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New to Snapchat? Follow our guide and go from newbie to pro

Snapchat is a popular photo-messaging app that allows you to take photos, record videos, add drawings, and send them to your friends. When a friend receives a photo or video message, known as a “snap,” it appears for a few seconds — 10 at most — and then it’s permanently deleted. Whether you’re a Snapchat veteran or a complete newbie, our guide will you get started with the platform and run you through some of the app’s more integral features, whether you’re looking to create a story or quickly reimburse a friend for that Naked Chicken Chalupa.

More: 21 Instagram tips and tricks you can’t afford to miss

Getting started with Snapchat

To get started with Snapchat, you’ll need to download the app from the App Store or Google Play. Once the app is installed, tap the Snapchat icon to open it. Tap Sign Up, enter your email address, and then tap password and enter a secure password. Next, you’ll need to choose your username, which will be your identity on Snapchat. Make sure it’s something that you’ll be able to remember, because you won’t be able to change your username after you set it.

Keep in mind: In order to use Snapchat, you need to be at least 13 years old. If you aren’t, you’ll be re-directed to a restricted version of Snapchat called Snapkidz.

From there, you’ll need to do a few more things before you start snapping.

Adjust your settings

Before you start using Snapchat, make sure you take a look at your settings by tapping on the red square that is located at the bottom right-hand corner of your camera screen. Then, tap the gear icon in the top-right hand corner. This is where you can also update your personal information, including who can send you snaps and view your Stories.

Find and add friends

To add friends on Snapchat, tap “My Contacts” on your Profile screen. All of your contacts with Snapchat accounts will then be displayed, along with friends who don’t have Snapchat. If one of your friends doesn’t have Snapchat, you can send them an invite via SMS. When a friend adds you, the ghost icon at the top of your Camera screen will turn yellow. To add a friend who has added you, tap “Added Me” on your Profile screen.

Create your first snap

When you open up Snapchat, it automatically activates your phone’s camera, and it’s pretty easy to use. You can easily adjust the focus of the camera, by tapping anywhere on the screen. To switch from rear camera to front camera, tap the camera icon in the upper-right corner. To turn on the flash, tap the lightning symbol at the top-left hand corner. To snap a photo, tap the circle at the bottom of the screen. To take a video, tap and hold the circle at the bottom of the screen. With Snapchat, you can only record videos up to 10 seconds long.

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