Posted on December 19, 2017
Tuesday Tip: How to Use Snapchat
How to use Snapchat
Snapchat. Unless you’re just getting back from a 3-year vacation in the Andromeda Galaxy, you’ve heard of it. The app is the most popular social media site among teenagers and young adults in the U.S.,that is used by almost 80 percent of internet users aged 13 to 24.
But as popular as it is, even many regular users have not mastered all its features. This is partly because Snapchat keeps evolving and adding new functions. It started out as a messaging app you could use to send photos and videos that would self-destruct after 10 seconds – AKA “that app people use for sexting.”
And it still is that. But it’s many other things as well. Snapchat now has a My Story section where you can post photos and videos viewable you and your friends. It has cool filters you can add to your pics. It even has a Bitmoji feature you can use to make emojis out of your own face, so you can express yourself through a cartoon avatar.
But we’re not here to explain all that right now. We’re here to help you get started with Snapchat. From there, you’ll enjoy discovering the app’s many features as you use it.
First things first. Download Snapchat from the Apple App Store or Google Play. Once it installs, open it and sign up for an account. You’ll have to enter your email and birthday and create a password.
Then you’ll choose a username or “unique identifier” for your account. This can’t be changed once it’s set, so give it some thought. Your friends will use this username to find you at Snapchat and it will appear beneath your real name in their Snapchat contacts list. (AwesomeUnicornLover? Perhaps not.)
Snapchat will ask your permission to access your phone’s contacts list. Grant permission and the app will automatically pull up all your contacts who are also Snapchat users (easy) or you can add them manually (hard). If you do grant access to your contacts, Snapchat will present a list of potential friends and you can add them by tapping their names.
Take photos or videos
From your Snapchat homescreen, taking a picture is pretty much the same as taking a normal photo with your phone: Just tap the round shutter button. To take a video, hold the button down.
Save your photo or video
After you send a photo or video with Snapchat, it’s gone. You can’t see it again. If you want to save it to your phone before sending it, look for the download arrow at the bottom left of your screen, just to the right of the timer icon. Tap the arrow and your photo or video will be saved to your phone’s gallery.
Set a viewing time limit
Before you send a Snap to a friend, you can set the number of seconds you’d like your friend to be able to view it. You can choose from 1 to 10. To choose, tap the timer at the bottom left of your screen. You can tap the infinity symbol if you don’t want your Snap to have a time limit.
Add a caption
To add a caption on top of a photo or video, tap the middle of the screen. To change the caption from one line to a larger block of text, tap the T at the upper right of your screen. Once you’ve done this, you can pinch the caption smaller, zoom it larger and move it where you want. Tap the pen at the upper right and you can draw on your Snap in color.
Add a sticker or emoji
Click on the sticker icon at the top of your photo or video while you’re editing it to pull up the menu. Pinch or zoom to change the size. To delete before sending, press and hold, then drag to the trash icon. Release to delete.
Send your Snap
Tap the send arrow at the lower right of your screen and your friends list will appear. Choose who you want to send it to, then tap the arrow in the lower right corner of your screen to send.
View Snaps sent to you
To view Snaps from friends, swipe right from the camera screen to pull up the Chat screen. If a friend has sent you a Snap, you’ll see a purple or red square next to their name. To view the Snap, just tap. Once you do, the timer starts – you’ll see it count down at the upper right of your screen.
If you’ve received multiple Snaps from the same friend, they’ll play in the order they were sent. Tap the Snap once to skip to the next Snap. Swipe down to exit the current Snap. To view multiple Snaps individually, swipe right on your friend’s name to jump into Chat, then tap on the Snap to you want to view.
When a Snap is finished, you’ll see a “Double tap to reply” prompt. If you’re watching a story, you can tap once to skip ahead, swipe left to go to the next user you follow or swipe down to exit.
Chat with friends
You can also Chat in Snapchat. To do this, swipe right from the camera screen and pull up the Chat screen. Tap the name of the friend you want to contact, type your message and tap the send arrow. When your friend is present in the Chat, a blue dot will appear at the bottom of the screen. If your friend has set up a Bitmoji, that avatar will pop up and greet you instead.
Like Snaps, Chat messages will self-destruct after they’re viewed but you can save important messages by touching and holding on the message.
The Chat screen includes voice calling, video calling, stickers and Bitmojis. You can also Chat with a group of friends. Just tap the word bubble at the upper right of the Chat screen, then select the friends you want to Chat with.
Send a video or audio note
If you’re chatting with a friend and you want to send a looping video GIF of yourself (with audio), press the camera icon for up to 10 seconds. The video will record from your front camera and your video Note will be sent when you release your finger.
To send a brief audio note, press the phone icon and start talking. When you release your finger, the sound byte will be sent.
Make a video call
Tap the camera icon in the message screen. If your friend is available, they can choose to either accept or dismiss your call. During the call, you’ll see your friend on your screen and see yourself in a bubble at the bottom. To switch to an audio call, tap the phone icon.
Call during a Chat
Say you’re chatting with a friend and you want to switch to an audio call. Tap the phone icon above the keyboard. If your friend has notifications turned on, they’ll get a notification that you’re trying to call. To add video to the call, tap the camera icon.
Send a photo from your phone’s gallery
Just tap the picture icon above the keyboard and select the image you want. To elaborate on your image, tap edit to access Snapchat’s doodles, stickers and text options.
You can share more than one photo by tapping on them before you tap the send arrow in the lower right corner of your screen. You can also share photos during audio or video calls.
Insert a sticker
When you’re in Chat, tap the smiley icon above your keyboard and choose the sticker you want to include.
Add a filter
You can decorate a Snap with a filter. Add bunny ears or flowers to your selfies– choose from any number of options. You can add color effects, paint the sky or mark a holiday. To add a filter, from the Edit screen swipe right or left and choose the type of Filter you want. Then tap it and tweak it. Filters need to be enabled in your settings to use them.
You can also add a Geofilters that show where you are at the moment. You’ll need to enable location services to use Geofilters. Go to your device’s settings, select Snapchat and enable Location “While Using the App.”
Add a backdrop
After you’ve taken a Snap, tap the scissors icon, tap the diagonal lines icon, then select a photo backdrop from the list. Drag your finger over yourself to erase the design from your face. Tap the scissors icon again to apply the backdrop.
Add a tint
You can change to color of objects in a Snap with tint brush. After capturing a photo, tap the scissors icon and choose a color by dragging the slider. Then, with your finger, outline the object you want to tint.
Add a link
After taking a Snap, tap the paperclip icon, then type in the URL you want to link to. Tap enter, then tap attach at the bottom of the screen. You might want to add a text note as well, to let your friend know the link is there.
Take a Snap in low light
You can enhance your Snaps in low-light conditions by tapping the moon icon that appears at the upper left of your screen, next to the flash icon. This will brighten your photos and videos.