10 Essential Privacy Tips for Snapchat Users

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

You can never be too careful on the web—especially when it comes to sharing personal photos, videos and other information. Make sure you go over the following Snapchat privacy tips to ensure your account is secure and your snaps don't end up all over the internet!

01  Enable Login Verification

Login verification beefs up the protection of your account by adding an extra layer of security to help prevent unauthorized account access. This just means that 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 will automatically be sent to your phone when you try to log in.

To enable login verification on Snapchat, simply navigate to the camera tab, tap the little ghost icon in the top right of the screen, tap the gear icon in top right and look for the Login Verification settings option. Snapchat will walk you through the process of getting it all set up.

02  Make Sure Only Your Friends Can Contact You

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

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

Since anyone could 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. Access your settings from your profile tab (by tapping the ghost icon > gear icon) and look for the Contact Me option under the Who Can... heading in your settings to set it to My Friends.

03  Select Who You Want to See Your Stories

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

For brands, celebrities and public figures with large followings, enabling everyone to be able to view their stories helps them stay connected with their followers. You, however, may just want to your friends (the people you added) to be able to see your stories. You also have the option to build a custom list of users to be able to view your stories.

Again, this can all be done from the settings tab. Tap the ghost icon > gear icon, scroll down to the Who Can... section and tap View My Story. From there, you can select Everyone, My Friends or Custom to build your custom list.

04  Hide Yourself From the "Quick Add" Section

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.

So if you have your Quick Add setting enabled, you'll show up in the friends' of your friends Quick Add sections. If you'd prefer not to show up there, you can turn this setting off by tapping the ghost icon > gear icon and selecting See Me in Quick Add to turn it off. 

05  Ignore or Block Random Users Who Add You

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. And 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, tap the ghost icon and then tap the Added Me option beneath your snapcode. Here you'll see a list of users that have added you, which you can tap to pull up a list of options—including Ignore and Block.

If you just want to delete the attempt to add you, tap Ignore. If, however, you never want that user to be able to reach you via Snapchat again, tap Block and select your reason why.

06  Pay Attention to Screenshot Notifications

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 that will say, "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  Don't Share Your Username or Snapcode Freely Online

Many Snapchat users will mention their username 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  Move Private Snaps Saved in Your Memories to "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 little bubble 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.

Some snaps that you save, however, may be necessary to keep private. So when you're showing friends your memories on your device, you can avoid quickly swiping through those snaps you don't want them to see by moving them to your My Eyes Only section before you show them off.

To do this, tap the checkmark option in the top right corner of your memories, select the snaps you want to make private and then tap the lock icon at the bottom of the screen. Snapchat will walk you through the setup process for your My Eyes Only section.

09  Pay Attention While You're Snapping to Avoid Sending it to the Wrong Friend

Unlike all the other social networks out there that have convenient delete buttons, you can't unsend a snap that you accidentally send 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  Learn How to Delete Stories in Case You Regret Posting Something

So 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 posting, you can simply navigate to your stories tab, tap your story to view it, swipe up and then tap the trash can icon at the top to instantly delete it. 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.

Mike PalmerComment