The social media marketplace is practically an arms race these days, with each struggling to outdo the other with new and exciting features in every update. Snapchat’s most recent “Chat 2.0” update has provided users with a number of fantastic new tools to use, but one of the longstanding best remains the app’s Snapchat Filters.
It should come as no surprise that we’re still seeing massive upgrades and additions to all of our favorite social media and chat applications. Everyone in the US–and much of the rest of the world–carries a smartphone in their pocket, but not everyone is going to have an investment in every single popular app available. Thus, we’re faced with a competition that can only stand to benefit the consumers and users that take advantage of these apps!
Since most are free to download and use, the unending innovation that brings us new features, tricks, and tools only get better and better. Snapchat’s “Chat 2.0” is one such grand update that brought with it a ton of features, but some users still haven’t caught up to the plethora of cool things that came before it!
Filters are most often associated with media sharing apps like Instagram, such that some people even say that an image looks “Instagrammed” when a filter is used to change its colors, contrast, or composition. Leave it to Snapchat to find a way to innovate that’s uniquely apart from all other filter-using applications. Much like app’s “self-destructing” media, your filters can change based on a number of varying qualities that all lend to that cohesive, constant “in the moment” feeling that so defines the Snapchat experience.
In addition to the surprising amount of fun that you can have with Snapchat’s filters, they’re fully integrated with all of the other markup tools that let you modify and enhance the images and videos that you’re intending to share with your fellow Snapchatters. Feel like taking advantage of the plethora of new stickers that were recently added to Snapchat? There’s nothing stopping you. Want to draw in some color that perfectly complements the filter you’ve chosen? That works, too! Maybe you’re using one of the Geofilters to display your local temperature, and it could use a few graphics to illustrate the balmy weather you’re enjoying. Have at it!
In this guide, we’ll first tell you how to get filters enabled in Snapchat and then look at some of the various filter options that are available to you. Even though this feature has been available for a while, there are still plenty of users that haven’t explored it to its fullest extent! Better yet, since Snapchat is always adding new features and expanding on fan favorites, we’re very likely to see more filter fun in the future!
Enabling Snapchat Filters
For most users, Snapchat filters aren’t enabled by default. Like any other part of the app that requires access to specific functions on your phone, it requires permissions that have to be accessed in the settings of your device, or within a specific menu in the Snapchat app.
First, it’s important to distinguish between the three types of filters that we’ll be using. There are normal filters, Geofilters, and data filters. Normal filters can be enabled within the Snapchat settings menu, and they’re the variety that will give you modified color palette, contrast, brightness, and other adjustments. Geofilters, on the other hand, take advantage of your current weather and location in order to apply specific types of filters that will depend on upon the relevant information collected by your mobile device. Further yet are data filters, which go above and beyond the location-dependent Geofilters to display specific information from your phone’s data. Think along the lines of battery life, We’ll tackle these two things, one at a time.
The most easily enabled of the bunch, these types of filters will allow you to modify your snaps in very similar ways to what you’d see in apps like Instagram. From the main Snapchat window, tap on the ghost silhouette above to access the menus. The little gear-shaped icon will bring you to Snapchats settings, from which you need to find the “Manage” option listed under “Additional Services.”
Right away, you’ll see the toggle for Snapchatt’s filters, which can easily be switched from disabled to enabled. Do so, and you’ll have full access to the usual ensemble of filter effects! You might also have enabled several data filters, but we’ll speak more on those in just a moment.
Enabling Geofilters will require a couple of additional steps, likely outside of the Snapchat app itself. Because the app requires your permission to access other applications on your phone, we’re going to have to delve into your device’s settings menu in order to switch those permissions on. Since Snapchat itself doesn’t have the diagnostics to determine your location, current temperatures, or current weather, it’s going to depend on other apps in order to fetch this data.
The process by which you enable this access is going to change depending on if you’re using an iOS or Android device; for the sake of ease, we’ll cover both!
- iOS devices will require users to go into their iPhone’s settings and select “Privacy,” followed by “Location Services.” Here, you’ll see a list of potential apps that all have features that might take advantage of your phone’s location services feature. Since we’re only concerned with Snapchat, simply toggle on the button next to the Snapchat listing, and you’re good to go!
- Android devices have it slightly easier. Go into your settings menu and select “Location.” It’s less complicated and app dependent than the iOS process, since you only need to tap “Turn On” to enable location services access for all of your apps.
Once this has been accomplished, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve completed the above steps to turn on Filters in Snapchat. Geofilters are accessed in the same way as the rest of your filters, which makes them just as handy to apply on apt snaps.
It’s quite possible that you’ve enabled all of your data filters at the same time that you enabled your simple filters, above. Data filters collect common information from your phone that you can occasionally use in your snaps, where applicable. These are a diverse set of filters that won’t always all appear for you. For example, you’ll be given the option to use a “full battery” graphic when your phone is at 90% battery, or a “low battery” graphic when it’s at 10% or lower. Anywhere in between, and you won’t see these filters. Similar options include filters for time and current speed, all collected through third-party applications.
Make Your Filters Work for You!
Once you have access to all of your filters, don’t hesitate to use them! Additionally, don’t go crazy with them! There’s a reason that Instagram users have become so excessive in their filter use that the behavior is practically synonymous with the app.
For Snapchat, your filters can be useful as much as they can also be for visual flair. The app moves fast, and since you’re encouraged to snap images and video as they happen, and then upload them shortly after, it’s important to take advantage of every editing resource that’s available to you. Additionally, the use of Geofilters and data filters can add a hint of personality to your snaps that speak to where you are, what you’re up to, and whether or not you’re enjoying some balmy, pleasant temperatures at the time of your snap!
You can use your filters to compliment the other markup tools available to you before you upload a snap. Couple your temperature filter with a few sunshine stickers and some hand-drawn heat waves. Out in the boonies, living the ranch life? You’ve got stickers for that, too, and just about any other situation that your filters can build a location out of.
One of the reasons that Snapchats filters, and all of the rest of its features, continue to work so well is because of how tightly integrated they are with the core experience. Sure, you could ignore the fact that they’re available, but when they’re only a swipe away and they can add so much to your every snap, why would you? Because of the app’s landmark success, I expect to see more filters, and more ways to use your smartphone’s other features in filters in some of the coming Snapchat updates.
Even if you’re still getting the hang of filters, you’ll soon realize just how well they mesh with all of the new features added in Snapchat’s recent “Chat 2.0” update. The auto-advancing “Stories” now give you an even more compelling reason to make sure that your 24-hour series of snaps create a perfect, media-based narrative; the addition of important tidbits of data from all of your possible filters only make this more possible.
However, our guide is just that–a way to get you started! Share your own experience from using Snapchat filters in the comments below!