Snapchat is the instant photo-sharing app that lets you take photos and send them to friends, who can see them for a maximum of 10 seconds before they're gone! With no way to save the photos or view them for longer than the allotted time, Snapchat is the perfect way to share quick snaps with your friends!
Now you see me, now you don't
The concept of Snapchat is really simple: you take a photo with the in-app camera, add up to 40 characters of text or use the pencil to draw in the odd mustache or devil horns, choose how long you want your friends to be able to see the photo (anywhere from 1 to 10 seconds), choose which friends you want to receive it, and hit send.
When you receive a snap, you press and hold the message to view the photo. The timer starts as soon as you click the message, and counts down on the screen even if you're not holding down to view the photo.
Snapchat includes the option to share videos, as well as Snapchat Stories, which lets your friends view photos an unlimited number of times for up to 24 hours.
If you are feeling a little more adventurous, you can also dive into Snapchat's "Discover" option. A quick swipe delivers you to this feed, which allows you to explore snaps from a range of editorial angles. Skimming through these is a simple matter of swiping left, with an upward gesture opening images to learn more.
Be careful what you share
SnapChat has begun to integrate more social messaging functions. Swipe on a friend's name and you'll pull out a chat window where you can tap out messages, which then disappear when you exit the window. There is also an icon at the bottom of the home screen that shows you how many of yours buddies are currently on SnapChat. You can even press and hold the capture button to start face-to-face video chatting.
The Snapchat home screen is the camera itself. You can navigate to your notification feed and your contact list by swiping your finger left or right respectively. You can access the settings through the notifications section. It's not obvious at first, but because there are so few options, it's easy to get the hang of quickly.
Snapchat keep images secure by deleting them (within the app) immediately, but there is no way of knowing if the images are archived somewhere else. There is also the danger of inappropriate images being shared (Snapchat has gotten the reputation of being the perfect 'sexting' app). You should probably avoid sending anything personal as there are now many apps which allow you to save Snapchat photos.
A new social network?
What used to be considered a 'sexting' app is now evolving into a social network with its newest feature Snapchat Stories. Regardless, Snapchat is still a good app for sending quick photo messages to friends as a hybrid between a messaging app and a social network.