Optimizing Your Snapchat Privacy Settings

Snapchat is one of the most popular messaging apps today. The ability to send and receive images and videos makes Snapchat a fun way to communicate and share with others. But as with any social media, there’s always the question of how to best keep your information private.

Luckily, Snapchat allows users a lot of choices to customize their privacy through the app. Once you decide on a level of privacy for your account, it’s easy to secure your information and enjoy Snapchat without worry!

What To Know About Privacy on Snapchat

There are a few things to know about Snapchat’s privacy settings before using the app. A user has to give Snapchat permission to access both their camera and their photos in order to use the app. It also requests the ability to see a user’s location.

Other privacy settings can be adjusted. This includes settings like who can view your story, see your location, or contact you.

Snapchat uses Bitmojis instead of profile pictures for users, which helps people retain a level of anonymity. Bitmojis are customizable avatars that are meant to look like users, but you can create yours to look any way you'd like. This helps with privacy for those who want it.

To set up a Snapchat account, you are required to submit your birthday and email. A phone number is also suggested for an account, although it isn’t necessary. However, be aware that your phone number can still be shared with Snapchat even if you didn’t give it yourself! Snapchat gives users the choice to upload their contact list, which makes it easier to find friends on Snapchat.

If you didn’t give your phone number, but a friend of yours uploaded their contacts, Snapchat will still be able to get your number. Make sure to turn off the ability for others to find you via your phone number in Settings. This way, even if Snapchat has your number, it won’t lead to unsolicited friend requests.

Online Privacy Checklist

Keeping Your Information Private

Snapchat is an app that can share a lot of information. You might be comfortable with sharing your birthday, but not your location on Snapchat’s public GPS. Depending on the level of privacy you prefer, here are the ways to adjust your privacy settings to your personal liking.

Snapchat Privacy Optimization

If you want to only be contacted by Friends:

In your Snapchat settings, change “Contact Me” to “My Friends” instead of “Everyone.” This means that you won’t receive unwanted snaps from strangers and can only be sent pictures from people you have added.

You also have the ability to keep yourself from being shown in Quick Add. Quick Add is a section made up of people you might know or might want to be friends with. Toggle the “Show Me in Quick Add” button off. This keeps you from showing up in others’ Quick Add sections and give you more control over who befriends you on Snapchat.

If you want to keep your location private:

Snapchat takes users’ information to create a giant map of all your friends’ locations, called “Snap Map.” It can be accessed by clicking on the leftmost icon at the bottom of the screen. You cannot disable Snap Map, but you can make sure that nobody sees you on it.

Tap your profile to go to settings and turn on Ghost Mode. This makes it so that friends cannot see your location on Snap Map. You can also choose to adjust who sees your location instead of keeping it from everyone.

Snap Map also offers a feature called “Our Story,” which collects snaps submitted from the same location to create a snap story for that place. If you are trying to keep your location private, don’t submit pictures to Our Story; this tells others where you are, even if you have Ghost Mode on for the Snap Map.

If you want to keep your birthday private:

Entering your birthday is necessary in order to create a Snapchat account. Snapchat uses this information to put a cake next to your name on the date you put in, which is their way of letting friends know it’s your birthday. If you’d rather keep your birthday private, go to the “Birthday” section under Settings and disable “Birthday Party.”

If you want control over who sees what you post:

For the settings on who can view your story, choose “Only Friends.” This makes it so that people you are friends with will exclusively have access to your story’s content. Otherwise, anyone who searches up your username will be able to see your story. This can be dangerous. If your story contains personal information or landmarks that reveal your location, someone could attempt to find you.

For a more customizable and private Snapchat experience, consider private stories. There is no limit to the number of private stories you can make and you can choose which of your friends sees each one.

Snapchat Privacy Tips

Remember to never share your Snapchat code online. Your Snapchat code is a scannable code that allows people to add you as a friend. It’s convenient for actual friends but putting your Snapchat code online or posting it to social media makes it possible for anyone to add you. This takes away control over your privacy.

To add an extra layer of privacy to your Snapchat account, enable Two-Factor Authentication. This means that you will have to log on to Snapchat by entering both your password and a verification code sent to your phone. However, this also makes it so that nobody can get access to your Snapchat account without your knowledge.

Although your Snapchat Memories are private and saved only to your account, some Snapchat users find more privacy in keeping up with the "My Eyes Only" feature. This lets you save photos and videos that are private or personal to a separate section of Memories, one that requires a password to view. If you're scrolling through Memories with a friend for fun, you won't see anything you don't want to show.

Just like any social media, Snapchat is a great app and a lot of fun to use! These tips will help you set your own standards for privacy and give you the best Snapchat experience possible.