How to create your Snapchat account
Install the app and sign up
Search for Snapchat on Google Play or the App Store and get it downloaded. When its yellow icon appears on the home screen of your iPhone or mobile, the app’s installed, you’re ready to open it up and follow the prompts to set up your Snapchat account. This, you could do in 30 seconds: enter your name, tap Sign Up and Accept, then pop in your birthday.
Afterwards, create your username. Only this step would really make someone stop and think. Because if you choose Change My Username, below Snapchat’s recommended username, it's worth taking a moment to create something timeless as your username can't be changed. When you're happy with your username, tap Continue and create your password. Almost there. Next, use your mobile number to sign up for your first Snapchat account or, if you’ve registered your digits with the app before, opt to put in your email address. And for the final push, select pictures to prove you’re not a robot and you’re done. You have a Snapchat account.
Add your friends and accept requests
Here’s how to find their accounts and connect on the app so you can Snap, Chat and game with people you know. When you have friends on Snapchat, you might see where they are around the world by swiping right twice on the main camera screen for the Snap Map.
Let Snapchat see your phone contacts
One of the first things the app does is offer to look through your address book and show you who has an account. Listing these people on Snapchat with an Add button next to their name, the app makes it super easy to tap and connect. For this to happen, agree to the popup while you’re setting up your account or go to your profile anytime and tap Add Friends, then All Contacts.
Search names or usernames
You can add someone on Snapchat without having their number in your phone by typing their name or username into the search bar. Give the magnifying glass a tap at the top of your screen and go looking for friends. When you come across their Snapchat, press +Add.
Swipe right on your Snapchat and sometimes you’ll have a notification that someone added you as their friend. If so, you can tap to Ignore them or do the sociable thing and accept their request by choosing to Add Back.
Next time you meet in person, your friend can pull up their Snapcode on their phone from their My Profile on Snapchat. By pointing your phone’s camera at this, then pressing and holding the image on your screen, you can add them fast without typing names or giving the app their details. Snapcodes, rather like QR codes, can do more advanced tricks on Snapchat though they’re pretty simple looking – a yellow box around your profile picture or Snapchat’s ghost logo.
Snaps are photos and videos, here’s how to…
Swipe right on the app’s main camera screen for your Chat screen. If there’s a pink or purple square below someone’s name, they sent a Snap for you to tap to open. Get a good look because when you’re done and you tap your screen again, the Snap will disappear. Of course, you could screenshot or screen record the Snap as a way to keep it for later, since you can’t save the Snaps you’re sent, but the sender will find out from Snapchat – the app will add a note to the Chat.
The Snap Map is your other way to see photos or videos shared publicly, not just by your friends, but Snapchatters globally. On the app’s main camera screen, swipe right twice and roam the planet looking for your friends or heat maps to tap and open Snaps shared in Our Stories.
Here’s how to make, what the kids on the app call, real Snapsterpieces (masterpieces on Snapchat)…
1. Get set up first on the app’s main camera screen
Before taking your selfie, why not switch up your look with a Face Lens? Press and hold your face on the screen and swipe left and right through your options. Puke rainbows, glam up with makeup, throw on some shades – the choice is yours (and enormous!) with so many filters to try out.
Want more? Next time you’re pointing your camera at your surroundings, tap the background of your shot to add characters or special effects with World Lenses. Or experiment with different camera modes to get the perfect picture on Snapchat. From capturing several Snaps at once with Multi Snap, so you can choose the best, to putting on the timer delay that gives your friends enough time to get into shot.
2. Snap a photo or video
Tap the circle to Snap your photo, it’s the camera button, or hold it down long enough to record your video.
3. Add filters, doodles, stickers, sounds and text
Editing your Snap on the preview page is all part of the fun and very little effort with the toolbar at your fingertips on the right of the screen.
Tap ‘T’ to write a caption in your chosen font, ‘@’ to mention your friends or the pencil to draw with your finger (pinch the screen to change brush thickness). Want to show the time or temperature, where you are or how fast you’re travelling? Open the sticker drawer and get decorating.
To put a basic filter on top of your photo that changes the colour or adds a little pop to your Snap, swipe left or right. The ‘Am I snapping right?’ and ‘My first Snap’ filters couldn’t be more perfect for your initial attempt. Want to use more than one? Tap the layers icon (the three squares stacked up) and go ahead.
Press and hold the speaker icon to add a voice filter. Add a track from the list of Featured Sounds by tapping the musical notes icon or choose Create Sound to record your own for up to a minute.
4. Snap your Snap to your friends
Finished creating? Tap the blue Send button and you’ll go to the Send To screen, where you select the friends who you want to see your Snap, and press Send again. When your friend opens your Snap, they can see it until they tap their screen, which will make your Snap disappear from Snapchat.
Snapping with your friends, like this, is how you’ll spend most of your time on the app. And when you both send a Snap within 24 hours, more than 3 days in a row, you’ll be on a Snapstreak – you’ll each have a fire emoji next to your username, as well as the number of days you’ve kept it running. Watch out for the timer emoji that will warn you that you are running out of time to continue your Snapstreak. Messages in Chat and group Snaps don’t count to your Snapstreak, it’s just between you and a Snapchat friend.
Snapchat Stories are collections of Snaps, here’s how to…
By tapping Story on the Send To screen, you can add your photo or video to your personal Story or to the group Stories you share with your friends. While both types of Story disappear after 24 hours, someone could keep the group one going longer by adding a Snap.
Alternatively, choose Our Story when you’re looking at the Send To screen. If Snapchat approves that it’s appropriate and there’s no profanity, Snapchatters around the world might see your Story on the Snap Map, among other places on the app.
Want even more eyes on you and what you’re up to? Try to be seen by Snapchatters who’re exploring similar interests to yours by tapping #AddTopic and choosing the categories you feel are relevant. Students, if your university has a Campus Story, let Snapchat check your location and you might be able to contribute to the Story, everything from your study group selfies in the library to clips from nights out at your Union bar.
Swipe left on the app’s main camera screen for Stories. See what your mates are up to in the Friends bit at the top. Catch up on Stories and Shows in your Subscriptions. Or binge the Discover section with Stories from publishers and trending creators, Snap Stars and more.
Found one to watch? Tap to enjoy it while you can as it’ll only exist for 24 hours. Think someone would enjoy one of the Snaps? Send this to them by pressing and holding the Snap, then tapping the Share icon (arrow-like, points right) and choosing your friend. When you’ve finished watching a Story, you’ll get a sneak preview of the next one.
Liked what you saw? Subscribe for more by pressing and holding the Story and tapping Subscribe. You’ll see the Story and others like it in your Subscriptions. Didn’t enjoy a Story? Try to Hide it by pressing and holding the Story and choosing that option. If you change your mind, you can Un-Hide the Story when you View Hidden Stories in your Story settings.
How to Chat on Snapchat
Like WhatsApp or texting, Snapchat Chat is where you type and send messages, record voice notes and send photos from your phone. Press the rocket button and you can even play games with your friends. Swipe right on the app’s main camera screen and you can Chat...
Tap your friend’s name to continue chatting where you left off or start a new one-on-one chat by tapping the blue speech bubble, then finding and tapping your friend’s name. When ‘…’ appears in the bottom left corner of the Chat, this means your friend is reading your message or typing their reply.
When you’ve both seen the Chat, your messages will delete themselves, unless you tap a message to save it from disappearing. It’ll turn grey, which your friends will notice, but you won’t lose it. They’ll also know if you press and hold a message to tap Delete. See our guide for more Snapchat hacks.
Start or continue group chats the same way as one-on-ones. To shoutout someone specifically, type ‘@’ and choose their username. Snapchat automatically deletes Group Chat messages after 24 hours.
Fancy a Video Chat with as many as 15 friends? Tap the video camera button. You could surprise them with Face Lenses but they might be able to watch your silliness before they’ve answered your request and joined you. You can ring up to 32 people, all at the same time, by tapping the phone icon to make a voice call through Snapchat.