Snapchat in 2023: An Introduction for Beginners

Gone in 24 hours, but here to stay

Much has changed for Snapchat, with much of the app looking and functioning differently from the original. So, what’s new for Snapchat in 2023?

Snapchat exploded in popularity following its release back in 2011. Since then, the app has grown to over 249 million daily active users worldwide

While Snapchat was originally about secure, person-to-person communication, it now has many other features to help people connect and embrace their creative side. Whether you want to live chat with friends, send text messages, create videos, or even create avatars, the popular app has you covered. 

Let’s take a look at Snapchat and walk through the basics of the platform and some of the key features you should know about.  

What is Snapchat?

When Snapchat first arrived, it was like Mission Impossible. Tom Cruise receives a message, and the message proceeds to self-destruct. While nothing explodes, that’s how it works. In 2023, the app has evolved into more than that. Users can send images, videos, and messages that remain visible for a short period. 

With the explosion of TikTok, Snapchat has been busy adding new features to its platform

Getting started on Snapchat

The first step to getting started is downloading the app and making an account. Snapchat will guide you through everything and ask you a couple of questions. You’ll need to accept the terms and conditions, create a username, verify your phone number, and find your friends. If you’d like Snapchat to find friends for you, simply allow the app access to your contact list.   

Understanding the Chat Screen

Once you’ve signed up and connected with some friends, swipe right from the camera to enter your Chat Screen. The Chat Screen is where you’ll find all your friends’ Snaps, Stories, and Chats in one place.  

For a full rundown of navigating the app, head here.

How to create a Snap

If you’re familiar with Instagram Stories or TikTok, getting started on Snapchat should be a relatively straightforward process. 

Here are the basics of how to create a Snap: 

  1. To take a photo, simply tap the camera button (the circle at the bottom centre)
  2. To take a video, press and hold the camera button
  3. Tap the refresh symbol or double-tap your screen to switch between your rear and selfie camera
  4. To disable flash, tap the lightning symbol

If you want to create a video longer than 10 seconds in length, you’ll need to do a Long Snap. To record a Long Snap, press and hold the camera button, and simply keep holding to create your Long Snap. 

You will see it at the bottom of your camera screen when you’ve finished capturing your Long Snap. There are a bunch of filters and creative tools at your disposal to help bring your Snap to life. 

Use Different Camera Modes

The app offers various Camera Modes, so you can find fun and exciting ways to take a snap.

In 2023, Camera Modes include:

  • Focus Mode – a depth-of-field effect that focuses on a face. 
  • Timer – time your perfect Snap.
  • Grid – nail your alignment with a simple grid. 
  • Multi Snap – take multiple Snaps simultaneously and edit them to find your favourite. 
  • 3D – take a 3D selfie and add 3D effects. Move your phone to change your perspective!
  • Timeline Mode – capture multiple videos sequentially to edit and send as one video. You can also import videos from your Camera Roll to add to the fun!

Note: 3D is only available on some iOS devices. 

Multi Snap

Use Multi Snap to catch that fast action shot or choose the perfect selfie 😁

Multi Snap lets you take multiple photos or video Snaps quickly so you can review and edit them individually — choose the best ones to send or save!

To take a Multi Snap:

  1. Tap The Snapchat Camera Modes icon on the Camera screen and tap The Snapchat Multi Snap icon
  2. Tap or hold the Camera button The Snapchat Multi Snap capture iconrepeatedly to take multiple photo and video Snaps
  3. Tap ‘Review and Edit’
  4. Tap a Snap to edit it, or tap ✖️ to remove it

When you’re done, tap the Snapchat download icon at the bottom to save your Snaps to Memories, or tap The Snapchat send icon to send them to a friend or a Story!

Snapchat for Web

According to Snapchat, more than 100 million users use video or voice calling on the platform monthly. With the introduction of, those same users can now make their video calls from a laptop or desktop.  

Snapchat for Web


If a social media platform exists, there’s a good chance a premium version will be created at some stage, and Snapchat is no exception. 

Snapchat+ offers “a collection of exclusive, experimental, and pre-release features available in Snapchat for $3.99/month.”

That covers the basics. However, like all social media apps, there’s much more to explore after finding your feet. Download the app, create an account, and start playing around with all the interesting features. 

Family Center

If you’re concerned about your children using Snapchat, the introduction of Family Center allows parents to have control over how their children use the platform. 

Snapchat Family Center

Want to learn more about Snapchat? Visit our Snapchat Resources page.