How to turn off Snapchat’s location-based Snap Map

Snapchat’s Snap Map, which allows users to access public posts associated with specific locations, was met with understandable criticism when it first rolled out in 2017. Although the feature was originally marketed as a way to see posts uploaded to Our Story — something that proved useful in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey — the fact that the app was sharing your location whenever you opened it was kind of swept under the rug.

Besides the obvious dangers this feature could pose for younger users or those unfamiliar with the capabilities of location-sharing, who really wants their friends (or parents for that matter) knowing where they are at all times? Many users likely enabled the feature when posting to Our Story for the first time, without realizing exactly how much access they were giving the app. Thankfully, we’ve outlined how to disable the Snap Map below, as well as ways to limit who can see your location if you wish to keep it enabled.

How does Snap Map work exactly?

If you’ve enabled the feature, your location will be updated on the Snap Map whenever you open Snapchat. Precise location data will only be displayed for a short period of time, but general location data may be retained for longer (although it’s unclear exactly how long these periods are). If you tap on a friend’s Bitmoji on the map, you’ll see when their location was last updated. This also reflects the last time they opened the app, and they can do the same for you. Locations will remain on the map for up to eight hours, assuming you don’t open the app again during that time period. If more than eight hours have passed since you last opened the app, your location will disappear from the map until the next time you do.

You can also tap hotspots, colorful points on the map that indicate activity, to see the public posts in that area. You can zoom in and out of the map, too, like you would with any dedicated navigation app. You may also see sponsored events or newsworthy stories with a short description next to them, which you can click to access associated Snaps.

Enabling Ghost Mode

If you don’t like the idea of your friends knowing exactly where you are at all times (and who would?), you can enable Ghost mode, which will prevent your location from being updated on the map. You can still post to Our Story with Ghost Mode enabled, but it will give you the peace of mind that no one is following your every move. Here’s how:

Step 1: Open Snapchat

First, launch the Snapchat app on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device. If you’re not already logged in, enter your email and password before opening the camera portion of the app.

Step 2: Find the Snap Map

Using two fingers, pinch in toward the center of your screen to access the Snap Map.

Step 3: Open settings and toggle Ghost Mode on

To access your Settings, click the gear icon in the upper-right corner of your screen. Afterward, toggle the slide beside Ghost Mode, which should be the first item in the resulting list.

With Ghost Mode enabled, your friends won’t be able to see your location on the map. You will still be able to see your own avatar, but it will be holding a blue Snapchat logo in front of its face to indicate that other users can’t see it. Keep in mind that you can turn Ghost Mode off at any time by following the same steps.

Editing your privacy settings

If you’re comfortable periodically sharing your location, you can still limit the people who have access to your data. Under Ghost Mode in your Settings is a section titled Who Can See My Location. Whichever option has a blue check mark next to it, is the option you currently have selected. My Friends refers to all the users you’ve added on Snapchat who have also added you back. My Friends, Except allows you to select certain friends you wish to hide your location from, and Only These Friends lets you select the mutual friends who will have access to your location data.

Pick whichever option you’re more comfortable with, or follow the steps above to prevent your location from being shared altogether.

Product Review

Kwikset Kevo Contemporary review

Tired of carrying around keys? Make keyless entry so easy that all you have to do is have your phone nearby to open the door. It’s a little pricey, but sleek lines and simple features make the Kwikset Kevo Contemporary a great choice for…
Home Theater

Still listening on tinny TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.

Is your smartphone frozen? Here's how to reset your iPhone

You can do a lot with an iPhone, but if you ever run into an issue with it, the first thing you should do is restart it. In this guide, we tell you how to reset your iPhone, and explain how it differs from a factory reset.
Product Review

Lenovo’s Smart Clock with Google Assistant may be the perfect bedside companion

Move over Amazon Echo Spot: Lenovo’s Smart Clock With Google Assistant is coming for you. At just $79, the Smart Clock turns off the camera and turns up the cuteness factor for an enhanced alarm clock experience.

Japanese billionaire splashes the cash to break retweet record

Japanese billionaire entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa has proved again he has a knack for self-publicity after launching a cash-prize contest to break the retweet record. Maezawa is the same man who is hoping to go to the moon with SpaceX.

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than ever, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.

Photoshop fail gives Aussie leader two left feet in official portrait

The Aussie prime minister doesn't have two left feet, despite an official photograph of the leader and his family suggesting otherwise. It was, of course, a Photoshop fail, and the embarrassing snafu was soon trending on Twitter.
Social Media

Instagram now lets you post to multiple accounts in one tap

Instagram for iPhone now lets you post to multiple accounts at the same time. It's not the regram feature that many users have been asking for, but it could prove useful for some users who manage more than one profile.
Social Media

No yolk! A photo of an egg has become the most-liked post on Instagram

Until this weekend, the most-liked post on Instagram was of Kylie Jenner's baby daughter, which has around 18 million likes. It's now been knocked off the top spot not by a stunning sunset or even a cute cat, but by an egg.
Social Media

Invite your friends — Facebook Events can now be shared to Stories

Facebook is testing a way to make plans with friends to attend an event -- through Stories. By sharing an event in Facebook Stories, users can message other friends interested in the event to make plans to attend together.
Social Media

A quick swipe will soon let you keep bingeing YouTube on mobile devices

The YouTube mobile app has a new, faster way to browse: Swiping. Once the update rolls out, users can swipe to go to the next (or previous) video in the recommended list, even while viewing in full screen.

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.

Starting your very own vlog? Here are the best cameras to buy

Any camera that shoots video can be used to vlog, but a few models stand out from the crowd thanks to superior image quality, ergonomics, and usability. When it comes to putting your life on YouTube, here are the best cameras for the job.