5 Hidden Snapchat Hacks & Features You'll Wish You Knew About Sooner

Kim Kardashian in 2015

Kim Kardashian in 2015

Snapchat, the one-to-one messaging app with more than 150 million daily active users, has earned a reputation for fast growth and innovation.

But despite its success, it isn't the most user-friendly app I've ever played around with. Many of its best features are so buried within the app that a lot of people don't even know they exist. In March 2016, Snapchat added even more features in their release of a new version, and some of these features have totally reshaped how people use the app in the first place.

For example, did you know that you can use Snapchat to make a live video call? Or that you can add emojis to your Snapchat videos -- and make it so they move and scale with specific objects? What about the trick where you can save data by turning the app on to "travel mode"? 

1) Use Snapchat for voice and video calls.

One of the biggest changes Snapchat made during its most recent update in March 2016 was the addition of a voice and video chat feature. There are two ways you can use voice and video chats: By sending 10-second recordings (of your voice or a video of you), or by "calling" them to start a live voice or video chat lasting any amount of time.

The voice and video call functionality is located within Snapchat's chat feature, so you'll need to open up a chat conversation with someone to begin. If you've updated your Snapchat app, you'll see the phone icon and a video icon below the chat box.

Snap Inc.

Snap Inc.

 

To leave a 10-second voice or video message, hold down on the voice or video call icon and it will begin recording immediately. When you release the button by picking your finger up from the screen, the recording will stop and send immediately with no do-overs. In other words, make sure you're ready to record and send the voice or video message before you begin.

To start a live voice or video call, just tap the voice or video call icon and it'll begin ringing the other person immediately. If they don't answer within a few seconds, you'll see a pop-up notification asking you if you'd like to send a voice or video message instead. These voice and video messages are identical to the 10-second voice and video messages described above.

Here's a GIF showing what it looks like to live video call another user:

Snap Inc.

Snap Inc.

 

Note: Voice and video chat will only work if both you and the person you're trying to call have updated their app to the most recent version.

Also, remember that there's no verification once you tap or hold down on one of the icons -- it'll start ringing or recording right away. (I learned this the hard way when I tapped the video icon accidentally.) Otherwise, it's a very intuitive and easy-to-use functionality.

2) "Pin" emojis to objects in your videos.

In addition to adding stationary emojis and stickers to your Snapchat videos, you can also "pin" -- or attach -- emojis and stickers to different objects in your video. This allows the emoji to automatically move, rotate, and scale with whatever object you pinned it to.

To "pin" an emoji or sticker to an object in a video, start by recording your video in Snapchat first. Then, tap on the folded paper icon on the top of your screen, located to the left of the "T" icon.

Scroll through the available emojis and stickers until you find the one you want. Tap on it to add it to your photo, and then use your finger to move it, and hold it in one place above an object to "pin" it to that object. 

3) Make your text fit neatly in one line.

If you're anything like me and hate when your text awkwardly goes just over one line, rest assured: You can actually resize your text so it fits neatly into a single line (or however many you'd like).

To resize your text, tap the "T" icon at the top of your screen, then tap on the text to get into text editing mode. Next, use two fingers to pinch-and-zoom to resize it while it still spans the width of your screen.

4) Turn on "travel mode" to save data.

When I first started using Snapchat on a regular basis, I noticed right away that it was draining my battery faster than any of my other social media apps. Thankfully, Snapchat actually has a built-in feature to help conserve your data, in the form of "travel mode."

When you set your Snapchat app to travel mode, snaps and stories won't download automatically. Instead, you can choose when you want to load a snap or a story. It can also help reduce video lagging while you're recording videos using the app.

To turn your Snapchat app to travel mode, go to settings, which you can access by opening Snapchat, tapping the ghost icon in the top center of the screen, and then tapping the gear icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen.

Once you're on the settings page, tap "Manage" under "Additional Services" and toggle "Travel Mode" on.

5) Change the color, size, and orientation of your text. 

Think you're limited to white text? Turns out you can actually change the color of your text to whatever you want, including black (see previous tip).

To change the color of your text, start by taking your photo or video, then tap the "T" icon at the top of your screen. Tap the "T" icon again to make the text larger and remove that shadowed background, and then tap the text itself to open up the color palette. Drag your finger along the palette to change the text color.

To change the orientation and/or size of the text, use two fingers to rotate it or resize it by pinching and zooming. You can move the text around to wherever you want on the screen simply by holding your finger on the text and moving it around.

There you have it. I hope these tricks and features help you use Snapchat to connect with your friends! Also since you're a new expert at snapping, will you chose to share your newfound snap secrets?

Happy snapping!