Snapchat is a great app that enables you to have rapid fire conversations and share images (with captions). The great thing about Snapchat is that images are designed to disappear after they are viewed, giving messages that throwaway appeal of regular chats.

Recently, Snapchat has introduced Stories. These are collections of snaps that you can share with friends, or publically. You can view the snaps in a Story for 24-hours before they're deleted. Your friends can view the snaps in your story just once.

The self-destruct nature of Snapchat shots also lends it to sharing highly personal messages, and sexting in particular. You need to be careful though, because it’s all too easy to save Snapchat messages for later viewing.

In this feature we’re going to look at how to set up Snapchat on your iPhone, how to find your friends, and how to send images with captions to other people on Snapchat.

See also:

Guide to iPhone and iPad settings: how to use all the iOS Settings

Make free phone calls on your iPhone using FaceTime Audio

How to send and receive texts on your Mac: Sync SMS texts and iMessages using the Messages app in El Capitan

How to set up the best privacy settings in iOS

How to set up Snapchat

How to set up and use Snapchat to share messages

To get started on Snapchat you’ll need to download the free Snapchat app from the App Store. When you first open Snapchat you will need to set up a Snapchat account. Follow these steps to create a Snapchat account:

  1. Tap Sign Up.
  2. Fill out the Email Address and New Password fields.
  3. Tap the When Is Your Birthday? field and use the picker wheels to choose a Month, Day and Year.
  4. Tap the green Sign Up button.
  5. Enter a Username and tap the green Continue button. It has to be unique so you may need to keep trying to get a unique name.
  6. Tap US and use the picker wheel to choose GB - United Kingdom (or your territory).
  7. Enter your mobile phone number and tap Send via SMS.
  8. Snapchat will text a code to you (it should appear as a notification). Enter this into the Verify Phone window and tap the green Continue button.

You should now have your Snapchat account set up. You can now find your friends and start to share messages.

How to find your friends on Snapchat

Once you have Snapchat up and running you need to find your friends. Follow these steps:

  1. Tap Continue. An alert window with "Snapchat" Would Like to Access Your Contacts will appear. Tap OK.
  2. Another alert with "Snapchat" Would Like To Send You Notifications will appear. Tap OK again.
  3. You will now see a list of all the people in your contacts list that are listed as using Snapchat. Tap the Add ('+') icon next to those you want to add to Snapchat and tap the green Continue button.
  4. Two more alert windows now appear. Tap Yes in the Use Your Camera and Microphone alert window and tap OK to the "Snapchat" would like to Access The Camera window.

You will now be able to send messages to these people in Snapchat. You can add more people later by tapping the Menu icon in the bottom-right and Add Friends.

How to send Snapchat messages

Now that Snapchat is set up you can start to send messages to the people you have added as friends. Here's how to send a Snapchat message:

  1. Tap the Camera button. (The first time you do this another two alerts appear, tap OK to Let Snapchat use your location) and Allow to the Allow Snapchat to Access your location while you use the app alert.
  2. Tap the middle of the screen and add a caption to the image. Tap Done.
  3. Tap the Text icon in the top right to change the style of the caption.
  4. Tap the Draw icon to bring up a colour picker. You can now draw lines and shapes directly on the image.
  5. Tap Send to send the image. Tap the name of a person (or people) to send the image to and tap the blue Send button.

How to create Stories in Snapchat

How to create a story in Snapchat

Creating a story in Snapchat is a novel way to interact with your friends. If you're a seasoned Snapchat user, you'll probably already know that Snapchat is used to share photos or short video clips (called "snaps") that self-destruct after viewing.

Stories are a selection of Snaps that can be seen by you, and your friends, within 24 hours. The story can be viewed by you for an unlimited number of times in 24 hours, but once that time is up it's deleted. Your friends can see the snaps in your story once (just like usual).

The idea is to create an ephemeral story; that shares a specific time and place before it's gone. Unlike Facebook or Twitter, that story about the time you got smashed at a festival won't be around to haunt you in 10 years time when you're going for that high-power corporate job.

Stories that are told, and then vanish, have a more compelling quality to them.

Here's how to create a story in Snapchat:

  1. Open SnapChat and tap the Camera icon (or hold it to record a short video clip).
  2. Tap the Add To Story icon at the bottom (it's a square shape with a "+" icon.
  3. Tap My Story to add it to your story. Another option, typically in your area such as "London Story" enables you to post the image publically.
  4. Tap Add or Add And Don't Show Again.

You can add to your story by taking more photos and videos, using the caption and drawing tools to liven them up. You can view the images in your story an unlimited number of times in 24 hours, and even save it for longer viewing. Here's how to view your Story:

  1. Tap the Story icon (shaped as three circles) in the bottom-right or slide your finger across the screen to the left.
  2. Tap My Story.
  3. The images will appear for a few seconds before flitting to the next. At the end, you'll return to the Stories window.
  4. To manage the snaps in your story, tap the menu icon to the right of My Story.
  5. To delete an image, tap on it and tap the Delete icon.
  6. To save an image, tap on it and tap the Save icon (down-facing arrow).
  7. To save the whole story to your Camera Roll. Tap the Save icon next to My Story.

Discover stories in Snapchat

Discover stories in Snapchat

You can discover stories shared publicly by other Snapchat users. Slide to the left to open the Stories window and tap the Discover icon (shaped like a globe made of dots). Here you'll see stories curated by the Snapchat team. There are Stories from popular channels, such as MailOnline and BuzzFeed.

Tap the London option (or the city nearest to you) to view stories shared from your local area. You can view snaps, and swipe up and down to move back and forth through the snaps.

How to set a self-destruct timer in Snapchat

By default any images you send in Snapchat will disappear three seconds after it has been opened. When you receive an image you tap and hold it to view it, while you hold your finger down it will appear on the screen. When you let go it vanishes and you can't view it again.

When you are creating an image, tap the Time icon in the bottom-left and choose from 1 to 10 seconds. This will enable you to view an image for longer.

How to save Snapchat pictures without the other person knowing

Be careful when sending personal images in Snapchat, because it is possible to save a Snapchat image for longer than the three seconds. Here is how to save an image.

You have to do this before opening the image. If you have already opened the image it will be too late.

  1. Place your thumb over the Home button and Finger over the Sleep/Wake button.
  2. Tap another finger onto the screen to open the message (keep it held on the screen).
  3. Quickly tap and hold the Sleep/Wake button and press the Home button.

This takes a screenshot of the app. Open the Photos app to find your saved image. So be careful when sending Snapchat images because they're pretty easy to keep hold of.