10 Essential Snapchat Privacy Tips

Prevent your snaps from being snatched by someone else

Disappearing messages, 24-hour story posts, and fun lenses are what make Snapchat so much fun. Fun, however, doesn't necessarily mean private, and it's easy to get swept up in the snap-tastic thrill of it all without thinking twice about Snapchat's privacy settings.

You can never be too careful on the web, especially when it comes to sharing personal photos, videos, and other sensitive information. The following Snapchat privacy tips can help keep your account secure.

01
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Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Screenshots showing how to enable two-step verification in Snapchat

Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your account and helps prevent unauthorized access. Whenever you want to sign in to your Snapchat account from any device, you'll need to enter both your password and a verification code that's automatically sent to your phone.

To enable two-factor authentication on Snapchat, go to your Profile > Settings, then tap the button beside SMS Verification to turn it on. Snapchat will walk you through the process of getting it all set up.

If you don't want to use SMS, Snapchat also allows you to use third-party authentication apps like Google Authenticator to generate codes. Tap the button beside Authentication App to enable this.

02
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Make Sure Only Your Friends Can Contact You

Screenshots showing how to limit Snapchat contact to friends only

Snapchat makes it possible to send photos and videos to anyone in the world, but do you really want just anyone to contact you through Snapchat? Probably not.

You can choose to allow only your friends to contact you (a.k.a. the accounts you've actually added to your friend list) or everyone to contact you. And this goes for all methods of contact, including photo snaps, video snaps, text chats, and even calls.

Since anyone can randomly add your username just by chance or find your snapcode somewhere online if you previously took a screenshot of it, it's best to make sure that just your friends can contact you. To do this, go to Settings, look for the Contact Me option under the Who Can... heading, and tap My Friends so a checkmark appears next to it.

03
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Select Who You Want to See Your Stories

Screenshots showing how to change who can see your Snapchat stories

Your Snapchat stories give your friends short but sweet glimpses of what you did over the past 24 hours. Unlike sending snaps to specific friends, stories are posted to your My Story section, which show up in other users' feeds depending on your settings.

For brands, celebrities, and public figures with large followings, enabling everyone to view their stories helps them stay connected with their followers. You, however, may just want to your friends (the people you added) to see your stories. You also have the option to build a custom list of users who can view them. Like the previous tips, you can access this option under Settings. Scroll down to the Who Can section and tap View My Story. Then, you can select Everyone, My Friends or Custom to build a custom list.

04
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Hide Yourself From the Quick Add Section

Screenshots showing how to hide yourself from Quick Add in Snapchat

Snapchat recently introduced a new feature called Quick Add, which you can see displayed at the bottom of your chat list and your stories tab. It includes a short list of suggested users to add based on mutual friendships.

If you have your Quick Add setting enabled, you'll show up in Quick Add section of your friends' friends.If you don't want to show up there, you can turn this setting off by tapping Profile > Settings (gear icon) and selecting See Me in Quick Add

05
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Ignore or Block Random Users Who Add You

Two screenshots of the Snapchat app for iOS.

It's not uncommon to experience random users adding you to their friend list, despite not knowing them at all or having no clue how they found your username. Even if you followed all of the above tips to ensure that only your friends can contact you and see your stories, you can still remove (or block) users who try to add you on Snapchat. To do this:

  1. Tap your profile picture/Bitmoji icon.
  2. Tap the Add Friends option beneath your snapcode.
  3. Here you'll see a section at the top labeled Added Me. Tap Show More beneath it to see everyone who added you.
  4. Tap the profile picture/Bitmoji icon of any user to pull up their profile.
  5. Tap the three dots in the top right corner.
  6. You can then choose Block, Report or Ignore Friend Request if you don't know them.
06
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Pay Attention to Screenshot Notifications

Screenshots of notifications in Snapchat

When you send a snap to a friend and they happen to take a screenshot of it before their viewing time is up and the snap expires, you'll receive a notification from Snapchat saying, "[Username] took a screenshot!" This little notification is important feedback that should influence how you choose to continue snapping with that friend.

Anyone who takes a screenshot of your snaps could post it anywhere online or show it to anyone they want. While it's typically harmless to snap and see screenshot notifications from extremely close friends and relatives you trust, it never hurts to be extra conscious of what you're sending them, just in case.

Snapchat will notify you within the app itself if someone takes a screenshot, but you can also get them as instant phone notifications by keeping Snapchat notifications enabled within the main settings of your device.

07
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Don't Share Your Username or Snapcode Freely Online

snapchat.jpg
Image © Snapchat.

Many Snapchat users mention their usernamea in a post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other place online to encourage others to add them as a friend. This is fine if you have all of the above privacy settings configured to your liking (such as who can contact you) and are happy to have lots of people viewing your snaps, but not if you want to keep your Snapchat activity and interaction more intimate.

In addition to sharing usernames, users will often post screenshots of their snapcodes, which are QR codes that other users can scan using their Snapchat cameras to automatically add them as a friend. If you don't want a bunch of random users adding you as a friend, don't publish a screenshot of your snapcode anywhere online.

08
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Move Private Snaps Saved in Your Memories to My Eyes Only

Screenshots showing how to move Snapchat images into My Eyes Only

Snapchat's Memories feature allows you to save snaps before you send them or save stories of your own that you already posted. All you have to do is tap the cards icon below the camera button to view a collage of all the snaps you saved, which is convenient for showing them to friends you're with in person.

But, you may want to keep some saved snaps private. So when you're showing friends your memories on your device, you can avoid quickly swiping through snaps you don't want them to see by moving them to your My Eyes Only section.

To do this:

  1. Tap the checkmark option in the top right corner of your memories.
  2. Select the snaps you want to make private and then tap the lock icon at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Snapchat will walk you through the setup process for your My Eyes Only section.
09
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Pay Attention While You're Snapping to Avoid Sending It to the Wrong Friend

Screenshots showing how to edit who you're sending a Snapchat message to

Unlike all the other social networks out there that have convenient delete buttons, you can't unsend a snap you accidentally sent to the wrong friend. So if you're sexting with your boyfriend or girlfriend and accidentally add one of your coworkers as a recipient before realizing it, they'll get to see a side of you that you probably never wanted to show to them.

Before hitting that arrow button to send, get into the habit of double checking who's on the recipient list. If you're doing that from within the camera tab by replying to someone's snap, tap their username at the bottom and check/check off who you do or don't want to be included as a recipient.

10
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Learn How to Delete Stories in Case You Regret Posting Something

Screenshots showing how to delete a Snapchat story

While you can't unsend snaps that you send to friends, but you can at least delete stories that you post.

If you post a story that you immediately regret:

  1. Navigate to your Stories tab.
  2. Tap Your Story to view it.
  3. Swipe up and tap the Trash Can icon at the top to instantly delete it.
  4. Unfortunately, if you have a lot of stories to delete, you'll have to do it one by one since Snapchat currently doesn't have an option for deleting them in bulk.