Hello and greetings, eager Snapchatters! As if Snapchat hasn’t been enjoying 2016 enough as it is, Appamatix is here to show you how you can bring the experience to your laptop or desktop Windows PC, using Windows 7, 8.1, or 10! Whether you’re new to the social media phenomenon or an old veteran, you might be surprised by just how liberating it can be to bring your experience onto a larger screen. You might also be surprised by how ridiculously easy it is.
You see, my first experience with Snapchat wasn’t actually with Snapchat, at all. Like many of my friends, my first experience with this explosively popular app was on my other social media feeds, primarily Facebook and Twitter, where I suddenly began seeing obnoxiously brilliant selfies of my contacts puking rainbows. Once the rainbows had started to fade, I became curiously interested in the app responsible for them. Then face swap was introduced, and the hilarity that ensued from it is what finally did the trick. I signed up, let my friends know that I’d signed up, and carried on from there.
However, for as good as Snapchat is, it’s still anchored to Android and iOS devices, without a version that runs natively on any other platform. This isn’t necessarily a drawback, since Snapchat was developed for smartphones and fast, constant use in the first place, but every once in a while, it’s nice to pull one’s eyes away from the few inches of touchscreen that we carry around in our pockets, and bring the experience to a larger laptop or desktop monitor.
This is where Android emulation plays a key role since it’s the software function that’s going to allow us to get Snapchat up and running on your Windows laptop or desktop. It’s also free. Need to sweeten the deal further? It’s 100% legitimate, and we’re going to accomplish it in a few easy steps.
If you’ve never used an emulator before, here’s the skinny: it takes part of your computer’s available resources and uses them to simulate another operating system entirely. The emulators we recommend will work for Windows or Mac, to emulate the Android mobile OS. Further examples include Mac users taking advantage of the Boot Camp application in order to run Windows, and gamers using PlayStation 2 or Nintendo 64 emulators in order to play their favorite titles on older systems.
There’s a legality catch somewhere in here, and it has to do with copyright violation. Thankfully, you won’t have to worry a single bit about emulating Android, since we’re going to use legit means to do so. The process only becomes questionable when you begin acquiring applications, software, or games that you’d normally have to pay for elsewhere. As long as you’re acquiring your apps through legitimate means (like we’re going to do, with Snapchat) then you’re in the clear.
While many people wonder why we can’t just emulate iOS instead, for those more accustomed to using Snapchat on the iPhone, the answer lies in Apple’s proprietary software and hardware. Outside of Quicktime Player and iTunes, have you seen Apple software running on anything other than an Apple device? Me either, and it’s why iOS is a pain in the butt to emulate. Technically, it’s possible. Feasibly, software designers can’t be asked to jump through that many hoops to create an emulator that most will want to download for free, anyway.
For our laptop and desktop Snapchat experience, then, Android is where it’s at.
Though there are quite a few Android emulators on the market, the following handful comes recommended by Appamatix. We’ve used them before, we’ve written about them before, and they’re all-around top-notch software that will tackle any application you throw their way–including Snapchat!
Though it might not be the most popular emulator that you’ll find online, Andy is my personal favorite of the bunch. It’s quick, it’s minimalistic, and it’s kept up to date with the latest release of Android OS by the software’s small development team.
You won’t find a plethora of deep features with Andyroid, but it does come with a comprehensive system tray manager called “Handy Andy,” which allows you to change the settings for your emulator on the fly. Andy also has Bluetooth support, allowing you to tether your mobile device to your computer for use as a controller. Andyroid is free to download, free to use, and is the most overall unintrusive emulator that I’ve found.
Easily the flashiest of the emulators featured on our list, you might even have mistaken Bluestacks as an actual Android game at one point. Being that the gamer crowd is primarily who the software is marketed towards, it’s actually adept at handling anything and everything in the Google Play store, from Snapchat to Clash of Clans. It’s also an incredibly well-developed emulator and probably boasts the best overall interface out of these selections, as well.
Though Bluestacks is free to download and free to use, it is supported by third-party advertising software that can occasionally be a nuisance on your computer. A meager $2 per month subscription fee will upgrade you to Bluestacks premium, getting rid of the advertising entirely.
Snapchat may be the name of our game today, but there’s always the chance that you’ll want to use your Android emulator for more than just that single app. If Android games are up your alley, then Droid4X is definitely worth checking out.
While it has many of the same base features as the aforementioned Android emulators, it’s also made somewhat customizable by what you download. The core emulation software will allow you to run any Android app you like, but the accompanying app that allows you to use your phone as a controller actually supports the multitouch functions unique to your mobile device. This makes it exceptionally good for Android gaming.
Like Andyroid, you’re able to download and use Droid4X entirely free!
The emulation package from American Megatrends is certainly one of the better-developed that I’ve ever run into, but it’s one of the only recommendations on this list that’s going to outright cost you, once you’ve used up the trial period that’s available when you first download it.
While all of the emulators featured here largely resemble the Android OS interface as you might find it on a mobile device, this one does far and away the best job of it, making for a clean and efficient emulation process that’s going to feel immediately familiar to anyone that’s ever used Android. For $15, you’ll get Android Lollipop and Jellybean, emulated, while $10 will net you Jellybean alone.
The oddest selection of this bunch is definitely Manymo, and that’s due to the fact that it doesn’t require any installation whatsoever. Instead, this Android emulator runs in your browser, emulating the Android OS at a variety of resolutions popular to the mobile devices that the operating system is meant for.
For Manymo, you’ll need to have the .apk (application) file on hand for any apps that you want to emulate, meaning that you’d need to find the most recent one for Snapchat (not difficult, with a quick Google search!) Additionally, since Manymo operates entirely online, you’re only allowed 10 limited-duration uses of it per month, if you’re signed up for the free version. Paying a $9.99 per month subscription fee will remove that restriction, making Manymo the best option for people who can’t regularly install software on their laptop or desktop PC.
Once you have your emulator of choice picked out and downloaded, you only have a few steps left before you can get Snapchat up and running. Here are two imperative things that need to be done, before you’ll be ready:
- Have Snapchat installed on a mobile device! It was meant for Android and iOS, and you’re going to have an easier time if you already have a Snapchat profile set up, that you can sign into.
- Sign up for a Google account, so that you can access the Google Play store. This is easy, and can be done by signing up for a free Gmail account. You’ll need it, in order to download Snapchat for your emulator.
Next, boot up your emulator of choice! It’s going to look quite a lot like a regular Android home screen, and for all intents and purposes, that’s what we can treat it as. Click over to the Google Play store (you’ll need to sign in!) search for Snapchat, and allow it to download.
The installation will be just as automated and easy as if you were actually using a smartphone. Once the Snapchat app has been installed, nothing stands between you, and bringing your Snapchatting onto the larger screen of your laptop or desktop!
Not only can all of this be done entirely through free downloads, it can be accomplished on any of the recent Windows operating systems (7, 8.1, or 10). Whether you’re a long time user of Snapchat or a complete newbie, let us know how you enjoy using Snapchat on your laptop or desktop PC by posting in the comments, below!