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News and Trends > Snapchat

14 Ways to Step Up Your Snapchat Game

PC Mag
This story originally appeared on PCMag

Set aside your sexting jokes. Snapchat is about way more than scantily clad selfies. But you might already know that since Snapchat has been rapidly growing its user base among those 25 and older to become more of a visual, fun Twitter.

But Snapchat doesn't just have a coveted demographic, it also has 10 billion daily video views -- and cash. The app-based service had revenue of $50 million last year and has set a target of $300 million to $350 million this year. Considering that Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel reportedly turned down a $3 billion acquisition offer from Facebook, the company clearly believes its best days are ahead of it.

If you want some of what Snapchat has, we have some tips. Oh, and here's a bonus one: be aware that while you probably don't mind looking ridiculous on Snapchat since that's sort of the point, you might want to be more conscious of how you look IRL when using it.

14 Ways to Step Up Your Snapchat Game

Seems Authentic

Don't let someone hijack your snaps. Last summer, Snapchat added two-factor authentication. Once enabled, you'll need your password and an SMS code sent to your phone to log in to your Snapchat account on a new device. To enable it, tap the Snapchat icon > the gear icon on the top right > Login Verification > Continue, and a verification code will be sent to your phone.

14 Ways to Step Up Your Snapchat Game

Coded Language

Finding friends in Snapchat can be hard, and not because you're not popular. Snapchat can access your contacts and add them but beyond that, search is really limited. If you don't know their exact Snapchat name, the easiest way to add a new friend is to use Snapcodes. Snapchat assigns every Snapchatter a unique, scannable Snapcode. To add someone via Snapcode, open Snapchat, aim the camera at the Snapcode, tap and hold on the Snapcode on your screen, and then select the option to add when it comes up.

14 Ways to Step Up Your Snapchat Game

Trophy Life

Think your Snapchats are worthy of a trophy? So does Snapchat. If you snap something, you could get something. A tiny emoji trophy in your Snapchat Trophy Case, that is. To see what you've racked up, tap the Snapchat icon on the photo screen, then the trophy that appears at the top of the page. While there's no public list of trophies, one person is doing their best to document every trophy and its meaning.

14 Ways to Step Up Your Snapchat Game

Color Your Life

If you like to draw on your snaps with the Pencil icon, you're not limited to the palette that shows up. To get superchromatic, tap the color bar. Then drag your finger up the screen to get lighter colors and down for darker ones. When the pencil icon is the color you'd like to use, lift your finger, tap where you'd like to draw and you'll see your color selection.

14 Ways to Step Up Your Snapchat Game

Word Up

Snapchat is low on characters, at least when it comes to writing captions. Thirty-one characters used to be the limit and though it's now been raised to 80, you probably have more to say. Open up a notepad-type app, hit return several times until you have a few lines, then select all and copy the whole document. Then go back into Snapchat and paste it. Now you can type far past Snapchat's limit in the box.

14 Ways to Step Up Your Snapchat Game

Take It on the Road

To save data, put Snapchat into Travel Mode to prevent content from loading in the background when you're on your carrier's network. Go to Settings > Additional Services > Manage, and you'll see Travel Mode. Slide the button to the left to turn it on.

14 Ways to Step Up Your Snapchat Game

Keep Your Friends Close

Find a new friend right near you with the Add Nearby feature. Tap the Snapchat icon > Add Friends > Add Nearby. If you have location services turned on, you'll be shown all nearby Snapchatters.

14 Ways to Step Up Your Snapchat Game

Ultra Filtered

Life looks better through a filter. So imagine how much better your snaps will look if you filter them twice. To use two filters at once, take a snap, then swipe left across the screen to add the first color filter. Then press and hold on the screen to keep that filter in place, and use another finger to swipe again and you'll be presented with geolocation, weather and other filters. Tap the arrow to send your ultra-filtered snap.

14 Ways to Step Up Your Snapchat Game

Snapchat Lenses

Puppy power! Everyone looks good with the dog lens. If you want to have your day, open Snapchat, make sure the front-facing camera is turned on you and press down on the screen. A menu should appear at the bottom of the screen, which you can scroll through to find cute and sometimes disturbing lens options. Some will require you to open your mouth or raise your eyebrows to activate. 

Snapchat swaps out lenses regularly, though dog is truly your best friend and always available.

14 Ways to Step Up Your Snapchat Game


Snapchat's not going to get to $300 million on your selfies alone. And that's where media partners like National Geographic, People magazine, Comedy Central, The Food Network and ESPN come in. Last year, Snapchat launched Discover, which is essentially bite-sized versions of those companies' content that can be consumed in swipes and taps. Tap the globe-like icon on the top right of the Stories page to explore.

14 Ways to Step Up Your Snapchat Game

Let the Memories Live Again

The latest Snapchat feature seems to go against all that Snapchat was founded on, but it's a sign that the service is all grown up. Memories is a way of holding onto Snaps and Stories. To create a Memory, save as you normally would. Instead of being saved to your camera roll, the Snap or Story will now be saved to Memories. To see all your Memories, swipe up from the camera screen. If you don't want to keep Memories around, then go to Settings > Memories > Saving > Save To and select Camera Roll Only. 

If you don't have Memories yet, you will soon; it's rolling out "selectively" to users now. Users will be alerted when they get access to the new feature via chat.

14 Ways to Step Up Your Snapchat Game

Talk Talk

Snapchat is really putting the chat in your Snaps. In features it's calling Chat 2.0, Snapchat is introducing audio and video communication. Once you've initiated a chat with a friend, you can tap on the phone or video camera icon to communicate. For video, your friend can tap Watch and you won't be able to see them but they can hear you, see you and also send you chats. Or your friend can choose Join and you can see and hear each other. For audio, Listen and Join work much the same way. Your friend can tap Listen to hear you and Join if they want to chat with you. If you're holding your phone away from your face when you chat, you'll be on speakerphone. If you move it near your ear, the call will be transmitted through the earpiece.

14 Ways to Step Up Your Snapchat Game

Change Your Viewpoint

You don't have to choose sides when you're Snapchatting. To switch between the front and rear cameras, double tap the screen while recording.

14 Ways to Step Up Your Snapchat Game

Eye Spy

Want to know who's been creeping on you? Go to My Story, tap on the three stacked dots, then the Snap in question and then swipe up to see who's viewed or screenshotted it. Swipe down when you're done.