Snapchat Maps: How It Works and How to Disable It

Published: June 28, 2017 - 9:00am EDT

Snapchat maps in use

Snapchat recently put out a new update, and along with it came a brand new feature – Snapchat Maps. There has been quite a bit of “buzz” online surrounding this feature’s release; some people are excited about it, and others don’t want anything to do with it. That’s why we’re here to weigh in on this feature and explain to our readers everything they need to know about it.

We’re going to tell you all about the new Snapchat Map feature, including what it is, how it works, its pros and cons, and whether or not it’s safe to use. We’ll also show you how to use it, and how to disable Snapchat Maps if you’d rather not use it.

What is the Snapchat Maps feature?

Snapchat Maps or “Snap Map” is a new feature that has been introduced to the Snapchat messaging app. It allows users to share their location with friends by showing their Bitmoji avatar on a map, and see where their friends are as well. The feature is intended to facilitate meetups between friends.

The Snapchat Map also allows users to view local “stories” from anywhere in the world. Want to share a photo or video of something awesome going on in your city? Add a snap to “Our Story” and once it has been reviewed by Team Snapchat, it will be made available to the public to view.

Snapchat map open

How does the Snapchat Maps feature work?

Snapchat Maps works by using your smartphone’s Internet connection and internal GPS system to determine your location. It then allows you to share that information (or not) with your Snapchat friends. If your friends opt to share their location, you’ll be able to see their position on the SnapMap.

If your device is connected to Wi-Fi, you don’t need to worry about data usage, but if you’re using this feature while out and about (as it was intended) then you should pay attention to your cellular data usage. Using your smartphone’s GPS system can tend to use up a decent amount of your data.

Though the Snapchat Maps feature might sound really cool and fun to some people, to others it’s a nightmare. That’s why next, we’re going to answer your questions and concerns regarding the safety of the new feature of Snapchat.

Is Snapchat Maps safe?

Snapchat Maps is safe to use. If you don’t want anybody to see your location, you don’t have to share it with your Snapchat friends. You can set your profile to “Ghost Mode” to prevent anyone from seeing your location, or you can hand-pick which of your friends you’re okay with seeing where you are.

If you only allow your location to be seen by people you know and trust (who you’ve added as a friend on Snapchat), or set your account so your location is only visible to you, you’re safe to use the Snapchat Maps feature.

Still unsure about whether you want to use this new feature? Read our list of pros and cons below to help you make your decision.

Pros and cons of Snapchat Maps

Pros

  • See what your friends are up to – Being able to see where your Snapchat friends are and view their stories is a great way to see what’s going on and help facilitate friends making plans to meet up.
  • Show off your local area – Share your own location and show off pictures and videos of where you are or what you’re up to.
  • Check out what’s going on elsewhere – View featured stories of exciting events happening all over the world.

Cons

  • You might not want anyone knowing your location – Some people might be concerned about their privacy and not want to use this feature.
  • May use a lot of data – As we mentioned, accessing your smartphone’s GPS system may eat away at your cellular data allowance and could potentially result in having to pay data overage fees.

If Snapchat Maps sounds pretty cool to you and you want to get started using this feature, we’ll show you how below! If you’d rather not be sharing your every move, then scroll down to the bottom and read our short instructions on how to disable this feature.

How to Use Snapchat Maps

To enable Snapchat Maps, update your Snapchat app to the newest version by downloading the update from the App Store or Google Play Store. Then, open Snapchat and pinch your screen (like zooming out.) Tap Next twice, then select who you want to see your location – Only Me, My Friends, or Select Friends.

Snapchat Maps setup settings

To view the Snapchat Map, open Snapchat on your smartphone, and do a “zoom out” or pinching motion on your screen. You’ll be able to see your friends’ locations on the map, represented by their Bitmoji character. If you’ve enabled the feature, you’ll see your own Bitmoji appear on the map as well.

Once you have the SnapMap open, you can tap on one of your friends’ avatars to view their location closer or watch their Snapchat Story. You can also tap a featured location to watch stories from worldwide events like sports games, cultural celebrations, and more.

View story of featured stories in an area

If this feature doesn’t sound so great to you, then make sure you disable it right away.

How to disable Snapchat Maps

To disable Snapchat Maps on your device and prevent anyone from seeing your location, open the app and tap the Ghost button in the top left. Then tap the gear icon to access your settings. Scroll down and tap See My Location. Finally, move the slider at the top of your screen to enable Ghost Mode.

Enable Ghost Mode setting

You can also completely disable Snapchat from accessing your location information at all if you’re really concerned about your personal safety and security. However, if you disallow Snapchat from accessing your location, you won’t be able to use any geo-tagged filters (city, temperature, etc.) either.

To disallow Snapchat from accessing your location, open your device settings. Navigate to your device’s location settings – this will likely be under a category like “Privacy.” Once you’re on the page that allows you to select which apps can use your location, disallow Snapchat from using this information.

Disable location services for Snapchat

That’s all you need to do to disable the Snapchat Maps feature if you don’t want anyone to know where you are, want to save on data usage, or simply are not interested in using this feature.

 

We have now told you everything you need to know about the new Snapchat Maps feature. What do you think of it? Think it’s a great idea, or are you not so crazy about it? Tell us what you think below! Want to learn about the app’s more basic functions? You can learn about them with our Snapchat course.

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