Today, Snapchat released an update with a few major changes to its covert photo-sharing app. It's now easier to add friends, it's more secure and there's a major change to the way you view your snaps — a feature you'll probably mess up the first few times you try it.
Here's what you need to know about the new Snapchat:
1. Tap to view
Since the very beginning of Snapchat, you've had to hold down a finger or thumb to view a snap. That's all over. Now, you can tap on a snap or story and it will play automatically. Like before, you can tap the screen to skip to the next snap if there's more than one in a row. And there's an added benefit, of course: easy screengrabs.
This will completely transform the way you Snapchat. As the company said in its announcement, now your thumb won't tire when you're watching a long story. But without that physical connection for the duration of a snap, you may feel less engaged. As the Verge's Sam Sheffer writes, "Watching snaps without holding a finger down feels more natural, but definitely removes some of the magic that originally made the app feel special."
2. Snapcode selfies
Snapchat has profile pictures now. Well, kind of. If you go to the Add Friends section, you can now include a selfie in the middle of your Snapcode — the ghost with dots on it that other people can scan to instantly add you as a friend.
In true Snapchat fashion, you have to take the photo you use right there in the app. When you set up your personalized Snapcode, the app will take five selfies of you, like in a photo booth. These photos will display sequentially. If your selfies don't turn out the way you like, don't worry: You can try again or opt out of the Snapcode selfie entirely.
3. Adding friends by Snapcode
The new update included another change to make it easier to add friends. If you see a friend's (or company's) Snapcode anywhere when you're on your phone, you can take a screenshot of it. Then, in the Add Friends menu, when you select Add by Snapcode, the app will bring up your phone's camera roll, and you can select the screenshot you took of the Snapcode. This is way easier than having to pull up a Snapcode on an entirely separate screen.
4. Add the friends near you
If you have to forgo more convenient ways of adding friends, there's now a location-based approach. When you're with a friend or a group of friends, you can add them on Snapchat quickly by searching for all the users around you. You and the people you're with all have to open Add Nearby in the Add Friends menu to get the full list of your nearby friends.
5. More secure logins
Lastly, Snapchat has also beefed up its security with two-factor authentication. You have to set it up, but once you do, it will make your Snapchat less vulnerable to being hacked.
It's worth it, trust us. To get it set up, go to your Settings and click Login Verification to arrive at this screen.