One of the things that continues to irk Snapchat users is the inability to save their favorite material from the app before it disappears forever. For many, it seems unfair, and thus apps like Casper are born–alternatives to Snapchat that capitalize off of the social media giant’s success.
The thing is, most of them aren’t actual “alternatives” in the strictest sense of the words because no other app is large enough to compete with Snapchat on the home turf of its own, innovative features. Nothing is going to unseat it apart from an entirely different social media phenomenon that catches peoples’ attentions, likely once they’ve grown tired of Snapchat itself.
Still, that doesn’t mean that people aren’t flocking to apps like Casper; after all, that’s why we’re here, right? It is important to realize that it’s not an alternative to Snapchat, and is instead a way to integrate with the Snapchat service in a way that lets you save media that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to.
If you’re getting a weird, unsettled feeling after that sentence, it’s all right; third-party apps that integrate with social media can be understandably risky business. Let’s explore why.
First off, let’s check out the appeal of Casper–the reason that we’re so interested in it in the first place. In the same ways that Snapchat makes some users feel trapped by its settings, Casper is liberating. You can save, forward, and edit Snaps like never possible before, and even create custom filters in Casper’s media editor. You can choose from thousands of different stickers to apply to the Snaps you create, which far exceeds the number available to you in the Snapchat app itself.
On top of that, you can upload images from your mobile device’s gallery to use in your Snaps, instead of being forced to take them on-the-spot with your camera. Ideally, this gives users more freedom with how they plan and upload their Snaps. It flies in the face of the spirit of the original Snapchat app, which focuses on media shared “in the moment,” that disappears just as quickly as it happens–just like those special moments that we experience out in the wide world.
Putting it down on paper, the benefits of Casper make it seem like a pretty good deal. After all, who doesn’t want more options to add to their Snapchat experience, right?
Before we make a “snap judgment,” though, we owe it to your online safety to examine some of the deeper aspects of the Casper app, and why they should make you a bit wary. Keep in mind that I’m not condemning or condoning its use–that’s 100% up to you, my friend. But the meat of the details are promised to affect your decision, so without further ado, let’s get into it!
How Does Casper Work?
First, it’s important to get a handle on how Casper works. Since it’s not so simple as a Snapchat alternative (which technically doesn’t exist, unless you consider Facebook or Instagram), the inner workings of the app are fairly important to understand if you want to use it, at all.
It’s not a standalone app. Instead, it uses your Snapchat account itself in order to accomplish the tasks that it’s known for. Think of it as a mediator that stands between you and Snapchat itself, modifying Snaps (or saving them) as they move between you and the app.
Because it’s so closely tied to the Snapchat app–and in turn, your Snapchat account–it should be obvious by this point that Caster is going to need your Snapchat information in order to work. That should be setting off a few warning alarms in your mind. I know that it does, for me. Typically, any third-party app or software that wants your account information for another app isn’t going to serve you well in the long run. Even if nothing bad were to come of it, the precedent isn’t exactly encouraging.
Surely, you remember “the Snappening” from back in 2014, where thousands of Snapchat photos and videos were supposedly “hacked.” It turns out that the culprit for that entire fiasco wasn’t Snachat, but the third party apps that people were using to save the media that they encountered on the app; images and videos that would otherwise have been gone for good, as per Snapchat’s terms of service.
Terms of service are always where third-party software wades into a gray area, and Casper is no different.
Why Not Use Casper?
Casper promises to adhere as closely to possible to the terms of service provided by the Snapchat app itself but outright says that certain of those terms are going to be violated.
- “Use of any scraping, data mining, robots or similar data gathering or extraction methods.”
- “Accessing the Snapchat API with an unauthorized or third-party client.” (More on this one, shortly.)
You can see where I’m going with this, hopefully. If you’re going to turn your Snapchat access over to a third-party service, you’re effectively turning over everything that you share through Snapchat, as well.
One final note, also; there’s currently no way to use Casper on anything besides Android, and that’s because it’s an unauthorized app; you won’t find it in the Google Play store. Whether or not an app is authorized–or what an authorized app is in the first place–can be a bit confusing to the average user, so consider these simple guidelines:
- Unauthorized apps are never available in major app stores (Google Play Store or iOS App Store.)
- Only Android allows you to boot up and use unauthorized app (unless you jailbreak your phone.)
- Casper is only available through its own third-party website.
Step-by-step directions for Casper’s installation on your Android device can be found at its hosting website, but there’s no way around the fact that you’ll have to turn on unauthorized app permissions if you want to use it.
Warning signs galore are present with apps like Casper, but that hasn’t stopped hundreds of users from getting onboard with them. Just the same, we’ve tried to include all of the relevant information and cautions in this brief guide, but we’re by no means condemning or condoning third-party application. We also aren’t interested in passing judgment on your own treatment of Snapchat’s terms of service. Such decisions are entirely up to you, dear reader!
An Alternative Method
One problem still remains, though–without Casper, we’re left right back where we started. There’s no way to save Snaps, and there’s no way to upload images from your photo gallery to use when making your own Snaps. Both of these features remain off of Snapchat’s radar, and there’s no reason for us to expect these features in the future.
After all, Snapchat is meant to tell stories in the moment. Not only does applying permanence fly in the face of that, it also risks the privacy of anyone who might be Snapping you, whose media you decide to save. It’s a great big can of worms that exists because of Snapchat’s social media format. There’s no true way around it without third-party software, and that software is going to be required to violate the Snapchat terms of service in order to work at all.
Your only alternative is an easy one, even if it’s not a particularly satisfying one. You can always take a screenshot with your mobile device–a saved image that consists of whatever was on your screen when you took it. Will this let you save videos? Unfortunately, no, and it won’t let you save Snapchat Stories as intact, viewable media either.
If you’re looking for a fully fledged Snapchat alternative, you’ll have to keep on looking, but if you’re looking for a third-party companion app that will help you to overcome some of the inherent barriers present in Snapchat, then Casper is what you want. Hopefully, our guide has helped you to be more aware of the risks that come along with using third-party apps, so that if you do choose to do so, you’re prepared for both the benefits and the potential consequences.