How to Use the Snapchat App

By Corbin HartwickUpdated on March 14, 2018

Now that we’ve introduced Snapchat and have gone over some safety and privacy precautions for Snapchat, it’s time to start using it! This tutorial will cover how to do most of the basic functions for the app on your mobile device (e.g. smart phone or tablet computer).

NOTE: the screenshots of Snapchat in this tutorial come from a smart phone running the iOS operating system, but it shouldn’t look too different on a device running an Android operating system.

To sign up for Snapchat:

1. Tap the Snapchat icon to launch the app.

This will start up the app on your device.

Launch Snapchat app icon

2. Tap “Sign Up” to make a new account.

Tapping this button will take you to the first step of the sign up process.

Snapchat sign up button

3. Enter your email address, a password, and date of birth.

After entering your personal details, you can move on to the next step.

Snapchat sign up form

4. Tap “Sign Up.”

Tapping this button will create your account.

Snapchat sign up form

5. Type in a user name, and then tap “Continue.”

Pick something unique to identify yourself on Snapchat. No two usernames can be the same!

Choose Snapchat username

6. Verify your phone number (if using a mobile phone; optional).

After selecting your country and inputting your mobile phone number, tap Verify.You will be asked whether you wish to verify via SMS (i.e. text message) or Phone Call. Select your choice, and then type in the number that you get where it says “Verification Code.” Then tap Verify once more. (NOTE: if you verify through text message, Snapchat may automatically verify you without having to type in the code). You can also tap Skip to skip this step.

Verify phone number for Snapchat

7. Add and/or invite contacts to Snapchat.

Snapchat will ask if it can access your mobile device’s address book to find people you know who already use the app. Tap Continue, and then tap Okay if you’re cool with this (or tap Don’t Allow instead if you don’t want Snapchat snooping through your contacts).

Import contacts to Snapchat

If you allow Snapchat to find potential “friends” in your address book, it will display any of them that it finds. Simply tap the “+” sign next to their name to add them as a “friend” (or contact). When you’re done, tap Continue.

Invite friends to Snapchat

On the next screen, you will also have the opportunity to invite other people in your address book to join Snapchat and add you as their friend. You can also just skip all this, if you’d like.

How to log into Snapchat

  1. Turn on your mobile device or tablet and tap the Snapchat icon to launch the app.
  2. Tap Log In to sign in to your account.
  3. Enter your user name in the first text box (if it doesn’t appear automatically), then type in your password in the second box.
  4. Tap Log In to start using Snapchat.
Snapchat log in screen

How to add friends to Snapchat

1. Turn on your device, tap “Snapchat” to open it, and log in (if you haven’t already).

This will start up the app, and allow you to enter your username and password so you can access your account.

2. Tap the “ghost” icon in the top-middle of the main screen to get to your profile screen.

This will take you to your profile, where you can see your snap score, and access your friends list and account settings.

Snapchat options icon

3. Tap “Add Friends” in the bottom-middle of your profile screen.

Tapping this button will take you to the next step, where you can add your friends!

Add friends to Snapchat button

4. Tap the method that you wish to use to add friends to Snapchat.

You can add friends by their username, import them from your device’s address book, add them by their snapcode, or add people nearby!

Choose method for importing contacts

How to create a Snapchat “snap”

1. Open Snapchat and log in (if you haven’t already).

This will start up the app and ask for your username and password so you can access your account.

Snapchat log in screen

2. Press the large button at the bottom-middle portion of the main screen.

If you tap this button, Snapchat will take a picture. If you hold it, Snapchat will record a video until you release the button.

Snapchat snap screen

You can also tap the switcher icon in the top-right corner (if available) to switch your mobile device’s camera between facing towards you and facing away from you. The flash icon in the top-left corner (if available) will turn your mobile device’s camera flash on or off.

3. Add emojis to your snap.

Tap the notepad icon in the upper-right corner to add an emoji to your snap. Select the category of emoji that you want, and then tap the emoji that you want to add it to your snap. You can also tap and hold on an emoji, and then move your finger around to move the emoji to wherever on your snap you want it.

Add emojis to snaps

For more on adding emojis and what they mean, see our article on Snapchat emojis.

4. Add a caption to your snap.

Tap the “T” icon (or tap pretty much any empty space on your snap) to add a caption to your snap. Simply type in what you want to say about your snap, and then tap anywhere else on the screen when you’re done. Like with emojis, you can tap and hold on your caption and drag it to a more suitable spot on your snap.

Add caption to snaps

5. Draw on your snap, or add filters to it.

Tap the pencil icon to draw on your snap. Simply tap the places on your snap where you wish to draw stuff. You can also tap the colour bar underneath the pencil icon to switch colours, or tap the undo arrow icon to the left of it to erase the last part that you drew. Tap the pencil icon again to stop drawing.

Draw on top of a snap

While back on the main editing screen for your snap, you can also swipe the screen to add filters to your snap. Some may only be available if you have allowed your mobile device to find your location using GPS and other tools.

6. Set your snap time limit (if it’s a picture).

Tap the clock icon in the bottom-left corner, scroll through your options, and then tap to set the amount of time that someone is allowed to view this snap before it deletes itself (if it’s a picture). You can choose between one and ten seconds.

Set time limit for snaps

7. Send your snap to your friends.

Tap the arrow icon in the bottom-right corner to begin the process of sending your snap to your friends.

Send snap button

On the next screen, tap the check boxes beside the friends that you wish to send your snap to. Then tap the arrow icon again.

Choose recipients for your snap

How to send a Snapchat “chat”

1. Open the app and log in (if you haven’t already).

Launch the app so you can get started chatting with your friends!

Snapchat log in screen

2. From the main screen, Tap the “Chats” icon in the bottom-left corner.

The icon looks like a little speech bubble. Tapping this icon will take you to the next step.

Snapchat chat button

3. Tap the “Chat With” icon.

This will take you to a screen where you can choose who you want to send a message to.

Choose recipients for messages

4. Tap the name of the person whom you wish to chat with.

Pick one of your friends to send a message to them.

Tap on a friend to message them

5. Tap the “Send a Chat” box, type in your message, and then press the yellow circle.

Start a conversation with your friend!

Send chat button

How to make a voice or video call on Snapchat

1. Launch Snapchat and log in to your account.

Open up the app and sign in to your personal profile.

Snapchat sign in screen

2. Tap the “chats” icon.

Access a list of your text chats with your Snapchat friends.

Snapchat chats icon

3. Tap the button in the top right to start a new chat.

This will allow you to open a new chat with one of your friends so you can call them.

Start a new Snapchat chat

4. Select the name of the person you want to call.

Simply tap the name of one of your friends to open a chat window.

Choose friend for Snapchat chat

5. Tap “Chat” to open a new chat window.

Tap the blue button that says “Chat” to start up your conversation.

Start a chat on Snapchat

6. Tap the phone button to make a voice call. Tap the video camera button to make a video call.

Starting a voice or video call will notify your friend that you are calling them. Once they pick up, you can start chatting!

Tap phone icon to voice call or camera icon to video chat

How to log out of Snapchat

1. From the main screen, tap the “Profile” icon in the top-middle.

Tapping the icon that looks like a ghost will open up your profile screen.

Snapchat profile icon

2. From your profile screen, tap the “Settings” icon in the top-right corner.

The button that looks like a gear will allow you to access your account settings.

Snapchat settings icon

3. Scroll to the very bottom of the settings options, then select “Log Out”.

Swipe your finger upwards to scroll down on the page. When you see it, tap the Log Out button.

Snapchat Log Out button

4. Tap “Log Out” in the window that appears to confirm you want to log out.

Confirm that you want to sign out of your account by tapping the button that appears.

Confirm log out of Snapchat

That’s about it for our guided tour of Snapchat! We still have lots more to teach you in the rest of our Snapchat course, so be sure to check out our other tutorials to learn about Snapchat friends, emojis, and stories.