On its surface, Snapchat looks like just another messaging app that includes some photo and video sharing. While that’s a pretty accurate description of the app that claims 160 million daily users, when it comes to actually digging in and becoming a pro user, there’s a lot more to it.
And you could use it simply: just share some photos, chat with your friends, and leave it at that. But that’s no fun. That’s why I spent a couple days uncovering some seemingly hidden tips and tricks that will help make your Snapchat experience just a bit more rewarding, while also making you look like an expert Snapper (is that a term?) at the same time.
After all, people are watching.
BREAK FREE OF THE TEXT BOX
When you’re editing, you’ll see a “T” button in the upper right-hand corner that you can tap to add a strip of text across your image. But if you keep tapping the “T” icon, you can change that text to whatever you want and wherever you want it. Once you’ve tapped into the deeper “T” mode, you can then resize and change the location of your text. You can then even rotate and resize your text using pinch and zoom controls. This is super useful for aligning the text with objects on screen. And, yes, you can even manipulate keyboard emojis for some extra flair.
YEAH, YOU CAN SHAZAM A SONG
This one is a nice little addition. From within Snapchat, you can just tap and hold anywhere on your camera screen and after the little ripples show up, Shazam will recognize whatever music is playing in the background. Then, you can share that music along with whatever image or video or memory you’re sharing.
ADD UP TO THREE FILTERS
Adding filters to photos and videos is as simple as a swipe. But did you know you can add multiple filters? Once you’ve selected your first filter, if you keep one finger on the screen and swipe again, you can layer another one. Do it again for a total of three and you’re in bling zone.
BLACK AND WHITE ARE HIDDEN IN THE SLIDER
When you’re adding doodles to your posts, you’ll see a color bar at the top right where you can slide up and down to select the color in which you want your drawings to appear. Strangely, black and white doesn’t appear there. Fret not, though: Just drag all the way down down for black and all the way to the left for white. Colors be damned!
STICK ITEMS TO OBJECTS IN VIDEO
You can stick just about anything - emojis and text - to objects in a video. To do so, create a video and then add whatever you want to a screen. For instance, take a video of your cat and then tap the “T” icon twice to add the word “Cat” to the video. From there, grab the word “Cat” and drag it to your cat’s nose. When you let go, the word will stick to wherever your cat’s nose goes in the video. Do the same with emojis from your keyboard or other objects from your scratchpad (that’s the icon to the left of the “T” icon).
ZOOM WITH ONE HAND
Zooming when shooting video can be a difficult, two-handed affair, because to shoot video you need to hold your finger on the record button. When holding your finger down, slide it up and you’ll be able to zoom in and out (by sliding down) with just one hand. Now go shoot that Oscar-winning Snap.
GET TO PROFILE AND SETTING SCREENS FROM CAMERA MODE
Camera mode is your default view for Snapchat, and it is normally a long trip from there to your settings screen. Rather than make your way back and into settings, just swipe down in camera mode and you’ll be dropped right into your profile and settings. From there, you can tweak your profile, add friends and change privacy settings.
CREATE AN ANIMATED SNAP CODE SELFIE
You’ve probably seen those super-cool animated snapcodes and wondered how to make your own. To make your own, head to your profile screen (swipe down in photo mode). From there, tap your Snapcode. From there, hold down the camera icon and wait for the countdown. Then do your thing.
EDIT YOUR FRIENDS’ DISPLAY NAMES
Have a ton of friends or have some weird nicknames for them? Well, you can change how their names are displayed to you regardless of what username they’ve chosen. Just go to “My Friends” from your profile screen. From there, tap on a friend to display their Snapcode and profile. Then, from there, tap on their name and you can change it to whatever you want.
TURN ON YOUR BIRTHDAY PARTY
Want to let your friends know when it’s your birthday? Head to your settings screen, then over to your birthday settings. From there, turn on “Birthday Party.“ Then, on your special day, your name will have a little birthday cake next to it, alerting your friends. This hidden setting is turned off by default.
EDIT FRIEND STATUS EMOJIS
Snapchat automatically changes the little emoji icons next to your friends on your Friends List based on what it knows about how you’ve interacted. For instance, new friends show up as babies and BFFs show up as big hearts. If you’re not into the default friend emojis though, you can edit them. Just head to your profile, and from there go to Manage Preferences. From there, you can select “Friend Emojis.” There you’ll see a list that not only explains what they are, but you can also change them to whatever makes sense in your crazy little world. Have a go. If you just want to understand what they mean, head here.
CREATE YOUR OWN GEOFILTER
Geofilters are cool—they’re location-based image and video filters that are triggered based on where you’re Snapchatting. Maybe you’re having a party and want to create a “Happy Birthday Jim” geofilter for Jim. Or maybe you run a business and you want to allow customers to create custom Snaps while they’re there. If so, head over to geofilters.snapchat.com, log in and get to work. The web-based tool will allow you create your own filter and select where you want it activated. You’ll have to pay for it, though, and you’ll need to wait about 24 hours for it to be approved.