How to Use TikTok

What you should know about this popular video app

TikTok is a popular social app and platform for making and sharing short videos. If you're just getting started with TikTok, here's everything you need to know to immerse yourself in this funny, clever, weird, and addictive social tool.

Someone installing TikTok on their smartphone.
angieyoyo / Twenty20

How to Use TikTok

TikTok videos are taller than Instagram or Snapchat's content blocks, but that's not the only difference between TikTok and other popular social apps. Here's what you need to know to find your way around this unique social-sharing tool.

  1. Create a TikTok account. After you download the TikTok app for iOS or Android, you can immediately start browsing videos. However, to upload your content, you'll need to create a TikTok account.

  2. Make a TikTok video. It's easy to create a video directly from the TikTok app or upload videos from your phone to use in a TikTok video. Hold the Record button or use the TikTok countdown feature to make recording even easier.

    TikTok videos have a maximum length of 15 seconds, but you can link multiple clips together for 60 seconds of total recording.

  3. Add filters and effects to your TikTok video. Add fun video filters and special effects in real-time or after you record a video to make it more engaging and entertaining.

    Certain effects must be set before you record the video.

  4. Add music to your TikTok videos. TikTok has a vast library of sounds to use in your videos. Search, discover, preview, and instantly add music and sounds to your videos.

  5. Save a draft of your TikTok video. If you're not finished with your TikTok video and want to work on it more later before uploading it, saving a draft is a simple process.

  6. Go live on TikTok. Similar to Facebook Live and the Instagram Live feature, go live on TikTok to stream a video in real-time to your followers.

  7. Create a TikTok duet. Join forces with a friend to create a TikTok performance with the TikTok Duet feature, even if you're in different places.

    The TikTok Duet feature works only with videos that are 15 seconds or less, and you must have a public account to use the Duet feature.

  8. Change your TikTok profile picture and username. If you feel like creating a new TikTok persona, it's easy to swap out your profile picture and change your username. Your username can be anything you want, and you can use it even if someone else also has that name.

  9. Delete a TikTok video. Are you having TikTok regrets? If you decide a video wasn't up to your standards or you want to re-record it, it's easy to delete one, many, or all your TikTok videos.

  10. Save and download a TikTok video. Because of TikTok's social focus, you don't need any special third-party tool to save and download your favorite TikTok videos to watch whenever you want.

  11. Make your TikTok account private. By default, when you create a TikTok account, it's set to public, so anyone can see your videos. If you prefer, set your account to private so that only your approved followers can see your videos.

  12. Set who can view your TikTok video. Even if you have a public account, you may want to share a certain video with only a few people. It's easy to set an individual video so that only friends who follow you back can see it. Or, make a video visible only to you.

  13. Make your video even better with a third-party app. If you want to take your TikTok videos to the next level, try a TikTok video-editing app with additional visual effects, filters, music, and more.

  14. Use coins on TikTok. Coins are TikTok's digital currency, usually used to support another TikTok user. For example, if a TikTok user goes live, send a panda emoticon to the streamer and they get half the value (converted to diamonds). When they collect enough diamonds, they can convert them to cash through PayPal.

  15. Keep your teen safe on TikTok. TikTok has a host of parental control features and resources to make the TikTok experience as safe as possible for your teenager.

    TikTok users must be aged 13 or older.

  16. Delete or deactivate a TikTok account. If you're over the app and want to delete your account, download any videos you want to save first. When you delete your account, all content is deleted, as well. Consider deactivating your account if you only need a break.