You might know Snapchat as an app that lets you post disappearing photos and videos, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Especially with its recent upgrade, Chat 2.0, adding lots of great new features.
We’ll talk about what Chat 2.0 has to offer in a second. But first, let’s quickly remind ourselves of what Snapchat's all about…
A few Snapchat basics
What exactly is Snapchat, you say?
It’s basically a messaging app with a bit of a twist. The photos or videos you send to friends (called Snaps) are self-destructing. Once your Snap gets opened, it disappears…
…unless you add it to your Story, which is a compilation of your Snaps that any of your friends can view for up to 24-hours. Your Story is ongoing, so as your older Snaps expire, the newer ones can still be seen.
Snapchat has three screens. The main one is your ‘camera view’, where you can take and send your Snaps. From this screen you can access your Snapchat feed (by tapping the square icon on the bottom left) and the Stories screen (by tapping the bottom right icon).
What is Chat 2.0?
Chat 2.0 is a major Snapchat upgrade, designed to make the app much more effective and user-friendly than ever before. Here are the headline-grabbing new features:
You can make video calls
There’s now a camera button in the middle of your camera view screen, and you can use this to make a video call to a friend.
If you’re on the receiving end of a video call and don’t want to be seen, you can tap ‘watch’ to view the video without showing yourself.
You can make video notes
When you’re having a chat, the new Video Notes feature lets you record and send a quick 10-second clip to your friend.
Just press and hold the camera icon to get started. It automatically starts filming in front-facing selfie mode, and (a little annoyingly) you can’t change this. So if you want to record something rather than yourself, you’ll need to turn your phone around and do your best to aim it.
You can make calls and send ‘audio notes’
You can now make voice calls to anyone in Snapchat by tapping the telephone icon in the camera view screen. Previously, you could only start talking to someone you were already in a text chat with.
If you receive a call, it works in the same way as video mode - you can simply listen in if you don’t want to talk back.
And in the same way as Video Notes, you can also record your own voicemail-style Audio Notes by pressing and holding the telephone icon.
You can auto-advance Stories
When you get to the end of watching a friend’s Story, the next Story in your list starts playing automatically. This feature makes it a whole lot easier to sit back and enjoy viewing a batch of your friend’s Stories, without having to manually select each one.
You can say it with stickers
Chat 2.0 now gives you the option of adding stickers to express yourself. They work in the same way as Facebook Messenger stickers, and there are over 200 to choose from.
If you don’t have time to look through all the sticker options, there’s a handy search function. Simply type out some of what you’d like to say, and you’ll be shown the most suitable stickers. For example, typing “I love you” will give you a nice selection of lots of heart-themed lovey-dovey stuff.
Is Snapchat now the best way to chat?
Snapchat says that the Chat 2.0 upgrade is all about “letting you say what you want, how you want”. The aim is to make Snapchat less of a messaging app, and more of a natural way to chat.
Do you think that’s happened? If you’re a long-term Snapchat user, let us know what you think about the great new Chat 2.0 features in the comments below.