The 12 Best Snapchat Tips of 2020

Have more fun with this powerful social tool

Snapchat is one of the most popular mobile messaging and social apps around, allowing users to connect with others both inside and outside their networks. Chat, send snaps, stay in touch with friends, and discover new content from celebrities and other influencers. Once you add a few friends and start sharing, you'll be sending out bunny-eared updates in no time.

If you're new to Snapchat or want to get more out of the app, we gathered the top Snapchat tips to help you get comfortable with this fun, powerful social platform.

The Snapchat app is available to download on iOS and Android devices.

01
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Find Your Friends

How to add contacts to Snapchat friends list

You can't send Snapchat messages, photos, and videos to yourself, so add some friends to communicate with them. It's easy to sync your contacts to Snapchat. Once you do, those who connected their phone numbers to their Snapchat accounts appear at the top along with their name, username, and profile picture or Bitmoji. Select Add to add them to your list.

If you know someone's unique Snapchat username, it's easy to search for it and add them to your friends list. Or, add someone in person by scanning their Snapchat code with your phone.

02
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Create Your Bitmoji

Person using Bitmoji on their smartphone, Bitmoji avatars on the screen

Lifewire / Daniel Fishel

Bitmojis are cartoon versions of yourself that you create. These serve as a digital avatar, representing you in a variety of web-based services from Snapchat to Gmail and beyond. While this isn't a productivity feature, creating your Bitmoji is fun and will help you get into the Snapchat universe.

03
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Use Filters

Snapchat wedding filter

With Snapchat, you're not sending boring messages. Snapchat filters enhance colors, add graphics or animations, change the background, and tell recipients information about when and where you're snapping. Filters are fun and powerful, adding more expression and personality to your snaps. You can also create Snapchat filters. Select Explore to find more filters.

04
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Use Snapchat Lenses

Snapchat lens

Snapchat lenses and filters are often confused, but these are different tools. Lenses add 3-D effects, objects, characters, and transformation, so when you see celebrities with puppy dog faces, they're using lenses, not filters. The app uses face-detecting technology to automatically find your facial features like your eyes and your mouth to apply the effects properly. Using this feature is addicting and fun, and soon you'll be creating your own lenses.

05
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Location, Location, Location

Snap Map on Snapchat.com.

The Snapchat location tools add a new element to social communication. Snapchat Snap Map is an interactive map where you share your location with friends. When they share their location, you can see their Bitmoji on the map, along with whomever they're hanging out with.

Another cool feature on the Snap Map is the ability to view stories from around the world. Tap a heatmap to view snaps people have submitted from that area. Blue heatmaps mean there were a few snaps taken there, while red means there were a ton taken.

06
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Use Snapchat's Story Feature

Filming a Snapchat story with a smartphone.

Unsplash

Snapchat's story feature lets you send snaps in a narrative style. The idea is that users can tell a story about their day, sharing the interesting things they did in the past 24 hours. Post your story and view your friends' stories. Make a story private if you want only certain friends to see it, or send a story to a few people.

If you'd rather not see a friend's story, mute it to temporarily prevent it from appearing at the top of your list, or tap the screen to jump to the next story.

Make sure to save a special story or snap to your Memories, and in a year, you'll see a reminder of what was going on.

07
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Start a Snapchat Streak

Snapchat Streak

bsd555 / Getty Images

To add more fun to your Snapchat experience, start some streaks with friends. A streak, or snapstreak, is a representation of how many days in a row you managed to send photo or video snaps back and forth with a specific friend. Once you get a streak going, you won't want to stop.

08
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Discover the Discover Page

Shows from Snapchat's Discover page

The Snapchat Discover feature keeps you in the loop on pop culture, current events, breaking news, celebrity gossip, and much more. Discover displays your friends' stories and publisher stories, including content from media partners. Discover also delivers shows, which are video segments from network partners, and Our Stories, which are snapchats submitted from different users around the Snapchat community. You'll also find For You content, which is curated content Snapchat thinks you'll enjoy based on your history and usage.

09
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Add Text, Doodles, and Emojis to Your Snap

Drawing with emojis on a Snap in Snapchat

Enhance your snap with text and doodles. Add captions and formatting of all sizes and styles, or tap the Paper Clip tool to doodle on your snap. Draw hearts, underline, add arrows, or customize the snap any way you want. You can even draw with an Emoji button for more fun.

10
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Use Scissors to Make Your Own Sticker

Use the Scissors tool to create your own Snapchat Stickers

Snapchat stickers are fun images you can add to your photo or video snaps to convey a range of emotions. It's even more fun to create your own sticker using the Snapchat Scissors tool. Take a snap, tap the Scissors tool, and outline the image you want as a sticker with your finger.

11
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Attach a Link to Your Snap

Add a link to your Snapchat snap

Use the Paper Clip tool to attach a link to your snap or story to share a news article, your TikTok video, or anything else you want a friend to see. Point friends to your blog, your latest YouTube video, a fundraiser link, a sign-up form, and more.

12
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Open a Snapchat in Stealth Mode

Snapchat logo
Chesnot / Getty Images

When you open a snap, the sender will see an Opened label underneath your name in your conversation. If you're feeling stealth and would rather read the message without the sender knowing, there's an easy way to stay under the radar using Airplane Mode.