Snapchat is emerging as a powerhouse app, especially for video-sharing. The free video messaging app recently revealed that over 8 billion videos are watched on the app every single day.

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If you haven’t started using Snapchat yet then now is the time. We’ve hooked you up on how to start snapping:

Download and Signup

You have to be 13 years old or older to use the app. If you’re younger than 13 you can use Snapkidz which lets you take pictures but without the options of allowing users to share Snaps or to view other pictures.

You can download the app for free on Android and iOS devices.

Once you’ve downloaded it you need to signup for an account by entering your email address, password and birth date. A verification code is then texted to you.

Setting Up

Like any other social sharing app you want to make sure you customise your settings, especially your privacy settings.

You can access your settings by tapping on the ghost icon at the top when in camera mode and then tapping on the gear icon. Here you can customise your account and adjust settings like:

  • Who can send you Snaps;
  • Who can view your Story;
  • Clear Browser Data;
  • Clear Conversations;
  • Block Users and more.

Activate Additional Services by tapping on Manage. Here you can then get bonus features like:

  • Filters;
  • Travel Mode;
  • Permissions: Here you can give the app access to your Location, Camera, Microphone, Photos, Contacts and send you Notifications.

Find Friends

The whole point of Snapchat is to share photos and videos with friends and to see what other people and brands are up to.

Open the My Friends tab by swiping right, tapping on the ghost icon at the top of the screen or tapping on the three lines icon at the bottom . To add a person as a Snapchat friend you tap on the plus symbol.

You can also see who has added you as a friend by tapping on the Added Me tab.

Start Snapping

Snapchat automatically accesses your Camera and you can snap a shot by tapping the circle at the bottom. To record a video of up to 10 seconds hold down on the circle. You can adjust the focus of your picture by tapping anywhere on the screen.

You can switch the Camera to selfie mode by tapping on the icon in the top right corner.

Add a caption to your Snap by tapping anywhere on the picture you took. The message will appear in a grey bar over the image. You can also draw on your pictures by using the pencil tool.

Use filters on your pictures by swiping either left or right on the image. The filters are location-based and as we’re based in Johannesburg, South Africa we had a few Johannesburg themed filters but there aren’t many options.

You can save your Snaps before sending them by tapping on the down arrow at the bottom of the screen. You can’t save pictures or videos after you’ve sent them.

Snapchat

Tap on the circle icon at the bottom to set how long your picture or video will be available to view by the friends you share them with.

Share Snaps

If you’re ready to share your Snap with a friend you can tap the arrow icon pointing to the right. Choose who you would like to share with from your Friends list.

To see whether your friend has viewed your picture or video:

  • Pictures: The triangle next to your friend’s username will not be filled in
  • Videos: The square next to your friend’s username will not be filled in.

If the icons are still filled in it means the picture or video has been sent but has not been opened by the recipient yet.

A Snap will be deleted from Snapchat’s servers and the recipient’s device within your specified amount of time once it has been viewed.

To view the Snaps your friends have shared with you tap the number in the square at the bottom. Press and hold a Snap you want to view. Once you’ve let go holding down the Snap will disappear. The timer will also show that the Snap will disappear regardless of how long you hold down. If you take a screenshot of a Snap the sender will be notified.

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