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Learn How to Use Snapchat in 2016

Updated on April 4, 2016
Millions of people are using Snapchat
Millions of people are using Snapchat

Guide to Use Snapchat

Snapchat is not just another instant messaging service. Using it is a refreshingly unique experience. It is very convenient to share photos and videos with the friends and family via Snapchat. It requires you to send picture messages (snaps). It is not text based. These photos and videos self-destruct within 10 seconds. So, the phone’s memory space does not fill up quickly. Short life span of these photos is also good for your privacy.

Downloading Snapchat

If you are an Android user go to “Google Play” to get Snapchat. It has been downloaded for 100 to 500 million times by Android users from Play store. It has been reviewed by more than 3 million users. From these numbers you can guess its popularity. The app size is 14 MB.

The iOS users will find Snapchat on iTunes App Store. The iPhone version of this app is almost twice in size (27.3 MB) than its Android cousin.

Install Snapchat from PlayStore or Apple App Store
Install Snapchat from PlayStore or Apple App Store

Sign Up and the Initial Set Up

After installing Snapchat on your phone or tablet you will have to register or sign up. If you do not already have a Snapchat account then you need to create one.

You will have to use a user name for Snapchat. It should be unique. Put your email ID while signup. You will also have to select your age.

After that, you will have to give your phone number. There will be a message or call verification. After putting the verification code the sign up process for a new Snapchat account will be finished.

Setting up Snapchat is easy
Setting up Snapchat is easy

Add Contacts

Without adding contacts an IM app is almost useless. Snapchat can access your contacts to find out any existing snapchat members from your list. If it finds some of them, they will be listed separately. One can always send invitations to other contacts to join Snapchat by pressing (+) sign beside the names.

You can also find your fiends by searching by user names. If you already know the username of someone with whom you want to contact then you can use that feature.

Add freinds and contacts
Add freinds and contacts

Capturing Snaps

Snaps are the picture messages. Snapchat opens with the camera screen. By default, the front facing camera will be on for taking your selfie. You can also change the camera by clicking the square like icon at the above right above angle of the screen.

If the light condition is not good then you will need flash. There is a flash sign at the top left corner of the screen. Use it to on or off flash.

A big round button at the center –bottom part of the screen is the shutter. Press it and you will have a photo. If you log press the button, it would record a video. Video length cannot be more than 10 seconds.

Adding Text and Doodles on Snaps

There will be caption bar at the top of the snap. The user needs to write down his message on it. You can drag the bar at the above or below of the default position (middle). There will be a big “T” icon at the top corner for customizing the text. You can make the bar disappeared by clicking it. You can also increase the size of the text.

You can also draw by clicking the pencil icon. There are also options to change the color pallet. You can draw above the snap to make it more interesting. It is not easy to draw anything good with the finger tip and so there is an undo button beside the pencil icon.

There are also photo filters to make things more attractive. There are colored filters and a Black and White filter. You can also add your current speed, temperature and time with the snap.

Snapchat Tutorial Video

Time Limit

You know, the most unique thing of Snapchat is its time limit. The snaps will be self destroyed after being viewed just like James Bond’s secret messages. At the left corner at the bottom is the time limit setting icon. Open it to select the time limit between 1 to 10 seconds.

You can also save the send messages on your won phone by clicking the download icon at the bottom (beside the time limit button).

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Sending and Receiving Snaps

Look at the arrow like sign at the extreme right corner at the bottom. It is the “Send” button. When you click on it, the list of all your Snapchat contacts will open. You can select a friend or a lot of friends (there is no limit) to send your snap. When you select the contact, the box after the name will appear filled.

When somebody sends you a snap, you see a red box with a number within at the bottom left corner of the main camera screen. The number will indicate how many unopened snaps are there. Click at that square to go to the received snaps. Long press the snap to view it. You will have to keep your finger on the screen or the snap will disappear. After the time limit, it will be automatically destroyed.


Stories are like Facebook profile messages. The difference is that, these are photos and videos (snaps). You can create a story by clicking at the rectangle with a plus at the bottom after taking the photo or video. The snap will be live for 24 hours. Your contacts can see your snaps. You can also make these snaps visible to anyone. You can also delete a story if you wish so. The story can also be created by using the send to option.


You can also send text messages to your friends. Tap the ghost icon above the main camera screen. A drop down menu will be opened. Select my friends from the list. You need to long press a friend’s name to open the hidden menu. There will be a setting from which you can edit name, remove or block the contact. A camera button will enable you to send the friend a photo or a video. The 3rd one will open the text chat window. Text chats will be deleted if you end the conversation. But you can also save these if you wish.

You can also do a video chat. If any of your friends is online you can do a live video chat by pressing the camera icon. Both of them should keep the button pressed to continue with the video chat.

Discover Feature of Snapchat

To make the app more interesting, Snapchat has added a section named “Discover”. Here, you will get stories from major media brands like CNN, MTV, Cosmopolitan, Daily Mail, National Geographic, Yahoo etc.

You can find interesting stories in small video snippets or images with texts from these sources. These can be sent as snaps to friends. Most interesting of these are the cute little messages created by the Snapchat team’s service.

Discover Menu
Discover Menu

Settings Menu

Every app should have a good settings menu to adjust it as required. Tap on the ghost icon at the top of the main camera screen. A menu will open. At the right top corner you can find the familiar Settings icon (the gear).

You will find your account information under the “MY ACCOUNT” tab. There will be your phone number, email and password. You can check or uncheck the “Allow my friends to find me” by tapping the phone number.

There is a “ADDITIONAL SERVICES” tab, too. Click “Manage” to check these services. There are photo filters, Front-facing flash and Replay option. The replay option, if checked enables you to replay the photo or video once more.

The privacy options are important for everyone. There one can choose to receive snaps and share stories to / from everyone or only friends.

Under the Notifications tab, one can set the notifications on or off. Users can turn on or off blinking LED notifications, vibrations or sounds.

One can join Snapchat Beta to be beta tester of the upcoming updates of the app. If you agreed to be a beta taster then you will get the updates and new features before everyone else.

Under the “Blocked” tab inside the settings menu, the list of the blocked contacts can be found. You can also unblock them from this list. The settings menu ends with the “Log Out” option.

I hope you have now a clear idea about how to use Snapchat. I have tried my best to give you as much detailed instructions as possible. Use it and happily transfer snaps with friends.


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