such example.
It debuted a few years ago, contended with a similar app called Meerkat, but eventually became the go-to broadcasting app for people wanting to live-steam video. One year after its public debut, Periscope revealed its users have created 200 million streams and watched 110 years of video daily. With that in mind, here's some tips and tricks to help you jump in on Periscope and master broadcasting in no time.
What is Periscope and how does it work?
Twitter bought Periscope in February 2015 - before the app even launched.
It is a free live-streaming app that allows you to live-stream video through your iPhone or Android. You can make your videos public or private. It is basically your own broadcasting station, because you can go live anytime and anywhere. And anyone who joins your video can interact with it by “liking” (clicking hearts on the screen) or getting involved via commenting. You and your follows can also share live broadcasts on Twitter.
Once the broadcast is over, others can replay it (if you've enabled this option under your settings). Your broadcasts are automatically saved to your phone as well, where you can then treat them like any other video (publish them online, send through email, re-watch, etc). Also, although Periscope doesn't yet have a website where you can explore live and finished broadcasts, it does have an Apple TV app with such options.
- For more information about how to actually start broadcasts (also dubbed scopes), check out Pocket-lint's guide.
- Pocket-lint also has this round-up of the best Periscopers to follow.
Pericope tips and tricks
Now that we've covered the basics of Periscope, let's get into how you can really use and leverage this app...
Starting a broadcast
Tap the Camera icon (under People tab in iOS; at the bottom of the app in Android), enter a title that describes your broadcast, manage your options like location settings, private/public broadcasts, limited chats, tweeting a live stream, then tap Start Broadcast.
Ending a broadcast
To end a broadcast, swipe the screen down during a broadcast and tap Stop Broadcast.
Searching for broadcasts
Under the World Tab, select the search icon to find any public broadcasts by title. You can also search for broadcasts by city, state, or country.
Setting broadcasts to public or private
By default, Periscope sets all broadcasts to public so that they are visible on everyone’s global feed. However, before you start broadcasting, you can tap the lock icon to start a private broadcast. You'll then be asked which followed you'd like to share the broadcast with, but keep in mind you will only be able to invite users you are following and who follow you.
Liking a broadcast
If you like what you're seeing in a broadcast, just tap the screen to like the stream/give the broadcaster a heart. Keep in mind hearts are only available in public broadcasts and replays, and hearts in private broadcasts are not counted toward your overall heart count.
Screen-shotting a broadcast
If someone takes a screenshot with their device while you're broadcasting, a camera icon will appear on the screen alongside any hearts.
Switching between cameras
To switch between a front-facing camera and a rear-facing camera during your broadcast, double tap the screen. You can also swipe down to switch the camera with the camera icon.
Going between landscape and portrait mode
You can broadcast either in portrait mode or landscape. Simply rotate your device.
Zooming in during a broadcast
Simply pinch to zoom on your device's screen.
Sharing your location
Before you start a broadcast, you will see the option to share your location and make your broadcast discoverable on the Global Map. This will also allow users who search for your location to discover you. To turn your location on or off, use the Compass icon on the Broadcast Tab.
You can allow everyone in your broadcast to comment, or you can limit comments to only users that you follow. This setting can be enabled or disabled before each broadcast by tapping the chat icon on the broadcast screen.
Both broadcasters and viewers can hide chat during a broadcast by tapping Hide Chat (swipe right in iOS, or swipe up in Android). When you hide chat during a live broadcast, you won’t be able to see any comments, though all comments will still be viewable in replay and will need to be hidden again if you want to watch the chat without seeing comments. You can do so by tapping the Chat Hidden in chat bar.
Opting out of comment moderation
Periscope lets users report and vote on comments that they consider to be spam or abuse during a broadcast. Broadcasters can opt out of having their broadcasts moderated and viewers can opt out of participating by adjusting settings in the app: Profile > Settings > Comment Moderation.
Entering Cinema mode
You can enter a Cinema mode on the web player by pressing H. This will toggle the display of hearts, comments, titles, and app links, providing you with an unobstructed viewing experience.
You can share a live broadcast you're watching with your friends by swiping right in iOS or up on Android and then tapping Share. The shared broadcast will appear friend's home feed.
Before starting a public broadcast, tap the Twitter icon to tweet your broadcast. Your tweet will contain a URL to your broadcast on Periscope's website, where anyone can watch the broadcast while it is live. To see an example, check out: https://twitter.com/periscopetv
Periscope serves up Suggested Tags to make discovering content easier. Simply click on a tag to view live and replay videos related to that topic. To broadcast about a topic and use tags, tap the Broadcast button in the topic's search results and add the relevant hashtags to your title.
Transition to another device with Handoff
You can start watching a broadcast on one device and transition to another while watching, thanks to Apple's Handoff feature. So, when you’re using the web view to watch a broadcast on your desktop, you're able to quickly switch to watching on your iOS device (or vice versa). Just be sure the devices are running iOS 8+ or OS X, have Bluetooth turned on, and are logged in to the same iCloud account.
Letting your broadcasts expire
Periscope allows you to control whether you keep broadcasts indefinitely. Otherwise, they automatically expire after 24 hours. If you would still like your broadcasts to expire after 24 hours, go to Settings and select Auto Delete After 24hr. When Auto-Delete is enabled, you will still be presented with the option to save each broadcast to your camera roll after it ends.
Saving broadcasts to your camera roll
To automatically save your broadcasts to your phone's camera roll, go to the People Tab, then tap the Profile icon in the top right corner, and rom your Profile page tap Settings. You can then turn on Auto-Save to Camera Roll. To save an individual broadcast after it has ended, you can tap Save to Camera Roll/Gallery after ending a broadcast and download the video.
To access to your replays, open Broadcasts from your Profile Tab. You can replay any video that hasn't expired or been deleted.
If you would like your broadcasts to expire after 24 hours, go to Settings and select Auto Delete After 24hr. You can also delete your individual broadcasts beyond 24 hours by tapping the Delete Broadcast button immediately after your broadcast has ended, or you can open Broadcasts from your Profile, swipe left on the video, and click Delete/Remove Replay.
Understanding broadcast stats
As a broadcaster, you’ll see some stats during and after your broadcast. Live Viewers is the total number of viewers that watched your broadcast live. Replay Viewers is the total number of viewers that have watched your broadcast as a replay. Time Watched is the total amount of time that all viewers watched your broadcast. And Duration is the total length of your broadcast.
Finding people to follow
When you follow someone, you will be invited to join their public broadcasts via push notifications (if they are enabled), and their broadcasts will appear in your Watch Tab. You can also chat in their limited broadcasts.
To find someone to follow, tap the People Tab and browse the list of suggested users to follow, or you can then tap the magnifying glass icon, enter a name into the search bar, then tap the "+" icon for whoever you want to follow. To unfollow someone, go to the user's profile and tap "unfollow" or uncheck them from your follower list. And that's it.
Watching via web profiles
Web profiles show live and recent broadcasts with heart counts. People using a Mac or PC can view broadcasts by visiting a user's web profile page. Profiles are located at periscope.tv/username.
Viewing broadcasts on TV
Periscope is available on the new Apple TV (4th generation). Go to the App Store, download and open the Periscope app, and you can start browsing a collection of live broadcasts from around the world with no account signup required. You can even send hearts to the broadcaster by tapping the Touch surface on the Siri Remote as well as read comments from other people.
This FAQ page has more details about how to use Periscope for Apple TV.
Discovering what's trending
Periscope has a Trending section in the People Tab that highlights recently popular broadcasters.
Navigating the map
The Map is under the Globe tab. It allow you to access live and replay broadcasts from around the world. When you zoom to a new place on the map, Periscope will load live and replay broadcasts from the region. A broadcast will only show up on the map if the broadcaster is sharing their location. Red dots are live broadcasts, and blue dots are replays.
Pressing to use Force Touch
iPhone 6S and 6S Plus owners can press down on the Periscope app to search people, go to a random location in the world and view a live broadcast, start a private broadcast that only your mutual followers see, or start a public broadcast.
Reporting inappropriate content
If you see inappropriate content on Periscope, swipe left to access the info panel, scroll to the bottom, and tap the Report Broadcast button.
Blocking and unblocking users
When you block a user on Periscope, he or she will not be able to follow you or view any of your content. The same goes for you. To block a user, tap the the user you would like to block. From there, while on their profile, tap the gear icon/menu icon and select Block User. To unblock, tap Blocked in your Profile, select the user, and tap Blocked to bring up the option to Unblock User. Tap this option.
Users will not receive a notification that you have blocked/unblocked them.
When you sign up for Periscope, you must choose a unique username. You change this username at any time by select your Profile icon, going to Edit, and choosing the second entry (@) to edit your current username. Be sure to hit the Done button to save your changes. Keep in mind you will only be able to change your username twice in a 30-day period.
Changing display names
Your display name is the name located directly under the photo on the profile page. Unlike your username, your display name is not unique to only your account. You can change your display name by selecting your Profile icon, going to Edit, and choosing the first field to edit your display name. Again, be sure to hit the Done button to save your changes.
Switching between multiple Twitter accounts
You can have multiple Periscope accounts if you have multiple Twitter accounts. This FAQ page has more details about how that works.
Getting a blue verification badge
If you are verified on Twitter, your verification badge will carry over to your Periscope attached to your verified Twitter account. Periscope does not award verification badges to accounts yet. Verification is handled by Twitter and is closed to the public.
Editing your profile
To edit your Periscope bio, click the Profile icon in the top right corner on the People Tab, tap the Edit icon on the top right, and you will then see options to edit your photo, display name, and edit your bio inline. .
Managing push notifications
If enabled, you will receive a push when someone starts following you, someone you follow starts a broadcast, someone you follow invites you to a private broadcast, someone you follow shares another person’s live broadcast. This FAQ page has details on how to manage push notifications.
Deleting your account
To delete your Periscope account, you must email firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line "Delete Account". In the email, include your Periscope username and the email address or phone number associated with your account.
Want to know more?
Periscope has this handy Help Center with more useful tips and tricks.